Jennifer Hawthorne has followed her passions to become an incredibly successful speaker and author. She is the co-author of Chicken Soup for the Woman's Soul, Chicken Soup for the Mother's Soul, and Chicken Soup for the Single Soul.

Four of Jennifer's books have become number-one New York Times best sellers. More than 12 million of her books have been sold worldwide, and they've been translated into more than 30 languages, so no small feat. That is such a big, wonderful coup. Jennifer's Fortune 500 clients include companies like AT&T, Hallmark Cards, Delta Airlines and Motorola.

From my own experience of her, I can tell you that she has a huge heart, she reflects deeply, is profoundly caring, and her success is due in no small measure to her ability to bring these qualities to her writing. Jennifer's latest book, The Soul of Success, is very directly related to our focus on passion.

Janet Attwood: Thanks so much for being with us. I'm also honored to introduce a fellow member of Jack Canfield's Transformational Leadership Council, who is our co-host and will conduct our interview with Jennifer.

Bobbi DePorter is the president of Quantum Learning Network, and has become renowned for its incredibly successful SuperCamp, which provides learning and life skills programs that transform kids' lives. By the way, Bobbi has a new book coming out April 1st called Quantum Success. Bobbi, it's a pleasure to have you with us.

Bobbi DePorter: Thanks, Janet. Jennifer, I'm so pleased to co-host this interview and get to interact with you in this way.

Jennifer Hawthorne: Thank you so much, Bobbi.

Bobbi DePorter: I've been reading your materials and catching up on those and your website. I am greatly inspired by the depth of your sharing, because I know that comes from a very vulnerable place, where you want to share and have people get as much as possible from your learning and get to know who you are.

I've also been inspired by what other people have said and all that I've read about you. First of all, you have enjoyed incredible success as an author and speaker. How did your passions lead to your involvement in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series?

Jennifer Hawthorne: It started when I was a child. One of the most precious times of the day for me when I was growing up was my bedtime-story time, because my father was a master storyteller. During his life, my father wrote and recorded close to 500 original "Brer Rabbit" stories.

He did all the voices himself and believe me, when he told a story, he transported my little sisters and me to another world. It was enchanting, it was magical, and we learned so much about human nature and human character from those wonderful animals.

The stories had such an impact on me, that by the time I was seven years old, I was gathering all the children in my neighborhood to come and sit in rows on my driveway so that I could tell them stories.

I wanted to teach them, I wanted to talk to them, and although I wasn't really conscious of it yet at that tender age, still somehow I really understood the tremendous power of words to be able to transmit something, to move people, to touch them, to heal them. Although I certainly didn't realize it at the time, I really had been given the same gift as my father.

So Chicken Soup for the Soul was a natural forum for me, and a perfect example, I think, of how the universe orchestrates events to make sure that we are in the right place at the right time, to meet the right people, when we really are in the flow of surrendering to our soul's passion.

Bobbi DePorter: Everyone would want a father like that too, and just to know the tremendous impact it has on us as children, and to continue to take it and build from there. Your success with the Chicken Soup books resulted in a very successful and busy speaking career. Your latest book is, once again, directed to women and its theme is balance, something we can all use. How and why did balance become a passion for you?

Jennifer Hawthorne: I've been aware for a long time that balance is one of the greatest challenges that people-not only in our country, the U.S., but people around the world, especially women-are facing.

In fact, I recently read a statistic that said that something like 97.8% of women today say that they feel overwhelmed and stressed out. I'm sure that there are a lot of men who would say exactly the same thing. Frankly, I've always thought that finding balance in life was more about juggling schedules-a time management kind of thing, or maybe taking more time for ourselves.

Those things, of course, really can contribute to finding greater balance in life, but as I interviewed people for my last book, The Soul of Success, I began to realize that real balance is what happens when everything you're doing on the outside lines up with who you are on the inside.

I saw that when we become clear about who we are on the inside, then the circumstances of our lives begin to shift into alignment with that. I'll give you a beautiful example of that. One of the women I interviewed for The Soul of Success was Jacque Vines, who is the vice president and general manager of Cox Communications in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which happens to be my hometown.

Jacque's achieving that kind of status in the corporate world was certainly no small thing because not only is she a woman, she is also an African-American woman. She grew up in the Northeast, born to a drug-addict mother, and shuffled around from one foster home to another most of her life. So obviously, this was a tremendous achievement in the way that we think of traditional success.

Honestly, Jacque thought she had everything that she wanted. She didn't want to be married, she didn't want children. She felt that her career was her life, her passion-everything-until September 11th, 2001. The day of 9/11, Jacque was scheduled to give a presentation at the Cox headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia.

It was going to be a career-defining moment for her. It was a budget presentation that she had worked months on. She walked into that conference room that morning, however, just in time to see the second plane hit the second of the Twin Towers in New York City. She said that simultaneously, everybody got up and left the room to go and call someone, and she sat there realizing that she had no one to call.

Well, it was not a career-defining moment as much as it was a life-defining moment for Jacque, because at that point she really began to ask herself the question: "What is the point of all this success if I have no one to leave it to?" In fact, she said that she had to become painfully honest to accept the fact that she had had a major gap in her life and had not even had a clue it was there.

The point that I want to make with this story is that as soon as Jacque got so clear that what she had in her life was not what she wanted, the universe stepped in, it conspired to create and set up the circumstances which would change Jacque's life. The circumstances brought her niece into her life, and to make a long story short, she has ended up raising her niece's two small girls.

It's something that has added a dimension of joy that she speaks about in a way that is completely radiant. She has humor-my favorite line in the story is when she says, "You know, it is a humbling experience to realize that I can run a $150 million company, but I cannot get a two-year old to eat her broccoli!"

The trick, of course, is how do we know what's true for us on the inside? We're talking about balance here, and how true balance comes when everything on the outside lines up with who we are on the inside. I love that famous line from Shakespeare's Hamlet that says: "This, above all, to thine own self be true."

But how do we do that when we are so conditioned to live life based on how society thinks we should be or how our parents think we should be, or how our spouses, partners or kids think we should be? For Jacque, it happened because she was forced into it.

But this is the point-this is the path, and it takes a ruthless commitment to being honest with ourselves, to really discover what's true for us, and I honestly believe it's worth it. At least that's what I'm experiencing in my life.

Bobbi DePorter: Going along, having these assumptions, accepting what is or having these rigid pictures-I could just picture when you were talking about her and actually got chills when you said that moment, because standing there and seeing an empty room would hit you so hard.

Jennifer Hawthorne: Right, and it's amazing what can be the catalyst for these kinds of moments, but I really believe that they happen to us all the time. As long as we're paying attention, then it is an opportunity for us to go deeper. Any time we can go deeper, we are setting up the conditions in our own lives for greater transformation, to become the people we really want to be.

Bobbi DePorter: What do you see as the relationship between balance, success and passion?

Jennifer Hawthorne: That's a big topic. We just talked about balance and what I think true balance is. Let's talk about success and passion and then maybe we can relate the three of them. I think the most important thing I can say about success is that you have to define it for yourself, because until you do, you're always going to be buying into society's definition of success, which is about wealth, achievement, status, power.

It's unlikely that you will ever be fulfilled in a long-term way if you're looking to those kinds of things to base your success on. I love what Anna Quindlen, one of my favorite writers, said about this. She said: "If success is not on your own terms, if it looks good to the world, but does not feel good in your heart, then it is not success at all."

For those of you watching the Olympics, you probably had your attention captured by the American skier, Bode Miller. I loved what he said in an interview: "Some skiers look to others after a race to tell them how they've done," but that he knows when he's skied a good race and that's what matters to him. In other words, he's defining success for himself.

For me, success means peace. I discovered a long time ago, that even at moments of the greatest success in the traditional sense-for example, when Chicken Soup for the Woman's Soul became a number-one New York Times best seller-that was a moment of such great joy, excitement and deep satisfaction for me.

But at the end of the day, of course it was too superficial to last. It wasn't superficial at the time, but it's not something that could last. So for me, success is the ability to be at peace regardless of the circumstances in my life. We have to find a definition for ourselves.

When it comes to passion, this is not only one of Healthy Wealthy nWise's favorite topics, it's really one of my favorite topics as well. I think that it is so critical though, not to confuse passion of the soul with passion of the mind. I think it's so important not to confuse passion with adrenaline.

Passion does not have to be excited. In fact, I think that true passion is much more likely to be quiet and natural. It's something that we don't really have to figure out or think about a lot; it's something that we're just drawn to.

Another woman I interviewed for The Soul of Success who really brings great clarity of expression to this issue is Deva Premal, whose name many of you will recognize because her music, of course, has been at the top of new-age music charts for the last six or seven years now.

When Deva gave me her story, she told me that she had grown up in a very musical family-lots of musical talent, and she was no exception. But as she grew older, she tended to discount her gift as a singer and musician because it came so naturally. Fortunately for us, that turned around and she rediscovered, as an adult, that it doesn't have to be hard.

We have such a mentality in our culture these days of "no pain, no gain," and if it's something that comes easily or simply to us, then it can't really be meaningful. I really love what Deva said about this. She said, "I never saw a bird striving to be more beautiful or trying to sing a song more challenging than the one it's been given."

What beautiful expression for doing what comes naturally to us. In terms of the relationship between balance, success and passion, I don't really think that the relationship is a causal one. I don't think that if we have one, it causes another to exist.

I really feel that all three will arise simultaneously in our lives when any individual one of them is experienced, because all three of them are arising from something much deeper, and I believe that is a commitment to knowing oneself.

Again, I go back to the discussion about balance. When we really embark on that journey to discover who we are and what's true for us, to discover the true nature of who we really are, then of course our passion is going to be revealed to us, of course we're going to be doing what we love.

We're going to be experiencing success because our definition of success is going to include living our passion. Any time we're living our passion, we must experience a sense of balance in life. That's a mouthful-a lot to digest!

Bobbi DePorter: I loved what you said about the birds. When you walk out in the morning, it's so quiet and you can hear the birds singing. It related to why you feel so good when you go out there. It's so silent, that's all you're hearing and they're so beautiful, just being who they are.

Jennifer Hawthorne: Being who they are! That's right.

Bobbi DePorter: The Soul of Success suggests that inner experience is a better barometer of success than external measures, like wealth, salary, acclaim or achievements. Is there a relationship between inner experience and these external measures?

Jennifer Hawthorne: There's definitely a relationship, but let me first say that I don't think that inner experience is a better barometer of success; it's just a different one. I think that one of the most important points to bring into this discussion is that outer, or traditional, success, as we tend to think of it-the money, achievements, status, power-this kind of success we know now is absolutely no guarantee of happiness.

I think one of the best examples of that, that I have ever heard, came from Lynne Twist, who described in her book, The Soul of Money, her experience of talking with top women executives of Microsoft Corporation. Here's what she said. First of all, she described these women.

She said that their average age was 36 years old, their average net worth was about $10 million. She said that they rarely saw their families, and for most of them, their lives completely centered around their computers. Most of them took very little time to enjoy their material possessions, even though they certainly had anything they could possibly want.

They experienced very little satisfaction from their money. In fact, most of them said that they used their wealth largely to buy more childcare services and more home care services, which ultimately enabled them to work longer and harder. They kept hoping that some day, their success would bring them freedom, but by their own admission, they were not living the lives they wanted, and as a result, they felt that they were not free.

So yes, there's absolutely a relationship between inner experience and external measures, but I think that the degree of happiness that we experience, as it relates to the external circumstances of our lives, is always going to be determined by how true we're being to ourselves.

Bobbi DePorter: And that inner experience is something that we can control, and the outer experience is not something that we always can control.

Jennifer Hawthorne: So often, we work from the outer experience and try to fit our inner experience into that, when truly, if we take the time to get out of the conditioning, to stop listening to the outer voices, but to listen only to our own, silent voice within-that can really make the difference in that shifting of the external circumstances.

Bobbi DePorter: I like your word "some day." With so many people, it's: "I'll be doing this and then some day, it'll move to something that brings me happiness." But that some day is not today. In your book, you explore the role that 30 principles, not generally associated with success, play in achieving success.

They include things like compassion, self love, intuition, forgiveness and accountability. I love the list. Every one of them you say and reflect on. Will you talk to us about how such principles relate to the success one experiences in life?

Jennifer Hawthorne: Yes, I'd love to, because this is a real passion of mine. I feel that in Western culture, we spend so much time and effort in doing things to be successful that we often forget about the simplicity of just being. As I gathered stories from women for my book, The Soul of Success, I really began to see that if we just allow ourselves to be different, we can experience greater success than we've ever experienced before by doing things.

I don't have a problem with traditional success. I don't have a problem with techniques like time management and goal setting, which I think can be very valuable tools for us. But the point is that I feel there are deeper values within us that have the potential to make the kinds of changes in our lives that we care about, and that sometimes can even save our lives.

There's a beautiful example of that in the story I received from Ginny Walden, one of the women in my book, that I really want to share with you. It is so powerful and it's had such an impact on my life.

Ginny found herself in the hospital one night. She had been diagnosed with stage-three advanced breast cancer and believe me, it was such a shock because Ginny had been so healthy all her life. She had been extraordinarily healthy.

As a teen, she had almost made the US Olympic swim team. She was so talented in that area and she was a great athlete. Although she didn't make the Olympics, she continued all her life to swim with a passion, to coach swimming, to eat well, to have lots of fresh air, exercise, sunshine, and she was just the picture of good health.

So when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, it was such a shock. She went through all the traditional therapies. She adopted a lot of alternative therapies as well, and finally as a last resort, the doctors recommended that she do this very risky treatment called stem-cell rescue, that many of our listeners may be familiar with.

It's where stem cells are extracted from the bones in the body and frozen while the body is exposed to large doses of chemotherapy, which hopefully kill all the cancer cells. Then, the stem cells are re-introduced into the body. Theoretically, if all goes well, by the tenth day, everything kicks back in and is working normally.

Well, Ginny was on her ninth day and her blood cell count was so low that she had to be admitted to the hospital, where they put this big sign on the door that essentially meant "do not breathe on me, or I will probably die." She was really in bad shape.

As she stood in front of the mirror looking at herself, she saw her bald head, the dark circles under her eyes, her emaciated frame, and friends had always said to her: "Ginny, you need to love yourself unconditionally," but she said she had never had a role model for that.

Her parents had been very hard on her. She really didn't know what unconditional love meant, but as she stood there at the sink, looking at herself in the mirror, she said that suddenly, from deep within her belly, there arose this feeling of compassion for herself that came all the way up to her eyes.

She started to cry and suddenly started to massage herself, to touch her body the way a mother would bathe an infant, and the whole time, she talked to herself and said "I love you" to her body, and "I care about you, I love you so much."

After she had massaged her whole body like that, she got into bed, she said she felt really great after doing that, and she went to sleep pretty good. She said the next morning, the nurses came in, drew her blood as always, and then a short time later, the doctor came in and suddenly threw up his hands and started yelling.

All the nurses in the ward came running to see what had happened. Ginny said, "They probably thought I had died," but he said, "Yesterday, her blood counts were 600. Today they're 7,700. They are normal!" They thought that there must be some mistake or that she had a fever, but two days later, she was still completely normal and they allowed her to go home.

Now it's about eight years later, and Ginny is still cancer free. I have to say, to me, this is the power of self love. Self love is when we do something for ourselves, whether it's exercising at the gym or eating well, or whatever it is. But we don't do it from the level of the mind, thinking that we should or that we're obligated to do it; we do it as an act of self love.

Ginny's story went to deep into my heart and psyche that when I got home from Hawaii two years ago, when I had met Ginny and was given her story, I asked myself if I could do the same thing. I was dealing with the recurrence of a little basal-call carcinoma that had reappeared on the side of my nose.

Like Ginny, I had done everything to try to heal this, and in desperation and feeling like a failure, I finally broke down and made an appointment for a biopsy because I knew that it was growing and I needed to have it tended to. One morning, I said, "Can I love myself the way Ginny Walden did?"

Even though Ginny's happened in such a spontaneous way and mine was introduced from the level of the mind, I really began to pour love into my body and do the same thing that Ginny did. I said, "I love you," I touched the side of my nose and said, "I love you. What can I do for you?"

And within moments, the answer came to me, what I needed to do. I'll just tell you that within 10 days, I was able to cancel my appointment for my biopsy because my cancer was gone. To me, this is the power of self love. You mentioned that I have 27 principles in The Soul of Success like self love-they're all on the level of different ways of being, rather than doing more.

I feel like we just know how to do everything. We have every book that could ever be written to tell us how to be successful on the level of doing, but now, let's be quieter. Let's adopt some of these more feminine principles of success-things that have to do with receiving more, being gentler to ourselves, being more open to be able to hear the voice within us.

Honestly, I feel that all of the answers are in us if we just allow ourselves to be quiet enough to hear them. That's how I feel that these principles of being can relate to one's experience of success in life.

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