Jenna Smith is a “Human Being Expert”. She has trained in Spiritual Psychotherapy at the Transformational Arts College and Integrated Psychotherapy at Lifespace. She is a certified Ontological Coach, Reiki Master, as well as a health and fitness trainer. She has also studied Oneness, Shamanism and Intuitive healing work with mentors from Peru, India, Africa, Ireland and North America.
We checked in with the in-demand international speaker, a professional singer, retreat leader, workshop facilitator, author, and coach to talk about the first steps she took to launch her career as a coach and on what she’s learned from her global mentorships.
Hey Jenna, how it is all going so far?
Well, I think anyone can say life has it’s own rhythm of up, down, ebb, flow so once we accept this rhythm it just kinda is right? For me, what works, and what makes life work for me is knowing who I am. Then I carefully weave the things that ‘make me me’ into my life. I think of it as being a self-anthropologist.
Most people just do what they are told, and do what the herd does because, well…that’s what you do. I’ve never really been that person. Always seeing other angles and also seeing through people’s inauthenticity from a very young age I didn’t know I had a choice to go against the herd when I was young, but now I’m grown up and can create my life. This, I believe, makes my life work. I own my own house in rural Canada near one of the great lakes, Lake Huron, I own my own business that consists of me doing what I do best, which is guiding and activating people to their deepest, authentically fulfilled life. Of course, there’s the life stuff to do, but when all the foundations of my life are more aligned with ‘me being me’ then there is a heck of a lot more ease.
What were the first steps you took to launching your career as a coach?
Well, I didn’t say to my kindergarten teacher “I’m going to be an international transformational coach for people, doing live events and connecting through a box to places miles away!” That’s for sure. I, like many, only had the handful of choices in school you are supposed to focus on.
I was smart so I should be a teacher or doctor or lawyer, that’s the norm for my area growing up. Then there were the farm families, so their life would usually mean taking over the farm. That for sure was not up my alley! And of course, I like animals, so maybe I’ll be a vet.
I planned to be the next Celine Dion, to be honest. Once I discovered, and had the courage to sing in public, that I was a darn good singer and it felt good too!
What no one really tells you after spending over $50, 000 on a degree in music is that music in Canada-large space, fewer cities than Europe or USA- you basically will need a 2nd non-committal job, tour in vans with your bandmates to save money, if you even have a car, and more or less live in poverty. Not to mention the $5000 to make a demo. WTF right?! Thanks, life, nice to know.
So I got into the Personal Training world because of course, you need to look hot to be a singer, so I spent hours in the gym transforming my pudgy curvy figure to a curvy fitness model look. People started asking me questions in the gym so I thought, hmmm maybe I can make money doing this! Well, I could, what I didn’t know at the time was that I was learning how to serve clients and run a business transforming people- yay Spirit. Then I studied Spiritual Psychotherapy because I wanted people’s transformations to stick. I didn’t mention I began learning things like Reiki at the age of 15 to help with chronic pain injuries from a car accident. So I was into all this Spirituality and Self Development before it was trendy. It actually just made me more weird and different during my younger years.
Ok, so back to the question, becoming a coach started to make sense after completing my Psychotherapy Degree. I didn’t want a brick and mortar office. I wanted to be FREE to travel and let my dreams still have space to happen, to be a singer in particular.
I wrote a chapter in a book on this called “Following the Breadcrumbs” because I happened to meet my own Coach through a friend helping me with Music. He lived in Santa Cruz and we met online on Skype. Some people call these ‘synchornicities’ which mean specific notable events that act like a universal wink, letting us know we are on track and in alignment.
He invited me into his coach training the very night of our first call. I followed the breadcrumb. I was scared, I didn’t know how I’d afford it, I didn’t know where this was headed. It was simply a YES in my body, and I know what that feels like now.
As for the career aspect, I honestly was able to get clients rather effortlessly as I had already built a great community of connections in the shamanic, spiritual and fitness circles within Toronto. I shared what I was doing, and the results people can get with everyone and my enthusiasm must have been infectious.
I didn’t have a website for the first few years. I didn’t do any active marketing other than showing up to the breadcrumbs.
How has the journey been so far?
Once I went through the coaching training (as it was deeply committed and revolved around who we are being and how to BE our essence in life), and went through my own transformation in the process with Oneness University and Shamanic work, things went well. Ups and downs as always, but I’ve grown more successful inside and out each year. I evolve.
You trained at the Spiritual Psychotherapist through the Transformational Arts College and Lifespace Institute of Transformational Counsellor training. what other training did you undertake?
Well, that’s a loaded question as I continuously grow and invest in myself. I have done a 200 hour Yoga Teacher training, Shamanic training, Reiki, Polarity Therapy, Oneness Deeksha giver, Tapping, several Hay House workshops, Landmark Ontological work level 1, several fitness certifications, and probably more than I will think about randomly while showering or at 2 am tonight no doubt. I eventually had a very powerful moment in 2014, when I REALLY wanted to go to see Mandaza, an African Medicine Man who was trained by his ancestors and Nature Spirits in his dreams, was in Ontario and doing a 4 day training out in Nature to learn plant medicines. I was so excited by the idea of this!! Except, I didn’t feel like packing, I didn’t feel like driving, it all felt hard. So I sat to figure out what this was about. I got the inner message “You don’t need a middleman.”
I was now my own Elder, I had connected to the connection itself and am now a teacher.
It was a cool moment.
The word shaman literally means to ‘see in the dark’. What was compelling to me about this work, which is not a religion but a way being with Spirit, the planet and one another, and all our relations was that on every continent there has been some form of indigenous knowledge of connecting with our Spirit through very similar practices. Again, this was pre-internet, pre-phones, so how did each culture know these practices work? They tapped RIGHT into Spirit/Source/God directly. They also connected to the Earth directly.
These connections are missing in our Western Society, and in my opinion, this disconnect to our essential connection to life-source itself is creating many of our modern-day problems. Most notably our violence to one another and ourselves along with a pervasive sense of loneliness, not feeling good enough, and not feeling like we matter. My message is to reconnect to our birthright connections of knowing our magnificence, unshakeable confidence in our path and purpose, and our ability to choose our actions from our essence and not our ego.
You mention that Shamanism is NOT a religion, what are the other common misconceptions of Shamanism?
Ignorance breeds attack, right? We attack what we don’t know, and are afraid of what is unseen and not scientifically ‘provable’. Many see shamanism as Voodoo that kills things and makes dolls to torture people. Black Magic is a thing, but it’s not what shamanism is. Let me be clear I’m a shamanic bridge for western cultures to return to our inner knowing. I am in NO way the same as the real medicine men of many lineages that are steeped in this Spirit knowledge and capable of things beyond me, as that is their path.
My path is to make this stuff accessible and understandable so we can use it NOW and get results now, we need this now to calm our collective crazy. Our life is now, yet so many of us get caught in the quest for a “special” way, a magical book, a 1 thing that will eliminate all suffering. This is just silly. We need to come back to our Being, which shamanic practices help with because they work on our energetics, NOT just the logical mind. Shamanism is not going to be your next magical pill to solve all your problems. It is, however, a connection to nature and spirit that fills our cracks of seeking for something missing. Nothing is missing. Nothing. We just need to remember, to come home. Then we can do the laundry and any task from this core of being, rather than a core of seeking.
Can you tell us what it means to be an Ontological Coach?
Great question, Ontology is both a science and philosophy. The study of Human Beings and their relationship to reality; which means, how we relate to ourselves, others and the world around us is the core of how we can affect change. In a more relatable way, we’ve heard of things like mindset and adjusting our belief systems to match what we want. The Secret (the movie about the Law of Attraction that went viral), did a good job opening people’s eyes to possibilities. The possibility is a BIG part of Ontology. We create a vision, a future reality first and THEN become that person now- we do not drag our old limitations or habits from our past and present self, we become the future vision. We transform into who we want to become. In this way, it is now a permanent shift, we don’t go back. Lots of folks experience rollercoasters of change then falling off the wagon, or rollercoaster to keep my metaphor straight. Transformation is permanently changing form, like the butterfly cannot go back into the cocoon and morph back into a caterpillar.
I, personally am so glad I did such an intensive transformational training and had the courage to spend the money and time when I really didn’t think I could. A lot of the work is SELF-work. If you are picking a guide, coach, therapist, etc… it is key to watch who that person is in the world, how you feel around them, and not just hear their words. True transformational guides can actually be clear enough to listen, see, and hear all the nuances of what a client is sharing. We learn to hear between the spaces so to speak, listen deeply to hear what is needed and what solutions to instruct a person to take that are individualised.
People experience the work I do as being heard and seen in a way they don’t get from the everyday world because people simply don’t know how to be clear, or how to take healthy responsibility.
What I do is help people emerge from the core of who they are, this perfect person already there now, and then all the other crap falls away. This process takes time, but then it is permanent. That was what sold me! I didn’t want to muck around anymore, I wanted to be fully me. This work helps people access this knowing, and then live from it.
What is different about it?
The difference is permanent change versus small blips of willpower changes that rely on our behavior and thoughts to stay on track. When we change our way of being. We literally become the version of ourselves we need to be. Decisions come naturally; it is who we are now. Not another thing to do. Many people find relief in knowing that that is possible, and more importantly, it is possible for themselves.
You have had mentors globally, including in Peru, Ireland, Zimbabwe. However, who did you most benefit from and why?
I actually benefited the most from my Ontological training with Hans Philips and Christopher Otazo because it was 16 months of immersed transformational training. I really get that this isn’t a weekend course kind of thing. In my own practice, I see the biggest changes with committed clients who are also immersed in our program for a year. It’s about deciding you are worth it, and it’s just too hard and tricky to do alone.
If I didn’t have Hans and Christopher, My Therapist Barbra Forest of the LifeSpace institute, my training and mentors at The Transformational Arts College, then the Shamanism work with Mandaza, Andrew Steed, Northern Edge teachers Chris and Martha, and the Q’ero teachers of Peru (descendants of Inca priests), these all wove together to help me get the resources I needed to become who I wished to be.
Why do you personally think mentors are beneficial for us to grow and to develop?
It’s pretty simple. They’ve been somewhere we want to go or are being someone we want to be. The other piece is for me, it took other people holding my vision for me, seeing my truth and seeing my possibility for me to align to this knowing myself.
We are seen as our possibility and helping into that reality. Sure we can do it on our own. In some phases, we need to keep our own council actually. But for growth or transformation, a mentor, coach, or counsel of some sort makes the process easier and quicker.
I actually do also believe there are some instances we can’t do it on our own. The stakes are too high, the challenge too big, so we need the guide, we need the professional on our team.
There’s also a phenomenon where we align to those around us. When we are around people who are where we want to be, we kind of rise to the occasion and start to become more like them.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
“When our higher self is in our body more, our lives take on a form more aligned to our biggest vision.” This was Jen Rode in at the Synergids Retreat Centre. Something totally clicked for me.
I got home and re-did my bathroom and changed things around to delight me and make me ‘feel more me’. I also meditated far more powerfully and felt my whole self-come into my body, this is a deeper level of being, to really embody our soul.
Best advice you can give to someone?
Don’t make decisions when rushed. Rushing sucks and whacks out our frontal lobe and disconnects us from our hearts and bodies.
Calm down. Choose from your Center. Don’t let people pressure you with their own agenda. Then weave self-improvement and self-care into your life. Don’t be so all or nothing. Small consistent steps add to lasting transformations.
Find what lights you up, and weave it into your life. Write your own self-help book in a way by doing what works for you, not just because other people say to do it or it worked for them. Find your own ways, then stick to them and prioritize them.
It isn’t so serious. Lighten up. Do what works, do less of what doesn’t work.
Who do you feel is an inspiration to your life?
Forrest Gump! I recently re-watched this film, and I loved it the first 3 times I watched it over the years. I mean can you get any better at acting than Tom Hanks in this role, that alone is amazing, but the character Forrest Gump inspires me! Be innocent no matter people’s ignorance. Don’t harden because the world is harsh.
“I just felt like running” Do what arises from within you and don’t look for validation or be disheartened if people don’t get it.
Follow the Breadcrumbs. Don’t over think so much. Life often hands us the opportunities we need even if they don’t make sense at the time. He went from running from bullies to playing College football to then graduating College, to being a war hero, then ping-pong champion, then Shrimp Boat Captain and finally investing in “some apple company” and never needing to worry about $ again. He does finally Marry Jenny, love of his life, after running across the country several times until he felt done, then had a healthy son.
Intelligence can be overrated, we get in our way and our intelligence turns on us by overcomplicating our lives and gunking up our heads with incessant thoughts. Don’t worry what people think of you, just do you.
What has been the winning moment in your personal life for you so far?
When I stopped trying so damn hard and realised I can just be me. In my 20’s I was striving, obsessed and had a very uneasy mind. I felt I had to get somewhere.
I am here. And that is good enough. It does not mean settling, far from it. From a calm mind and fulfilled heart I am far more productive. Now I can choose how I want to spend my time and what I want to do in the world.
As for a cool memory, in 2017, I decided after building up my online business and having a full clientele that I wanted more. I sat down at my altar where I meditate and connect, and I asked, “What does Jenna want?” What she wanted was to get back on stages, speak more, get dressed up and enjoy beauty, sing at my talk I wanted to live and express my gifts.
Literally 1 year later, well 1 year and 7 days, I was on stage as the headlining Keynote speaker at a Spirituality Expo. I’m also pretty happy I don’t date loser, assholes either!
My self-worth was so low in my younger years I accepted stupid behavior from relationships. I’ve now learned to demand more because I am worth more.
We are so in love with the “There is no doing in the world, without being first” concept that was first quoted by Oprah Winfrey, can you talk us through it?
SO GOOD. I heard this after buying the URL www.businesswithbeing.com (don’t go there, there’s nothing there yet!) but I wanted to create a program or conversation about how to do business with being. Only 2 days later I happened on this talk Oprah did at Standford Business school https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DlrqeWrczs. THAT was her advice, in all her years of business and skyrocketing to success on her own terms that was her main advice. To get to Being! Whoo hoo. I had chills and I was writing faster than I could capture the words, writing notes about this concept.
Needless to say, I saw it as confirmation I was on the right track.
BEING is the connection to your own inner knowing. It is not seeking external validation, but having internal KNOWING first, then asking for feedback is fine. But you are sovereign, you know you are connected deeply and KNOW. Being is deep worthiness, deep confidence. It’s knowing you are worthy as the sun will set at night and rise in the morning. We return to our nature and place on this earth as connected, and deeply meaningful beings.
NOW, when we come from this place, business will be done with consciousness. What that means is, it will inevitably be done in harmony with the whole. For the betterment of ourselves and others. We don’t need to be in poverty to be spiritual, we can have success so we can enjoy our own lives and enhance the lives and needs of this planet. I believe it’s time for Being, time for unity and rising the quality of all lives.
I personally see my role as helping leaders return to being. So leading is done from with a centered place, not a reactive one or a self-serving one.
If you could travel to being 15 again when you initially wanted to become part of the music industry, what would you do again?
I don’t know. I wish I let myself be a kid more I guess. I was always such a big thinker!
I could have played more. Let myself be 15. I was healing from chronic pain as well at the time, so it’s tricky. I think I did a good job getting through it. But, yes, I could have taken a load off and let myself be a kid more for sure.
The music industry will be there, I no longer believe in scarcity. Especially now with the internet, social media, Iphone cameras, and our ability to create our own mini-empires online without big music companies footing the bill. There’s a cost to that record deal, as an artist you have to sell your own visions for something that will turn a profit. That’s just business, but it comes at a cost when you are an artist, there needs to be a balance.
I’m really glad I didn’t “make it” then. I got to find my footing and my place in the world first. I also found my voice as my own authority and can be my own CEO.
I’m not a girl seeking approval and willing to do whatever to get an album done.
Have you at any point throughout your career trajectory had self-doubt?
Well, probably every week or at least every month I freak out and believe the niggly voices in my head. Luckily, it passes, I give myself permission to not know how things will go, the courage to grow and evolve, I sit and be with difficult feelings when they need me to, I call friends and get resourced, I receive through getting body work done or doing something fun, I make an appointment with my own coach or therapist or spiritual guide.
For every challenge, there is a solution at the exact same moment. Walking in nature helps. Journaling works, not having a diary, but writing without editing or censoring, meditation and pulling oracle cards of many different types.
Sometimes I will do a ceremony, ones that I learned mostly in Peru, but other times I just follow my soul. If I’m actually off track, I seek to be shown clarity, then I course correct or tweak certain projects.
Back to business, what are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
I don’t strive.
I Decide, Align, then Act.
I’ve actually just created an exciting new program called ShapeShift-Her. It’s a body alignment program for women who don’t feel comfortable in their bodies. It covers how to feel feelings to completion, how to actually get in our body, how to use body sensations as intelligence, how to have more fun and ease, how to trust ourselves more, how to go beneath societal messaging to reclaim our self-love, how to access more energy and most importantly create or align with our best body vehicle for ourselves, no one else. It is not a weight loss program. You could be out of shape and your proper weight, or overweight and fit. It’s about aligning and embodying. I’ve had a love-hate relationship with my mirror image, photos, and videos of me, I just am so over worrying about this and feel we all can align to our ideal size and enjoy our image in the process.
I am shifting my Essence Process to The Core Purpose Process. This will be an online program delivered in a 3-4 hour period and recorded. It is a powerful way to get clear on who we really are, and what to do with our career or life based on that information. You can sign up for my E-Zine at jennasmithcoaching.com to be alerted when this is offered.
I am speaking more and really enjoying the power of groups to amplify the messaging. I plan to write the rest of my book “How to Hold More Light” which was the topic of my Keynote Talk in Jan. 2018.
I see my 1 on 1 clients and love watching my clients thrive and grow, and become more of who they are. You can also contact me for an application for 1 on 1 work online.
I will be traveling to Costa Rica to speak and teach at The Synergids Retreat centre. December 10, 2018. The topic is connecting to your Life Purpose.
What does success look like in your eyes?
#1 Success is not settling, and not striving, it is in our ability to be present to others and ourselves while we live. Success is surrendering to your true nature and gifts and letting life teach you in the process.
Success is PRESENCE, the ability to be present in our lives.
Success is trusting what we want, wants us. Success is further deepening our knowledge of our worthiness and magnificence. Success is developing our gifts and then sharing them. This could be big or small but always with presence.
Success is also knowing you matter and that you deserve to have the best life and to have time to yourself and time to do what you love. You need to fill up your cup in order to give anything away. The rest is just stuff.
Most loved quote?
“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” Picasso
What does it mean to you to truly #BEYOUROWN?
You were here to be you. What people think does not matter as much as what you think. People still matter, but constantly adjusting your life to fit in or be liked will cost you your life.
You know what you like; you know what lights you up, do those things. Find others you can ‘be you’ with.
What else is on the horizon for 2018 for you?
I have some personal goals in the area of a more balanced life. More girls weekends away, more vacations, and if all goes well then I am saving to buy a second house.
I’m really looking forward to having live events where I will sing and activate people back to their being and their power with this information. I am excited to unify people in these events and online so they realise who incredibly not alone they are. So many people are waking up and seeking to ‘BE THEIR OWN’
It might not be this year, but I will hold a transformational event in my hometown Goderich, ON, Canada, called “Being rich with God”, it is not about religion, but about the connection. When we become rich in our being, it shows up in our lives. This is abundance.
Twitter: @jennasmithcoach | Instagram: @jennasmithcoaching