About the Vision…
“Formulate and stamp indelibly on your mind a mental picture of yourself succeeding at your objective. Hold this picture tenaciously and never permit it to fade. Your mind will seek to develop this picture.” Norman Vincent Peale.
As a child, JoAnne was a quiet child who loved books and was an avid reader. One of her former teachers said that JoAnne and her school friends would wait with anticipation for the bookmobile to arrive bi-weekly so they could once again load up their arms with new reading material. Her childhood heroes were found there too. Her favourite was Dr Tom Dooley, an American doctor who gave up a lucrative career in the US to serve the children left orphaned by the war in Laos. Books always provided the inspiration at various stages of her life.
In the early 1980’s she discovered a book called, ‘The Greatest Miracle’ written by Og Mandino. When she read this book she was so moved by the gentle old ragpicker, named Simon Potter. He spent his days picking people up who were very discouraged and had given up on life, people who were at their lowest and had thrown themselves on the waste-heaps of life. He gave them encouragement, helped to restore their self-esteem, and gain the confidence to move on in a healthy, prosperous way with their lives. The words of this book have stayed with her since that day and have become part of the ‘quiet voice from within’ urging her toward numerous adventures in her life. His message instilled in her heart: courage, self-belief and confidence to make significant changes, which led her on to a very stimulating life and a successful business career.
She admired this gentle ragpicker and attempted to imitate him in the way that she lived. In her various encounters with people, she was present for those who were discouraged, struggling or simply needed the compassion of another human soul to walk with them on their journey. Not long ago, as she was preparing for a significant milestone birthday and reflecting upon the course of her life, she realized that indeed, she too had become a ragpicker. The precious ragpicker became the inspiration for her book ‘Post Cards from a Ragpicker.’
In the early part of 1985, she felt the need to step away from the ‘busyness’ of daily life and spend some quiet time alone. She spent three days in silence at a retreat house. During that time at the retreat centre, the director recommended a variety of reading materials. In a book written by Matthew Fox, JoAnne read about the concept of ‘Dancing Sarah’s Circle,’ contrasted with ‘Climbing Jacob’s Ladder.’
The idea of ‘Dancing Sarah’s Circle’ was that of a group of people dancing the dance of life in a circular pattern holding one another’s hands. The idea was that everyone could dance in the circle of life, no matter how handicapped they may be in one sense or the other, either physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually. The contrasting idea of Climbing Jacob’s Ladder was the structure used by most of the world today, representing competition. In order to advance, one must climb the ladder of success, using both hands and both feet. If you go too fast, your fingers will be crushed by the foot of the person ahead, who is also striving to move quickly up that ladder. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to assist the person coming up behind you. Climbing this ladder requires the use of everything you have.
JoAnne was captured by these images, as she could clearly see how the practice of ‘Climbing Jacob’s Ladder’ was being used in the business world she had experienced thus far. The concept of ‘Dancing Sarah’s Circle’ really impressed her. It provided a more positive way to live. She related to Sarah, as she was late in years when her dream of having a child was fulfilled. Her situation was perhaps similar to JoAnne’s dream of writing her book, mentoring and coaching, as these dreams had been years in the making. She envisioned a world in which she’d be involved in encouraging others to become more fully engaged in the dance of their own authentic life. Supported by people of like mind, they’d all be connected by the holding of one another’s hands. This vision included all: the young and the old, the healthy, the broken, the handicapped, the challenged, those who were lacking and those who had enough to share.
As JoAnne saw it, we were all handicapped or challenged in one way or another. In her mind, we all qualified for the handicap parking spot, except that in reality, only a certain few get the sticker for their car. This dance of life was set to music. The music was the rhythm, the beat and the lyrics of each participant’s soul, dancing in harmony with the inner calling of their spirit. Thus the dancing people on the logo.
Using this all-encompassing approach in her life, resulted in many blessings and opportunities for her own personal growth toward a more authentic life. She found herself eagerly encouraging others to do the same. These experiences were amazing!
Once again a book changed her perspective.
Then in 2001, another book captured her attention. ‘The On-Purpose® Person’ subtitled ‘Making Your Life Make Sense.’ She read these words on the back cover. ”Is your life filled, yet unfulfilled? Do you feel pulled in a number of different directions? Does your schedule seem totally out of control? Have you been trying to live up to everyone else’s expectations while your own plans and dreams go unfulfilled?” She could relate to almost every question there.
So she sat down and read it. In the back of the book, she read the words, “Would you like to become an On-Purpose guide and help others become on purpose?” She said sarcastically to herself, “Sure would if I only had clue, where I was going.” She signed up to participate in an upcoming two-day workshop/retreat in Florida that the author Kevin McCarthy was conducting at month end.” She just knew she had to be there!
Her time there impacted her soul deeply and she has never been the same. She got to the core of who she is as a person and defined a ‘two word’ concise, yet all-encompassing purpose statement. It provided her with a deep feeling of significance, gave her new meaning to her work and filled her life with a sense of Divine Order. She received focus, clarity and the courage to eventually let go of commitments and involvements that were not well-aligned with her purpose. It left her with a sense of awe that God had created her ‘uniquely’. Her priorities gradually changed. It has been the catalyst for many changes since then. She came to realize that it not about prioritizing her schedule. It’s about scheduling her highest priorities into her day. It’s been sixteen years since that On-Purpose® Experience. She continues to mentor with Kevin McCarthy and share this invaluable programme which she is honoured to facilitate with his permission to use his trademark in The On-Purpose® Lady.
In early 2004 another high impact book came across her path. It was called the ‘Dream Giver’ by Bruce Wilkinson. She could barely read it without wanting to cry. Feeling as if her dreams were on hold, JoAnne feared she was losing her deepest dreams. Tending to all the necessities, her life was sorely lacking in passion. She was feeling a type of sadness, and deep loss, almost like mourning a lost life. There was an emptiness within that was difficult to describe. Her friend, Sidonia coined this as the ’empty soul syndrome.’ She learned that it sometimes takes a great deal of courage to simply hold on to the small vision of a dream, especially when one cannot see a path toward its fulfilment. That vision can become faded and foggy, barely visible. Somehow she found that little bit of courage day by day. It usually came from someone who inspired her or from something she read. Her husband and her friends have supported her. They have been kind to her dreams.
At present many of her dreams are taking form and becoming reality through the creation of The On-Purpose® Lady business. Sometimes it seems as if this has taken a lifetime. It has taken a lifetime. Life is a journey of discovery as we are always striving, learning and challenging ourselves. It is about building the mental muscles to continue to work toward that vision.
Keep holding your vision and keep playing that magical movie in your head. It will eventually take you where your heart wants to go. — The Ragpicker