Robin Joy Meyers is an “Architect For Change.” Former Molecular Geneticist turned Fear Strategist, Author, Mentor, TEDx speaker, Robin Joy Meyers educates and empowers thousands of women all over the world to claim their voices and create their best lives. She specializes in science- based strategies and techniques for self-awareness, mindset, leadership, balance/boundaries and the positive power of fear to empower women with tools to change your mindset and limiting beliefs that can be put into action immediately. As an expert in life transitions, Robin Joy recognizes that living a life without fear isn’t realistic, however her unique approach to fear management provides a fresh and effective method to self-improvement. By identifying the sequence of fear, one can tap into their true joy. The secret to living and igniting your best life is…Just Own You.
Robin Joy founded her company, Navigate2Empower, to educate and empower women through executive coaching, workshops, self-discovery retreats and speaking engagements. With over two decades of professional experience and two best-selling books, Alone but Not Lonely: Reclaim Your Identity and Be Unapologetically You and The Art of Unlearning: Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone, Robin Joy is an acclaimed expert of women’s empowerment.
Robin Joy Meyer’s story is a true reinvention. In so many ways, I can relate to Robin’s journey. Not only do we both come from a science background, but we also value our children above all else, and now have the mission to empower women, regardless of age, to pursue their passions and dreams.
What I found most impressive about Robin was her kindness and willingness to share her struggles, beliefs, wisdom and lessons. I feel like I have made a lifelong friend in the process, and I am so grateful for that! I hope Robin’s story will inspire you to move away from fear, and into your own power.
LIVING TO PLEASE
PPP: Thank you, Robin, for your time today. Please share where your journey started, and were there any specific defining moment/s when you realized a change had to be made?
I suppose my story began when I was a young girl, the only girl in our family. I was a quiet and shy child who didn’t need to speak – in fact I didn’t speak till I was almost 4 years old! I just pointed at what I wanted, and my family gave it to me. My family thought it was all a fun play to protect the girl. So I lived in an environment where I didn’t know how to communicate, but I definitely knew I had to please everybody. As a result, I grew up trying to please everyone and be that good girl. I strived to get good grades, to please both my teachers and my parents.
I wanted to be a doctor, and got into med school in Grenada, but of course my parents didn’t allow that. So I went into the sciences and molecular genetics. When I was 21 and my mother was 53, she got ill and died from cancer. It was extremely devastating, and my world was lonely and isolating. When I reflect on my mom’s death now I realize two things: 1) How young we both really were, and 2) That I didn’t get into that adult relationship with her when I made the transition to becoming a woman and raising a family.
The lab became a quiet safe place for me, because I could spend hours alone without having to speak to anyone. This was my safe zone, and yes, I achieved a lot – people are enamored that I discovered a gene, but if you spend hours on end in the lab, you’re bound to discover something!
I then met my boyfriend, later husband, and moved to the Washington DC area where we married a couple of years later and started a family. I would have probably pursued a phD, but he wanted me to follow him, and being the people pleaser that I was, I did. I was a stay-at-home mother of three for 18 years, and raised three beautiful children, now aged 23, 25 and 28.
THE DARK SIDE OF LONELINESS
I started to get antsy when my kids were getting older so I got back in the working world. I taught high school biology, was a tutor and corporate trainer, as well as the Director of Education for a non-profit organization working with schools. One of my defining moments was due to my boss at the time – she was a very degrading woman. She would set off that young voice in me that told me to be quiet and just do the work. At one work event her behaviour was inexcusable. At that moment I realized that either I could go into a dark corner again – or I could speak up. I recognized that dark side of loneliness in me again, which in the past had triggered my depression – and I didn’t want to go there. So I went in the next day and quit! This was the birth of my desire to empower young women to stand up for themselves.
PPP: That moment must have been so liberating, but so difficult at the same time! What obstacles did you face then, and how did you overcome them?
I had both external and internal challenges. Externally, it was financial but also confusion from my husband. Communication was always a challenge, so it was hard for him to understand my decision. Internally, it was the guilt. The right side of my brain was telling me I had to do it for me, but the left side of my brain was asking, “Am I putting everyone at risk? Am I being selfish?” I think that is something we question all the time as women. Frankly, suicide was on my mind. I knew I couldn’t live like this, but the other guilt came from knowing that I had a daughter who needed me. I knew what it was like not to have a mother to grow up with. I figured my boys would be fine, but how could I do that to her?
PPP: Robin, that must have been the lowest of the low point – I’m so sorry you went through that – how did you come out of that?
It was a struggle, but I knew I had to start taking care of myself. Especially as this woman who had always been brought up as that nurturer and caregiver – I was not taught how to self care. We are always taught how to care for everyone, and then ourselves, but not the other way around. I started listening and learning about me. My kids also supported me, as they realized that this job was running me down. Life was changing, and it was just a time to learn who I really was. Also, I was turning 53 which was the exact age my mom died. As I was coming up on that birthday my daughter was turning 21 and it was really surreal for whatever reason. I don’t think I could have written that one better!
PPP: What was surreal about it, Robin?
It was surreal because it made me realize how really young 21 is, and how much I really did need guidance when I was a young woman. It made me realize also how young 53 really is! I think it all comes down to a mindset. In the past our mothers and their mothers before them thought that they were stuck, or in a spot where life was decided for them at that stage. But it’s not! It’s really not!
LEANING INTO GROWTH
We have such a gift at our age because we can bridge this gap with our mindset to realize we are not old! Mentally what really is your age? Accept change, and accept growth and accept it as a challenge and you really can create anything – you can start completely over! You don’t even have to start completely over, it can be a new rendition of yourself!
PPP: A reinvention!
Absolutely! You have the opportunity to create really whatever you want! But the awareness that settles in is really getting to know who you are. And being able to understand the triggers, and ask, where did those triggers come from? If it is some past pattern, it has to be acknowledged and dealt with, and then you just have to let it go! From a scientific perspective, a lot of these patterns of behaviour and triggers we have are really imposed on us way before we are even capable of understanding what their meanings are.
PPP: Speaking of triggers and past behaviours, you said you were very quiet and didn’t speak as a child – yet now you are a public speaker! How did that come about?
You are right! I think one of the things I dreaded the most in any stage of my life was having to get up and talk to anybody. That would frankly be like torture. I think I would become physically sick if you asked me back then if I would ever do what I’m doing now.
Yet, I’ve learned that if you approach it from the perspective that you have a message and a gift to share, then it’s almost like an obligation to speak it. I feel like I’ve lived a path where I can help others and be totally transparent about it. So if it can help even one person in an audience, or hopefully more than one person, that’s where my nerves go away. It’s almost like a service – I approach it that way versus approaching it like a speech to a crowd. It felt really good after to do that TEDx talk, and I was really flattered to have people acknowledge that it resonated with them.
PPP: That’s an amazing transformation, Robin! Where are you now in your journey of reinvention?
That’s a great question. I think that once you understand reinvention and get completely, totally honest with yourself, and understand who you really are and trust yourself and your journey, you are always uncovering more. Again, we are not taught that! The clearer you get on who you are, the more it triggers other things. My reinvention is continuing, because I want to learn and I want to grow, and frankly, I think it’s fun! Life is truly fun!
PPP: That’s exactly why we put the word “Play” in Power Purpose Play! We need to enjoy every step of this life!
100%! So what’s next for me? I’m going to help more women, larger crowds, and around the world! I think I’ll always be reinventing, upleveling to that next stepping stone. I don’t think that will ever stop, but for me, quite honestly, I’m still totally reinventing myself. I’ve been married to my spouse for 30 years, and we are joyfully uncoupling – which is a whole new other thing. My kids are awesome, and we will see how it all unfolds.
PPP: I love your positivity, Robin. If you had some lessons you could share with women about their own journey of transformation – what would you offer?
Here’s what I would say:
1) Start that self discovery journey by really spending time with YOU. Take away everyone else and spend time taking yourself out – whether it’s a walk, lunch, coffee, whatever.
2) Figure out what your likes and dislikes are and then, within that, set your non-negotiables. What are those standards that you will not compromise?
3) Trust this journey that you’re on. Find a morning routine – even a five minute routine. I honestly don’t care what you do in those five minutes, but ask yourself, what do you need from the day, and how do you want to feel? It’s not the laundry list of what you want to get done, but it’s about you internally.
4) Find the core people that really support you. Nobody should be tearing you down, and only you are going to be able to validate your self worth. Nobody else will. You really have control of giving it and taking it away from yourself.
PPP: Thanks for that. As women, we don’t celebrate our successes and are so hard on ourselves. Yet when we realize what we really want, it’s such a joy to do it!
You know, my middle name is Joy. I used to despise my middle name, until this part of my journey. And now I am emphatic about using Robin Joy as my whole name. Because I have found my true Joy! When I turned 53 I realized it was a gift, which my mom didn’t have. I get to have that relationship with my children. I get to create what I love, and hopefully help women create what they love. It’s a gift, and so start to enjoy that, and realize that you are going to be fine! You are going to be absolutely fine.
PPP: What are you most proud of Robin?
My three kids. I’m most proud of their ability to see the world and their unique personalities. They are incredible human beings. I look at my daughter and I was never that savvy or wise. Who knows? She’ll be running the world when she’s 50, I’m sure! That’s what I’m most proud of, to be honest – raising strong children and a strong young woman.
And I’m proud of finding my true Joy. That’s really being able to speak the truth and discover who I am and even in this next part of my journey – yes there will be challenges – but it’s my happiness and my choice, and I’m not withering on it. I’m going to do this. You know – talk the talk, and walk the walk!
PPP: That’s amazing. Do you have anything else to add?
Just to tell women that they are not alone, and that you are enough just as you are. What do you want to create? Without any boundaries, what do you want to do? It’s a process of women taking care of themselves, supporting each other, truly collaborating with each other and finding their group. Just like you and I are collaborating. We can change the world!
Things happen for a reason. People come in and out of your life, situations happen, and don’t be fearful of it. It’s telling you something, so just listen. Just lean in, and listen.
PPP: Thanks so much, Robin. Please tell everyone where they can find you, and anything you have coming up which they can participate in!
Two major exciting events are launching. This particular week of July 15-18, 2020 The Courageous Woman’s Conference, which is a virtual, live conference with 20 speakers coming together from six countries and four continents. The mission of this conference is to amplify women’s voices with real and raw conversations. You can see the complete event schedule, speaker’s bios and workshops as well as purchase tickets on the website. The entire conference is recorded, so if there are a couple sessions that you cannot attend live, you will be able to watch later.
The other announcement is my new FaceBook group, J.O.Y. (Just Own You) Community, which is created as an open group to engage in real and raw conversations. This group launches August 2020. In the meantime, you can visit my website to schedule a complimentary 40-minute Discovery Call, see the latest events, and learn more about me. As you probably can tell, I love to connect with other women and encourage conversations. I am available by email at firstname.lastname@example.org as well as on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. You view my TEDx talk on “The Science of Loneliness and Isolation on YouTube.
I want to take this opportunity to thank you, Kavita, for the opportunity to talk with you. I am so thrilled and honored to be a part of this amazing community that you have created for women.