Jen Riday is the host of the Vibrant Happy Women Podcast. She is also a successful life coach and lives in Madison, Wisconsin with her husband and 6 children. In this episode you'll learn about the inspiration behind the creation of Vibrant Happy Women. Jen also shares more about herself, her personal low point and how she triumphed over her struggles by deliberately choosing to be responsible for her own happiness. The episode closes with a few of Jen's favorite things and her personal Happiness Formula.
Introducing Vibrant Happy Women
Hey there! I’m so, so glad you’re here! This is the first episode of the Vibrant, Happy Women podcast, and I’m Jen Riday. Today we’re gonna have quick, 10-minute little chat where I can tell you my vision for this podcast and introduce myself.
Starting with Episode 1, we will launch into our interviews with some amazing women. You’re going to get to hear powerful stories of women who are striving to live vibrant, happy lives, even when their lives have been hard or continue to be hard.
Now, this doesn’t mean these women are fake-happy or perfect. On this podcast, you’re gonna hear from real women who have problems, struggles, trials, hardships. You’re gonna hear from stay-at-home moms, entrepreneurs, authors, and more. You’ll hear stories of abuse, chronic health issues, depression, loneliness, loss, addiction, family conflict, and more.
This might sound a little heavy, but we know life can be heavy sometimes. The inspiring part is hearing how these amazing women have used their creativity, inspiration, and spirituality to overcome these struggles.
If you’re looking to be motivated, inspired, or to just be a little uplifted each day, then you’re in the right place. We’re gonna provide you with the perfect uplifting entertainment you can do while you’re cooking, exercising, driving to work, or really anything where you want to be a little more uplifted each day.
So let me tell you a little bit more about how each episode is going to go. On each episode of Vibrant, Happy Women, I’ll be interviewing an amazing woman, and we’ll begin by having her share her favorite quote or life motto with us. From there we delve into her low point, a time in life when she really struggled, and then we’ll go to the point where she triumphed over that struggle. And she’ll share exactly step-by-step what that felt like for her, and how she made it out of that struggle or low point.
After that, we’ll discuss how she’s living a vibrant, happy life today, and then we’ll talk about a few of her favorite things, including her favorite easy meal, favorite book, and so on. And then we end each episode with our guest’s happiness formula. This is a step-by-step formula of actions or attitudes or beliefs that help her to feel happy each day.
A Little About Me
Now that I’ve told you a little about the show, let me tell you more about myself and why I decided to do this podcast. I’m Jen Riday, and I’m a life coach and now podcast host. And I really, really believe that there are too many unhappy women out there. It’s my goal to help as many women as I can to be happy and vibrant and joyful and just feel really excited about life.
And that’s why I’m creating this podcast. As I interview these amazing women, we can learn from them and carry their ideas forward into our own lives.
I was born and raised in Iowa. I grew up on a farm outside of a tiny little town. My parents raised hogs and cattle, and they had fields of corn, soybeans, and alfalfa. My two brothers and I were raised to work hard. We also had a good life. We had a lot of fun there on the farm.
At 18 I left home and went to Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa where I majored in psychology and child development, after which I went to grad school at Iowa State University and received my Ph.D. in human development and family studies. During the five years I was at Iowa State, I met and married my husband, Heathcliff, and we had our first two kids. After my husband completed his own Ph.D. in plant breeding, he took a job in Madison, Wisconsin, where we continue to live today, and we absolutely love it.
I decided to be a stay-at-home mom for my two boys, once we moved to Madison, and over the next decade or so we had four more kids. So we have a total of six kids now, three boys and three girls in that order, ages 15 down to 2. In 2015, two years after the birth of my last child, Cora, I decided to become a certified professional life coach.
Aside from being a mom, nothing I’ve ever done has been more fun or more uplifting than being a life coach. I’ve learned the number one thing that prevents most women from having success is the belief that life happens to them. Once a woman learns that happiness and success really are a choice and that she can be happy and successful no matter what her background, no matter what her genetics, that woman becomes unstoppable.
And now in 2016 and I’m so excited to have the privilege of launching the Vibrant, Happy Women podcast. Why am I doing this, you might ask. Well, over the years, I have been so inspired by woman who have experienced struggle but still manage to be positive and upbeat and successful, and I want to bring stories like this to you.
I thought it would be fun if I go ahead and interview myself, answering the interview questions I’ll be asking future guests.
The first question is to share a favorite quote. Mine is by Nietzsche, and he said, “Those who were seen dancing were thought to be quite insane by those who could not hear the music.” I love this quote because it means you have to listen to your inner voice – your intuition – and follow that. You’re the only one who can hear that. Others might laugh, or mock you, or think you’re crazy, but you can’t listen to them or care what they think. You have to do what you feel called or born to do.
The next question is about the low point. So my low point came five years ago after I suffered a miscarriage. I was tired – I was physically really tired. I had five kids, I had had this miscarriage, and I just felt lousy. I was exhausted by the endless laundry, cleaning, cooking, my kids fighting.
(Also, we have six extremely high-energy kids and also they’re extremely stubborn and opinionated. I like to joke that I gave my kids ADHD and my husband gave my kids Asperger’s. All joking aside, and though not all our kids diagnosed, they really are high-energy and strong-willed children. There was one day when the principal called, and all three of my elementary kids at that time had been in his office that day.)
So many times I thought to myself, “What am I doing wrong? I have this degree in human development and family studies. I should be good at this. Why are we struggling so much?”
Adding to this, my husband is a scientist. He loves to talk about information. Me, on the other hand, I love to talk about feelings. I love to talk about how I’m feeling and why I’m feeling that way, what others are feeling and why they feel that way. And after a while of conversations like this, my husband can get a little exasperated.
So throughout this really hard stretch of time when I was exhausted and depleted and my kids were getting in trouble, I really needed emotional support from him. And he gave it to the ability he can, yet I felt like he needed to change and improve in this area. I really felt resentful towards my husband ‘cuz he couldn’t really understand how I felt.
I remember sitting at my kitchen table one morning just thinking, mediating, and praying, and I experienced a big “aha!” moment. I realized, “Gosh, I’ve been unhappy for a while now. I’m just gonna take charge of my life and create my own happiness, whatever that means.” And so I began a journey to take charge of my happiness, doing all the things that truly made me happy.
For the first time ever, I let go of the “should”s that society gave me, and I started to focus on me. I attended regular yoga classes. I took walks every morning. I made healthier foods – foods that my kids might not necessarily love, but that nourished me. I spent time with friends and I would even take some weekend trips to visit friends and really have time to replenish myself.
From that moment on, I no longer blamed other people for my happiness or lack thereof. I realized I could be happy independent of anything else happening in my life as long as I take the time to keep my cup filled. Slowly but surely, I started to see more of the good in my children and in my spouse. They weren’t so bad after all. I had just gotten to a point where I was only seeing the lack.
When we take care of ourselves, truly filling our cups and spiritually feeding ourselves the things that we need – connection to God, connection to self, connection in nature, connection with friends – we feel so much more positive and joyous about life.
So that was my low point and my journey out of there, and I continue to go forward and focus on nourishing myself. When there are times I start to feel annoyed or sad, I put the focus right back on self-care and I fill my cup back up.
Nuggets of Wisdom in this Episode:
“The #1 thing that prevents most women from having success is a belief that life happens TO them. Once a woman learns that happiness and success really are a choice and that she absolutely can be successful, no matter what her background, no matter what her genetics, that woman becomes unstoppable.”
“Those who were seen dancing were thought to be quite insane by those who could not hear the music.” ~ Nietzsche
“Let go of the should's.”
“When we take care of ourselves, truly filling our cups and spiritually feeding ourselves the things that we need – connection to God, connection to self, connection in nature, connection with friends – we feel so much more positive and joyous about life.”
Some of My Favorite Things:
Personal habit: Going for a walk and enjoying nature.
Easy meal: Pot roast (made in the crock pot), roasted carrots, peas and mashed potatoes.
Possession: A cool kitchen gadget, my immersion blender, which I use to make homemade olive oil mayonnaise.
Book: Daring Greatly by Brené Brown.
Bucket list item: Spending 3-6 months relaxing and wandering around Italy (and eating great food).
Best advice received: “Don’t expect anything. Then, everything becomes a gift.” ~Ann Wiltbank (good friend of Jen's)
Happiest memory: Recently our family drove 5 miles from home to hike a local trail . After 2 miles of walking, nobody wanted to stop. We ended up walking the full 5 miles back to our house – through woods, a farmer’s field, and a golf course. It was thrilling and fun. And a big accomplishment.
Some of my other favorite things: Sunflowers, the color turquoise, playing my banjo, Switzerland, fondue, cows, Wisconsin, yoga, meditation.
My Happiness Formula:
getting enough sleep +
daily exercise +
clean eating +
spending time in nature +
connecting with the people you love.
Thank you so much for joining me and I’ll see you on the next episode. Take care!