Welcome to my Second Acts Series!
Today, we have Aprille Janes sharing her creative passions and the challenges that permanently altered the trajectory of her life.
“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien
When we discovered we were expecting in our late twenties, we decided I should work from home. So I took my creative passion and opened an art studio where I taught classes, sold supplies and had the freedom to be a mom to our son. It was so successful that eventually my husband joined me in business when our family grew to include a beautiful little girl. Life seemed just about perfect.
Then — a recession devastated our area as unemployment hit 20%. Disposable income disappeared and luxuries like art classes got cut from budgets. Seemingly overnight our revenue dried up. Luckily, my husband found work in a city two hours away. Off he went while I stayed behind to close that chapter of our lives.
The most difficult moment came when I tearfully closed the door on our home and drove away for the last time. With our two toddlers in the back seat, I watched the house grow smaller and smaller in my rear view mirror until I finally turned the corner at the end of our street.
That corner was both literal and figurative because at that moment I realised just how lucky I was. I had my health and the people I loved. All the rest was just “stuff”.
I learned that letting go makes room for something new. I also learned that when you’re not attached to things, the fear of losing them doesn’t attach itself to you. That gave me enormous freedom in the coming years.
Once we were settled, I went back to school. A few years after that I launched a successful consulting practice working on challenging projects, travelling and meeting some amazing people. The work I did was highly valued and life seemed good although I sometimes wondered if there wasn’t something more to it.
Twenty years went by like this and things may have gone on that way indefinitely except that one warm spring day I went out for lunch. It was such a welcome relief after a long winter I decided to walk around the block before returning to the office.
That’s how I found myself standing on the corner of a busy intersection waiting to cross. The light turned green and out of the corner of my eye I saw the car to my left begin to move. My Walk sign lit up and I started across as well.
Suddenly a blare of horns and a violent crash filled my hearing. The car that had been to my left was suddenly shoved right in front of me. I could have reached out and touched it if it hadn’t been moving so fast. Metal and glass flew all around me.
The car that neither of us had noticed, the one that ran the red light, flew past me and up over the center median as it took out the traffic light. The vehicle slid sideways down the road for another 30 feet before it finally stopped, light pole neatly balanced on its roof like the boom on a sailboat.
I don’t remember walking back to the sidewalk, only that I found myself standing there again with a crowd of strangers asking if I was okay. Surprisingly I wasn’t even scratched, as though a force field had sprung up around me in the middle of the chaos.
For days after the quality of light changed and sounds travelled farther. Everything seemed so precious and I wasn’t going to leave this world without honouring my dreams and using my gifts to make a positive difference.
I began choosing the pieces I needed to make it happen.
First, I stopped waiting to write my stories and finally did something about it, even getting some published and winning a few awards. I began painting again and was encouraged to show my work. However, I chose to make art for the joy of it, not as a living.
So I continued my consulting practice for another 3 years while I put the second piece in place, earning my certification as a professional coach and completing a top Leadership program. This provided the keys to unlock my Golden Handcuffs so I could step into the life I envisioned for myself.
Today I earn my living by supporting business women with a passion for positive change. Using my experience and training I help them create and grow successful businesses from that passion. I still write for my own enjoyment and have plans to do more with it in the coming year. I feel there’s a book looking for me to give it life.
Life’s too short not to choose the adventure. After all, safety is only an illusion. I found that out by going out my door on a spring day and getting swept along to my real life.
Aprille Janes is a sought after speaker, author, podcast host and small business coach. As an experienced business consultant and certified professional coach she helps Bolder Business Women make a difference while they make a living.
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What an inspirational post! Aprille, thanks for sharing your remarkable journey.