I love listening to other podcasters, business mentors, authors, or people I follow on social media share a little bit about themselves.
When I listen or read about their lives, it creates a deeper connection and I feel like we’re friends.
So this week, despite this being *slightly* uncomfortable for me, I decided to pull back the curtain a little bit on my life and share a few things. Like the craziest thing I’ve ever done, my most embarrassing moment, what Merrill and I fight about… you know, things you might be wondering about, but not what I usually talk about on the podcast.
It’s a fun episode and I hope you enjoy it. xo, Janeen
[00:00:00] Janeen: Well, hey there, you guys. Welcome back to another episode of the podcast. I am really excited to be hanging out with you guys today. I am Janeen Alley, and today I’m gonna be sharing just a few little things about me that you may or may not know already. So I love listening to podcasts where they share a little bit more about their lives and a little bit more behind the scenes.
[00:00:23] I love it when they share things about their personal lives as well as their professional lives. And although I love listening to these podcasts, I do have to say it’s a little outside of my comfort zone to share one of these, because it’s just me in my office today talking about me, and that’s a little bit weird for me.
[00:00:42] I wish you were here. I wish this could be a two-way conversation, but I know the people that I connect to the most, whether it’s business mentors or other podcasters, or people I follow on social media are the people who share. I feel like we’re friends [00:01:00] when they share about their lives.
[00:01:01] I feel like I know them, and that’s the goal of this podcast, is to create a little bit more personal connection with you and in some ways pull back the curtain a little bit on my life. So, just for starters, I grew up in Spokane, Washington. I have three siblings. My family is a little bit unique.
[00:01:20] Two of my siblings are adopted, so my oldest brother is just two and a half years older than I am, and I am the youngest. So the two siblings that are adopted, my brother Kevin and my sister Minda are sandwiched in between me and my biological brother. A little bit ago, my sister, Minda, was on the podcast.
[00:01:36] It was awesome to have her on the show. If you guys wanna listen to that, go back and find that episode with her. Her name is Minda Dentler. And she is amazing. I was also really fortunate to marry into a family that I love. So my husband is the seventh of eight kids and all of his siblings and his parents
[00:01:55] I consider my family too. So I feel really blessed in that way. I have amazing [00:02:00] families on both sides of our family. So my husband and I actually grew up in the same place. We both grew up in Spokane and we met when our elementary schools came together in the same junior high. So I’ve known my husband since I was 12 years.
[00:02:17] We got married when I was almost 22. I was 21 years old. It was just a month away from my 22nd birthday. Oftentimes when people find out we grew up together and we’ve known each other for so long, their next question is, were you high school sweethearts?
[00:02:32] We were not really high school sweethearts. We dated a little bit in high school our junior year. And we also went out in seventh grade. And I love that phrase. That’s not what they say these days. I know. And my kids are always like, What does that mean? You went out? I’m like, I’m not really sure cuz we didn’t go anywhere
[00:02:51] We just kinda hung around. And the joke is he had his friend, Ryan Conley, call me up and dumped me after two [00:03:00] weeks of going out in seventh grade. that’s kind of our story. . So we ended up actually going to the same college. We graduated from BYU in the same department. We actually got the same degree. We both have degrees in zoology or human biology. I like to kind of clarify that. It’s a human biology major. really. Is what it is, and I went through quite a few majors before I landed on that one.
[00:03:23] It took me actually five years to get through college because I kept changing my mind on what it is that I wanted to major. So multi-passionate moms, I see you . I have a lot of different interests and it was tough for me to land in that space, but I really wanted to be a physician’s assistant and go to grad school for that after I graduated
[00:03:43] and I even thought about going to med school for a minute, but I didn’t wanna do the really lengthy education after. I wanted to get done, get in, get out. so I wanted to be a PA. . That’s how I settled on that. So Merrill and I have been married for almost 23 years. That’s [00:04:00] crazy. And Merrill is still the absolute love of my life.
[00:04:03] If you ever meet my husband, you’ll know why I love him so much. He is the kindest, sweetest man. Yesterday, for example, I was heading to the gym early to meet my friend at six. We don’t normally go that early, but that was the way the cookie crumbled yesterday, and I came downstairs, Merrill was already up. He was in the middle of his workout and I couldn’t find him in the house. And he comes in the door, he comes in from outside, he’d been scraping my truck and been warming it up for me so that when I got in, it was nice and toasty. at six in the morning and it was 14 degrees outside.
[00:04:39] So that’s the kind of person I married. I absolutely love him. Super grateful that he is still a part of my life. It’s awesome. So Merrill is a dentist, as you guys know, if you’ve been listening to the podcast, he is a dentist in the Air Force and we have lived all over the world. And it has been an amazing life. So he went to dental school [00:05:00] in Philadelphia. We lived there for four years. He did a residency in Mississippi for one year at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi.
[00:05:07] Then we moved to Misawa Japan. We were there for four years and then we moved to Germany for four years. And now we’re here in Colorado. We’ve lived here since 2015 and this is the longest that we’ve ever lived in a house together as a family. So, which is kind of crazy because when I was a kid, I never moved once.
[00:05:26] In fact, my parents still live in the same house that I was brought home from the hospital to after I was born. My parents are still in that same place, which is nice cuz we’ve seen the neighborhood mature and they have this gorgeous garden in the backyard that has taken years to grow up. So it’s, it’s been fun.
[00:05:43] When people find out that we’ve lived all over the place, they often will ask me, Where’s your favorite place to live? And I always have said, The favorite place that I’ve ever lived is the place I’m living , because every single place that we’ve lived has had [00:06:00] amazing things about it. There have been some hard things. There have been some challenges with each of the locations that we’ve lived, but it has been so fun for me to live all over the place. I have a very, Adventurous spirit, and I have loved exploring different cultures, and what I like to do when I travel is I like to kind of have a home base and then travel out from there.
[00:06:22] I don’t like to spend one night in one city and then move to the next city and then move to the next city. That for me, is very exhausting. I like to just plant myself and go out and explore. So it was really nice for us to live in a place for four years because I felt like I got to know those spots really, really well.
[00:06:38] I love watching people. I love seeing how people do different things in different areas of the world. So a few little things that I loved about Japan. I thought the culture was exceptionally friendly and they had the most amazing festivals and floats, and I gotta say they’ve got some pretty amazing toilets in Japan.[00:07:00]
[00:07:01] I miss the onsens. I miss the apples. We lived in northern Japan. I miss their peaches and I miss their cherry blossoms. Those are some of the things that I really, really loved about living there. For Germany, as you guys know, this was a tough place for me to live, but there were some really great things about living there as well.
[00:07:18] I loved, of course, the travel opportunities. I mean, once you live in Europe, it’s pretty easy to get around. They have amazing public transportation. I mean, it’s just, you know, Maybe 50 bucks to get yourself to a different country by plane. It was pretty, it was pretty awesome. So I loved being able to travel there.
[00:07:36] I loved the markets, the fresh food, I, I loved my friends that I met at the markets. I loved to get to know the vendors that are there. They had beautiful trails around where we lived. In fact, you could get around everywhere on a bike there, just on the back trails and it was amazing. I love the architecture of the homes and the buildings and I really miss Opa.[00:08:00]
[00:08:00] He was the grandpa that lived behind our house and he was amazing. He didn’t speak any English and I hardly spoke any German. And yet we would go out and meet in the, in his garden and he’d tell me what he was growing and he’d tell me that he had his birthday and it was just the best. So I really miss Opa.
[00:08:19] I think about him still. I remember he turned 82 when we lived there. He had to write it in the dirt for me, but I understood what he was saying and I just wonder about him. I wonder if he’s still around. So Opa, little shout out to you. right here. Okay, so another question that you might be wondering is, what’s the craziest thing I’ve ever done?
[00:08:40] So, Merrill and I, while we were living in Europe, we went to Tenerife, which is an island in the Canary Islands. Like I said, really easy to travel over there. So we were in Tenerife for my birthday. It was just a couple’s trip that we took, and we decided kind of spontaneously, this wasn’t something that we had planned, but we decided [00:09:00] that we were gonna go paragliding.
[00:09:01] I think if I had enough time to think about it, I would’ve talked myself out of it, but it was like, Here’s a paragliding thing. Let’s do it. Oh, they have an opening this afternoon. It was kinda like that. And so it was, it was crazy. You guys, you strapped yourself into. A parachute and I had somebody behind me of course, cuz I didn’t know how to drive.
[00:09:22] And you run off a mountain and the wind catches the sail and you start to spiral up into the sky. And I , I thought I was gonna hyperventilate the whole time, . There’s just this little tiny piece of nylon between you and the ground that’s like so, so far away.
[00:09:40] I mean, we were up so far in the sky that you could see the island, you could see the ocean. It was just incredible. The views were absolutely spectacular, but I wanted to throw up the whole time. It was really scary for me. I don’t really like heights, so I don’t know why I thought , this would be an amazing experience, but, [00:10:00] It was, it was still incredible.
[00:10:02] And my pilot actually got a video of us up there. So it’s something that I can look back and see. And he was having the time of his life, of course. I mean, what an incredible job, right? But I thought I was gonna die, so it was a little bit trickier for me. I will never jump out of a plane. I will never bungee jump.
[00:10:23] That’s. That’s not me. I mentioned before on the podcast that I was a river raft guide for a summer, but I don’t think I mentioned that I was homeless for that summer. I actually lived out of my car for a while. I got down to Jackson Hole and I thought, I’ll just figure it out. I will just figure out a place to stay.
[00:10:43] Well, real estate in Jackson Hole, Wyoming it was really expensive back then, and so just to rent a bed in someone’s home was like $400 a month. And I’m like, I’m not gonna make any money if I spend $400 a month on a place to stay. So [00:11:00] I ended up just kind of living in my car and I would sleep in the parking lot of the boathouse where I would go to work.
[00:11:07] And I think my boss found out. And so part way through the summer, he gave me actually, A piece of floor to sleep on inside of the boathouse that I shared with the several other guides that were actually renting rooms there. But I got a little, a little square on the floor and I did that. But I was eating Cheerios out of my trunk. Y’all . I mean, come on. I don’t know how I did that. But yeah, that was my life. I slept in my car and after I did that, I vowed I would never own another stick shift again in my life because it’s really hard to roll over when you’re kind of boxed in by that stick shift there.
[00:11:47] So, I don’t have a stick shift , one of my kids does, and I’m like, you know, if you ever have to sleep in your car, it’s not a very cozy option. But my son didn’t care too much about that. [00:12:00] He’s just like, What are you talking about ? Yeah. Uh, anyway, so yeah, so that’s kind of the craziest thing I have ever done, those two things.
[00:12:08] So I see people now traveling around the country in their vans and I’m like, Yeah, it’s not for me. Been there, done that. Don’t really love sleeping in a van or a car. So one of the things that I am absolutely obsessed with right now are tiny houses . I follow several accounts and have a folder on my IG account where I save my favorite designs of tiny houses.
[00:12:35] And I have a dream someday of owning enough property where I can build a wellness resort retreat on this property. So on this property, there would be like a main house, like a big house where people can congregate and there would be a really beautiful kitchen. So I was doing a retreat that involved some cooking demonstrations, which I’ve done before, which was so fun.
[00:12:59] There would be [00:13:00] enough space for everyone to see and to participate, and it would just be amazing. But if people wanted to have family reunions there or whatever, there would be enough space for people to cook and to provide food for everyone that’s there. So there would be a main house, and then along the sides of this main house, kind of in a semi-circle or maybe even a circular design.
[00:13:20] There would be a bunch of tiny houses, so everyone that would come to my retreat would have their own space to go home to at night and kind of regroup and take a bath, and it would just be amazing. But I’d also use this property for family reunions and business retreats and those kinds of things.
[00:13:38] That’s the dream. I would love to have like 10 tiny homes on this property next to this larger building that would have everyone congregate. And of course in the larger building there would be a room for yoga . So yeah, that’s the plan. I have it in my mind, but I love tiny houses and I’m [00:14:00] constantly saving different designs and things in a folder on my Instagram.
[00:14:04] All right, so another thing that you may or may not know about me is I have been plant-based since 2004. And so the early episodes of the podcast talk a lot about food and nutrition and those kinds of things. And people, when they find out about that, will often ask me why? Why did I go plant-based? What I have found, talking to people and doing this for such a long time, it’s been almost two decades, which is kind of crazy, but I have found that there are three main reasons that people eat a plant-based diet.
[00:14:33] So number one reason I think is. For their health. And I’m not saying number one, as in this is the top reason, I’m just saying this is one of the reasons. They also do plant-based for the planet and then they also do plant-based for animals because they love animals and they are heartbroken about the way that animals are treated.
[00:14:51] And I have to say, I started out of my plant based journey for health reasons. But I am plant based for all three reasons. [00:15:00] Uh, the more that I learn, the better I feel about my choice to be plant based and.
[00:15:05] Like I said, I’ve been doing it since 2004 and I’m still loving it. So I started teaching plant-based nutrition classes in 2007, and once I started researching it, like I said, and getting more into it, it just really helped ground me in my decision to be plant based. I am not vegan. I have a little bit of dairy occasionally, and I’ll eat honey and things like that. But for the most part, we eat just a lot of plants.
[00:15:31] And I have found that these little choices not only make it a big difference in the way that I feel and how much energy I have, but it also makes a huge impact on my world, and that matters to me. So I am grateful for that. Okay, so speaking of food, you might be wondering if I have a favorite food.
[00:15:52] I don’t really have a favorite food. I like a lot of foods and to be honest, I love to try new things, if it’s, It’s a food [00:16:00] that is different from what I’m used to eating, I wanna try it. That is kind of the way that I am. But I don’t really have a favorite genre of food because I think most food can be amazing if it’s cooked really well.
[00:16:12] So I don’t really have a favorite. The one thing that I do love is I love finding great restaurants. I love finding little hole in the wall restaurants, wherever we are. Just cute little mom and pop shops that have amazingly fresh and well prepared food. And I know sometimes when you walk into a mom-and-pop shop or a diner, it’s a gamble.
[00:16:34] I totally get it , but I just, I have just found some really fun places and when I find out someone else is going there and like, Oh, you have to try this restaurant. It’s funny, the memories that I have of living in different places, I will often remember restaurants that we went to and food that I’ve eaten just because that’s what’s fun for me as part of the exploration and the adventurous part of traveling and being in different cultures is trying the food.[00:17:00]
[00:17:00] Okay, so when it comes to Merrill and I, we have a really, really great relationship. But you might be wondering what it is we fight about , so he doesn’t know that I’m putting this in the podcast, but that’s okay. I think most of it is just from my perspective, Merrill rarely gets upset with me about anything.
[00:17:19] If we get in an argument, it’s usually because I feel like he doesn’t have enough time for me. that is my love language, and if Merrill doesn’t spend enough time with me, I start to get a little grumpy. One of the things that I’ve given him a hard time about over the last couple years is when he was in Turkey, he learned how to play the cello.
[00:17:38] He actually taught himself how to play and sometimes I actually get a little jealous of how much time he loves to practice his cello, which is kind of funny cuz I play the violin. So I’m all about music and I’m all about developing talents and all those things, but for me, I’m like, Hey, you have spent 45 minutes with your cello tonight, and I’ve [00:18:00] only gotten 10 minutes of time
[00:18:03] And I will, I will say it like that in the playful way. And he is more than happy to hang out with me, generally speaking. But sometimes he needs to play the cello and he will communicate that with me. And I’m just like, All right, good. So I, I teach yoga. Often in the evenings. I have a couple evening classes and I love it when Merrill comes to my yoga class with me and I think he enjoys going to yoga, but he loves to play his cello more.
[00:18:28] So that’s kind of the trade off. I teach yoga, he plays his cello. We’re good. So I used to get, I used to get really upset that he wouldn’t plan dates. And I wanted him to ask me out, and I told him once, Listen, I just want you to woo me. I just want you to continue dating me. . I love it when things are planned and I don’t have to do the planning for it, but this just isn’t Merrill’s MO.
[00:18:55] He just doesn’t plan things like that. And I thought, It [00:19:00] would be super romantic if he planned a date and he whisked me off to Mexico or something romantic like that. But what I realized over time was he loves me. He’s just not a planner, but I am. So I plan things and that is, I think one of the reasons why he fell in love with me is because I always had a plan
[00:19:21] So it wasn’t awesome for me to kinda do a bait and switch like that on him. So I have a plan and I plan. So we went to Steamboat Springs after he got home from his last deployment. He’s been home for a little over a month now and. I planned out all the details. I planned out the hotel room that we were going to have. I wanted to make sure that it had a fireplace cuz we were gonna be up in the mountains.
[00:19:45] I wanted to go to the hot springs there to try something new. I wanted to do a fancy dinner, something romantic, and I wanted to do something fun. So I booked a scavenger hunt. It came highly recommended on [00:20:00] TripAdvisor.
[00:20:01] And it was just kind of a playful and goofy experience that I wanted to have with Merrill just to be fun. And I have to tell you a little bit about the scavenger hunt. I’ve never done anything like this before, so I kind of had an idea of how it was gonna go down , and it wasn’t at all the way that it went down, but it was just so funny.
[00:20:21] I just kept laughing the whole time. And the, the cool thing about the scavenger hunt is we got to explore Steamboat Springs. I got to talk to the locals, which I don’t mind doing, and we got to do some funny, kind of silly things. One of the things on the list was to decide what your spirit animal was and to do a video recording of yourself acting out your spirit animal, and an explanation of why you picked this animal.
[00:20:51] And the funny thing about this, and this is actually kind of a brilliant business model of the woman who put together the scavenger hunt, she does scavenger hunt, she said, in 10 different [00:21:00] locations. And I didn’t know this until the scavenger hunt was actually over, and I called her on the phone. she does scavenger hunts in 10 different locations.
[00:21:07] and she has kind of a list of things for you to do, and then she interacts with you on WhatsApp. she was very engaged in what we were doing. She just wasn’t physically present in Steamboat. In fact, she was in Hawaii while we were doing the scavenger hunt. She had to wake up pretty early because of the time change, but it was really fun.
[00:21:24] So it was just Merrill and I in Steamboat kind of doing the things on the list. And so back to this spirit animal. So I chose an eagle and I acted it out for the video. And Merrill was like, I’m just gonna be Eyore. That’s who I feel is my spirit animal today. And so I took a video of him just sitting on a rock and kind of being sad , because Merrill is very introverted and he was not about to act out different spirit animal for me to record and laugh about and send along. So anyway, Merrill and I love hanging out [00:22:00] with each other. We are very different. I think we compliment each other really, really well. So that’s a little bit more about us. Okay, one last thing. What’s my most embarrassing moment? I don’t really get embarrassed.
[00:22:13] You probably could tell from that last story. I don’t get embarrassed really easily. I am an introvert, meaning I recharge from being by myself. I recharge from taking a bath or reading a book or watching a show by myself. But I definitely love interacting with people as well. It’s just not how I recharge my batteries.
[00:22:33] So I actually, back in the day, used to be a camp counselor and I did all kinds of crazy stuff, , so, So I have a ton of really funny stories, mostly because I love to laugh at myself. When I was in high school, I was kind of a class clown, not intentionally. I wasn’t trying to be goofy to get attention or anything. I was just, like I said, just it’s easy for me to laugh at [00:23:00] myself, so I was just there to have a good time and I remember often in my biology class, of all places, because I was ended up being a biology major, but in high school I really didn’t like biology at all. And so I’d spend a lot of my time in class kind of goofing around and I had a friend that would goof around with me and we ended up having to siphon fish tanks during lunchtime. So Joel Edminster, if you are listening to this , give a little shout out to you. But I do have a story. That I remember from about that same time period, I was actually in college and I was working as a checker at the grocery store, and this was,
[00:23:43] like I said, I love to have a really good time kind of at the expense of myself. Not in a mean way, but I just, like I said, there’s lots of things I think in my life to find humor in, but I don’t like finding humor at the expense of other people. And this was embarrassing to [00:24:00] me because I felt terrible and there wasn’t anything I could do.
[00:24:03] It was my fault, . So this is the story. Like I said, I used to work as a checker. I would have these eight hour shifts that were pretty brutal . I remember I only got, a half hour lunch break and maybe a 10 or 15 minute break on top of that. And I just remember my feet would sting so bad just from standing up after a really long shift.
[00:24:22] And I remember this woman came into the grocery store, I was towards the end of my shift and she was in a hurry. I could tell she was coming in hot, she was ready to go. She wanted me to get her checked out as fast as I could. And I was new And it was hard to remember all those produce codes and you know, things.
[00:24:41] I can get a little clumsy and clutzy sometimes. And so she picked the wrong line . That’s what I’m saying. But anyway, I saw this cake and it had, you know, the plastic top to protect the cake. And I could tell when I looked down that it had been specially made. I mean, it [00:25:00] said Happy birthday, Susie, or something on the front of it.
[00:25:03] So this was a special cake for someone that she needed fast, and I saw the top of this plastic had the barcode on top of it. So I literally, I don’t know what I was thinking or why I thought the cake would stay on the bottom of the cardboard, but I took the cake.
[00:25:19] And I turned it upside down to scan the barcode. I don’t know why I didn’t take the little gun or even take the top off to try and scan it, but I flipped it over and of course the cake just hit the top of that plastic, like a big thunk. And she looked at me like she was gonna string me up by my toenails.
[00:25:40] She was so mad. Understandably , like understandably mad at me. I mean, I should probably, The thing in her head was, What were you thinking? I’m like, I wasn’t, I’m so sorry. It was at the end of a really long shift and anyway, fortunately my manager who really liked me [00:26:00] was able to kind of patch that up. She like whisked her back to the bakery.
[00:26:04] They had a new cake made and of course she picked a different line on the way out of the store, which was a good idea for her. But anyway, that is, that is one of the things I remember that it was a bad moment for me. All right. Last thing that I wanna share. You guys know I love to set goals, and you know that I love to try new things. And so for 2023, the thing that I want to try is I want to be a beekeeper. I would love to have some bees I have. I have a beautiful garden. I love to grow flowers. Flowers are one of my favorite things to grow, and I would love to have some bees to pollinate them and to to bring them joy. So that , that is my goal for 2023 is to get some bees and see how, see how we do with that. I’ve researched some hives. I even have a place picked out in my yard for their little house. [00:27:00] So I would love to do that. Springtime might be my time to give it a try in 2023. So that’s what I have for you guys today.
[00:27:07] I hope that this podcast was fun for you. That was kind of the goal for this one. It was just kind of a fun episode today, so I hope it was a good time. if you have been listening to this podcast for a little while and are interested in booking a one-on-one session with me, or finding out a little bit about my one-on-one coaching program, I would love to have you book a call with me. So you can go to janeenalley.com/programs and find out all about how to connect with me. All you need to do is just book a call. It will show up on my calendar, and I will meet you live, and we’ll talk about all the things, all the things about you that you might need help with. If it’s not a good fit, I’ll let you know and I’ll point you in the direction that I feel like would be the most helpful for you from the things that I know.
[00:27:58] So [00:28:00] all right, my friends. That is what I have for you guys today. I hope you have a beautiful week.
[00:28:06] We’ll talk to you guys soon. Take care. Bye.