One day around the age of seven, an extended family member told Jen Du Plessis, “You’re going to be just like your father, you’re going to be worthless, you’re going to be poor, you’re going to be an alcoholic…you’ll really basically amount to nothing.” And just two short year later, she walked in the house as her dad held a shotgun to her mom’s head, cocked, loaded, ready to go. And it wouldn’t be the first time and it certainly wouldn’t be the last, but that is the day Jen declared she would not be like them.
Now, Jen is America’s mortgage mastery mentor. She helps sales professionals who feel overwhelmed and stressed out because they’re trying to multiply their results and find the courage to say yes to their personal lives. During 15 of her 37 years in the mortgage industry, Jen has been listed among the top 1% of loan officers nationwide, spent three years in the top 200 of nationally ranked originators, and has funded over $1 billion in mortgage loans. She’s recognized as an influencer in our industry, as a best-selling author, and a top podcast host. She’s also shared the stage with such icons as Darren Hardy and Tony Robbins. Jen believes that when you work on purpose, you can play with passion.
Today, Jen joins the podcast to talk about overcoming major feelings of worthlessness, escaping toxic situations, and how she became someone who inspires thousands of people every year to become better versions of who they are.
Overcomer Playlist Recommendation
Pearls of Wisdom
- Determine what your true core values are and apply them to your everyday life.
- No one else can change your mindset, you have to put in the work on your own.
- The only things that we can control is ourselves and how we respond to adversity.
Tweetables“People are not moved by perfection, that does not cause people to change.” - Arwen Becker Click To Tweet “I really don't want a quality of life. What I'm looking for is a life of quality.” - @JenDuPlessis Click To Tweet “I have the option to be able to change my life and that the past is history and the present is a gift.” - @JenDuPlessis Click To Tweet “Once we have vulnerability, we’re attractive to everybody.” - @JenDuPlessis Click To Tweet “In anything that we do, our mess becomes our message” - @JenDuPlessis Click To Tweet “If you're casual about your business, your business will become a casualty and when you're casual about your life, your life will become a casualty as well.” - Les Brown Click To Tweet “We flatter those we scarcely know, we please the fleeting guest, but we deal many a thoughtless blow to those we love the best.” - Jen Du Plessis’ Mom Click To Tweet
- She Handled It, So Can You!: An Inspiring and Empowering Financial Guide for Women
- Jen Du Plessis Website
- LAUNCH: How to Take Your Business to New Heights by Jen Du Plessis
- Cracking the Top Producer Code
- Lifestyle Business Mastery
- Atomic Habits by James Clear
- Success to Significance: Life After Breaking Through Glass Ceilings
- Mortgage Lending Mastery
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Connect with Arwen Becker
Growing up in a home with a closet alcoholic, I learned a lot of skills of being able to control the situation just out of effort, time and quite honestly force. It wasn't until I was 20, that I became aware of my dad's alcoholism. And at that point, I had already become very good at these perfectionist behaviors.
And then coupling that with being a really strong introvert, which people never believe, because I'm a public speaker and the things that I do, but I am highly introverted. And being in big crowds is a challenge for me that I'm learning to continue to overcome. But I actually don't like a lot of eyeballs on me in situations where I feel out of control. And a few years ago, I would say this was displayed perfectly.
My husband and I had a little speedboat at the time, and we had taken it out over to our friend's house who had just bought a new home on this lake. And as we were approaching the dock, Randy was navigating the boat into their slip, and he told me to jump. Well, when I was looking at the distance that I had to go, I was kind of weighing the risk, and I felt that it was too far to safely jump, so I hesitated and didn't. Then he yells, jump! And against every fiber in my body, I followed that prompting, jumped out of the boat onto the dock where only one of my feet landed on the solid ground, and the other began to plunge its way back into the lake.
And so instantly, with this desire that I have to not look stupid and self-preservation, especially with people watching. As if that was somehow even possible, right? I somehow managed to turn my body enough to keep the majority of the weight towards the dock, as opposed to shifting it and falling back in the water behind me. But that was really the least of my problems.
One of my feet may have hit the dock. But the inertia of my body was not planted over that foot. It was still squarely over my hips, which gravity then took towards the ground, dock, water, towards that direction. And my entire force and weight of my body was stopped by the hard end of the dock between my thighs. And thinking about that absolutely makes me cringe every time. Nearly 100% of my body weight fell on my womanly parts. The pain was so severe, as I heard, what it felt like my bones cracking in my ears as all of that force traveled from my pelvic area, all the way through my spine up to the base of my neck. And it was excruciating.
But what followed is such a window into a perfectionist’s mind. And even today, the whole situation as I relive it, I'm embarrassed by it, by the way in which I would react to that. And so my kids were just watching in horror and my youngest one’s kind of chuckling a little bit because of course I did look stupid as much as I thought it might be able to not look stupid, right? But they didn't know how to react because I didn't react at getting hurt. I just completely played it off and got myself up on the dock and was like “Oh no, I’m fine. Hey, I just you know I really need to use the bathroom before we got here. “Can I go use your bathroom?”
So she sends me to the closest bathroom which felt like it was 300 flights of stairs and a football field away. And every single step I took, I was in absolute agony. And I made my way into her bathroom. And when I pulled down my pants, you could see I was already really swollen and I was bleeding. Yet, what I continued to do was play it off. And I wandered around her house for the next 30 minutes marveling at this pretty new house of hers, pretending as though it didn't happen. And finally said to Randy “We need to go.”
So, we headed back to the boat. I laid myself down. I was just wincing with every single wave that we traversed. And it wasn't until I was back in the safety of the passenger seat of our car that the tears just started to stream down my cheeks. I was in so much pain. And I didn't want anybody other than my children and my husband to see it. I recognize that response is so unhealthy. Yet I can see where so much of the life that I've grown up in has groomed me to act that way. And it doesn't make it right. And yet, I made my way into the doctor later that day. I had to get pelvis X-rays and exams and prayed to God that I didn't break something.
Fortunately, God shone down on me that day. I saw this little girl who's now in her 40’s exhibiting the same behaviors that she learned throughout her youth living in this house where you didn't talk about what was wrong, you just control the situation, you pack it up, and you make it look good, and you trudge forward. And my guest today has battled through much of the same intrinsic need for control and perfectionism throughout her life and I am so honored that she's going to speak openly about it with me today.
Jen Du Plessis is America's mortgage mastery mentor, and she helps sales professionals who feel overwhelmed and stressed out because they're trying to multiply their results in record time, to have the courage to say yes to their personal lives. During 15 of her 37 year career in the mortgage industry, Jen has been listed as the top 1% of loan officers nationwide, spending three years in the top 200 of nationally ranked originators and has funded over $1 billion in mortgage loans. She's recognized as an influencer in our industry, as a best-selling author, top podcast host and charismatic speaker, sharing stages with such icons as Darren Hardy and Tony Robbins. Jen believes that when you work on purpose, you can play with passion.
Arwen Becker: Well, Jen, I am so grateful that you took time out to join me on the show today. Thank you very much.
Jen Du Plessis: Absolutely. I am delighted to be here to share with you, Arwen, as much as we can in our time together.
Arwen Becker: Yeah. I always want to start with a song because I have for many years, really utilized music as a way to help me endure and overcome things and I call it my overcomer playlist. So, you actually came prepared with a song that you wanted to add to that playlist. What song is that? And why?
Jen Du Plessis: Yeah, it's called Dare You to Move by Switchfoot. And it's just a song that, first of all, I'm Christian, I'm faith forward in everything that I do, and Switchfoot is a Christian band. It's kind of like a grunge/alternative band for Christianity, which is hilarious. My daughter actually knows one of the members of the band through Young Life, and that's how I get turned on to them which was kind of fun, but Dare You to Move is sort of a montage that I work in, in my practice have done for years and years, and I say differently, I say stop talking, take action and get results.
And part of Dare You to Move is my story, which I'll be telling here shortly. But people tend to get really frozen in whatever problems or struggles or challenges that they're experiencing. And this gives me that power, that inner, I always say it's an inside job, it gives me that inner power to say, “Yeah, I dare you to move,” like today is never going to be here tomorrow. And what we do know is that the past is history, the future is a mystery, and today is a present, today is a gift, a gift for us. And so, it always makes me think, don't sit still, move, God put me on this earth not to be good but to be great. So, I dare you. I dare you to move.
Arwen Becker: And I love that song. So, you and I were talking a little bit and you had mentioned that you had to overcome these major feelings of worthlessness. So, why don't you take us back to where did those feelings come from? Where did it begin?
Jen Du Plessis: Yeah. I was one of or am one of 37 first cousins. Obviously, we have many, many more now that those cousins have spouses and children and those children have children, including myself. But 37 first cousins and I was the only one who was an only child. The rest of them all had siblings until I was 12 and a half years old when my brother was born. So, there's a big gap in our age. So, we’d actually been in a party once before and someone said, “Do you have any siblings?” to both of us, and we both said, “No,” together. I couldn't believe it. We looked at each other and went, “Oh, my gosh, that's ridiculous.”
But I went to college the year he went into kindergarten and I got married not too long after that. So, he's always been sort of my child, not really a sibling. And so, it's kind of interesting that I finally had one, but my mom was one of 10. My dad came from a smaller family. But my mom was one of 10, five boys and five girls, big, big Catholic family. And thankfully, I lived next door to my grandparents who helped me with my faith. I went to mass with them every day before I went to school. I had an uncle that lived there. He still lives there today. I just spoke to him yesterday. He'll be 87 years old, coming up here soon. And he never got married. And so, I was sort of his child.
Now, the reason why I was his child, my father was an alcoholic, my mother was a verbal abuser, and they were water and oil. There's no question about it. And I don't know who perpetuated whose issues, but they both had the issues. And so, one day, my uncle said to me, “Jenny, you know, you're going to be just like your father, you're going to be worthless, you're going to be poor, you're going to be an alcoholic, you will smoke, you'll really basically amount to nothing, and you'll be just like your mom that way, too.” And I distinctly remember this conversation, I believe I was around seven. And he just said, it's just natural. And we've all heard stories about changing the tide of time and just because they were an alcoholic, doesn't mean you have to be and all of that. There is an alcoholism in me, but it's not alcohol.
So, this uncle and another, they had nicknames for all the cousins. They had Dan the Man and Jean the Machine. And they called me Jenny who ain't got a penny. And, of course, I didn't understand it at that point. I just carried a penny in my shoe. In fact, I carried a penny in my shoe until about 12 years ago because when I felt that when I walked, I would always feel it there and it's just a reminder for me.
But what I learned was that, that reminder was holding me back. And this is part of the Dare You to Move. It was holding me back because I kept saying, I always want to remember where I came from, remember where I came from, and I do, but I don't want to have the penny being the reminder about it, that I have the option to be able to change my life and that the past is history and the present is a gift. So, making sure that it wasn't a ball and chain for me, and that’s what it was.
Arwen Becker: Can I clarify, so you putting the penny in your shoe was the reminder that you had a penny, that you were not that girl that you were being told that you were?
Jen Du Plessis: Yeah. And so, what you end up doing is carrying a ball and chain with you and never really overcoming that. And so, that becomes a limiting belief that stays with me. And just by having it in my shoe, I was never moving past my limiting belief. And so, when I was little, I would just take the penny out and say, “Hahaha, that's funny. You're funny. I have a penny. Look at me.” And it wasn't until later that, of course, I realized, what it really meant.
And so, I was nine years old and I could hear my mom and dad fighting in the house again, as I rode my bicycle up, my little banana bike, purple banana bike or banana seat bike, and I can hear them arguing. I thought, “Goodness. Here I go again.” As an only child, you don't have another sibling to cry with and cuddle with in a room when all this is going on. So, that's why my grandparents were so important.
But I walked in and my father had a shotgun to my mother's head, cocked, loaded, ready to go. And it wouldn't be the first time. It certainly wouldn't be the last time, but this time, it had an effect on me. This time was the time that in that moment, I ran out right next door to my grandparents who had, they have a farm and went out into that field and I was down on my knees and I could smell a corn and feel the cold of the dirt and the sun and just the smells that I remember there and just praying that I would not hear that gunshot go off. And that was the moment, I said things are going to change. I'm not going to live this life. And so, the rest of my life was proving to everybody that I would not be that person or like them, proving and not living, really not living, just spending a life of proving.
And there you go. That's that age where, up to nine, you're impressionable. And had I addressed it a couple years earlier, I probably wouldn't have had the life I have but again, today, the present is a gift. I mean, the way I am now is because of all of those things and I'm grateful for that, very grateful.
Arwen Becker: Was there at any time that you thought that you would be in danger, that you wouldn't get through that experience?
Jen Du Plessis: No because my dad… and I'm not giving you excuses for either of them, but my dad was not a violent drunk. He was also a beer drunk. And he never lost his job because of it, but he definitely would pop beer cans. As soon as he left his work, he would pop the beer cans. And he was actually a funny drunk. In fact, I had more in common with my dad when he was drinking because he's kind of like, Clint Eastwood. He doesn't say much. And he looks like Clint Eastwood. He looked like him. He's just sort of a John Wayne kind of guy.
And I was going to send you a song about Willie Nelson, but I can't even get through the songs. I mean, the first few notes make me cry because it makes me think of my father, just a very quiet man. And when he drank, he actually paid attention to me and he was more fun loving. He was just such a quiet man. And there's a side of me that's like that, too. And there's a side that's like my mom, where I'm very boisterous and chatty. I mean, you've known me, I'm a high I. I love people. But I have a very strong, I wouldn't say, compliancy, but I'm a very quiet, quiet person, too.
So, I actually liked when he was drunk. Now, later in his life, before he passed away, I would have to call him before noon or one o'clock because any time after that, he was just absolutely incoherent. And I couldn't tolerate it because I had moved on.
Arwen Becker: Did he ever overcome his alcoholism? Or did he drink…
Jen Du Plessis: My mom would tell you he did. And he never went to Alcoholics Anonymous. I have never known my father to admit that he's an alcoholic, but one of his dear friends from high school who was kind of like a second father to me later on, was a mean, hard liquor drunk and took a shotgun under his chin to himself. And when that happened, it was a disrupter for my father.
Arwen Becker: So, I assume he pulled the trigger and killed himself. Is that what you mean?
Jen Du Plessis: Oh, yeah.
Arwen Becker: Oh my God.
Jen Du Plessis: So, that was the trigger for my father to say, “Whoa, whoa, whoa.” And so, what he did is he stopped drinking beer and started drinking non-alcoholic beer. So, in my opinion, no, he never overcame alcoholism. He just stopped drinking the alcoholic drinks.
Arwen Becker: Became a dry drunk as they call it.
Jen Du Plessis: Yeah.
Arwen Becker: How interesting. I know this is kind of a little bit off topic. Did you ever seek, like Al-Anon or anything like that because I mean, I grew up with a closet alcoholic. So, I didn't even know until I was 20 that those were the issues that I was seeing because my mom was so good at hiding it and yet, it's amazing how both my sister and I married alcoholics because we had become pro-enablers and codependent because we have seen our mom doing it very, very well.
Jen Du Plessis: Yeah. Well, in my codependency because we do have it, that's what I was saying before is that even though you don't drink alcohol, you have alcoholic tendencies which are habits. Regardless, it's a habit. So, yeah, I went to Al-Anon, I think I was probably 23, 24, something like that because my kids had just been born. I had my son at 22, my daughter at 24. And I think the pressure of being young, having children with my husband and everything, I think it was starting to rear itself.
And so, I went to Al-Anon to really find out what was wrong with me because I thought it was all me and not them and all of that. So, that's when I discovered what my “alcoholism” myself and I have to struggle with it all the time and it goes all the way back to the worthlessness or that you'd not be worthy for anything and it goes back to that. And so, there have been times like, I used to play flute and I still do, but I used to really be good at flute and piccolo and that was my alcoholism for years. I would come home and just go play my flute because it was an escape.
I'm also a markswoman and I love shooting guns. My dad was an NRA instructor on the side and stuff. So, I love doing target practice and stuff. And that's my alcoholism. That's my version of alcoholism to get a release. So those are two, just sort of side things on what they are. It's not the true alcoholism that I have through learning that. Yeah, I kind of am like my dad, I just have a different version of it. My brother is like that, too. He got it, too. He doesn't drink a drop, but he has his own little version of it as well.
Arwen Becker: Just crazy how that happens. I, just like so many other people that I've talked to, didn't want to believe that I would be that person they talk about when you grow up in an alcoholic home, the tendencies and the things that you learn. That's what I've had to learn is that so much of the fallout of growing up in an alcoholic home is my ability to control the situation because that's what my mom was so good at. But yet, we learned other skills instead that weren't healthy.
Jen Du Plessis: Yeah, I mean, I think any of that stuff is unhealthy. And the funny thing is, like you said, your father, you married alcoholics, I married the verbal abuser. And I think that's kind of interesting, too, because we've been married for 37 years, we've been together for 42, we were high school sweethearts and there was a breaking point in our marriage where I said, “You can't treat me like this anymore.” I can't have the verbal abuse and it wasn't so much verbal abuse in the way that my mom did it. It was the control. Like you're saying the control.
He's the eldest of three boys. His mother was a crowser because his dad was in Vietnam. And when his dad came back from Vietnam, of course, he was kind of a mess. And she just kept being a manipulator and it was all about her. And so, my husband took on the mother and father role. So, what do you think he did to me? He mothered and fathered me, which is what I tried to get away from, from my mom because she was so controlling, but I went right back into it. And so, we had to have that breakthrough and we did. And if you've ever met us before, we are just the cutest little couple, even nowadays. Everybody just loves the dynamic between us, but yeah, he's the one who likes to control, control, control, and that is my mom.
Arwen Becker: Yeah. Gosh, it's just so crazy. So, at what point for you did you start to see the change? When did you recognize I have these feelings, I grew up in this toxic situation because you are a woman who now inspires thousands and thousands and thousands of people every year to be better versions of who they are, but that that didn't happen overnight, so when did that start for you?
Jen Du Plessis: Yeah, thank you. Well, I mean, truly, I think, as we all know, in anything that we do, our mess becomes our message because once we’ve figured it out, we want to share it with other people and help solve their problems, too. For me, I mean, so if I go back, let's go back to me being in that field, what I started doing was, again, proving to everybody. So, I was perfect. I looked perfect. I made sure despite the fact that dad might be back at work and mom’s at work, they both worked, I’m getting myself ready for school, I took pride in how I looked, how I acted.
So, I'll just kind of fast forward with all this. I was runner-up Miss Colorado. I played flute and piccolo in the Colorado Springs Symphony in 11th and 12th grade and there was no one else who was in high school at the time. I was pre-med, I was going to be a cardiologist. I was a cheerleader. I graduated with honors. I was the National Student Advisor for the American Lung Association because both of my parents smoked as well. And that was a doctor thing. And I was like, “Okay, I'll do that too.” And just perfect, perfect, perfect in everything that I did to prove to everyone that I wasn't them.
And so, it modified my DNA so that I was in the pursuit of perfection which doesn't exist. So, you can imagine how tiring that can be, but year after year, and so I ended up graduating with a degree in architecture and construction engineering, which I was the only woman in the whole class of 67 men.
Arwen Becker: Wait, so why did you not end up going with the medical? When did that switch?
Jen Du Plessis: You look back on that kind of stuff and it's so silly. I had a class that I hated the teacher. I absolutely hated that teacher and it just turned me off. After all that prep and all that other stuff, it just turned me off, but I'm not a dummy, I'm a very smart girl. And so, engineering, systematic process, just like being a cardiologist is sort of like that. I could have been a pilot, too, because those systematic approaches are right up my alley. And that comes from my father, he was an architect.
So, all of that was stewing and so, I pursued that in my personal life, in high school and in college, and then I got married and it had to be perfect and it was, and we had kids later and it was, and that was perfect and everything had to be perfect. The house had to be cleaned, everything had to be perfect. But then, it started happening in my business, my career in mortgage lending for 35 years, is that I was one of the few women to get started. I really helped forge this industry for women. And so, I had to be perfect. I had to be better than the guys since I have to prove, prove, prove, prove, prove. And then I was competitive and I had to prove, prove, prove and outperform and outdo and out whatever, and climb that ladder and get the titles and get the money. It’s like all that stuff. And that was all in management.
It was all about proving and my clients were more important than my family because I was proving. And so, one night, one evening, we were at dinner, I'm doing air quotes. We were out to dinner and the phone rang and, of course, I picked up the phone because my client needs me, they need me, and went outside of the restaurant and walked back and forth on that concrete balance beam that we all know when we're on that, walking, pacing outside the restaurant while everybody else is inside.
And I happened to look into the restaurant in there, I saw my family, laughing, creating memories, enjoying themselves, and I wasn't there. It was without me. And that was the moment that everything changed. It’s that I’m living, I'm proving to everybody else, I'm living a life of proving, and I'm not actually living for myself. So, I stopped proving and started living. And that took me down the path that I've been down for the last 15, 16 years of how do I crack the code on putting me first, my family first, and my business second but still be successful in business. And that's what my whole process is called Cracking the Top Producer Code.
And through the course of that is the umbrella of my practice, which is Lifestyle Business Mastery, that you can live your legacy while you're building it. You can work with purpose so you can play with passion, so that you get in there and you get very intentional and trying to figure out what is that combination not to have to work like gazillion hours and put everything else first. And so, that leads me to a quote that my mom used to always say, which she didn't live by, but she would always say to me, and now it rings true for me, which is we flatter those we scarcely know, we please the fleeting guest, but we deal many a thoughtless blow to those we love the best.
Arwen Becker: It’s so true.
Jen Du Plessis: Yeah. I decided that had to change. So, that's when my life became a priority.
Arwen Becker: And there's so much freedom. I know because, as you're telling this, it's so much my life as well. This constant fight and battle for things to be perfect, to control my situation until it all fell apart, until that moment came, and I was facing this is time period of basically losing everything that I had built because I had really put myself into that place of being my own personal Savior.
It was kind of like everybody get out of my way. I’ll do this, that, and the other thing until I was on the verge of a mental breakdown, I was starting to have suicidal thoughts because of this need and feeling of massive control and self-importance.
I mean, quite honestly, thinking that somehow I was that important to everything staying together and not falling apart. And yet, it's so freeing. Oh my gosh, Jen, when you get to that point, the freedom, when you let go of control and realize you're not in control of everything and nor should you be, that vulnerability, just in what you came through the same things in which I have, being able to let go is such an enormous weight off your shoulders.
Jen Du Plessis: Oh, yeah, no question. And I mean, there's a couple things that you said about, I mean, when you sent me your book to read in advance, this is my story. I mean, this is just put different people in it.
This pursuit of perfectionism comes from alcoholism because if we're perfect, maybe Daddy won't drink. And for me, that's what it was. I mean, I'll be perfect and then, he won't drink. And that's how it started. But I said, I'll be perfect because then, I'll prove to everybody I'm not like him and it later became, Oh, well, that's I'm proving, I'm trying to be perfect for him, and he doesn't really care.
So, there's absolutely nothing we can control externally. The only thing that we can control is internally and how we respond and how we react and what we think and whether we forgive people, and that's what I had to do. I had to forgive him and say, he did what he could do at the time with the information and the resources he had at the time and he did the best he could and she did the best she could. And now, what I can do is forgive them and actually be thankful and find the gift in what they gave me because it took me through this journey that that helped me realize that faith, obviously, is one of my important ones. My faith, family, and myself are all very important to me.
And like you said, living in a life of scarcity, although I felt it was abundance because I got it. I got it. Just hand it to me, I got it. I got it. I don't need anybody. No, I got it. I'm strong. I'm really strong. I got it. And really that's a scarcity mentality because we're not allowing ourselves to be vulnerable. Because once we have the vulnerability, we then become attractive to everybody.
Arwen Becker: Yep. And the other part that makes that scary is we also now open ourselves up wider to being hurt. But yet, the joy and the love and the peace and these really rich senses that we get when we finally are vulnerable, and the reach and the impact that we have on other people, people are not moved by perfection, that does not cause people to change, they go, “Ew, no, thanks, well, I can't do that.” “No, thank you, I don't want to work that hard.”
And that doesn't inspire them to recognize, we're all broken. We all need to ask for help sometimes and we all need to recognize we have limitations and we don't have to have it all together to still be effective. Randy and I, our therapist that we've been working with for a number of years, he told me about a book that I haven't looked up, but it's called Leading with a Limp. Have you ever heard of that one?
Jen Du Plessis: No, but that's a great name because it truly is that way. And I guess I could just say, when I finally, that story that I just told, both of those stories, I held very close to the vest, a dark vest, and I started penetrating it with little holes in it and started to speak to it at different points in time before I wrote the book. That's why I decided to include it in the book, although I didn't talk about the shotgun or anything. And there's like a gazillion other stories that I found my dad in a ditch. I literally found my dad in the ditch one time, drunk. But all of these little stories as I started penetrating them and poking little holes in my armor, my armor that was supposedly protecting me, I found that I was drawn more to people. And that was something that was missing in my life. It was just like, nobody can get real, real close because if you get too close, then you're going to know. And that was counterintuitive. I wasn't in alignment with who I was and what I wanted to share with the world.
And so, I was just a bobblehead. You could just see me, that's a bobblehead and that's all you got. And when that vulnerability started coming in, I started growing. I started growing and I was learning about other people and that they had gone through these similar things, different things like you had mentioned. I mean, several times, when I get offstage, people come up and they're crying and they're saying, “That was my life, that was mine. Thank you for sharing that,” because they haven't had the restaurant story experience to yank them out of their zombie life right now. And that's what I'm hoping to do is help people realize that before they have to get that bad, before it has to get that bad.
Arwen Becker: Oh, my goodness. So many of those pieces, that when we block people out, we don't have that rich life, but when we're, willing to poke some holes in it and start to show that there is a softness under there and there is a person who doesn't have everything together and that everything isn't perfect, the rich life that's being lived that way, it's intoxicating and it's magnetizing to other people, they're drawn to it.
Jen Du Plessis: Yeah.
Arwen Becker: Are either of your parents still alive?
Jen Du Plessis: No. In fact, my mother's four-year rebirth is this Saturday. I was on stage in Atlantic City when she had a stroke and died.
Arwen Becker: And so, they've obviously seen the life that you grew into and what you've done with your life, and I'm sure they're very proud of you for that.
Jen Du Plessis: Yes. Although my mother never told me, but she told everybody else. And so, when she passed away, they all made a point to come to me. This is where I get emotional about this. They all made a point to come to me and say, “You know, I know she never told you, but she told us.” I don’t know why. Yeah, I don't know if she's jealous, she said to me one time we were on the phone and she said, “You're always going places and doing things. You have such a great quality of life.”
And it struck me and I said, “You know, that's not what I'm trying to achieve.” I'm not trying to have the McMansion and all the things. And, of course, I went through a period and we all do and we're going through that climbing the corporate ladder and stuff, I had to have all the things, but very quickly, I realized, especially in that conversation, I said, “Mom, I really don't want a quality of life. What I'm looking for is a life of quality.” And obviously, what I'm trying to achieve is not being seen from the outside so I need to change that.
And I think that's where the jealousy came in, is that she saw that I had the life of quality. Not only the quality of life, but the life of quality that she never had, that she wasn't willing to have. She wasn't willing to put her guard down, forgive, any of those things. But thankfully, I just was surrounded by enough people that brought it to the forefront and I was able to accomplish it.
Arwen Becker: Yeah, absolutely. So, when you look back at your life, what were some of the big things that you took away from that experience?
Jen Du Plessis: Yeah, well, I'm going to go back to faith again, I mean, thank God, my grandparents lived next door. I mean, they created a very strong foundation for me that I've always had. And I think that that is true for my marriage, as well, is that we've always been faith forward. My business is faith forward. I'm never afraid to tell people that I'm faithful. And I think that there are people, and I coach a lot of people on helping them figure out what their core values are and part of that is that I'll get people to stay to me, I said, “Well, what do you think your core values are?” “Well, I don't know. Faith?” And I’m going, “Was that a question? Or is that a core value that you have conviction with?” “Well, family?” “Was that a question?”
Because if your family is truly a core value for you, then why are you working 48, 60, whatever hours per week and putting them second place. So, I think, again, for me, it was an inside job, I knew it would come from the inside out. And so, I had to make sure that I was always strong on the inside. This is the temple that I was given. It's also a job that you have to do on your own. You have to do that internal work on your own.
I'm not saying you can't get external awareness and assistance from doing it, but it is an inside job. No one else can change your mindset. No one else can help you identify what your true power is. And so, what I realized in that whole scenario was that I was just a mannequin. I was just a mannequin and I wanted to really become a human. And when I became a human, when I put all those barriers down and softened up, so to speak, and softened up and let myself be vulnerable and realized that I can't be perfect and recognized because my husband will say, “You just want to be perfect.” And I really wasn't trying to be perfect to be on that side of, like, I'm perfect, I'm in control, but it was more like if I'm perfect, then no one's going to ever come to me and say you're worthless, you're not worthy, you're not going to be worth anything.
Arwen Becker: I loved that. And that was just when you finally got things in proper alignment.
Jen Du Plessis: Yeah. And I always say this, too, if you master your priorities, you can master your life. So, that's what I did. As I’ve said, “What are my priorities?” I’m not doing this for everybody anymore. I’m doing it for me. And it's not a nastiness, it’s just this is what I want for me.
Arwen Becker: Right. And it's funny that you say this is not a nastiness because those of us who tend to say yes a lot more than we ought to and have a hard time of disappointing people.
Jen Du Plessis: Yeah, you have to forgive yourself. I mean, that's what I’m saying. Like, for me, it's a daily forgiveness. I'm forgiving myself every single day. And so, I forgive myself for allowing my father's behavior to affect me the way it did.
Arwen Becker: Oh, gosh, your story is so much a part of mine. There's just so much relatability. So, thank you so much for just being open and vulnerable. So, here are the rapid fire three final questions. So, what is the best piece of financial wisdom that you've been given?
Jen Du Plessis: You know, it's funny because, I worked in finance for years and years, I'm thinking I don't really even know if I got any financial wisdom from anybody. I would say that, for me, it might be Pennies from Heaven or something like that. That a penny, I don't even know how I want to say this, the power of pennies.
Arwen Becker: Don't you value the seed, the small things?
Jen Du Plessis: Yeah, it's like the power of one single penny, that one thing that he told me Jenny ain't got a penny, one penny is so powerful to be able to change your life. And so, there's a piece around that that I think the financial wisdom is there. I think the other thing about financial wisdom is pay yourself first. I mean, that's something that we haven't really broached and we won't, but my alcoholism is I can make money, I just can't keep it. And I think it all stems back down to that worthiness, you're never going to be worth anything, you're not going to be worth this.
I'll always have to fight this and I always do fight it, but it's just all of the stuff around that penny. That penny for me is power inside. It's not my kryptonite, it's my sword. And so, that's the one thing I would say is pay yourself first.
Arwen Becker: You know what? It's probably the one piece of wisdom that I hear more consistently from all of my guests, I mean, over and over and over again. And if that's not telling those of you under the sound of our voices, if you are not putting aside directly from your paycheck, your commissions, whatever it is, taking a small amount off and putting it aside for your retirement, for your safety, for your security, for emergencies, if everything that comes into the household is going into your lifestyle, there is something wrong. You have to be willing to get to that point, even if it's starting with $20, just start the habit. That's the penny.
It's not devaluing the seed because there's a biblical story about the mustard seed. It's one of the smallest seeds that exists but yet, it can grow into this massive, massive, huge tree, and that's where it starts. It's not glamorous. So, I think it's the most brilliant piece of financial wisdom, quite honestly. What's your recommended book and why?
Jen Du Plessis: And yeah, there's a gazillion books that I can recommend, but given the context of what we've talked here, I would say Atomic Habits by James Clear. And it's how to make tiny changes to have remarkable results. It's just that one penny to have remarkable results. It's moving one degree and it doesn't look like much in the beginning, but one degree over a period of time is miles of results.
Arwen Becker: Absolutely.
Jen Du Plessis: So Atomic Habits.
Arwen Becker: And what's a favorite quote?
Jen Du Plessis: It's probably one of my absolute favorite quotes. I guess, the great Les Brown, I'm fortunate enough to be on his speaking faculty and I hear a lot of quotes from him, but I would say, if you're casual about your business, your business will become a casualty and when you're casual about your life, your life will become a casualty as well.
Arwen Becker: So good. This has such been a rich conversation for me, Jen. And it just has spoken to so many places within me that I'm just finding myself plunged right in the middle of the stories that you have told and a lot of relatability. So, thank you so much for that. How can people get a hold of you?
Jen Du Plessis: Yeah, the best way to get ahold of me is just to go to jenduplessis.com. Go to my website.
Arwen Becker: Can you spell your name for everyone, too?
Jen Du Plessis: Sure. It's J-E-N, I'm a one N Jen. J-E-N, D-U, P-L-E-S-S-I-S as in Sam or crooked letter, crooked letter, I-S.
Arwen Becker: And then, tell us again your book. And then, I think you also said that maybe you had some great pieces that our listeners would be able to access as well.
Jen Du Plessis: Yeah, absolutely. So yeah, my book is called LAUNCH: How to Take Your Business to New Heights. And again, I'm coming out with another book in November 24th which is my birthday, which is called Keep Smiling. So, hopefully, everybody can keep an eye out for that as well. It's just a book of people with smiles, trying to keep the world going. It's all charitable content.
And yes, so the gift I want to give everyone is, again, jenduplessis.com/7strategies, and it's the number 7 and it's plural, strategies. And you can go there and grab just a PDF document of seven different really thought-provoking questions to help you change the mindset of your business so that you can have this more fulfilled life that I'm talking about, this Lifestyle Business Mastery.
So, there's some questions, just very heartfelt questions about “What are your core values?” and “Who are the people you're surrounding yourself with?” and “What are the boundaries you're setting to protect those core values?” and “Who are the people that you have around you?” Yeah, so just a lot of little questions to kind of get your… sort of a brainstorming session for you to say, “You know what? Yeah, I said my family was important, but they sure aren't, are they?”
Arwen Becker: And then you have a podcast, too, a new one that you've launched. I mean, I know you had your other one for quite some time, but tell us a little bit about that.
Jen Du Plessis: Yeah, the new one is called Success to Significance: Life After Breaking Through Glass Ceilings. The reason that this one came out, and my previous one and I still have the other one is Mortgage Lending Mastery, which is great because it's personal and professional growth. You'll hear a lot of stories there as well, but Success to Significance was, I retired from mortgage lending two years ago and went networking and thought, oh, well, I’ll still stay in the game and I'm going to be networking in a different realm and went out and someone said, “What do you do?” And I said, “Oh, I'm a mortg…” I don't know what I am, because it was my identification, that success that I had. And I started going, “Oh, my gosh.” Am I going to fall back into this pattern of, I don't have my job, I don't have that success, I don't have these accolades, all these things that I was looking for, to prove myself that I was worthy? So, now, it's going to happen to me.
And I realized that I'm moving from success to making an impact, being significant to other people in this world and being able to capture that pretty quickly. I was happy that it didn't reverse my life, like, now I don't have those things, what am I going to do? I thought I was good, but ooohh, you can always fall off the wagon.
And it really became life after breaking through glass ceilings, not women, not money and women and power and jobs. Yes, all of that, but more importantly, all of the glass ceilings that we all break through all the time because as soon as you break through, it becomes a floor and you have another one. And so, we explore all of those, whether it's emotional, financial, health, family, relationships, it doesn't matter, we explore all those.
Arwen Becker: It's beautiful and you're going to get so much out of it. You are such a wealth of knowledge. And yet, I love the fact that so many of the things that you teach are out of this woman that you used to be, this woman that you have become, and this woman that you're continuing to fight to become and giving so many of us permission to not devalue who we used to be and the pain and the difficulty and the shortcomings but to really embrace those, talk about it.
I mean, I love your honesty, about your willingness to talk about the alcoholic past and then the alcoholic current and how that affects you in your day-to-day life. And I am just so grateful for you and I thank you so much for joining with me today.
Jen Du Plessis: Well, thank you so much. And I do hope that it creates an aha moment or makes a significant impact on someone's life so that they can make that pivot now and enjoy the rest of their lives rather than regretting it on their deathbed because no one regrets that they don't have enough money in the bank account, they regret the time that they didn't have with their family. So, that's the important thing.
Arwen Becker: Amen, sister. Thank you so much.
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