Interview with Jennifer Beckstrand, An Extraordinary, Ordinary Woman


Jennifer Beckstrand, an extraordinary, ordinary woman.  The last thing I want is for this title and description to be perceived as derogatory or demeaning.  I have known Jennifer and her family for many years. I grew up with her children.  The reason why Jennifer is ordinary is because she fits right in with everyone else in the neighborhood.  She doesn’t live in a mansion, drive a $100,000 car, or show off in any sort of flashy way.  However, throughout her life she has directed multiple fantastic theatre productions and is now an award-winning author.  When my mom, who is close to Jennifer, told me that she had won an award for her books, I was surprised because I didn’t know that she wrote.  Nevertheless, at the same time I was not surprised, because Jennifer Beckstrand is great at whatever she does.  I want to thank Jennifer for taking the time to sit down with me for an interview.  The interview was short and her insights were simple, but I loved all of them.  Jennifer knows how to convey a lot of meaning in just a few words… hmmm… she must be an award-winning author.  Enjoy!

Definition of Success

“Success in life is about being happy and having the courage to take the risks to follow your dreams.”  That might be the best definition I have heard!  So far, most people who I have interviewed have mentioned the “happiness” part about success.  However, Jennifer’s addition to the definition–having courage to take risks–is beautiful because it allows for each individual to achieve his or her own kind of success.  I am a firm believer that true success in life is different for everyone.  One of the worst things you can do is compare your life to someone else’s.  You never know all of the facts.  Therefore, if someone is truly, deeply happy and lives without fear, I can’t think of a better life.

Habits of Success

I need to develop this habit:  “Do the hard things first. Do the things that you don’t want to do first.”  This was Jennifer’s first comment when I asked her about her habits.  I want to connect this to a comment that I recently heard from Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks.  Cuban is not a believer in following your passion as much as he is a believer in picking something to be excellent at.  Cuban pointed out that when you work really hard at something and become great at it, you end up loving it.  That is a fascinating concept.  In connecting this with Jennifer’s comment, when you consistently do the hard things first, you will become good at them and you may end up loving them.  Do not fear difficulty.  Take courage!  You can do difficult things.

In addition, Jennifer has the habit of being happy and cheerful.  We all know people who complain all of the time.  It’s miserable to be around them. It’s probably miserable to be them.  Jennifer has chosen the opposite.  I believe momentum is a real thing.  When you are happy and positive, good momentum builds.  When you are upset and negative, bad momentum builds.  Ultra-successful people are the way they are because they have mastered momentum, they know how to create it and keep it.

The final two habits Jennifer talked about are reading a lot and never missing an exercise routine.  For those of you who have followed my “30 in 30,” you will remember the concept of maintenance objectives (small and consistent actions that make a big difference long-term).  These maintenance objectives keep us moving in the right direction.  They keep us focused and progressing.  Reading and exercising are perfect examples of key maintenance objectives.

Tough Times

“Everybody wants to write a book, but 99.9% of people don’t do it because it is difficult.  However, those who know how hard it is and just push through it are the ones who write books.”  I love this insight from Jennifer because this concept applies to many other aspects of life.  It is easy to “want” things, because all that is required is a desire.  However, obtaining or achieving things is an entirely different story.  The question is, “Are you going to DO something about it?”  When Jennifer is confronted with tough times, she just pushes through it, gets rid of distractions, and relies on the discipline she has built over the years to stick with it.

Remember these four things:

  1. Success is about being happy and having the courage to take the risks to achieve your dreams.  No fear.
  2. Do the hard things first.
  3. Be happy and positive. Build the good momentum.
  4. When times get tough, just push through it.

I want to thank Jennifer for her time.  I learned so much.  Thank goodness for extraordinary, ordinary people!