Jean Briese used to just jump right in when delivering the motivational talks for which she has become known.
But people started relating their belief that what she was telling them was easy for her because she was a successful businesswoman, but they couldn’t do the same thing.
So she started opening up about where she came from.
She opened her “Five Superpowers To Be Unstoppable” talk at the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce’s monthly luncheon at Mazatzal Hotel & Casino on Tuesday with a deeply personal revelation.
She got everyone’s attention by talking about how her father left their family first and then her mother abandoned her and her three younger siblings when she was 15. They were left alone for three days before Briese started to realize her mother wasn’t coming back.
That’s when she lost trust in all adults.
“Adults were the cause of my problems,” she said as she told about her drive to keep her siblings with her as social services workers told her the four of them would probably have to be split up.
“Everything we knew in the world was just blown up,” she said. “The only thing we had left was each other. Now, they wanted to take that, too.”
She said her life changed when a group offered help to an “arrogant and obstinate 15-year-old.”
“They were going to keep us together until after Christmas, probably because I insisted,” she said.
“It was December 23, and we were living in a mobile home in Phoenix. A church group wanted to help but I wouldn’t talk to them. They brought food and gifts and unconditional love, which is something I didn’t know existed. Most of all, they brought hope, which is one gift you can’t live without.”
That simple gesture changed her life.
“I came to look back on everything that happened in my life to that moment,” she said. “Like the Grinch, my heart grew 10 times that day.”
She regrets that those people didn’t know how grateful she eventually felt about that act of kindness.
“I never said ‘thank you,’” she said. “I was not a grateful receiver. But I became a helper.”
She said you may never know how your kindness changes someone’s life.
“Be kind every day,” she advised. “They may be rude to you, but your kindness matters and could be life changing to someone.”
Briese has more than 25 years of experience creating and leading award-winning teams for a Fortune 10 technology firm. She speaks to audiences around the world about how to achieve breakthrough results in your life and business. She is the highest-rated and reviewed motivational speaker in Arizona.
She talked about the power of habits, the importance of setting goals, and finding your superpower.
She suggested making a 90-day goal and put it on top of your calendar. Then put non-negotiable goals on your calendar and block out time for those tasks.
She told members to choose to be proactive instead of reactive, pointing to the example of how email can derail you if you start your workdays checking and responding to email. She said a study revealed the average person loses 23 minutes every time they’re distracted, even if it’s only for 30 seconds at a time, because you have to start all over every time.
“The average worker is losing six hours a day and 30 hours a week to distractions,” she said.
She suggested ways to minimize distractions by doing things like delegating some tasks to others, instead of having an open door policy, let others know that open door policy is from 4 to 5 p.m. every day. “They used to rely on me to solve problems,” she said. “When I went to that policy, I empowered my team, and they usually figured out a way to solve it before 4 o’clock.”
She also suggested turning off the audio notifications on your cell phone to avoid distractions. “Then it doesn’t feel urgent,” she said. “Handle social media once a week,” she suggested. “Then you don’t get sucked in.”
She also told chamber members not to wait for the future.
“Why not live your best life now,” she asked.
What’s your best habit? What habit do you need to change?
She talked about the power of purpose. “When you have a purpose, people will follow you,” she said.
She said everyone should find their superpower.
“No one has the same talents and gifts as you,” she said. “Pick one strength and become amazing at it.”
She also advised surrounding yourself with the right people.
“We rise and fall to the level of our relationships,” she said.
According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, “Doubling the number of friends in real life has an equivalent effect on well-being as a 50 percent increase in income.”
She also advised doing something that energizes you before and after something that drains you.
She closed by saying, “Set a goal and follow through with it.”