This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is JJ Virgin. Where to start with JJ? You’ve no doubt heard of her before. JJ, in many ways redefined fitness and nutrition for people world-wide. She is a 4-time New York Times Best-Selling author and prominent TV and Media personality including the on-camera nutritionist for Weight Loss Challenges on Dr. Phil, and numerous appearances on PBS, Dr. Oz, Rachael Ray, Access Hollywood, and the TODAY Show. She also speaks regularly and has shared the stage with notables including Seth Godin, Lisa Nichols, Gary Vaynerchuk, Mark Hyman, and many others.
And if that isn’t enough, she host her own podcast, Ask the Health Expert and is the founder of the premier health entrepreneur event and community, the Mindshare Summit.
But a lot of people don’t know that JJ’s biggest challenge and biggest success didn’t come in her businesses – it came from an event – her worst nightmare that she was able to turn into her biggest opportunity to grow and thrive.
JJ has always been fascinated by nutrition and fitness all the way back to high school. She went to college and on a theatre scholarship. But she catered her way through college using it to pay for things. She dropped out of the theatre program and starting personal training people – being one of the first alongside Body by Jake. She switched to be an English major. She graduated from college with a full-blown personal training business doing 6-figures +. She went to grad school for health and nutrition.
She kept looking at the next things that people wanted and needed and creating them. All of what she did ended up helping her. Her theatre work helped her in promoting and showcasing her services and products on TV and stage. Her English degree helped her in writing her books, etc. And her catering work helped her to better understand foods to help with nutrition and her cookbooks.
You wrote Warrior Mom to document the story of your son and what you learned going through this traumatic time in your life – tell us about it.
- Success is living on your own terms and helping others and making a difference. Success typically comes through some very hard challenges and sacrifices.
- JJ was in the process of releasing her second book and was going BIG with it.
- She went all in. She had 2 children, 15 and 16. The financial responsibilities were on her.
- All of her money was tied up in the book launch and she even borrowed some for it.
- She came home one day and her son, Grant, was agitated and they got into a little fight and Grant stormed out of the house.
- The next thing she knows, her ex-husband and other son come in and tell her that Grant got hit by car and was airlifted to a local hospital.
- She rushed to the hospital, and they ushered her into a conference room. She was told that her son was going to die. He had a torn aorta, and he had a deep coma with multiple brain bleeds, and they could not do that type of surgery there.
- They also told her that he could not be airlifted because he would die during transport.
- She had taught her kids that the only limitations are the ones in your mind and her other son looked at the doctor and said, they would take the chance.
- The airlift worked and the other trauma center was ready and the exact opposite. They saved her son.
- They fixed his heart, but they did not know if he would wake up. Additionally, he had 15 compound fractures that needed fixed.
At the 17 min mark, talks about her talking to him while in a coma and he would squeeze her hand. She committed right there to get him better than he was before the accident.
- JJ committed everything to him and even got the hospital to give her an office so she could work as he was still on the hook for the book launch.
- She realized that she had to take care of herself first and be in the best shape physically and mentally as she could to do everything and not risk being sick around her son.
- She put the time in and did the work for him and the business and she broke her first million in business while working from the hospital.
- Her son later told her than he saw “over there”, and it was wonderful, but he kept hearing her voice and decided to stay and no go.
- The first 2-3 years of coming back were brutal, but after 8 years he is better than before the accident.
We are capable of so much more than we think we are, and your story shows that. Can you give more insight into this area?
- You have no idea what you are capable of.
- JJ said the lessons she shared in the book where already in her, but they were revealed going through the process.
- When she was 30, she had a mentor – a personal training client. In a conversation, the client asked why she was in grad school and why she wanted to get her PhD. And the reason was that “I want to be more successful.” The lady just said “huh.”
- It turns out the lady, Kay Smith, was a mindset trainer who never went to college. Kay told that if she ever wanted to be more successful, she would teach her.
- Kay taught her a few things that made a huge breakthrough – so big, that she dropped out of school, drove all the way to Florida and moved in with her to “be taught.”
- The first thing Kay did was put a rubber band on her wrist and tell her every time she had a negative thought to snap it. Kay taught her to tightly control her environment.
- One of the key things she taught her were that “the only limitations were the ones in your mind.”
“If you want to learn something, teach it.”
2 Lessons really stood out - “Your limitations become your life.” And “Forgiveness will set you free.”
- Forgiveness is tough. JJ used to be more resentful and hold grudges. She didn’t like it about herself and needed to change it.
- She started choosing where to put her energy. Putting energy into negative things is not worth it.
- It is harder than it seems. She thought she had forgiven the lady who did the “hit and run” on her son until they found her. JJ still had rage.
- She learned a process from Dave Asprey on how to forgive.
- Most often the biggest person you need to forgive is yourself. It is freeing.
What is your best advice for entrepreneurs to remain healthy and perform at their best?
- This is the single more important thing to help your success.
- We are the most important tool we have in our business.
- Prioritizing self-care is one of the things that separates the most successful.
- You have to move every single day. Do not skip this. It not only helps you body, but your brain.
- You also have to prioritize sleep. Don’t steal from it. It helps in all areas.
- When you wake up in the morning, you want to do some form of meditation. Even 10-20 mins.
- Make sure the diet is right:
- Figure out your food intolerances
- Lower your sugar intake
- Hire a coach to help you if need
- Take supplements – you cannot get all you should have without them. A good multi-vitamin.
- Extra magnesium
- Fish oil
- Optimize your vitamin D and take it with K
- Take some extra vitamin C as stress blows it out
- Get some Zinc
- Take Quercetin
Best Quote: The only limitations are the ones in your mind...
JJ's Misfit 3:
- Find and always have an amazing mentor. Have a great community.
- Choose people that elevate you.
- Self-care. Good sleep, daily exercise, healthy diet, take supplements, and reduce stress.
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