Jodie Preiss – Creating Collective Ripples

Meet Jodie Preiss

Melbourne, Australia
www.collectiveripples.com.au

Tell me a little about yourself – where are you from and who and what is important in your life?

I was born in country Victoria, growing up on a dairy farm, and when I was little all I wanted was a little girl right next door to me. Our closest neighbours actually had five girls, but they were a kilometre away, which is a huge distance for a 5 or 6 year old!It’s not surprising then, that I loved going to boarding school for Year 7 – I was at a girls school in Geelong (an hour away), and so had friends nearby all the time. I kind of feel like I had the best of both worlds because I also went home most weekends, so got to have some time to myself as well. It’s only now that I realise my boarding school experience may have been very different if I was there all the time – because I only function well with solitary time, and that would have been impossible to find regularly in the boarding house.

Yet, whilst I kind of moved out of home aged 11 and 3/4, I had an incredibly close relationship with my mum. We would regularly both answer the phone knowing it was the other.

We all have previous chapters in our stories – Tell me about your working life/business experiences before now?

After school I lived in Ballarat for University, and then moved to New York for work – yes, my very first full time job was in New York! I had completed university with a degree in Business, and a major in Tourism, only a few months after the pilot’s strike in Australia. So there weren’t too many jobs here. I was incredibly fortunate to learn about an Australian travel retailer and wholesaler there, through a family friend. And about six weeks after I mailed off my resume, I was on a flight to New York, aged 21. I learned a lot about business and managing staff from my three years in Manhattan, and I fell in love with the city along the way. Even now, all these years later, I still call it my second home.

When I returned to Australia I continued working in the travel industry for many years, until I went on maternity leave. It’s not an easy industry, but I certainly learned a lot about marketing, working with lean margins, and the importance of customer service. When it came time for me to return to work after having my son, however, an ownership change in the business I had been managing meant that the goodwill I had built up was now gone, and they needed me to prove myself all over again.

Full-time work was not only challenging, but expensive – and they were uninterested in accommodating my desire for part-time work, despite the fact I’d been working a couple of days from home since my son was a few months old. So only a month into returning to work, I resigned – motherhood was far more important to me than work.

About 18 months later I began sessional teaching at a local TAFE college, and then, when H was almost four, I stumbled upon the perfect job, three days a week in marketing at an K-12 independent school. I got the job, H could attend the early learning centre, and later primary school, I had really flexible hours, with built-in before and after school care if required, and I worked with the most amazing people.

This job was to last me several promotions, a seat on the Executive, continual part-time work and the most amazing support during the illness and subsequent passing of my mother in 2009. I also worked for sometimes difficult, most likely narcissistic boss, and after five years, and a whole new perspective on life after my mum’s passing, I decided that I needed to do something radically different.

And that began the development of my entrepreneurial spirit, along with the start of my exploration into who I really was, and what was I here to contribute.

Please provide a snapshot of your business

Collective Ripples is currently more a vision than a business, although that will begin to change in 2020. I have found myself here through lots of meditation, journaling, therapy, challenges, and following the seeds of my intuition.

The basic premise is to provide us all with opportunities to create ripples of goodness, kindness, and love to our fellow beings. To create a moment of joy, or laughter, or love in someone’s day, and perhaps even turn their day around through the message they see.

The vision is to influence and shape new messages that we see throughout our day – society (and advertising) profits from our self-doubt. And, I believe, in turn, negatively impacts our internal voice.

Collective Ripples will exist to help shift that self-doubt, and hopefully, allow us to believe in ourselves and our abilities a little more.

A ripple begins with a single action. But it’s when tens, or hundreds, or thousands of single actions unite together, that a wave of positivity can evolve.

I saw this quote a few days ago – Individually we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean. And it explains everything I would love to see evolve from Collective Ripples.

This will take the form of sticky-notes, advertising space, events, and a group of individuals, all wanting to join me in create this change – the Ripple Casters!

Assuming you are now in “Your Next Chapter”, what led you here? Tell me about your purpose, your why, the difference you want to make, who you are called to serve?

The past two years have been challenging to say the least. I had thought that 2018 was tough, but I really feel like I was brought to my knees in 2019 because of the upheavals of 2018.

At about 3pm on January 18, 2018, I received a phone call from my sister-in-law to ask if I’d heard from my brother, as they hadn’t been able to get hold of him all day. Just a couple of weeks before, he had made the decision to move out of the family home, and so was renting a house not too far from my home. His eldest son had spoken to him the night before, and had tried to call him again at 8am that morning.

It was a really hot Melbourne day, but I was due at a training session that night for my next run challenge, so I promised to drop by his house on my way out. The house appeared empty, and there was no sign of his car.

He was due to pick up their three boys at 7pm that evening, and Mel said he was never late – so I went to training, saying I’d call her back when I was done.

There was no sign of him by 7.15, so I arranged to meet Mel back at the rental house, and she brought along her neighbours, who were both police officers. We broke into the house, and found my brother. He had died by suicide sometime earlier – possibly even the night before.

The following weeks were harrowing, to say the least. Together, my sister in law and I, along with her brother, unearthed a mountain of secrets that my brother had been keeping from all of us. A cocaine addiction, a buried drug lab on their property, some issues in his previously successful business, huge debt, and a bitcoin investment that went completely balls up in the 24 hours before he died. Although we will never know, as he didn’t leave a note, it would seem that this last secret was the fuel to a bonfire waiting to ignite.

Prior to all of this, I had been deep in the research and development of a new business idea, which I had originally intended to launch the very week that my brother died. Before Christmas I had made the decision to hold things off – thinking at the time I was procrastinating, but with hindsight recognising that the universe had been guiding me.

Just as I was feeling my way back into this business idea again, I was dealt another challenge. In early March 2018, exactly six weeks to the day since we’d found my brother, I found a lump in the side of my left breast whilst I was in the shower. However, after initially feeling a large lump as my hand glanced down my the side of my breast, on further pushing and prodding, the lump had gone, leaving only a sharp pain in its place.

After an agonising wait to see a doctor – only three days, but it felt like weeks – the lump had disappeared by the time my appointment came. However, just to be sure, my doctor ordered a mammogram and ultrasound. Another couple of days wait, and I remember after my mammogram the woman saying to me “best of luck with everything” as she went to chat with the sonographer who was to do my ultrasound.

After a biopsy, the diagnosis was DCIS in my left breast (considered to be stage zero BC, or pre-cancerous cells) – usually presenting with no symptoms, although by this stage the lump had remained gone, and the associated pain had also disappeared. The treatment is to remove the cells, as they are unsure of what develops into BC and what doesn’t, so my breast surgeon ordered an MRI to check how much tissue needed to be removed, as that would determine if I needed to have a mastectomy on that left side.

The MRI confirmed the need for a mastectomy on the left side, but also showed an area of concern on my right breast that neither the mammogram or ultrasound had picked up. Another biopsy was arranged, and this time the results showed that I had breast cancer in my lobular – which is notoriously challenging to pick up, as it regularly has no clear symptoms.

A double mastectomy was scheduled for early May, with reconstruction at the same time using my stomach tissue – known as a DIEP reconstruction. Initially, it was thought that I wouldn’t require any further treatment, however, the lab results after surgery indicated an aggressive type of cancer, with some lymph nodes already impacted. So after 6 weeks recovery time from surgery, I began what would be five months of chemotherapy.

Needless to say, all the emotions regarding the death of my brother had to get shut up in a box and moved to the back of my mind whilst I focused on my surgery, treatment and recovery.

It was early in 2019 before I started to feel a little more normal again – although I know now, that there is a vastly different new normal both physically and emotionally. As I started to feel stronger, I began once again exploring what I might like to do with my life going forward. There were fits and starts of action, as I was regularly challenged by the emotional toll that therapy, meditation and writing a book (a memoir of my 2018 – working title is My Golden Year) were necessarily bringing up. But in all of that, I began to reimagine what I would like to do, and how I wanted it to look, knowing that it would likely be some time before I would feel inspired and energised enough to take something on full time.

And that was when Collective Ripples was born. It encompasses bits and pieces of what I had previously worked towards before Rob died, but in a softer and simpler way. Far more reflective of who I have become in the past two years.

Whenever someone has asked me about the difference I wanted to make, for years I have joked “I want to change the world”. And that dream still exists. However, I recognise, that I can change the world, by changing myself, and by helping individuals to change themselves along the way as well. Leaving positive words of wisdom, in the form of sticky-notes, is something I’ve been doing for years, and I love it. So the idea for Collective Ripples has been born from that. Recognising that the messages I leave for others, were written as much for me as they were for them.

What did you find most challenging about getting started/moving in a new direction?

Getting out of my own way. Whilst the past couple of years has encouraged me to look at my life in a very different way, there are still many of the old beliefs and conditioning lingering. Add that to the fact that I still get really tired (chemo brain is a thing, is similar to baby brain, and can last for up to 5 years post-treatment).

So this has all moved way slower than I’d anticipated – I had plans to kick this into gear many times during 2019, but I came up against a lot of self-doubt, as well as a lot of days or weeks where I was exhausted or really really sad, or angry – and in those moments I had to accept that my own self-care and self-reflection was far more important than Collective Ripples in that moment.

What have you found most fulfilling?

I absolutely love getting messages from people to say that one of my messages has made a difference to their day. Or when friends share videos with me of others leaving sticky-notes saying “this made me think of you.” There was one particular video doing the rounds of social media last year that probably 30 friends tagged me in at different times.

Knowing that what I am creating can have a positive influence on someone’s day. And the ultimate wish for me is to one day receive a note from someone that says “because of the message you created, I didn’t do something really dumb today.”

Have you experienced self-doubt? What causes it to flare and how do you work through it when it hits?

ALL THE TIME!

It particularly flares for me when I’m tired, or particularly busy with life, and don’t get to spend time with my vision. I am much more adept at recognising it these days, and so take a break. Do a meditation. Or spend time in nature. Then, I make sure that I set myself some really easily achieveable small goals, so that I am able to recognise my achievements and progress.

How do you feel you have grown since you started?

These past two years have been the most challenging of my whole life, but obviously not because of my business dream.

However, I recognise, that even before all of that, my desire to build something of my own, that was making a difference in the world was really important to me. And, with that, I recognised, that there was a lot of healing and self-reflection that needed to occur before that could really become a reality for me. I kind of feel like the past two years were the kick I needed to dive deep, let all the emotions bubble up, and work out what was really important in my life.

What has been most effective for you when it comes to sharing your message and attracting clients?

I am just beginning this part of things for Collective Ripples. However, I know that when I’m sharing honestly and openly, that is when the greatest response is received. What I’m doing is less about attracting clients as such, and more about attracting followers – people who also want to see some positive change in our world. And I know, that I’ll find those people by being completely myself.

Have you developed any particular habits/strategies that facilitate getting things done in your business?

Self care! That is the only way that I can get things done. Tired for me now is about 100 times more than it ever was before, so making sure I walk every day, meditate most days, and eat as much “real” food as I can is essential to me being able to get things done.

Why do you feel women in the 40’s and beyond make fabulous entrepreneurs?

We have lived. And we have lost. And through all of that, we are able to discern what is truly important.

What would you say to other women who are standing on the edge of their own Next Chapter, not sure if they can take the leap?

There is more time than life….so make sure you are focusing on the right one, because you have no idea what might happen tomorrow.

What’s next for you? Share your vision!

Collective Ripples billboards sharing positive messages. And one million+ sticky-notes in circulation.

When I’m facing something new and challenging I…
Take a deep breath and dive right in

I know my greatest strengths are…
Inspiring a difference

The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is…
When I’m stuck, ask “what would success do?”

One of my favourite books is…
Anything by Brene Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic, Clare Bowditch’s memoir

My favourite Podcast is…
Apart from yours, I also love Good Life Project – Jonathan Fields

My favourite business tool or resource is…
My intuition…. and Canva!

My favourite quote is…
I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples – Mother Teresa

Not many people know that I…
Am deeply spiritual – meaning I incorporate my heart, soul, and mind into all that I do.

 

Angela Raspass Business and Life Mentor for female entrepreneurs

Angela Raspass

Mentoring women in their 40's and beyond to build sustainable businesses blending contribution, fulfilment and financial reward.
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