Jolinda Johnson is a fertility coach who takes the struggle out of trying to conceive. She helps women who want to become mothers turn their longing into positive action so they have the best chance at getting pregnant and creating the family of their dreams.
She is a certified life coach (Beautiful You Life Coaching Academy) and a certified holistic health coach (Institute of Integrative Nutrition) with a specialisation in hormone health. She is passionate about all things women’s health from menstrual cycles to soulful sex to radical self-love.
She has been featured on the cover of Inspired Coach magazine and was nominated for the Beautiful You Life Coaching Academy CEO Shine Award in 2017. While born and raised in Detroit, Michigan she has called Barcelona, Spain her home for nearly a decade. In addition to coaching, she is a single mom to a four-year-old son and is grateful every day that she finally figured out what it means to be happy and live life on her own terms.
Can you introduce yourself to us and take us through your journey to where you are now?
My journey definitely hasn’t been a straight line from point A to point B, but all of the twists and turns have made it a lot more interesting for sure. When I graduated from Columbia University in 2004 with a B.A. in History, I still hadn’t connected to my true purpose, but I knew that everyone expected me to be a lawyer or a diplomat. So I did what anyone would do while trying to make up her mind and I tucked myself safely away in my comfort zone, which for me meant taking a job as a teacher and earning my Master’s degree as a New York City Teaching Fellow. As the daughter of a retired elementary school principal I had grown up surrounded by educators and had volunteered in schools and after-school programs throughout high school and university, so while it may have been challenging in those early years, it was definitely familiar. It was my teaching career that allowed me to come to Spain in 2008. At that point, my plan was still to teach for a little while longer and then go back to the States to follow the original plan.
After my first year, however, working as a language and culture assistant through the Culture on International Education Exchange, I was hired by a school in Barcelona and decided to continue for what became a total of six years more. Throughout that whole time, though, I always had a feeling that I was missing my calling. I took the first step to find what that was in 2012 when I signed up to train as a Holistic Health Coach with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. I’ll never forget when I first heard the lecture on pregnancy and how critical preconception care is. I wasn’t even trying to have a baby at that point, but an alarm started going off in my head saying, “More women need to know about this.” That was the first time I really heard the call to not only become a coach but also to focus on women’s health.
It would be years before I took that idea seriously, however, and it wasn’t until I became totally overwhelmed with the process of trying to conceive a child myself (the second baby I never had) that I realised what a need there is for women to have someone by their side helping them to not only make sense of their fertility but also live their best lives on their way to motherhood. Fast forward three years later and I have created a business whose mission is to do just that. As a Fertility Coach, I combine my training as a Certified Life Coach with my training as a Certified Holistic Health Coach, to help women break through the barriers that are holding them back on their fertility journeys so they can finally conceive the babies of their dreams.
What is a day in the life of you like?
What happens throughout the day varies considerably, but it always starts out the same. I wake up at 5.00 so I am guaranteed two hours of quiet time before my four-year-old son wakes up. The first thing I do after getting out of bed is head to the kitchen and drink a litre of water. I’ll drink half of it plain and then add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, the juice of 1 lemon, and 1 teaspoon of chlorella blended to the second. That goes down with a probiotic and my B vitamin. As women, we need at least two litres of water a day for everything to keep running smoothly, especially when it comes to our reproductive systems and we’re always slightly dehydrated in the morning. Then I spend an hour at my altar, which is a space in my apartment dedicated to meditation, prayer, and reflection. I have found that having a place where I can go every day to connect with my higher self, God, and goddess, has been life-changing and the best way I know to keep my stress and anxiety at bay.
After that, I’ll wake up my body with some gentle stretching before I hop on the computer and start answering any emails I received overnight. At 7.30 I have my morning call with my boyfriend which is one of the rituals we created to keep our long-distance relationship going strong. I’m in Spain and he’s in Wales, but we always make sure to start our day with each other over the phone no matter what. By that time my son is up and it’s time for the usual morning routine to get him off to school.
My work day officially starts at 9:30. If it’s a Monday, I don’t see any clients and instead use my time to plan out my content for the week, do a training (lifelong professional development is so important), read, and write. I read every day, but Monday is definitely a heavy research day. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are client days, which involve talking to women in the United States, the UK, and Australia. Because I did my life coach training through Beautiful You Coaching Academy (based in Australia) I have been able to connect with women from all over the world, which has been a huge help to my business. Friday is all about getting my blog published, sending out the newsletter, reaching out to prospective clients, and working on any of the backend tasks that didn’t get done over the course of the week. My day ends between 5pm and 6pm depending on when I need to pick up my son from school.
The evening is then spent doing all of the things you would expect of a single mom: taking him to the park, making dinner, reading stories, and off to bed. Wednesday he stays with my ex-husband, so that’s my favourite day for networking or meeting up with friends. I always try my best to be in bed by 10pm or at least disconnected from my computer and phone. However much you want to accomplish in this world, you can’t do any of it without sleep!
What was the concept behind launching Heart-Centred Fertility Coaching?
When I first started, I really wanted to help women ease the overwhelm when it comes to trying to conceive. There’s so much conflicting information out there and if you’re a highly ambitious woman like my clients tend to be, you are used to making a plan, following the steps, and getting what you want. Having a baby doesn’t work like that, however, and there is a huge part of it that is ultimately out of your control. It’s really hard to navigate the uncertainty though when you have never learned to trust yourself, to build a connection with your body based on unconditional love, and make your health and wellbeing a top priority without apologies.
It’s also really difficult to identify the areas of your life that could be preventing you from becoming a mother all on your own. I have had so many initial consultations that start out with, “I’ve been trying for a year and I’m still not pregnant.” After asking them what the last year has been like, there are undoubtedly things that come up that are huge fertility blockers: prolonged stress, lack of sleep, disordered eating, family conflicts, lack of desire for sex, etc. These are all really tough to tackle on your own without someone else’s support. That’s where I come in.
How is Heart-Centred Fertility Coaching funded, is it bootstrapped, self-funded etc?
At this point, it is all self-funded.
Can you tell us how you are helping women feel empowered whilst embarking on their fertility journey?
For me, feeling empowered is all about having the power to make your own choices and feeling confident when doing so. In terms of preparing for pregnancy, this comes from building a deeper connection with your body, which leads to greater trust in yourself; understanding how you can best support conception through your diet and lifestyle choices, and becoming aware of the alternative options you have for realising your dreams of motherhood, should natural conception be taken off the table. These are all things that I help my clients experience as a result of working with me.
Another element of empowerment is knowing that you are your own expert and acting accordingly. So many of us constantly seek permission from outside sources when we know exactly what we want to do. It’s therefore important to me that my clients begin to tap into their own inner wisdom, which coincidentally comes from the womb space, and develops an unshakeable faith in what their intuition is trying to tell them.
Can you highlight 3 tips to help women maximise their own fertility chances through a holistic lifestyle approach?
- First and foremost, get to know your cycle. Make sure that your cycle is regular 21-35 days), identify the day that you ovulate (and confirm that ovulation is Also, take a look at the colour and consistency of your menstrual blood as this can be a good indication of any underlying hormonal issues. Secondly, start cleaning up your diet and focus on whole foods that will support hormonal balance and nourish your body, especially your liver and gut.
- You also want to take a good look at your cosmetics and personal care products since the toxins we absorb through our skin can also make getting pregnant that much harder.
- Thirdly, do whatever you can to get your stress levels under control. This applies to external stress, like things that contribute to feelings of worry and anxiety, as well as internal stress, like food that contributes to inflammation. It only makes sense that if your body is constantly on high alert, it won’t think that it’s an ideal time to conceive.
Who is the team behind you at Heart-Centred Fertility Coaching?
For now, I am still a solopreneur, which means everything you see has come directly from me.
Where can you see yourself within the next 3-5 years?
I’ll definitely still be working as a fertility coach, but I would love to have a team that supports me in reaching even more women. As one person, I can only do so much and I’m really looking forward to the day when I can hire other coaches to help me take my mission to the next level. I also expect that in three years I’ll have written my first book which will be all about how women in their twenties can get smart about their fertility way before it’s time to start trying.
I know so many women who were convinced that they would never want kids and so lived their lives accordingly (drinking, smoking, not a care in the world for their menstrual cycle) only to discover that a baby is the only thing they wanted in their thirties. The conversation around infertility has really opened up lately, but not enough attention is being given to fertility and all of the ways that we can support it before it’s too late. Helping women to make sense of their fertility and see it as an integral part of their health is the reason why I get out of bed every day to keep doing what I do and it’s a message that I would like to share in the coming years through online training programs, writing for larger media outlets and speaking engagements.
What strategies do you have in place when looking at the expansion of Heart-Centred Fertility Coaching?
I’m not currently implementing any growth strategies at this point. I’m still trying to build the strongest foundation possible.
Can you tell us what areas you have struggled in professionally?
The biggest one definitely has to do with adopting the entrepreneurial mindset. Since I was coming from a teaching background, I had only ever worked for other people, so making the leap to work for myself was a big one. It’s oh too easy to make excuses or to put things off when no one is holding you accountable.
I also had a pretty big subconscious block that I had to work through regarding money. I think a lot of coaches go into it because they want to be of service, and it’s possible that along the way you learned that being of service and making money are somehow incompatible. That, of course, is a total lie, and a greater income actually allows us to fulfil our mission in even more powerful ways. Once I got my head around that it became easier to start implementing all the steps that you need to thrive in the online coaching world.
I also had to realise that my ideal client wasn’t every woman struggling to get pregnant and that I had to choose a niche within fertility coaching that allowed me to speak more effectively to my audience and also provide me with the energy I needed to keep going no matter what. This is another reason why reaching out to other professionals in your same industry is key because you always have people that you can refer potential clients to if you see that you’re not the right fit. f your intuition says that someone isn’t for you at that initial consult, it’s best not to force it. I’ve learned the hard way that you can’t be more enthusiastic about the changes your client should make than she is. If it’s not a 100% yes from both of you at the beginning, problems could easily arise later on.
Have you ever had any other mentor? If so how has this benefitted you to grow?
I feel lucky to have been mentored by a number of women throughout the last couple of years. Julie Parker, the founder, and CEO of Beautiful You Life Coaching Academy has been a huge part of my journey. Jade Mackenzie, the founder, and CEO of Event Head helped me get off on the right foot with my business as my coach. Dr. Safiyah Satterwhite, CEO, and founder of She Heals the World, was the leader of a Mastermind I did last spring and her support has meant the world to me as well.
All three of them have helped me to broaden my perspective of what’s possible for me and that it is possible to be smart about business while still running it from a beautiful heart-centered place.
What outlets do you use to market Heart-Centred Fertility Coaching?
I fell in love with Instagram when I started using it nearly two years ago and that is still where I make connections with a lot of my clients. I also use Facebook, primarily through my own Facebook group and my activity in various other groups. I have a weekly newsletter that I send out to my community, and continue to build the coveted “list.”
In addition to those things, however, I also continue to network face-to-face. The women that I meet in person may not be in need of my services, but they’ll undoubtedly know someone who does. That recommendation from a close friend, in my opinion, will always carry greater weight than an ad that pops up in your news feed. I have also been interviewed on a number of podcasts and was invited to contribute to a book that will be released in January through The Holistic Fashionista. I’ve just started using writing more as a way to spread my message and look forward to doing more of that in the future.
Which methods are you using to build your own support network?
I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to surround yourself with other women who are true believers in your vision and your dreams. I discovered just what that feels like a couple years ago when I trained with Beautiful You Life Coaching Academy. It is such an inspiring network of women from all over the world who truly want to see each other succeed.
I make sure to keep in touch with those who studied with me in my cohort as well as my trainers and other coaches who are in the process of building their businesses. I also attend networking events here in Barcelona and feel fortunate to have made so many friends that way as well. I always say, what we give to others we give to ourselves, so if you want to feel more supported, offer your support.
What do you believe are the common misconceptions about being a fertility coach and how are you using your platform and voice to educate people more?
Most people have no idea what I do until I explain it, but some of the things they assume are that I am a medical doctor (which is absolutely not the case) or that I am a therapist (which isn’t true either). I think that it’s a very new thing for people to wrap their heads around, that the most important time in terms of conception is the three months before it occurs and that both the man and woman can take steps during that time to increase the likelihood of a healthy pregnancy.
I use my voice to wake people up to this fact, as well as to emphasise the importance of taking care of yourself way before you even want to have a baby. Three months is enough time to change the quality of the egg, but what about all of the years that you’ve been on hormonal birth control (possibly started before your menstrual cycle even matured) or your gut health that has been compromised from processed foods and antibiotics, or your liver that is sluggish from breaking down everything from alcohol to the toxins in your favourite beauty products?
Those are just three areas that affect our fertility that takes more than just a few months to correct, especially if you are only becoming aware of such things in your mid-thirties when your ovarian reserve is already dwindling. If you know how to take care of yourself from the beginning, however, and make choices based on maintaining hormonal balance and supporting your body from a place of love and acceptance, you can save yourself a lot of frustration later on. While my clients are those who have already been struggling for a while, I would ideally like to work with younger women through online courses and group programs so that they never have to be in the position of asking, “Why didn’t I know this before?”
What would you like to see changed for millennials in business?
I would love to see more companies in the United States and across the globe offer fertility benefits for women who need to undergo treatments such as IVF or those who are interested in egg freezing as an option for having children later in life. This varies wildly from country to country, but I think some level of financial support should be a given no matter where you live. Along with that same line, I would also like to see women in the United States have access to paid maternity leave since I know this is often a factor in why some of us wait so long to start in the first place. I feel lucky to have been in Spain when my son was born where everyone is guaranteed four months, but if I had been in my home state of Michigan it would have been as little as six weeks.
More generally, something that I see amongst highly ambitious millennial women is the tendency to take a very masculine approach to business which requires an abandonment of our feminine energy. Feminine energy has many powerful traits that we can use to our advantages, such as empathy, patience, intuition, and receptivity. It also involves honouring our menstrual cycles rather than covering them up or working against them. You can get a lot further if you know what tasks go best with each part of your cycle and are able to harness this specific energy to get what you want.
What is the best piece of business advice you have received to date?
Always go back to your ‘why.’
What is the number 1 critical lesson you have learned in your career so far?
No one will believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself.
How do you create an evenly balanced work and personal life?
As a single mom, this can be challenging at times, but I think it comes down to staying present and setting strict boundaries. In terms of staying present, I try to give my full attention to the task at hand whether that be drafting a blog post or playing hide-and-seek with my son. This helps me to stay focused and is also a good way to relieve feelings of guilt from not being able to do more.
In terms of boundaries, I think it’s so important for any entrepreneur to set strict limits, or else it can feel like you’re always working. And as much as I love my work, I also need time to meditate in the morning, go to the beach, read a book that doesn’t have to do with reproductive health and make the most of the time I have with my boyfriend when we see each other every few weeks.
One of the most important boundaries that I have set with myself over the last year is disconnecting from my electronic devices by 10PM. I used to be online until all hours of the night, responding to emails, commenting on posts, meeting up with other coaches, etc. because I didn’t want to miss out on anything. Something I know now is that you’ll miss out on everything if you don’t get enough sleep and I’ve made that my top priority in the last six months.
The highlight of your career so far?
Whenever I find out that one of my clients is pregnant, that’s the biggest highlight of them all. Being featured on the cover of Inspired Coach magazine at the beginning of the year was absolutely incredible, as was traveling to Australia for the first time and attending the Beautiful You Inspiration Awards Ceremony as a nominee for the CEO Shine award last spring. I didn’t take home the award, but being recognised for my work in that way was truly gratifying.
What gives you ultimate career satisfaction?
What satisfies me most is seeing a client go from, “I’ll never be a mother,” to believing with all her heart that motherhood is possible for her again. Helping women change their perspective and tap into their passion, joy, and creative power is what satisfies me most. I love asking the right questions that lead my clients to discover their own answers, clues for their journey that they had been seeking from outside sources when they were hidden deep within their inner knowing all along. Pregnancy announcements are the cherry on top!
What challenges have you seen to have been presented during the growth of Heart-Centred Facility Coaching?
Being totally honest here, the biggest challenges have been bumping up against my own limiting beliefs. When I was a child I was constantly teased for having a club foot. That basically meant that I walked differently and had to wear special shoes until the age of thirteen when the last of four major operations made it possible to blend in with my peers. I was ostracised so much throughout my childhood, however, I developed a fierce inner critic who always tried to convince me that I was and never would be good enough. Perfectionism was my guiding ideology and of course, that is not a good mentality to have as an entrepreneur when putting yourself out there and making mistakes is the name of the game.
In terms of growing my business, you may have been expecting an answer that had to do with funding or business strategy, but the fact is that nothing is harder than going up against that part of your subconscious that says to you on a daily basis, this isn’t safe and you’re not enough. Until you get that part straight, which thanks to a lot of inner work I have, everything else will seem infinitely harder than it needs to be.
Which other leading entrepreneurs and pioneering game changers do you also admire and why?
I deeply admire Julie Parker, as I mentioned before, for her work not only as a businesswoman but also as a priestess and social activist. She is one of the reasons why I realised how called I was to incorporate the spiritual aspect into my coaching, which has been revolutionary for both me and my clients.
Latham Thomas is another woman who I deeply respect not only for her work in women’s health and wellness but also for how she uses her platform to bring attention to issues of social justice and to give a voice to groups that are too often ignored. Her book about self-care, ‘Own Your Glow,’ is also a must-read. I also need to mention Alisa Vitti and Nicole Jardim for the way they are committed to changing the conversation around hormone health and menstruation. Jardim’s podcast, ‘The Period Party’, is one of my favourites.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
‘Permission’ by Lauren White
Top 3 go-to Podcast channels?
- ‘The Priestess’ Podcast.
- ‘The Period’Party.’
- ‘The Marie Forleo’ Podcast.
How do you measure your own terms of success?
I measure my success by my ability to use my voice and fulfil my purpose while creating a life I love. This means using my skills as a coach, an educator, a speaker, and a writer on a regular basis so that I can help women think about their fertility in a whole new way. At the heart of it, I am most successful when I am acknowledging my gifts and using them in service.
What does #BEYOUROWN mean to you?
#BEYOUROWN means embracing your authentic self and releasing the idea that you were ever meant to be anybody else. It’s showing up every day with the knowledge that your worth as a woman doesn’t depend on your accomplishments, your bank account, who you marry, or how many children you have, but rather on the fact that you made it to this world, and that you were with all of the gifts that you need to fulfil your unique purpose. There will never be another you. You are one of a kind. Own it!
Lastly, what is next for you?
I definitely want to get started on my first book next year, but I am also considering birthing a podcast into the world as well. I think the more voices that can contribute to the fertility conversation the better, and it would give me a chance to showcase some of the other coaches and women’s health professionals that I admire and respect. I still have yet to run my first group coaching program, so that is definitely something that I have on the immediate horizon as well. Lastly, I would like to do more public speaking. I have a speaking engagement booked next year in London, and I’m hoping that it will be just one of many in 2019.