Add gratitude to your life. Thank the people who give you opportunities to thrive and shine. Write at least five things you are grateful for in a journal every single day. Gratitude will enable you to focus on the positive and will motivate you to keep moving forward despite the challenges of starting a new business. I’m happy and grateful every day. I post it all over LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram, and I always tag the people I’m grateful for in my posts. I also send thank you messages privately. It’s a small gesture that is free, but it definitely goes a long way!
The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times of opportunity. Many people’s livelihoods have been hurt by the pandemic. But some saw this as an opportune time to take their lives in a new direction.
As a part of this series called “How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Julie Blouin, a certified professional coach, an international bestselling author, and a motivational speaker. She helps entrepreneurs, coaches, and authors overcome obstacles to thrive in the areas of career, health, relationships, wealth, spirituality, and well-being. She enriches the lives of her clients by identifying blind spots, developing a clear vision, and by helping them take action to reach their goals, and ultimately live their best life. She is the co-author of the bestselling book: “A Journey of Riches: The Attitude of Gratitude”, and the founder of the Facebook group called: “Thrive and Shine — Women’s Empowerment Coaching.”https://content.thriveglobal.com/media/c3608eea68b3734930e528286d7ce4e8
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
Yes, absolutely! I grew up in a small French town in Eastern Ontario just outside of Ottawa, the capital of Canada. My parents got separated when I was only six years old, and my father eventually remarried so I grew up in a family of six children. The day before my seventh birthday, I started taking piano lessons, and I would entertain guests when they would come over for dinner. I loved playing Holiday songs on the piano and “The First Noel” was my favorite.
At eleven years old, we moved to Cornwall, Ontario, Canada, a small city located on the Saint-Lawrence River on the border of the United States. I quickly learned to speak English because I was immersed in a bilingual city. I remember doing an oral presentation in ninth grade about our family’s Christmas vacation to Venezuela. I started the presentationwith: “Hola los amigos.” I immediately caught the students’ attention. The presentation was light, fun, and I was speaking with joy, happiness, and enthusiasm. I thrived in that presentation because I selected a topic that spoke to my heart. My passion was vibrating at the highest level possible throughout every cell of my body. My eyes were beaming with joy and excitement. The trip to Venezuela set my soul on fire! I loved traveling, and I knew that visiting another country at the young age of fourteen years old would be the beginning of a beautiful journey of traveling the world. I took center stage in English class, and I pretended that I was speaking to hundreds of students. I was thrilled to obtain the highest mark in class for the oral presentation. I knew then that I wanted to become a keynote speaker.
At thirteen years old, I partnered with a friend of mine, France-Lyne Denis and we created a science fair project which was rewarded with a gold medal at the local event, a trip to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and a gold medal at the national level in the junior life sciences category at an event called: “Canada-Wide Science Fair.” Our scientific research of close to 200 students between the ages of eight to eleven years old quickly helped modify the teaching methods used in both elementary and secondary schools.
I’m also an identical twin which is the most interesting, and amazing life experience! I also had double the clothes to wear growing up, which was quite fun as a teenager.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My favorite life lesson quote comes from my mother who passed away twenty years ago. She was French and she used to say: “Il suffit de prendre la vie au ralenti” which means that it’s important to slow down and to appreciate every moment in life. This quote is a constant reminder to bring my awareness back to the present moment and to focus on what is really important. It’s easy to get distracted sometimes with how fast life can unfold, but it’s important to appreciate every moment. We only have today, as tomorrow is never promised.
Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
Back in 1997, I received a Christmas gift, the book by Dr. Richard Carlson called: “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…And It’s All Small Stuff: Simple Ways to Keep the Little Things From Taking Over Your Life.” Just recently, I saw this book listed in the top ten self-help books of all-time, and it inspired me to read it again.
The book is pocket-sized, and there are one hundred very short chapters. Every morning, I would randomly select a chapter to read, and it would help me start the day on a positive note. It provided great insights and tips on how to improve my life. The book took me on the path of self-development and since then, I have read hundreds of self-help books. It changed my life!
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before the Pandemic began?
Before the pandemic, I worked three jobs: a full-time job, a part-time job, and my life coaching business. I loved writing, and I always wanted to become an author and have a #1 bestselling book. It was definitely on my vision board. I also took a coaching course to become a certified professional coach back in 2014, but because I was so busy, I didn’t have time to focus on my coaching business as much as I wanted to and to help others become the best version of themselves on a massive global scale. I would work long hours, workout at the gym, and I would get very little sleep.
What did you do to pivot as a result of the Pandemic?
When the pandemic started in March, the world came to a complete standstill. Everything closed, and I took that downtime to reflect on my life. I let go of the part-time job I had, and I created a list of things I had yet to achieve. I asked myself how I could make a difference in the world. How could I bring immense value to the world? How could my skills and abilities help others in need, and make a huge impact? What were the struggles people were facing, and how could I provide solutions?
I figured out a way to assist during these unprecedented times. During the early stage of the pandemic, I connected with a couple of coaches, and we did a series of videos to provide viewers with coping mechanisms to assist during the difficult times. I also offered free life coaching to those in need who reached out to me to help them sail through the storm. I launched my website. I co-wrote a book with eleven other authors called: “A Journey of Riches: The Attitude of Gratitude”, and I created a Facebook group named: “Thrive and Shine — Women’s Empowerment Coaching.”
During the pandemic, I had two choices: I could let fear take over my life, or I could make my dreams become a reality. I decided to take my life coaching to a whole other level, become the best version of myself, and to lead by example despite the hardships.
Can you tell us about the specific “Aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path?
When I noticed people living in fear, that’s when I decided to help. Just recently, a lady told me that it took her six months to leave her house. I read articles that stated seniors were left alone in their rooms all day, and they couldn’t visit their family members. I saw a picture on social media of a lady maybe in her eighties holding a sign that said: “I rather die of Covid than loneliness.” At that moment, I realized just how many people were suffering in silence, and isolation was a real problem. It literally broke my heart!
People were waiting in line to enter a store and standing 6′ apart from each other with the look of sadness and fear in their eyes. They needed my assistance more than ever. My message became so important to those struggling with fear, loneliness, anxiety, depression, or mental health. That’s when I decided to step up in my role as a certified professional coach and to help those in need, not only in my community but around the world.
How are things going with this new initiative?
Things are amazing! “A Journey of Riches: The Attitude of Gratitude” became a #1 bestselling book in the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, and #2 in France. My chapter is about grief and gratitude. The title is “Healing from Loss: How Gratitude can Assist in Coping with Grief.” It’s such a timely chapter because so many people are currently suffering from a loss: a loss of their job or income, a loss of freedom to go visit family and friends, or even travel the world. Some people even lost a loved one. Everyone I came in contact with had gone through some sort of loss during the pandemic.
This week, my article “Sailing in High Winds” was published in a magazine called: “Unchain your Inner Strength”, and I was a featured guest on a podcast called “Permission to Heal” yet to be aired. I also have three more podcasts lined up, a television appearance in January, and I’m currently discussing the possibility of doing two summits in January.
A couple of days ago, I created a Facebook group called “Thrive and Shine — Women’s Empowerment Coaching” which helps women overcome obstacles, understand their identity, increase their self-confidence, and tap into their innate power. I will feature one guest speaker per week from all walks of life. These guest speakers in the health, wellness, and personal development space will showcase their incredible story with an inspiring message to empower these women to take action, reach their goals, become the best version of themselves, and live their best life. I already have a list of 30 guest speakers ranging from doctors to bestselling authors, to coaches, to entrepreneurs, to podcasters who have transformed their own life, and they are now helping others do the same.
I intend on launching an online course in the first quarter of 2021 to assist more people instead of only offering 1:1 coaching. I’m also looking at opportunities to partner with my identical twin sister or others to start a podcast or a TV show to assist in the health, wellness, and personal development space.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Every day, I write at least five things I’m grateful for in a journal. I’m also referred to as the “gratitude coach” because I explain to my clients the importance of gratitude. Because I have been journaling for so long, it’s impossible to only select one person.
I’m grateful every day for my identical twin sister who has been there for me through all the important moments of my life. She has a kind and generous heart. As twins, we have a special bond.
The second person is John Spender, a 23-time international bestselling author, an award-winning international speaker who is currently co-writing and producing a movie documentary starring Jack Canfield, Rev. Micheal Bernard Beckwith, Dr. John Demartini, and many more. I am so grateful that he asked me to co-write the book: “A Journey of Riches: The Attitude of Gratitude.” The topic of the book immediately spoke to my heart. He has the ability to guide first-time authors to create chapters that profoundly impact the readers. He’s generous, kind, and an amazing person!
I’m also grateful for Chris Winfield and Jen Gottlieb, “The Super Connectors” who have taught me to step outside my comfort zone and to let my voice, and important message of healing be heard around the world. They are amazing at connecting with others, and the people I have met through these two, I consider them like my family. We are always supporting one another. My favorite quote from Chris and Jen is: “The extra mile is never crowded.”
Lastly, I’m grateful to do this interview with you. When I was contacted by email, I immediately responded: “I am happy, grateful, and thrilled! Thank you for the opportunity! I appreciate it immensely.”
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
In March 2020, John Spender asked me to co-write the book: “A Journey of Riches: Facing your Fears.” Days later, due to the pandemic, the world completely shut down, and I decided to turn down the opportunity of a lifetime to co-write a book.
Looking back, maybe in my heart, I wasn’t ready in early March to face my fears surrounding the unknown circumstances of the pandemic. How could I possibly write something on this topic if deep down I had not yet released all of my fears?
When “Facing your Fears” was launched, it instantly became an international bestselling book. I was so happy for the co-authors. Interestingly, in August, I was having dinner with a friend and I mentioned that I was finally ready to co-write a book. That evening when I came home, I saw a message from John Spender inviting me once again to take part in a new book called: “The Attitude of Gratitude.” I immediately accepted the offer, and the rest is history.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
1. Move forward with confidence, before you are even ready. The thing is, you will never have everything figured out before you step into your new role. I took the certified professional coaching course back in 2014, but I only pivoted my business this year to offer my coaching online. I was still coaching and mentoring others through an employer in a full-time job, but my dream is to have the flexibility of living the laptop lifestyle, not having to go into an office five days per week.
2. Everyone needs to start somewhere, someday, so start today. Things will never be perfect. You will learn how to adjust when you move forward. I was trying to have a complicated business plan figured out before moving forward with my online coaching business. The problem is being a perfectionist can lead to procrastination, which leads to never moving forward in reaching your goals and taking action on your dreams. I could have started my online business six years ago.
3. Start small, work hard, and stay focused on your vision. The most successful business in my area started back in the 80s as a small 300 sq ft. produce store called Farm Boy. When I was a teenager, I worked there in the deli department. They currently own 34 stores, and they always keep on growing. They carry hundreds of products: produce, cheese, quality meats, seafood, baked goods, and so much more. Their small fruit and vegetable store turned out to be immensely successful because they started small, worked really hard, and stayed focused on their vision.
4. Reach out to your connections who can help you along the way. Even if you think they are way out of your league, reach out to them and have confidence that these people have a kind and generous heart, and that they want to help you succeed. Make a list of people you know who can help you. I have a list of twenty close contacts who have helped me with my website, getting clear on my message to secure coaching clients, and co-create videos. These people have taken courses, read lots of books, have launched their successful careers, and they are willing to help me because I reached out, and I asked for help. They were actually happy that I reached out to them. If they couldn’t answer my questions, they referred me to one of their contacts who could. It’s important to never waste time figuring out things you are not good at doing. Ask for help, delegate, or hire someone to do them.
5. Add gratitude to your life. Thank the people who give you opportunities to thrive and shine. Write at least five things you are grateful for in a journal every single day. Gratitude will enable you to focus on the positive and will motivate you to keep moving forward despite the challenges of starting a new business. I’m happy and grateful every day. I post it all over LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram, and I always tag the people I’m grateful for in my posts. I also send thank you messages privately. It’s a small gesture that is free, but it definitely goes a long way!
So many of us have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. Can you share the strategies that you have used to optimize your mental wellness during this stressful period?
I focus on things I can control, and I let go of everything else. I look within for answers, and I calm my fears of the unknown with yoga, exercise, meditation, and journaling. My gratitude journal kept me in the present moment, especially in March when everything closed, and the essential stores that were still opened were out of toilet paper, and essential goods. Gratitude enables you to turn sadness into happiness, and despair into hope. Starting the day with gratitude and a positive mindset will set the tone for the rest of the day.
Navigating through the pandemic while being single, and living alone was also difficult. I love hugs and human contact. Seeing everyone standing 6′ apart wearing masks was immensely challenging for me. Only being able to connect with others through Zoom was so difficult, but I found creative ways to connect with others. I did some Zoom yoga, connected through music, and played some games.
I revised my vision board to ensure my goals were attainable during the pandemic. I also focused on helping others, as opposed to concentrating on my own challenges and struggles. Going the extra mile every day is immensely rewarding.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I want to inspire millions of people to follow their hearts and passions in life. “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” — Confucius. Life doesn’t need to be complicated. We will always find a way to live within our means. I want everyone to dream a bigger dream, and to make those dreams become a reality. Life is not about struggling to pay the bills or to work a job you don’t enjoy. Create a vision board. Set short and long-term goals that are attainable. Without goals, you are not going anywhere. I want everyone to increase their self-confidence, to let go of self-limiting beliefs, and to realize the immense potential they have to succeed. Growth is a continuous process.
I would love to work with teenagers, or young adults and inspire them to connect with their skills and abilities, find their identity, their authentic self, and help them navigate those challenging years by inspiring them to become the best version of themselves. I would give the book: “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” to all 18 to 25-year-olds because it was the key moment that pivoted my life on a path of self-development. Gen Z is our future. We must nourish their mind, body, and soul at a young age.
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!
There are three people and they are so very different. Actor Keanu Reeves. He’s hardworking, humble, and extremely generous. He has a kind heart. I loved the movies “The Matrix” and “The Lake House.” Because he’s such a private person, I would love to have lunch with him to ask him some deep questions about life. I would ask him about his mindset, his morning routine, and how to stay humble while making millions of dollars in his successful career as an actor. I would also ask him where he found the strength to keep moving forward in life despite all the obstacles he faced. Keanu had so many struggles and hardships growing up. Because he’s such a private person, very limited information is available to get to know him on a personal level. Anything is possible with Keanu. I recall the paparazzi snapping a picture of him in LA sitting, and talking with a homeless man.
The second person is supermodel Gisele Bündchen. Her inner beauty radiates outwards. She also has a twin sister, Patricia which is fascinating to me. She’s not afraid to let her voice inspire millions of people.
Lastly, Nick Vujicic, a man born without limbs who found a way to make his dreams become a reality, and he inspires millions of people around the world to live their best life. Meeting them would be a dream come true! I would give them a big hug, and tell them how much they inspire me!
How can our readers follow you online?
Here’s how people can follow me online:
Facebook group — Thrive and Shine — Women’s Empowerment Coaching: https://www.facebook.com/groups/thriveandshinecoaching
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!
Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me! The questions were great. I appreciate the interview immensely. Wishing you continued success and good health as well.