Steve Shallenberger: Welcome to our Becoming Your Best podcast listeners wherever you may be in the world today. This is your host, Steve Shallenberger, and we have a fun guest with us today. I’m so excited about our visit together. She is a transformational coach, speaker, and author whose breadth of knowledge and experience spans multiple disciplines and professional expressions from clinical psychotherapy to global business to advancing spiritual growth. At the very core of her diverse career is a passionate dedication to helping individuals live their highest potential. She shares her journey and how others can reach their full potential in her first book, 911 From Your Soul, which I might add to our guest, Jeanine Thompson, I’m so excited to read.
Jeanine Thompson: Thank you, Steve. I’m delighted to be with you and your listeners.
Steve Shallenberger: Well, here’s just a little bit more about Jeanine before we get going in this visit today. As a highly successful, former Fortune 50 executive, Jeanine led diverse human resource teams across the globe, delivered keynotes to large audiences, and helped navigate the way toward profitability while empowering personal and professional growth. She’s an agent of change, she was a key leader supporting complex global acquisitions and divestitures. She has done so much more. I want to hear about some of that, because that’s really amazing. I can tell you a lot more but she also holds a Master of Social Work and numerous certifications including Certified High-Performance Coach and Rapid Transformational Therapy Practitioner. We could go on and on. This is a woman that has a lot of background experience and credentials. So we’re so excited to have her on the Becoming Your Best podcast show today. So, to get us going, Jeanine, we would love to hear about your background, including any turning points that have had a significant impact on you.
Jeanine Thompson: Thank you, Steve. I marvel at the utter intelligence of life, the vital experiences that we experienced as a child and throughout our life that we didn’t even realize at the time how they would be these key shapers of how we understood who we are, who we were, and who we’re becoming. So, a couple of key shapers in fifth grade, I went to work with my Aunt Judy, and she was a hospice psychotherapist. At that time, I decided, “You know what? I’m going to be a psychotherapist when I grow up.” And of course, in fifth grade, I don’t even know what a psychotherapist was, but I think it was who she was being in the world. I watched her interact with people, and I think I wanted to be her. But nonetheless, that dream in fifth grade stayed with me. And I, of course, did become an evidence-based clinical psychotherapist for a decade. And it was one of the greatest blessings of my life. Another key shaper was while I was a psychotherapist, I had a psychologist, who was doing research, interview me on psychiatric emergency room diagnostics. And one day she came, I was quite skilled at that role, and she looked at me before she left and she said, “One day I’m coming back for you.” And I thought, “Well, here’s this noted researcher, she simply is not going to remember me.” And sure enough, four years later, she called me up and said, “What are you doing? Come and interview with us at Best Buy.” And I thought, “Well, this is crazy. I’ve never taken a business class.” And there I was, 10 years later, through a variety of roles, high potential development, leadership development, and culminating in being the international head of HR. And then from there, a search began. Because as much as I loved my executive role, every night, I would wake up at three o’clock or 03:30 with a whisper that said, “There’s something more.” So, I left that role voluntarily and embarked on a wild and crazy search to figure out what that something missing was. But those are some of the key shapers. There were many strong women in my family growing up with a strong farm community: faith, coming together, hard work, and values. All of those were key shapers that influenced me today.
Steve Shallenberger: What a story, and there are so many lessons in just that brief description of things — like, never underestimate, any of us, the impact we may have simply by an example. I love that with your aunt that you talked about, and you just saw her and there’s something special, they’re connected with you. So, we’re influencing people all the time and we may or may not even realize that’s the case. And then these key moments where you have this interaction, that’s great. Thanks for sharing that.
Jeanine Thompson: You’re welcome. We all have those. We all have those moments, I call them a love note from the universe. Somebody might encourage you or they might inspire you from afar and something gets ignited within and it may forever change your life in the best possible way.
Steve Shallenberger: Let’s talk about your book. First of all, what led you to write a book like this? And the book, 911 From Your Soul, is that right?
Jeanine Thompson: It is.
Steve Shallenberger: Tell us all about it. Can’t wait. I’m just predicting to our listeners today, this is going to be an extraordinary interview. So, I want you to know I have my antenna up and I’m going to really be listening and looking for an idea that I can use in my life. I just have a feeling that we’re going to hear that today. And hopefully, you’ll be able to have the same experience. So, Jeanine, tell us about it.
Jeanine Thompson: So, “911 from your soul” was a phrase that came to me during my own personal experience. It was at a time in my life where, in theory, the details of my life looked really great from the outside. The trappings of success. I had a wonderful family, a big job, and the accouterments of success. And yet, there was something missing. It was elusive, it was persistent, and there was this longing and yearning. And ultimately, I couldn’t shut it down anymore. Life eventually gets loud enough, those whispers say, “No, it’s time. It’s time, dear one. It’s time to tune in.”
Steve Shallenberger: Just a quick pause. I love it. That is so good. That’s one of the things that we talk about; it is the feeling, the emotion, and sometimes you feel it right down in your gut, and it is called Becoming Your Best, and it’s an ongoing thing. And I love it, Jeanine, that you’re just aware of it, you’re acknowledging it: “Hold it, I want to become my best. I’ve been blessed to do a lot of things. But what does it look like?” And you’re responding to that. So, sorry to interrupt, but it was just a feeling or a thought I had. And it’s great that people have it, we can recognize it, and sometimes it’s within an organization or a family or it may express itself in different ways. But I love beckoning to the feeling of becoming your best and what it looks like.
Jeanine Thompson: Absolutely, and tuning inward. Most of us are taught just to use our big brains and to go to the experts and to go outside of us for that next thing that’s going to make us happy: the title of the car or whatever it is. But actually, I think the real work is the interior journey; tuning into that sacred trove of intelligence, wisdom, and guidance that rests within each and every one of your listeners and you and I. And it is in that stillness that we will be guided to how we can feel more fully alive and how we can become of greater service to life. So, those nine-one-ones are life serving you saying, “There’s something more for you,” or “There’s something more through you.” You have a hidden quality, gift, or talent that the world needs to become the best of what the planet can become, to become the best of who you can become, so you can share that sacred gift with your loved ones and strangers, and truly have no regrets. You left nothing on the table. You allowed yourself to become your best.
Steve Shallenberger: That’s great. So, you’ve reflected that in the book. So, you’ve just described 911 from the soul—your soul, I think it is—how does the book teach us or help us in that? Can you give us a little overview of the book itself? And then you talked about stillness and some other things, and I’d like to go a little deeper into that. But if you don’t mind, tell us about the book.
Jeanine Thompson: So, the book is organized to help you understand, am I having a 911, first of all? So, a 911 might be the persistent yearning, longing, something’s missing. It might be that some aspect of your familiar identity got turned upside down, stripped away or shaken: health, relationship change, natural disaster, whatever it might be, it might just simply be you don’t have the same juice or fire when you wake up, or maybe you’re starting to grapple with what’s the purpose of my life? What is the purpose of life? So, at the core, a 911 is a magnetic call inward to reconnect with parts of yourself that you’ve lost sight of along the way or you never even knew you had. And you will grow and become that greater wisdom, compassion, and gift to the world. So, in that there are seven key spiritual principles, I call them the soul solution. And I access these during my darkest times when all of my former success solutions were not working, my brain could not sort the way, and when I finally could surrender into the darkness of the most fertile soil, where growth actually takes place. Think of plants, think of trees — we grow in the dark, we revitalize that night in the dark. When I rested in the arms of love in darkness, these seven principles came through. So, I’ll give you an example of one: I direct my mind in service of my soul. So, in each chapter, it’s going to talk about what’s the Earth view of mind. The Earth view of mind often is “I’ll be happy when” — “When I get this, I will be happy.” The Earth view of mind is often “What could go wrong? Why am I not enough?” When we’re in the soul view—the next segment—the soul view of the mind says, “You are a spiritual being traversing in a wonder suit. You have access to universal intelligence and infinite love and wisdom. The canvas is unlimited. You are ready enough, and here’s a greater opportunity to become more of who you already are and to share that love, service, and impact forward.” And then there’s a “living the beauty of the and” section. How do I live more of my true nature, my highest divine nature, while I’m traversing in this human vessel, this container that’s temporary? And then I talk about nature because I think nature is one of the greatest gateways to higher wisdom, to connecting with something larger than life, to greater consciousness in life however you understand that—whether that’s religion for you, whether it’s the great mystery of life—you simply aren’t sure of yet. But when you lie on your back and you gaze up at those stars, you just know that there’s something bigger going on. So, that’s how the book is laid out. The seven principles each have an Earth view, a soul view, the beauty of the and, nature, and then practices. At the end of every chapter, there are practices, and you must do the practices. We know from a data perspective, knowing isn’t sufficient. One of my mentors says “Common knowledge is not common practice.” So, do the practices. And when you experience them, allow life to surprise you and show you the more that you are that you can’t even imagine. It’s beyond our human comprehension.
Steve Shallenberger: Oh, I love it. I’ve got a confession, I was tempted right then to pick up my phone, go on to Amazon, and order during this interview. I can’t wait. I’m going to order this. Thank you for the description. And for all of us that are working on Becoming Our Best, this is just exactly what we do: the thought processes, understanding, and the hunger from seeing the different points of view and being open to influence. One of my friends, Charlie “Tremendous” Jones, 35 years ago, shared this quality: “In five years from now, we will be the same person we are today, except for two things: the people we meet and the books we read,” or podcast or whatever we do. So, I’m so excited to do this because they literally influence and help us get to a better place. So, you talked about stillness a few minutes ago and I really just connected to your description of the book. Thank you.
Jeanine Thompson: Thank you for asking and giving me an opportunity to share what’s available through the book.
Steve Shallenberger: I can tell it’s special. So, you talk about stillness. What role does that play? And what are you referring to specifically? I mean, we know from the words, but what are you referring to?
Jeanine Thompson: Stillness, to me, is the active shifting of your awareness. Most of us spend our time and our 70,000 thoughts a day in our busy brains. And it is deliberately shifting your awareness from your head to the core of your being. I always say, place one hand on your heart center, one hand on your belly, those are your wisdom centers. We get a very different answer when we source from our mind versus source from the deeper truth, the higher intelligence of these other two brains. Data says we have three brains: our gut, our heart, and our head. And it’s not new. The first gut-brain book was written by Byron Robinson in 1907. So this is not new information. And yet, our three big brains are at war with each other all the time. So, stillness, to me, is going inward and listening to that deep way of wisdom that wants to guide you to becoming your best.
Steve Shallenberger: So, what have you found are the benefits of getting to that place? And what’s your recommendation? Two questions: the benefits and then your recommendations of how can you do that. Because it’s hard. Those ideas, those thousands of ideas are really a big-time competition. And sometimes it’s hard to get out of that mindset. So, the benefits and then how do you get there?
Jeanine Thompson: So, let’s talk about the benefits. I’m going to go through five rather quickly and then how we get there. One is clarity. In this noisy world, how do you discern your truth? It is difficult to discern trut. But within your sacred nature, you will know truth’s resonance — so, discerning truth. The second is access. This is your portal, it’s your gateway to your expanded potentiality, creative problem-solving, innovation, intelligence, wisdom, and the true riches in life—your purpose, your meaning, your joy, your love—alignment in stillness, in that sacred breath, which is a vital life force, we get to pause and choose to show up with the best version of ourselves. We can choose higher-quality thoughts and higher-quality actions. It’s incredible what a grounded pause does. We get rest and renew. We can be the eye of the storm. You can be in a chaotic situation and literally be unshakeable peace. That tranquility is always available. Our head says, “No way. Fix it out. Get on it. Chop, chop, chop! Let’s go.” And in the core of your being is an unshakable well of peace. And the last is presence. When we take time—30 seconds to two minutes—to be with our vital breath, we see the beauty in life. We always see what we look for. And when we’re in our head, we miss the solutions, we miss the guidance, we miss the support. In stillness, you start to see that light is sending you thousands of love notes of support every single day and you become available to them. But frankly, we also become a better presence to our employees, to our children, to our loved ones, to the stranger in Uber, and we can touch their lives through who we choose to become.
Steve Shallenberger: So, how do you get there?
Jeanine Thompson: Three ways, you get to honor yourself. The first way is what I call a quieter pursuit. And you literally, and your audience can do it right now, you close your eyes and soften your face. As you soften your face, actually your body physiologically softens too. You let go of your tight hands, one hand on heart center, one hand near your belly button, and literally, breathe in through your nose. But I want you to feel those hands move, feel the breath in your body traverse and enliven all of your trillions of cells, exhale the worry, and just be with a breath, 30 seconds to two minutes. Now, we’ve all been taught: “Idle time is on productive time. I don’t have time for this, I’m too darn busy.” I promise you that space creates expansion. So, set it up on your phone and do it. And if it’s not silent, if that busy brain kicks in, and it will, because it sure did for me because I was resistant. I was like, “I cannot be still. I’m in a plane 200,000 to 300,000 miles a year. I’m a single mom. No way.” And I’m going to call you on the carpet on that every day, 30 seconds to two minutes, set your phone. And when the brain kicks in, just say, “Noted. My goodness, you’re busy.” Retouch, we follow touch in the body and just be with your breath. Even if stillness wasn’t silent, you’re successful. So, that’s one way. Another way is active pursuits of freeing run. The data describes, when people run, the busy brain softens and it empties, and all of a sudden, creative inspiration drops in. Rhythmic weight lifting. We lose the busy brain. Data used to say, 30 years ago, knitting puzzles, painting, music, anything that will soften and empty what you think you know. Because when we think we know, we’ve left the greatest potential on the table. And the third route, and one of my favorites beyond the breath, is nature. We lose ourselves on the land. If we notice what we notice and drink it in, literally drink it in, what do you see? What are the dimensions of color? What do you smell? What are the shapes? Might you be able to eat it? Use those five senses of yours aloud or draw you into what you notice. And in that captivation of your five senses, you open up the gateway to the portal of higher intelligence.
Steve Shallenberger: Thank you for that insight. Do you find, Jeaninem, that there is a difference between getting to the point of stillness, which provides the benefits you’ve talked about, and meditation? How would you describe the difference? Are they similar? What have you found?
Jeanine Thompson: I believe they can be one and the same. I teach meditation, there are many different modalities of meditation. But the truth is meditation, at the core, is awareness and nothingness. So, stillness is one way of nothingness. When we surrender what we think we know, when we’re just willing to listen to the utter intelligence of life, and be guided, you’ll get a ping, you’ll get a creative idea, you will all of a sudden be in a conversation, like, “Nope, it’s this pathway. It will come.” So I think that they’re the same.
Steve Shallenberger: It sounds like what you’re doing is creating a space here for something really magnificent to take place that’s already there. It’s either out there or in here. You’re creating that space where it can happen. Is that what you’re saying?
Jeanine Thompson: Absolutely. So, listen, when we lead from the mind, one of our three brains. And by the way, we’ve learned now from data, 70% to 80% of information goes gut intelligence, heart intelligence, and head intelligence. It’s the opposite of what we’re taught; we’re taught “Start with your brain.” And I’m here to say, “We got it backward.” We’ve got to unlearn what we were taught. So, yes, we need to first connect with the deeper wisdom, and then we’ll use our head to organize the steps to execute it, to operationalize it. But when we start with our mind first, we’re starting with a conditioned view: what we know, what others have told us is true, what best practices say. So, our mind’s view is conditioned until we let go, we empty, we soften all of that supposed that knowing, and we open up to a greater potentiality that we actually are, in our essence, we are all divine consciousness. If that word is charged for you, it doesn’t fit in your background, think of it as entelechy, the Aristotle principle to its realization of potential. It is the entelechy of an acorn seed to become an oak tree. It’s the entelechy of a caterpillar to become a butterfly. Apples never become oranges ever. Nature knows what to do, and so do you if you are willing to explore, test, try, and to experiment that there’s a seed of realization in you, waiting to be birthed into this beautiful expression of your 8 billion lights in this mosaic of life.
Steve Shallenberger: Okay, so good. And that’s really the awareness of these things that are available to us that helps us get to a better place.
Jeanine Thompson: Yeah, I’m not dishing on science, that’s how I grew up. I grew up in a family of nurses and doctors, it was all about science. My first 10 years were evidence-based, proven by the book, the SOP (Standard Operating Platform). I love science. And we need the beauty of the and. Science leave some of our potential on the table because it’s lagging information. The timeless wisdom is where the gold is. And to me, it gets supported by the other practices of high performance, innovation, leadership, etc.
Steve Shallenberger: Wonderful, and it’s bringing it all together. We don’t want to leave stuff on the table, right?
Jeanine Thompson: None of us do. We don’t want regrets. We all feel this urgency. Did I matter? Did I make a difference? My hospice patients taught me that. They taught me about having a hard conversation because you might not have tomorrow to have it. If there’s a passion in your heart, go explore it. At the end of the day, our work legacy is going to matter, but our love legacy will matter more.
Steve Shallenberger: Well, it’s been a great visit today. I’m always really amazed at how fast things go. And boy, today, just boom, they just were done.
Jeanine Thompson: I know. I feel like we could talk for hours.
Steve Shallenberger: I do too. So, any final tips that you would like to leave with our listeners today, that would really be of some of the greatest value that you can share with them?
Jeanine Thompson: There’s someone you’re longing to know. You are longing to be reconnected with your sacred self and to discern what is sacred within you, beyond you, and around you. Stillness may be the opposite of what we’re taught, but it’s one of a plethora of practices available to you in the book, and this is where your joy, your highest fulfillment, impact, and contribution lies — you long to meet you.
Steve Shallenberger: Well, that’s wonderful. And how can people learn more about what you’re doing, Jeanine?
Jeanine Thompson: You can find me at jeaninethompson.net, and I would love to learn more about you and potentially partner with you in coaching or speaking. I’m super creative, we can figure it out. Whatever is needed, we’ll figure it out. You can find my book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or your local bookstore. Just go in and tell them it’s on the Ingram publishing and support your local community. And you can find me on Instagram: _jeaninethompson_. And if there was something that touched your mind, your heart, your hands today, I’d love to know that. Drink it in, go be, and become the best of who you are.
Steve Shallenberger: Well, thank you so much, Jeanine Thompson, what a delight to be with you. We wish you the best and all that you’re doing, you’re blessing a lot of people. And to our listeners today, we are honored to be together with you. Thank you for tuning in. And so grateful for you and what you do and your desire to learn to improve. And this touches everybody, just like Jeanine touched. And she may not even be aware that that happened, but you’re doing the same thing. So, thank you for tuning in. So grateful to be with you. We wish you the best today and always. This is Steve Shallenberger, your host, signing off.
Speaker, Author, Transformational Coach