THE EMPRESS OF LIFE- Jennifer Lynn Adams
The very first time I saw Jennifer was a couple months ago when I passed by her while walking my dog Jake. I saw a beautiful girl with the prettiest red hair I had ever seen and a big smile. That was my first impression of her and I was very impressed by her independence. She was in her wheelchair and on her own, brave, self-confident and positivity shined from her. She instantly became my inspiration, but I was too shy to approach her. One time I found the courage to say “I love your hair” and that was it. Then I went to Portland and Detroit for 2.5 months where I inspired and decided to create “the Empress of life” and I made a promised to myself, that I just had to try and ask her for an interview. When I saw her again I said to myself “it's now or never” and that's when I finally approached her and asked, I was so excited when she said yes to an interview. As I researched her in preparation for the interview, I discovered that Jennifer is a company owner, performer, singer, writer and dancer and on top of it she is Ms. Wheelchair America 2014! There isn't a better example of an Empress of life.
Get inspired, enjoy!
Tell us a little bit about yourself:
I was born with partial limbs, so I have navigated my life with that challenge. There are a couple of people who have influenced me. The first people are my parents who adopted me and raised me with confidence and focused on my abilities. They recognized really early on, that I have a talent for singing and performing, so they hired a voice coach when I was six years old. The coach taught me how to sing and write music but also story telling, how to project my voice and how to tell a story. What I have learned is literally the foundation of my business. So I am very grateful that I was invested in during my youth. I did experienced bulling in school especially in middle school and high-school. That was a time when my self-esteem took a huge hit, but one thing that really got me through that time was holding on to that talent, being involved, stage performing- the performing arts. That was really where I found I could shine, so even when words were being spoken to me, I knew that I had something that made me feel good about myself.
Your company, the “SHIFT” provides a consulting/motivational speaking service, spreading a positive message of acceptance and diversity that changes lives. Tell us more abut it.
My speaking business “Shift” was inspired mostly by my own story with understanding how words can to tear someone down or bring someone up. That’s what I stand for: for positivity and words that build people up, and that’s the one where I go to business places or schools or anywhere where they ask me to come and provide my services. That’s where equality and inclusion comes in. Whatever differences you have, you create the whole environment, no matter of differences where everyone talents and gifts are included.
What is the biggest obstacle in your business?
I think that the biggest obstacle that I have recognized is that people are focus on things that don’t really build them up. The reality shows are empty and shallow. I believe that a true and authentic message is just not that popular, that’s why I have to force people with it and that’s the reason, I think why my business is not successful enough. That “this is the service that you really need, that will expand you vision and make your business better and will bring more prosperity to you”. Unfortunately I have a feeling they’re looking for something flashy or something that entertains them. So I think that’s my biggest obstacle.
What kind of advice you would give to people who are struggling with self acceptance, anxieties and lack of self - confidence?
That’s a really good question. I have struggled with all of those things very much, I was diagnosed with general anxiety disorder when I was in high-school and a lot of it came with the bullying I was facing. When you are in an environment where you feel attacked or by the way people are treating you, it creates anxiety. The message that I have for people who are struggling with those things is: you have to get out from behind those walls that is causing you to feel so closed in, to not feel claustrophobic in your life, trapped. The way to get beyond those forces is restructuring your life. That means getting rid of toxic people and speaking words of destruction out of your life. You have to fight for your freedom and wide open space, creativity in your own life, which means taking risks and following your dreams, what’s in your heart. You have to do it, because when you follow your dreams and you know who you are in the core of your being, that’s when you feel solid, center and fearless.
You are dancer, performer, painter, singer, songwriter, motivational speaker! That’s really impressive and I am proud of you! If you have to chose only one thing you should do to the rest of your life, what would it be?
That is a really good question, in fact this season you are not the only person who has asked that. Several people were asking me that question and never before in my life have people asked me that since I was a kid, the one thing I really wanted to do more than anything, was being a stage performer and to be well known for that. Motivational speaking is one of my passions but it’s not my number one. I love putting the message of positivity out there but I think that singing and dancing takes all of those worlds and puts it into motion and it expresses it in a artistic way out to world and there is power behind a song and a dance that can’t be just in words and that’s really what I would love to do.
Tell us a bit about your books?
The first book “dreams come true” to go along with my anti bullying message, the power of words is for children- age’s five to eleven and it really convinces to them the power of their words. It’s kind of like a scrapbook of my life and my story with that message.
Then I wrote another book called: “discover your identity. It’s a self help book that anyone can read and it will help anyone. It’s kind of like a guide where each chapter covers a different topic of personal identity and each chapter has the section at the end of the book that has questions for the reader about life, to meditate on who they really are. The goal of it is to get people thinking of whom they are and becoming students of themselves.
I wish to hear how you sing. Are there any videos that you could share with us?
There are a couple of videos on YouTube but unfortunately I haven’t recorded my songs professionally and that is something I really want to do but it’s a matter of finances. That one of the biggest obstacles to be honest, there are so many projects I would love to do but my goals are overcome with this obstacle. Sometime you have to play a game but I want to play it ethically and with integrity. You just have to work hard and never give up and that’s what I’m willing to doJ. Everything is happening for a reason, I think I would not handle fame when I was let’s say, twenty-five, but I feel like I am on the brink , I think that in about two years I will be more known and successful. That’s where my dreams are taking me right now.
You are Ms. Wheelchair America 2014. Wow, how has that experience changed your life?
That was so fun, that’s the number one thing that has been the most life changing experience that I have had, because I went from that yearning to share who I am and to share my story and it really opened the doors to be able to satisfy that yearning. I went from being a local girl to suddenly getting on planes and traveling around the United States. In one year I was in thirty-five States and I think I counted about a hundred cities. One thing that really changed my life was I was able to be sponsored to participate in adopted sports, for The first time I was introduced to adapted skiing, sailing, zip lining , surfing ….all these activities that helped me to connect to my physical strength and that I am actually an athlete. It forced me to face my fears. I never imagined that I would be in the middle of the ocean and not drowned. It also showed me that with the support of others you can overcome any challenge.
It’s a part of my message that we all overcome our limitations and to not be afraid.
What’s your favorite piece of clothing/ accessory, that makes you feel amazing?
Right now is that green, well fitted dress. I love that emerald color, it compliments my red hair and hazel eyes. It brings my Irish heritage I guess.
I think in general my statement is a dress, a dress that has a right structure to your body type and color. That’s what makes me feel confident.
I noticed you with make up; do you have anyone to help you?
No, I do my own make up!
What about love?
Hmm, a couple guys I met discouraged me. They were self-centered and had a weird desire of making me feel worst about myself and it just didn’t worked out. But I admit, I met a guy from Europe who was different than my previous experiences. So maybe there is pure, unconditional love…he made me believe in love again.
What is your observation thought about the contemporary woman? Have you noticed any new trend/ direction for women in the future?
That is a great question. I think that I sense in general that women really struggle with a lack of confidence and a lot of that comes from behavior that has been socially accepted by men, that it’s ok to tear down a woman…maybe they’re doing it unaware but basically women feel they have to have an approval of how much she is worth by men ……I think that, that is the number one trap and the way that we are going to be the most confident is by first finding who we are and really be solid in our own personal identity and becoming a productive woman. Then we are healthier, stronger and also when we are raising our children, then they will have a strong foundation and confidence with knowing who they are. “True beauty is when somebody experiences that from your spirit”.
The world gets caught up in aesthetic beauty but what we really need is inner beauty and that’s what would change the world too.
What does Jennifer do in her free time?
Well, I do a lot of art, whatever I am inspired by in that moment, wither it’s an emotion or something that I am processing through or I saw in nature that inspired me. I love dancing as well and I dance almost every day, I turn music on and I just move in my living room and I choreograph dances on my own and perform them. A lot of my free time is investing in my business as well: creating new ideas, new plans…I read books that motivate me within my business and inform me, that help me grow stronger with who I am …and I love spending time with people because I am an extravert so that’s what makes me feel alive. Then I have all my physical activities, also like to go to the beach as often as I can, being by the water makes me feel so alive. I am always trying to find something new, I like adventures and that’s how we learn about ourselves the most.
Who or what gives you strength? Do you have your life mentor?
I am Christian and I have a strong relationship with God, believing in impossible and miracles because that’s what got me here today, by being connected to something bigger than me and that’s powerful.
The mentors that are in my life, I have many of them, you are one right now, anyone that I see that is following his/her dreams and has overcome limitations and turning his/her life to something powerful and empowering others- those people are my mentors.
Any dreams, plans for the future?
As I shared, my dream is to become a performing artist but I guess my dream for others is to face their limitations, overcome them and find their dreams. And that starts with children from none developing countries, to give them a chance and help them to live not just to breathe or give food but to really live, to flourish.
Tell us your little secret?
Like I shared, to break the walls that holds you in. If I even go deeper into that, there is something powerful about sitting quiet and just listening to whatever comes to you. That gives your brain a chance to process and to get wisdom for your life.
What woman inspires you? Is there any you would like to meet?
There is several. I think now its Lisa Bevere. She has a book “Fight like a girl” and “Girls with swords”. She is like a warrior and strong, a doer.
Also the music group the X Ambassadors.
“Beauty is something you put on, you reflect it by taking in beauty from the world around you and then setting it free to shine in the world”.
You are amazing and true inspiration, thank you for your time,