Live Life On Your Terms: with Paula Jenkins

When I first met Paula at the beginning of last year, one thing was very clear: her personality is infectious. She has this way about her that makes you feel warm and welcomed. Paula embodies joy. She's the real deal. It's no surprise that she's launched a successful coaching practice and podcast appropriately titled Jump Start Your Joy.

Paula is a transformative life coach who helps people find peace, purpose, and re-discover what brings them joy. Not only am I grateful to have had ours paths cross, but after having worked with her personally - her energy, her zest for life, her ability to really see you - well, it goes without saying, I could not be more thrilled to introduce you to Paula today.

You're in for a treat! Enjoy!

Tell us more about you: who are you and what are you all about? (Your story, your truth)

I'm Paula Jenkins, a life coach, podcaster, retreat leader, mother, wife, recovering project manager and joy seeker. My story is that when I was a little girl, my answer to the question "what do you want to be when you grow up?" was "happy."

This confused a lot of people, and they'd usually tell me that I needed to find a way to make a living. So I went off and got two degrees in religion, and became a project manager. (I now interpret that as the synthesis of "being happy and making a living.") For about 11 years I led retreats and worked in advertising, and eventually I got pretty burnt out and started working with a coach to figure out what I really wanted to do when I grew up. It turns out, I still wanted to be happy, and so I started following my heart, and it led to life coaching, and, starting a podcast. 

What does living life on your own terms mean to you?

It means living in integrity (having your words and actions match). It means being courageous enough to say "I want to be happy and I'm going to figure out what that means and how to do it." It means admitting that as a mom, I WANT to spend more time with my son, and taking the steps to do that. It means stepping off the corporate ladder to become an entrepreneur in January. 

Share with us a personal challenge that you’ve had to overcome and what limiting beliefs you had to break down along the way.

About ten years ago, I was getting really bad migraines, and they got bad enough that I went to some of the top neurologists in the country and their suggestion was to go on daily medication. The medication itself was originally created to treat epilepsy, but it was discovered that it also lessened migraines. This freaked me out, not just the severity of the pain, but the idea that I'd be taking serious neurological medication, for a prescribed off-label use. It was a total wake up call, at least for me.

My gut said (nearly literally) that I owed myself a little more self exploration before I started with the drugs. I was drawn to seeing if it was something I was eating, something I could control. The limiting beliefs I had to tackle were around trusting myself, trusting my own body to know what it needed, and standing up to question a doctor's recommendation. None of that was easy, and there's a lot of societal acceptance around medicating problems instead of looking at root cause. 

I'm SUPER glad I followed my own instincts. It turned out I don't digest fructose, and I'm gluten intolerant, and both create an inflammatory response that triggered migraines in me. Accepting that I needed to have a limited diet took breaking down self limiting beliefs; because I didn't want to be someone who was seen as a "picky" eater. But, since I gave up food with a high fructose load, and cut out gluten, the migraines are nearly gone. I would not believe it if I had not lived it.

When life gets hectic and overwhelming, what do you do to feel more grounded and balanced?

Walking in nature is helpful to me, or visiting the ocean. I love playing with my son, as it's hard to feel overwhelmed when you really get present and play with a child. I try to see the bigger picture and remind myself that this moment, however crazy it feels, will pass.

When it comes to creating change in your life, what does putting it into action look like for you? (And how do you handle when/ if resistance pops up?)

I've found that simply writing out the change, and the basic steps is the best way to go. I've taken to writing out my "ten in three" which is basically the ten things I want to do over the next three years. This helps guide me, and when I'm making decisions, I already have the framework in place. I know (more or less) where I want to be in three years. 

Life coach training helped me identify what resistance looks like for me. It sometimes involves eating a lot of tortilla chips, and researching topics that seem to be totally unrelated to my task. The good news is that once I see that something truly is resistance, I am more patient with it. I change the behavior and get back on track. Patience is the  key, as is not over-reacting. And if I've gotten off track, just getting back on track is the best way to move forward.

What are the top two nuggets of wisdom or advice you would give to someone?

Live in your "No Toggle" zone - or, live as authentically as you can, in all aspects of your life.

Find ways to be enraptured with all that you do. 

What is one quote that really resonates with you, or that you choose to live life by?

"We must choose joy, and keep choosing it." - Henri Nouwen



FOLLOWING THE TRAIL OF MY CURIOSITIES MEANS... being willing to be vulnerable, honest, and accepting failure as a learning opportunity.

WHEN I FEEL FEAR... breathe, ask what it wants, move ahead if it's wise to do so.

I FEEL JOYFUL WHEN... I connect with others, especially when we laugh together.

I’M MOST GRATEFUL FOR... my family.

Want to know more?

Paula will be leading the four week "Your Courageous Purpose" course in the next month. She's also working on program that helps people find balance and harmony, and you can tune into her podcast Jump Start Your Joy on iTunes or click right here.

Head to her site now and download "What lights you up? (Re)discovering your joy"

Paula Jenkins is a certified life coach, mentor coach, podcaster, retreat leader, and full time joy seeker. She works with women to encourage them in fully living a "no toggle" life, inviting them to discover and live what ever "enrapture" means to them. You can find out more about her at

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