MEET JANINE WIRTH - PATH TO HEALING THERAPY AND COACHING
When I first met with Janine I had no idea of the story which was about to unfold, from an abusive childhood to a life or death event which literally changed the course of her life at the age of just 18 to becoming a respected and trusted PTSD therapist she really is an incredible lady. Not only that but her warmth and obvious passion for her work shines and flows through every conversation, Janine works to help female entrepreneurs heal their emotional baggage, without spending years in therapy and create spectacular business success for themselves. It's really very easy to see why her clients love her so much. Not content with the amazing work she is doing already she also involves herself in projects such as Do Good Now Global Change Maker Awards, supporting human trafficking survivors and offering pro bono therapy for sex trafficking survivors as well as currently preparing and hosting her own Female Entrepreneur Summit, I am left with a feeling of 'Is there anything this woman can't do?' and quite frankly I don't think there is.
Allow me the pleasure of introducing you to Janine Wirth...
So, JANINE, What’s your story?
Well, the best description I can think of for my childhood is 'hot mess.' I didn't have a childhood, I would say at best I survived my childhood. I learned at a really young age that the world isn't fair and the only person I can truly depend on is myself. At age 18 (the very same day I got my driver's license) I survived a hijacking, kidnapping and attempted rape at gunpoint.
People speak of the 'fight, flight or freeze' moment and that Monday night I discovered my default setting happens to be fight. When my attacker held his gun to my head and demanded that I undress, I looked him straight in the eye and said 'You'll have to shoot me first.' It's as if something inside me just snapped and opened a flood gate of rage. Now, bear in mind that I suffered abuse in my childhood which left me feeling very powerless, but in that moment when it came down to it, I HAD to stand up for myself even if it ended up costing me my life.
My assailant was completely bewildered as that wasn't how it was supposed to go. I was expected to cry, plead, beg and do what I was told. I then completely ignored him and got into a screaming match/negotiation with his accomplice who eventually managed to convince him that they should just take our belongings, including my car and left my friend and me there in the middle of nowhere. The one who had tried to rape me greeted me with 'You crazy bitch' as he left.
A passing fisherman gave us a lift and my friend's brother-in-law who was in the police got involved which ended up with the police having a shoot out with the hijackers resulting in my car being returned to me, if somewhat damaged.
A week afterwards, I was sitting in my car and a friend who didn't know what had happened to me sneaked up and slapped my driver's window. At that moment it was as if time stood still, my heart started racing and I felt like I couldn't breathe. I realised without a doubt that I was suffering from PTSD.
Being independent and not wanting to live in fear or make radical changes to my life at age 18 when I was supposed to finally start chartering my own path, I made the decision to see a psychologist for my PTSD.
During our 1st consultation, after I told him about my childhood and the attack, he said something I never expected to hear “Janine, I believe your traumatic childhood ended up saving your life” that really stunned me, and for the very first time, I could feel any shred of gratitude for my past. I became deeply interested in trauma and PTSD which eventually led to me studying psychology and specialising in trauma and PTSD.
clearly, your own first-hand experience with trauma served to help you in your work with others today
Definitely. I now know first-hand how trauma can affect every important aspect of our lives whether it's the way we parent, show up in our relationships or how we perform in our careers. My experience resulted in me realising my life purpose.
can you describe yourself in one word?
How do you handle criticism?
It depends on the source.
If it's from someone who cares about me and who has my best interests at heart, I'm all ears, I obviously want to continue growing into the best version of myself. However if it happened to be a troll on the internet, that's a completely different story and I would advise anyone reading this to just jog past it if that ever happens. These strangers don't know me, my heart or the vision I carry, and let's be blunt about it- their opinions certainly don't pay my bills.
Bold and extraordinary women are bound to criticised at some point, it's part and parcel of the journey we forge when we decide to become leaders in our field.
Do you set goals for your business, if so, which methods do you prefer?
Like most successful business women I have a coach who lovingly calls me out if I'm playing too small. I like to have a plan for the year starting out with a simple game of ‘Wouldn't it be nice if...’ that I use to dream and find out what lights me up. Together we then break my goals up into quarterly and monthly intentions. I love having that accountability and regular feedback.
What has been the best advice you have ever been given?
It came from a dear friend on his deathbed while battling cancer. He said to me “Make sure you love what you're doing, because I definitely thought I would have more time.”
That prompted me to leave my corporate career and become a therapist.
Do you have a morning routine to help you with your work/life balance?
I'm definitely a morning person and love getting up early. In summer I enjoy sitting outside to savour my first cup of coffee in peace and quiet while I watch the world wake up. Once my family have left for the day, I do some sort of mindset or healing work every weekday. This could be journalling, meditation, EFT tapping or hypnosis to mention but a few. Then, if its not a rest day, I'll work out and get ready. I like to either listen to a podcast or a TEDx talk while I get dressed and do my make up. Even though I work from home I make the effort to get properly dressed. I know a lot of entrepreneurs think working in PJs is a bonus, but I need that difference to mentally switch between work and chill out mode.
If you could send a message to the world today, what would it be?
Not all trauma has to be 'newsworthy' to have an effect on you or imprint negative beliefs. Being made to feel not good enough, whether you were bullied at school or perhaps had emotionally unavailable parents can have big repercussions later on in life. My mission is to make trauma just one page of your story, instead of the entire book.
You can and deserve to have spectacular success once you've dealt with your baggage.
What have you found difficult on your journey?
I tend to get impatient and critical of myself if I feel I'm not meeting my own expectations. Luckily my husband Sascha is my rock and greatest supporter. He reminds me to be compassionate with myself and that I always succeed in the end, even if it doesn't feel like it in that very minute.
What’s your top tip for the awesome ENTREPRENEURS reading this article?
Surround yourself with people who challenge you in a good way and clap when you win. Make working on your mindset a priority every single day.
What was your first ever job?
At age 14 I worked as a waitress in a tea garden situated in a garden & home supply store.
What’s the number one played song on your iPod?
Fire under my feet by Leona Lewis.
What do you know for sure?
That female entrepreneurs who suffer from visibility issues, Imposter Syndrome, low self-esteem, procrastination, fatigue, money blocks or disordered eating have some sort of unresolved trauma playing out in their lives. Unfortunately because most people don't understand how the brain reacts to trauma and how trauma is really defined, they often don't make that connection.
Do you have a book or favourite podcast recommendation for our Female CEO members?
I was lucky enough to attend a training by one of the world's leading trauma experts Dr. Bessel van der Kolk and would definitely recommend his book “The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma.”
What’s next for your business?
I decided this year to combine therapy and business coaching so that my clients can deal with their mental blocks and emotional baggage and then implement a kick-ass strategy and mindset hacks to attain the success they desire. Furthermore, I have some really exciting projects and events coming up like speaking in some amazing summits, as well as hosting one myself aimed at female entrepreneurs who want to accelerate their success which is launching on the 1st of September.
I'm also pleased to be participating in the Do Good Now Global Change Maker Awards which supports human trafficking survivors.
If you want to know more about Janine you can visit her website, or catch up with her on over on Facebook or LinkedIn. You can also contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or of course in The Community!