Fresh Blood Podcast Episode Guest - Jennifer Anne Gordon

Intro Banner of Jennifer Anne Gordon

Jennifer talks about overcoming deep difficult times, getting out of an abusive relationship, the beauty of finding yourself all over again and the magic that happens when you stop telling yourself ‘I can’t’.


Jennifer Anne Gordon has made her living as an actress, a magicians assistant, a gallerina, a comic book dealer, a painter and burlesque performer before becoming an award winning horror/fiction novelist and an award winning professional ballroom dancer, performer, instructor and choreographer. Jennifer has also had her mixed media artwork published entitled Victoriana: mixed media art of Jennifer Gordon and is the creator of Vox Vomitus, a video podcast on the Global Authors on the Air Network as well as Co-Host of the podcast “Writers Showcase”.


For more information and benevolent stalking, please visit her website at JenniferAnneGordon.com

Jennifer talks about overcoming deep difficult times, getting out of an abusive relationship, the beauty of finding yourself all over again and the magic that happens when you stop telling yourself ‘I can’t’.


Jennifer Anne Gordon has made her living as an actress, a magicians assistant, a gallerina, a comic book dealer, a painter and burlesque performer before becoming an award winning horror/fiction novelist and an award winning professional ballroom dancer, performer, instructor and choreographer. Jennifer has also had her mixed media artwork published entitled Victoriana: mixed media art of Jennifer Gordon and is the creator of Vox Vomitus, a video podcast on the Global Authors on the Air Network as well as Co-Host of the podcast “Writers Showcase”.


For more information and benevolent stalking, please visit her website at JenniferAnneGordon.com

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EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Jennifer Anne Gordon – Ballroom Dancer, Artist, Author, Podcast Host

Jolie Downs: [00:00:00] Today we are talking with Jennifer Anne Gordon. Jennifer has made her living as an actress, a magician's assistant, a gallerina, , a comic book dealer, a painter and burlesque performer before becoming an award-winning horror fiction novelist and an award-winning professional ballroom dancer, performer instructor, and choreograph choreographer.

[00:00:26] Jennifer has also had her mixed media artwork published, entitled Victoriana mixed media art of Jennifer Gordon. And she is the creator of Vox vomitus. A video podcast on the global authors on the air network, as well as a co-host of the podcast writers showcase.

[00:00:44] I am so excited to learn more. Jennifer welcomed, a fresh blood. Could you tell us a bit more about your journey to getting where you are?

[00:00:52] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:00:52] Hey, thank you so much for having me. So yeah, my name is Jennifer Ann Gordon. I am a native of New Hampshire in the United States and I have always been more on the artistic side of things. I don't do math or science very well. So I had to figure out a way to make my living in the arts. I went to school for theater and after that I worked in an art gallery and then I moved to the Midwest and I wrote an independent comic book and I owned a comic book store for a little while.

[00:01:23] And then I concentrated for a really long time on visual art. And then on a whim I decided to take a ballroom dance class and I was in my early thirties when that happened. And I fell in love with ballroom dancing and I ended up becoming a professional ballroom dancer and an instructor at an old age in the business and the dance business.

[00:01:46] It was very like weird to have somebody like start in the business in their thirties. Yeah, I've been yeah, I've been a ballroom dancer for since 2010 professionally. COVID kind of derailed that a bit. The dance studio I worked at ended up shutting down. So I had to, really pivot my career in the last year and a half.

[00:02:07]But I am also a novelist, so it gave me time to concentrate on my writing and figure out what to do next, because I didn't have a backup plan. And my husband is my dance partner and he didn't have a backup plan. So COVID hit and we went, oh, we don't have a job anymore.

[00:02:29] Jolie Downs: [00:02:29] What did you do? How did you pivot? How did you deal with this past year and a half?

[00:02:32]Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:02:32] A lot of panic, a lot of panic. Yeah, just like pure panic, most of the time stress eating, but I will say being a ballroom dance instructor, I have. The best people I could possibly meet in my life. I have students in all different walks of life, all different careers. And one of my now former dance students was opening up a political advocacy

[00:03:00] Jolie Downs: [00:03:00] Oh, wow.

[00:03:01] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:03:01] firm, and he knew that a I needed a job and he knew that I was passionate about social justice and things like that.

[00:03:11]On a Lark, he offered me a job kind of training to be a political advocate which is a nice way to say lobbyist because lobbyists have a, such a bad connotation to that word. But what we do is political advocacy for groups like the national association of social workers and the psychologists association and things like that.

[00:03:35] Jolie Downs: [00:03:35] No, I, love it. And how has that been

[00:03:37] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:03:37] To that. It's been, it's a huge pivot. It's a huge pivot. And again, it was a strange time to all of a sudden get into politics in this peripheral way. Yeah. And everything was virtual because of COVID. So it was, it's just been a really weird year. And I've just learned a lot, some things I wish I could unlearn about the way the world works in reality.

[00:04:06]But yeah, it's been a learning experience. It's been great. I'm glad that the state house is not in session during the summer. Cause it's nice to have the summer off. Cause my brain was a little oh, there's so much is happening.

[00:04:20] Jolie Downs: [00:04:20] Oh so much has happened. I feel you I'm right there with you. It's just, it's a really weird time in history, that's for sure. And it's like a tender hooks because it's such a weird time in history. Just can't stop.

[00:04:31] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:04:31] I know. And it's you don't know like how to even plan things at this point. Cause I'm obviously, I'm also a writer and I'm on a committee for a literary conference that's supposed to take place in person in November. And it's been very weird to like contact people, to get them to be at this literary conference.

[00:04:51] Cause so many people are still like I don't know what it's going to be like in November. I don't know what the world is even going to look like.

[00:04:59] Jolie Downs: [00:04:59] Okay. I'm curious, it's such a switch from ballroom dancer to lobbyists type of role. Now there's a lot of people who have had to do a big switch over this past year. There's so much has been shaken up and some are going to be going back into industry. Some are finding new industries. Is there anything that you've learned during this, the switch that you've gone through that has helped you successfully make this change that you think might help other people.

[00:05:24] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:05:24] honestly. Ballroom dancing and being a ballroom dance instructor or being a teacher of any kind and especially cause I, I taught adults who were learning to do something that they obviously didn't know how to do. A lot of them were scared and nervous and awkward when they first start dancing. So my job as a ballroom dance teacher, I feel like the dancing always came second, but my first job was to make a friend with my students and get to know them, get to know why they are there.

[00:06:02] Like the real reason why they have decided at the age of 60 to learn how to dance. And I feel like for me Political advocacy. And one of the reasons why I was offered this job so much of it is about building relationships and communicating with people and my student who's. Now my boss knew that I was good at connecting with people.

[00:06:25] So I would say for everybody, who's had to make a huge change in the past year and a half. I would say, try to find the very small similarities between. What you did and who you were pre COVID and what you're doing and who you are now, because it might seem like it's a completely different world and you're doing something completely different, but there's a hint of who you are and your past career in whatever you're doing.

[00:06:53] Whether you're now working from home and you get to sit in your PJ's all day and you are on zoom for 11 hours straight, or, it's, there's probably something similar there and just hold on to that.

[00:07:08] Jolie Downs: [00:07:08] Yeah, Yeah, no. When you were talking about what you were doing as a instructor for ballroom dance and how you're interacting with your clients in my head, I was thinking, oh gosh, that's perfect. That's perfect for what she's doing right now. It's exactly what,

[00:07:20] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:07:20] cause it's really the exact, like it's the same thing in a weird way. It's the same exact thing. Except instead of teaching people a box step, I'm just trying to communicate with them about, state and local issues.

[00:07:36] Jolie Downs: [00:07:36] Exactly. Exactly. So that's great. I'm curious out of all the things you've done, because you've done some really interesting things. What do you feel has been one or two of your greatest successes and what did you learn from it?

[00:07:47]Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:07:47] I think personally, that's just as hard to say because. In any job I've had I've found some great successes, even though like on the outside, it might not seem like that. I will say I'm winning the Kindle award for best horror and suspense novel of 2020 for my debut novel. Beautiful, frightening, and silent was huge thing for me.

[00:08:11]Because that book, I always joke. People say, oh, you wrote it so fast. You wrote it in just like three months, but I always say it took 20 years of living in my head and then three months of writing it. So it was such a labor of love that it's such a strange and surreal and dark and sad story that having it be recognized as a best of anything was just absolutely lovely and a really good highlight of 2020.

[00:08:41] Jolie Downs: [00:08:41] Oh, and that was your debut novel.

[00:08:43] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:08:43] Yes.

[00:08:45] Jolie Downs: [00:08:45] That's incredible. Congratulations. How did, and now you've already written two other books since then.

[00:08:51] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:08:51] Yes. Yes, I have. I wrote a two book series called the hotel that includes the books from daylight to madness. And when the sleeping dead still talk, those are both very short novels. That I originally thought was going to be one really big book, but then I released them separately. Because I couldn't figure out how to market it as one giant story and not give away spoilers.

[00:09:14] Jolie Downs: [00:09:14] Yeah.

[00:09:16] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:09:16] So it's it's easier if I just do it. It's two books.

[00:09:20] Jolie Downs: [00:09:20] Now, was it easier for you to write these books after you got the first one out of you?

[00:09:24]Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:09:24] Yes and no. I think writing in general during the past year and a half and during the pandemic has been. People would think it would be easier because you're in your house and you have all this time, but there's, it's been hard, harder to write within the last six months, especially when I think everybody has like pandemic fatigue and there's just still this like lingering things back to normal.

[00:09:50] Are they not back to normal? I'll say each book gets easier to write. On a technical level, like the craft is easier. And I understand like you, things that I just didn't understand when I wrote my first novel how to pace something or how to, just like things like that, you learn along the way when people read it and like your beta readers read something and this is this part's really boring.

[00:10:13] Like you've got to do something like dialogue, anything.

[00:10:16] Jolie Downs: [00:10:16] yeah, Now I'm curious. I was just thinking about this because as you were saying, we're, things are changing. Things are opening up. Are you planning on going back to your ballroom dancing or do you feel real good about where you're going to move forward with the political aspect?

[00:10:30]Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:10:30] So I think for right now I'm teaching a little bit like we, my husband and I teach one day a week. We have a small handful of students. We're not opposed to teaching more. But again, it's such a strange time. And.

[00:10:45]

[00:10:45] Like I have health problems. We, my husband and I take care of my elderly mother.

[00:10:51] She lives with us. So we've had to be very careful this year. And for me personally, like teaching ballroom dance is so physical and you're S you're really in somebody's space. There is no social distancing. We're dancing with people we don't know, you're six inches away from them.

[00:11:09] So it's very difficult. In a, in an environment where some people might be vaccinated. Some people don't believe in vaccines. Some people don't believe in masks. And in our state where I live in New Hampshire, a business, can't ask a person if they're vaccinated, like that's illegal. So it's it's, it would be a strange time for us to open a ballroom dance studio because.

[00:11:39] We would want to be catering to people who are vaccinated or who would wear a mask, but, it's, it would be too tricky

[00:11:47] Jolie Downs: [00:11:47] I'm shocked. You didn't even ask. You're not allowed to ask

[00:11:50] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:11:50] not a allowed to ask

[00:11:51] Jolie Downs: [00:11:51] shocked. I'm in California. So I'm in the opposite.

[00:11:57] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:11:57] Yeah.

[00:11:58] Jolie Downs: [00:11:58] dialed in over here.

[00:12:01] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:12:01] Yeah, I have one of my, the co-host on my podcast, Alison Martine fellow author. She's also in California. So sometimes like she, and I compare it like notes on what's going on? Are you allowed to go places yet? Are people wearing masks? I feel like New Hampshire has gone. Our state motto is live free or die.

[00:12:21] So the second somebody whispered into the universe that the pandemic's over everyone was just like throwing their masks on the floor and they're like, and it's done, John. We can just the I'm like, oh no, that's not how this works.

[00:12:37]Jolie Downs: [00:12:37] Yeah, no. I went to Georgia and I was like, Wait, isn't there a pandemic happening? I don't know it wasn't happening there.

[00:12:46] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:12:46] That's

[00:12:46] Jolie Downs: [00:12:46] It's a completely different world than California. It was fascinating. It was fascinating.

[00:12:50] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:12:50] Okay.

[00:12:53] Jolie Downs: [00:12:53] So I'm curious now what about the flip side? What about a big challenge that you had a big obstacle you had to deal with or big mistake.

[00:13:00] And what did you learn?

[00:13:02] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:13:02] Oh, yeah. Obstacles and mistakes. I think, I had, I struggled a lot owning the comic bookstore. I owned it with my now ex-husband but that I just wasn't cut out. To be that type of business owner. I don't think like owning a store. Though I loved calm. Like I, I was passionate about comics.

[00:13:21] It was just, it was a very grueling schedule. Like when, when you own your own business, it owns you're there. Seven days a week. And at the end of the year, when you do taxes and you realize you've made like 3 cents an hour, it's a little demoralizing. Cause you're just like, oh my gosh.

[00:13:40] So that was hard. And our shop did well, but it never did so well that we weren't constantly petrified of losing it. So that was like three years, four years of just like constant back of my mind stress. So that was hard also. Yeah, I think that was probably the hardest job obstacle that I had

[00:14:03] Jolie Downs: [00:14:03] feel like?

[00:14:04] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:14:04] over.

[00:14:04]Jolie Downs: [00:14:04] Did you sell the company when you got divorced? Did the

[00:14:08] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:14:08] We ended up. Yeah. So I was doing artwork on the side. I was doing my mixed media art on the side, and I was selling it on Etsy and I would have to get up really early in the morning in order to still be able to paint and package orders. And it just became obvious that my heart was there. And my husband at the time was already working a day job someplace else.

[00:14:34]Because we just couldn't both survive on just the comic shop alone. So I was working at the comic shop and it was taking time away from artwork and I ended up being very successful on Etsy. Once we sold the comic shop and I was able to focus just on an artwork

[00:14:53] Jolie Downs: [00:14:53] Yes. It's such an important lesson to learning what you, what isn't right for you is just as important because we get into things. And so many people will stay in something that isn't right for them. And it's amazing what happens. I had a situation myself where I was helping in a family business and it just. Was not happy. And once that was let go and that opened up all this time.

[00:15:18] to actually focus on the things I wanted to be doing, what a change in life, what an amazing, wonderful change in life. So

[00:15:25] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:15:25] Yeah. I feel like if people were strong enough to realize that little moment that you just said, I wasn't happy. And be strong enough to just, if we all did it, like that's when you make a change. But I think we just spent a lot of time being unhappy and just thinking, cause we're grownups, you know that this is what life is, you do something.

[00:15:46] And if you're happy, that's great, but happiness is a bonus and it shouldn't be a bonus. It should be just like what we have in life. We should be allowed to be happy.

[00:15:59] Jolie Downs: [00:15:59] I agree life should be about joy. That is what it's about for me. It's about a lot of things, a lot of things that, that comes off slight, but that's a lot of things, but joy is very important to continuously bring into life. So now, what do you think, what do you think is key to having continued success through life? Yeah.

[00:16:20] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:16:20] Oh again, I'm going to go back to the happiness thing and I feel like for me, cause I'm an artist, I'm a creative type. I feel like. The success is always being able to create something new, and it's whether that's a dance or a book or a painting, or just an experience for somebody else.

[00:16:43]As a dance teacher, I would create an, a memories for my students. So I just creating something because if you create something like it lasts, it's what makes you immortal almost, things lasts forever somewhere. Whether it's a story that one of my dance students will tell to their kids and then their kids will tell to their kids like, oh, do you remember grandma and grandpa?

[00:17:08] They were so beautiful at the tango. Like it becomes like family stories and I, and the part I had in that creating that for other people is just as important as painting.

[00:17:23] Jolie Downs: [00:17:23] Yes. Oh, I love the answer. It's beautiful. Yes. I completely agree too. Is there something that you've learned throughout, all the things that you've done that has brought you the most benefit in your life that you think could benefit others

[00:17:35]Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:17:35] it's just going to sound so I don't want to sound like overly like new agey and overly happiness thing. But I've learned to forgive myself when I make mistakes and I've learned to stop self-censoring like for many years, I think I was telling myself I can't write a novel.

[00:17:55] I don't know how. I can't do it. I'm not equipped to do it. I'd have to go back to school. And then if I went back to school would teach me how to do it because I can't do it. And I got very sick of telling myself I couldn't do things before I even tried, but I, again, I feel like sometimes like life beats you down over the years and then like you get to this point where all of a sudden you have no self-confidence anymore.

[00:18:25] And I kinda got to that point before I started ballroom dancing and ballroom dance, brought me back to who I was supposed to be. And, that was like the long journey to becoming myself.

[00:18:37] Jolie Downs: [00:18:37] Yeah, no, this is important because that's what you said right there. So true life does beat you down and it beats out for so many people and it beats out the confidence and there's countless people sitting in that feeling right now.

[00:18:51]So what about through your tough times? What did you do to push through your tough times?

[00:18:55]Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:18:55] Ballroom dance was what, one of the major things that got me through my tough times. So I was in like a bad place mentally. Like for a while doing art was great and I loved it, but it was isolating. And, I was in a relationship with my ex-husband that wasn't healthy at all. And I ended up becoming like very agoraphobic, almost like I didn't even want to leave my house.

[00:19:21] I'd have a panic attack if I went to the mailbox. But there was a ballroom dance studio of block from my house. And I had wanted to take lessons, ballroom dance lessons, my whole life. Like I just wanted it so badly. And a long time for me to build up the courage to actually walk through that, into that dance studio and change my life.

[00:19:45] Jolie Downs: [00:19:45] Cause that's a big deal. You just said you wanted it your whole life and you never did. That's the thing, if you think about that with a lot of people, w there's these longings that people never do, what was that catalyst? How did you cross the threshold in that?

[00:19:56]Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:19:56] The irony is my now ex-husband for our first wedding anniversary. Me or slash us a gift certificate to learn how to ballroom dance. And I was so thrilled, but then he very quickly said this isn't something I want to do at all. And I was like, oh, so I'd be going by myself. And I just, it felt so weird.

[00:20:20] And I would stare at that gift certificate. And just like long for it so badly. And I had that gift certificate for over a year. I think it was probably about a year and four months. And then the dance studio started calling me and saying, we noticed you never used your gift certificate. Can we schedule a lesson?

[00:20:41] And I ignored those phone calls for weeks just because I was too petrified. And finally, one day I just picked up the phone when they call. And I scheduled a lesson and I think I lost five pounds that week, the week before my first lesson, because I was so petrified

[00:20:58] Jolie Downs: [00:20:58] Oh, wow.

[00:20:59] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:20:59] and it was just like, so it seems so scary to me.

[00:21:02] I didn't know if I was that person that could learn to dance anymore, even though once upon a time I had been on stage as my job, I just had forgot that part of me. I finally got that courage, went to the ballroom dance studio and. That is where I met my now husband.

[00:21:21] Jolie Downs: [00:21:21] That's amazing.

[00:21:23] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:21:23] No, he was my dance partner for years and we were best friends. And then everybody kept saying, I don't understand why you two aren't dating. This is after I broke up with my husband and stuff like that. And we were like, oh we're just friends. And they're like, it seems like you're more than friends.

[00:21:41] And we're just like no, we're just friends. And then we, obviously weren't just friends, but like everybody else saying, you're in love with each other,

[00:21:51] Jolie Downs: [00:21:51] you don't want to admit it when you're such a good friend, sometimes you don't want to ruin that. No,

[00:21:55] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:21:55] exactly. But but the great thing is because we were such good friends. Like we didn't hide things from each other. We didn't have that oh, we're dating. So I'm just going to show you the good parts of my personality.

[00:22:09] Jolie Downs: [00:22:09] you got the true nitty gritty.

[00:22:11] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:22:11] like we knew all the bad stuff and the great stuff going into this.

[00:22:20] Jolie Downs: [00:22:20] So I'm curious, how do you have any regrets in life that, that you've learned from that might be worth sharing?

[00:22:24]Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:22:24] Yeah. I'll say I regret staying in an abusive relationship as long as I did. That's, I regret not having the strength to. Walk out the door. When I very clearly should. So I what helped me get out was I got assaulted really terribly and, and my, the person I was with my now ex-husband was arrested and that was it.

[00:22:53] I was like, oh,

[00:22:54] Jolie Downs: [00:22:54] Right.

[00:22:54] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:22:54] I actually can like physically leave because he's in jail right now. And, and it was only for a couple of days, but it gave me like the time to pack what I needed to pack and find a safe place to, to move and get a restraining order. And but I wish like I w like my regret is I wish I could have gotten out before.

[00:23:20] Almost getting killed. Like it was just like, I should have had the strength, but it's so hard when you're in the middle of it. You just can't get out of it. It's like quicksand

[00:23:30] Jolie Downs: [00:23:30] Yeah, no, that is so hard. Is there anything that you would tell someone who might be in that position right now?

[00:23:37] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:23:37] that they'll always do it again. You have to love yourself more. Then you love them. And I don't know. It's just I don't want to be preachy to people because I hated it when, cause I had friends who knew what was going on with me and they were just like, it's not normal.

[00:23:57] What's your relationship. It's not normal. It's not healthy. And I was like, I'm fine. When like

[00:24:01] Jolie Downs: [00:24:01] still

[00:24:02] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:24:02] it's so hard. It's so hard. I sometimes like what I want to tell people is if you just need somebody to talk to. Email me get my emails on my website. Like strangers, I don't care.

[00:24:13] You can tell me sometimes you just need like somebody to hear it.

[00:24:19] Jolie Downs: [00:24:19] Yeah, that's a wonderful offer too. It's a hundred percent true. And sometimes you need someone who's not close to your situation to talk to.

[00:24:28] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:24:28] Exactly and somebody who's on the other side of it, cause it's tricky to get out of situations like that. It's tricky to keep restraining orders going. It's tricky to have to go to court and begging a judge to let you be safe. It's just all of these things that we shouldn't have to do.

[00:24:49] Jolie Downs: [00:24:49] No It's horrendous,

[00:24:50] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:24:50] It's horrendous, but it's but it's worth it.

[00:24:55] Jolie Downs: [00:24:55] Yeah, yes,

[00:24:56] it's sticking up for yourself. I just, I know. I understand that it is incredibly hard when I can't fathom what it's like in that situation or how, how to deal with it. And so I give you big props for making that change. Even when he was in, in. Jailed for a couple of days, actually getting yourself out and making that change.

[00:25:14] So I applaud you. So now, are there any habits that you've developed through the years that you feel have helped you be successful in the different avenues that you've been working in?

[00:25:27]Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:25:27] I don't know if it's a habit as much as it is like a burning drive to not fail. And I think, so the habit is you've got to do it. You've got to put in the work, even if it's. Like for me, I'm a creative type and people think, oh, you're an author. Oh, you're this, that must be so relaxing.

[00:25:48] That must be, you just do it, whatever you want. But I treat it as a job. Like I have hours that I work every day, and my friends will be like, oh, come on, hang out. Let's go to the lake. Let's do this. Dah. And I'm like, Nope. I have to work on my book. It is a job it's creative and I love it, but like just taking it seriously

[00:26:08] and knowing when I'll say it like, and knowing when to, like farm something out to somebody who's better at certain skillsets than you are. Like, this is why I hired a publicist. This is like my publicist Mickey. He is good. Finding opportunities for me. And that takes something off my plate. So I would say, especially if you're like an entrepreneur type and you do things like mostly on your own, there is no such thing as just being completely on your own.

[00:26:41] Everybody needs a team. So

[00:26:43] Jolie Downs: [00:26:43] Yeah.

[00:26:44] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:26:44] a good habit to have is find your team.

[00:26:48] Jolie Downs: [00:26:48] Okay. Yes, staff that team. That's a good advice.

[00:26:52] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:26:52] exactly. And

[00:26:52] Jolie Downs: [00:26:52] we try to do too much on our own so much.

[00:26:56] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:26:56] cause you think that's what you do. Oh, this is my business. I'll do everything. And sometimes you're doing yourself a disservice because you need to know what your strengths are and what, because we're not all 100% strengths. We all have weaknesses.

[00:27:13] Jolie Downs: [00:27:13] And a lot of times our strengths, our weaknesses.

[00:27:15] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:27:15] Yeah, that is true. That is very true to say, because I'm a creative person. I'm like, yeah, my strengths are, I'm very creative. I'm very artistic. I'm, I'm talented. What are my weaknesses? I'm just the I'm only those things. Like I'm only creative. I can't like balance a checkbook or,

[00:27:38] Jolie Downs: [00:27:38] Don't make me do physics.

[00:27:40] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:27:40] Don't yeah, don't make me math.

[00:27:42]I don't I, even just like fractions hurt my brain when I'm just like, when I'm like doing a recipe and it's just add two cups of this and two dah, and I'm like, oh my gosh, what is all of that together?

[00:27:55] Jolie Downs: [00:27:55] Oh, gosh, the fraction math and my kids brought that from school. I was like, oh, let's look up some YouTube.

[00:28:02] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:28:02] Yeah. Yeah, no, it's I still have like math nightmares and it's been a long time since I've taken a math class.

[00:28:11]Jolie Downs: [00:28:11] Isn't it beautiful that you don't have to right?

[00:28:13] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:28:13] know

[00:28:15] Jolie Downs: [00:28:15] Take that teacher I'm getting along just fine.

[00:28:17]Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:28:17] I know. I never needed to learn algebra.

[00:28:21] Jolie Downs: [00:28:21] algebra. is very important,

[[00:28:25] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:28:25] Yeah.

[00:28:26] Jolie Downs: [00:28:26] but I really haven't used any of the algebra so much, although maybe I have not realize it. I don't know

[00:28:31] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:28:31] must. Simple math. You should know simple math.

[00:28:35] Jolie Downs: [00:28:35] No simple math. Yes.

[00:28:37] I would think that math is, we all need to know our math. It's very important, but some of the higher level that I haven't quite used

[00:28:45] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:28:45] Yeah, exactly. And I'm like, that's fine.

[00:28:49]

[00:28:49] School, like high school is really, and even college it's really just, I think, showing kids and showing people like all sorts of different things to figure out what they like.

[00:29:02] Jolie Downs: [00:29:02] Yeah.

[00:29:02]Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:29:02] Cause maybe they won't love math, but maybe but some people do

[00:29:07]Jolie Downs: [00:29:07] Yeah.

[00:29:07]

[00:29:08] Or they don't like algebra, but they love

[00:29:10] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:29:10] geometry.

[00:29:11] Yeah. Yeah. I've known those people.

[00:29:14] Jolie Downs: [00:29:14] Yeah, but you're so right. Look at, we'll look at what happened with you with the ballroom dance, it's we need to be exposed to a lot of different things and the fact is most of the people.

[00:29:24] don't know what they really want, especially at a young age.

[00:29:27]It's a very small percentage of people at a young age who really know what they want to go after. And so you need to expose to all those different things and really. Only at a young age, even in your forties, 56, we need to be exposed to different things because we're constantly changing. We're constantly evolving and you never know when that thing might come along.

[00:29:45] That just lights you up, you had no idea, like your ballroom dance in your

[00:29:48] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:29:48] Yes. Yes. I never like in my wildest dreams when I was like 30, I never would have thought, oh, I'm going to become a professional ballroom dancer. Like I never would have thought that, but then at 32, 34 35, and that's what I was doing. It was just, strange but amazing.

[00:30:10] Jolie Downs: [00:30:10] Yeah, life is really amazing.

[00:30:12] that way. So now is there any, I don't know if you've ever had to struggle in getting a new job or finding that right next role when you made a transition, but is there any advice that you'd give someone in the 40 plus category who, who might be in that kind of position?

[00:30:27]

[00:30:27] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:30:27] Oh, I would say, I don't want to say go back to school, but if you're at a point in your life and you're in your forties or fifties even, and you have to make a drastic career change, I would say think about the things that you always wish you had done and figure out if it's possible to do those things.

[00:30:50]Because you talk to so many people who say, let's say they're computer programmers, and then they lose their job. And over talking to them easier than say what I've always wanted to do was have a coffee roasting business. And that's

[00:31:04] Jolie Downs: [00:31:04] Yeah.

[00:31:05] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:31:05] why don't you? You could try, but so keep options open and don't be afraid.

[00:31:13] To have to learn new things because we're going to, we all have to, when we went to school, it was a while ago.

[00:31:20] Jolie Downs: [00:31:20] Yes exactly.

[00:31:21]

[00:31:21]

[00:33:23]

[00:33:23] This is really random, but it's just a little thought in the back of my head. I was curious the magician's assistant. How did that come about? And is there anything you learned from that experience?

[00:33:33]Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:33:33] Yes. So it came about, I went to school for theater and there was a professional theater company called new art theater that was run out of my school, which was the New Hampshire Institute of art. And I got to meet a lot of really incredible performers and I became good friends with one and I was working at a little bookstore.

[00:33:56] Just like part-time cause I was in school and he said, I have this idea for a show I want to take on the road, but I need somebody to help book the shows and organize things. But I also need like somebody in the show and.

[00:34:12] And it just worked. And so I say magician's assistant and people think that I was like being sawed in half and stuff like that, but yeah, but he like pulling rabbits out of hats, but he was a mentalist or like a psychic entertainer.

[00:34:27] So it was more it was more natural, and it was like Victorian era, like seance work and readings and things like that. So I was that kind of assistant that I still got to wear a cool outfit,

[00:34:45] Jolie Downs: [00:34:45] Yeah.

[00:34:45] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:34:45] a beautiful red, like velvet cloak with feathers. So there it's basically did it for the outfit.

[00:34:53]And I think for that, I learned and I'm like what did I learn? I learned, huh? That was the first time I learned that I could organize something creatively, organize a tour for somebody. And that's produce a show, which I didn't realize I would need these skills until like much later when I was when I had a cabaret troupe and I was producing shows and I realized, oh my gosh, I already know how to do this.

[00:35:21] Because I've already written press releases and I've already done these things. So strangely I learned a lot about like show production there.

[00:35:31] Jolie Downs: [00:35:31] Great. No, it's really interesting. I just was curious about that now. Is there.

[00:35:35] any book talk video or movie that has had a really big impact on your life that you think others would benefit from as well?

[00:35:44] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:35:44] Oh for me I read so so much, but I don't read a lot of non-fiction. I would say books that changed my life. I'm going to go with a book called the dog stars and I'm glad I'm saying this because that book is about. Like it's dystopian, there's been a terrible flu that wipes out most of the people on the planet.

[00:36:08]But the book, the dog stars is first written, absolutely beautifully. It's by Peter Heller, he wrote it in a, like a poetry style. And that book taught me so much about the small, beautiful moments in life. When you would think the book would be like depressing and terrible. And there are parts that are heartbreaking, but it's almost like a love letter to life,

[00:36:35] Jolie Downs: [00:36:35] Wow.

[00:36:35] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:36:35] even though the world is quote unquote, the world ended basically.

[00:36:41] And there's only a very few people left and not all those people are nice, but it's really, it's a love letter to life.

[00:36:49] Jolie Downs: [00:36:49] Oh, that's wonderful.

[00:36:50] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:36:50] It's so beautiful. So I would say that book will teach you to appreciate very small moments

[00:36:59] Jolie Downs: [00:36:59] I'm gonna put it on my list. Thank you.

[00:37:01] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:37:01] that you're welcome.

[00:37:03] Jolie Downs: [00:37:03] Before we wrap up , I will have your website on the show notes for people to go ahead and take a look there. Is there anywhere else that you'd like people to go ahead and take a look to find out more information about you?

[00:37:13]Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:37:13] Actually my website, Jennifer anne gordon.com has everything. Cause it has all the links to my social media, my Facebook, my Instagram, my Twitter. I'm mostly active on Facebook. And Instagram, Twitter, not so much gives me a panic attack to go there, yeah, just go to my website.

[00:37:36] Jolie Downs: [00:37:36] perfect. Before we go, I'm going to ask you my last question that I always just love to hear what the answer is. What are you sure of in life?

[00:37:45] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:37:45] Oh, wow. I'm sure that my dog loves me more than anything in the world. Like when my I want to be the person that my dog thinks I am. So I'm sure that every day I just strive to be the version of me that my dog thinks I am.

[00:38:03] Jolie Downs: [00:38:03] I love it. I love it. There's my dog making a little noise right now. So

[00:38:10] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:38:10] I'm surprised when I just said my dog, that he didn't come to the door. Cause sometimes when I'm on a podcast, I hear him like scratching at the door. What are you doing in there?

[00:38:19]

[00:38:19]Jolie Downs: [00:38:19] Thank you so much for this, Jennifer. It's been such a great talk. I appreciate your time.

[00:38:24] Jennifer Anne Gordon: [00:38:24] Thank you so much.

[00:38:26]

Jolie Downs:

There is so much to learn from Jennifer’s story. Jennifer held different roles in the beginning of her career doing a variety of things, as so many of us do when we’re trying to figure out what works best for us – one of these roles was a comic book store owner.

For Jennifer, owning the comic book store was a struggle. There were financial concerns with a consistent fear of losing the store, it took a huge portion of her focus leaving her little time to pursue what she wanted to be working on and she was plain, not happy.

I applaud Jennifer for acknowledging she wasn’t happy in her situation and subsequently selling the business to make a change. Too often we stay stuck in situations that are making us unhappy. Because we are scared. This is so normal, fear of the unknown keeps you frozen in place, you worry, what if it gets worse?

If this resonates with you, if you are feeling unhappy but scared to make a change and worried it will get worse – here’s what I want you to know.

It’s already worse.

If you are unhappy, you are not where or how you are supposed to be. Bottom line. Something needs to change. Life is not supposed to unhappy. Life is not supposed to be drudgery and difficulties and only have to’s – life is supposed to be about joy, growth, learning, love and happiness.


Do not settle for less.

If you are unhappy, ask yourself why. Identify the pain points in your life, these will be the things you don’t want in your life – once you’ve done that, you now figure out what it is you DO WANT in replacement. Then create a plan to get you to where you want to be. And then every day ask yourself, what is one step I can take today to bring me closer to my happiness.


Once Jennifer let go of the comic book store, it opened up her time to focus on creating and selling her mixed media art, which is the work that filled her heart as well as her pocketbook. Let go of that which doesn’t serve you so you can make space for that which does.

While Jennifer enjoyed her art work, it was an isolating vocation, combining that with living in an abusive relationship, Jennifer found herself struggling mentally, she felt beaten down and stripped of her self confidence. How many of us can relate to this feeling?

I know I’ve been there myself.

When you find yourself in those dark places, become aware that big changes are needing to be made, you must shake up your life in some positive way – and it will have to be you, you are the catalyst, you need to make the move for yourself.

Find whatever it is you need to help you return back to yourself.

For Jennifer, it was ballroom dancing, and I absolutely love her story about finding ballroom dancing. AS she shared, Jennifer had always wanted to try it, she had a longing inside but was scared to do it herself. The fear made her put off this desire for years, but eventually she got the courage to make an appointmnent.


Jennifer shared with us how scared and intimidating making that appointment and then going in for that first dance lesson was – and I’m grateful she shared because that is so normal for us to feel scared when attempting something new - but we should never allow fear to stop us from experiencing the things we want in life. Jennifer told us that ballroom dance brought her back to where she was supposed to be – a long journey to becoming herself.

Now I want you to think about what Jennifer’s life might be like had she not developed the courage to walk into that ballroom dance class. Would she have found herself again? Would she have left the abusive relationship? Would she have found an exciting, award winning and fulfilling new career? Would she have met the love her life, her best friend and current husband? Would she have had the confidence to write a book?


Now I want you to think about what your life could be like if you were to go after the secret desires you hide away. What kind of beauty could you bring into your life by learning to move forward, walking side by side with your fear, instead of hiding behind it.

I urge you to open that door.


Do as Jennifer did and stop self censoring yourself. There are enough outside influences that try to beat you down, you do not need to contribute. Stop telling yourself you can’t do this or you can’t do that, put down all your limiting beliefs and start telling yourself you CAN.


You are capable.

I am here to tell you, that You CAN. If you have been waiting for permission, permission is granted. Go out and start learning what you want to learn, do what you want to do, experience what you want to experience.


Once Jennifer stopped telling herself she couldn’t do something, she opened her life up to so much more. She stopped telling herself she couldn’t write, and she started writing. Jennifer wrote her first book and then won the Kindle award for best horror and suspense novel! So amazing! Would this have happened if she continued to think, well, I could never write a book, I could never win an award, I could never…. NO, everything begins with the simple belief that yes, yes I can. Start there.


I loved Jennifer’s definition of success. For her, success is always being able to create something new. When you create something, it lasts, it makes you immortal in ways that you can’t even imagine, something you created will last forever – whether it’s music, a story, art, an experience or a memory – when you create something that becomes a part of someone else’s story or a part of this physical world, you leave your mark.


And Jennifer has done that not only with her writing, not only with her art and with her podcast, but also with the experiences she created for her students. Having gone through the experience herself, Jennifer knew how nervous or awkward or scared one could be feeling when starting a new lesson, she nurtured the relationships with her clients, getting to know them and understand them and in turn, they learned to trust her. Jennifer is excellent at communicating and building positive relationships with others and this is such an important skill to develop as this will help elevate every aspect of life.

Keeping good connections with people is a huge contributor to overall life success and fulfillment. I know there are many situations in life that would feel satisfying to burn a bridge in that oh so special way, but I’ve learned through my own story and from those of others, that this is a very small world and burning bridges can come back to haunt you. Developing and nurturing positive relationships with as many people as possible will consistently come back to enhance your life.

Look at what happened with Jennifer, when the pandemic hit, wiping out her business, a student of hers stepped up and offered her an amazing opportunity to put her strengths to use. Jennifer also shared after we stopped recording, that the magician she worked for called her during the pandemic to see if she needed a job. She didn’t as her student had helped her there, but this old connection ended up giving her husband a great job. All because she develops strong connections with people.

How can you help grow your own relationships? How many people are around you that you haven’t even attempted to develop a relationship with? You have the power to create amazing connections everywhere you go. Let’s all consciously make the decision to nurture our current relationships and develop and grow new ones consistently with the people we come in contact with. We all need people, it’s the people who support us throughout all the various stages of our life.


So that is my wish for us all, that we create a life full of deep and rich bonds with the amazing human souls that surround us.


Until next time





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