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How to Start Your Life From Scratch

Scratch – it’s an interesting word.

I know when my life fell apart … the first time … I had 8 kids. I was left scratching my head.

Scratch – You know the feeling when you have that little itch that is ridiculously irritating? It consumes your mind until that blessed moment when you finally get a chance to SCRATCH it!  Scratching can feel really good!

Speaking of scratch …

Sometimes I have to do just that – SCRATCH my plans and ideas. Things didn’t go as I planned or anticipated. OK, scratch it! Strike that idea out! Let’s start over again … from scratch.

Here are some definitions I found for the word SCRATCH:



  • To use the nails or claws for tearing or digging. – Yep, that is pretty much how I felt.

  • To earn a living or manage in any respect with great difficulty. – Yeeeesssss.

  • To withdraw or be withdrawn from a contest or competition. Bingo! The only problem was, the contest was the game of life

So to simplify a very complicated matter, please allow me to share with you 7 steps I  personally used to rebuild my life from scratch. And I am talking about when everything fell apart, my life was completely broken and GONE as I knew it.


7 Steps to Build Your Life Again From Scratch

  1. S – See what assets you do have. Do you have breath, health, a somewhat sane mind? That is a start.

  2. C – Choose to rebuild – The most difficult part of rebuilding my life was that no one could do it for me. Others could support me in various ways, but ultimately I had to make that choice to rebuild.

  3. R – Risk having relationships. When you are down and out, the last thing you want to do is put out the effort to build relationships. People are how we heal. You will not heal in a vacuum. Reach out to someone who is trustworthy who can help you.  Risk letting down your walls even when it is so difficult to trust. Take a tiny step.

  4. A – Ask the right questions. Ask for advice. The right question is not “Why is this happening to me?” The right question is “What is one thing I can do to begin to rebuild my life?” or “Whom can I ask for advice who has been through this before?”

  5. T – Take responsibility for your future. Trust. Watch your Thoughts. Think about what you DO have and what you DO want. Try your best not to think about what you don’t have and what you don’t want.

  6. C – Cry. Let it out. When I went through my rebuilding process I lived near a lake that was in drought. I could not understand how that could be since I cried enough tears to fill it up multiple times. Give yourself room to cry like a baby …. because that is where you are right now…. starting a new life just like a baby.

  7. H – Happiness – Allow yourself to feel happiness. In the midst of your pain, give yourself permission to have moments of joy. Smile if you can’t laugh. And when something does make you smile, make your mind think about it for a moment. Don’t let it go so quickly. If you get a chance to laugh out loud, take it. Laughter is one of your greatest assets.

If you have been on this planet for any length of time, you have experienced a “Scratch” moment.

I found one more definition of the word scratch:


That is my personal favorite.

How do we start our life over from scratch? Draw a line in the sand and make a declaration. MY NEW LIFE BEGINS TODAY. NOW IS THE START OF MY NEW JOURNEY. THIS MOMENT IS MY STARTING PLACE. And even if you cry like a baby in the beginning of your new life, I promise that you will outgrow that stage. Life will get better. You will grow and be stronger.


After all … Everyone knows that things are better when they are made from scratch.


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America, Have You Lost Your Mind … or Your Heart?

This is a short blog. About only one question …

America, Have You Lost Your Mind … or Your Heart?

It is time for civility. It is time to have a heart and use our minds.

I am sure we don’t agree on everything.

I am sure we are worlds apart on many things.

I am also sure there are some things we agree on.

Can we focus on that?

We don’t have to hang out together.

We don’t have to do business together.

But we don’t have permission to kill each other …

Verbally, emotionally, or physically.

It is time for civility.

I get it that you are mad. I am too.

Our country is in sad shape.

Killing is not the answer. Period.

Dehumanizing each other is not the answer.

Your “enemies” have families too. They love people and have people who love them.

They are human beings. Yes, just like you.

They have thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Just like you.

Embracing this vantage point makes it possible to Love Your Enemies… it is counter-culture…. I get that.

OK, so start somewhere outside of the realm of hate.

How can we be so willing to extend grace to “other cultures”

but so unwilling to extend grace to “other cultures” within our own country?

What can you do to bring civility into ONE conversation today? 

What can you do to bring civility into ONE situation today? 

We must BE the change we want to see in this world.

Turn your hate into constructive action. Spread civility.

Are you part of the problem or the solution?

Let’s show that we are Americans with a good heart and a good mind.

It begins with the one we see in the mirror.

Choose civility.

Word Origin and History for civility n.

late 14c., “status of a citizen,” from Old French civilite (14c.), from Latincivitatem (nominative civitas) “the art of governing; courteousness,” fromcvilis “relating to a citizen, relating to public life, befitting a citizen;popular, affable, courteous” (see civil ). Later especially “good citizenship”(1530s). Also “state of being civilized” (1540s); “behavior proper tocivilized persons” (1560s).



Show Up Well and Own It!

Are you happy? Are you leading the life you know you were meant to live, or are you just rocking along in mediocrity? Are you so “busy” you can’t stop to really evaluate and make necessary shifts to live a happy life? If not now, when?  When will you take charge of your personal world and make it a better place to live in? When you are 80?

I spent years riddled with guilt and fear feeling like I was never enough or did enough. Always trying to live up to someone else’s expectation of me. That is not a happy space to be in. I gave and gave until I couldn’t give anymore thinking that somehow it would come back to me. Then it happened … The two words showed up that changed me forever.

What are these 2 magical words?

Own it!

Own it?  It’s my boss that is standing in my way. It is my spouse who doesn’t support me. It is that aggressive cohort that always beats me out every time I am about to move forward. It is my upbringing that I can’t change. Own what? My lack of success is not my fault. What am I supposed to own?

Really? … Own the life that you have been given. Own your power of choice. Own the fact that there are immeasurable resources available for you to succeed beyond your wildest imagination. Own your magnificent mind and healthy body and your plethora of abilities that so many others would give anything just to possess. The journey to “Own It” is one of facing reality, self-satisfaction, and power. A powerful, happy life comes from stepping up to the plate and owning our own talents, abilities, and our life’s choices.

There are really only three strategies I have ever found for happiness and fulfillment in life, whether in the marketplace or on the homefront. If we master these three, I guarantee that we will Show Up Well – Own It, and live a happy fulfilled life. I didn’t say it was easy or without effort. That is a fantasy. However, it is most certainly easier than staying on the proverbial hamster wheel.

My simple strategy (that I admit takes grueling implementation) is this: Take charge of 3 things…

Take complete power and OWN your:

1. Thoughts

2. Words

3. Deeds

We all have to start somewhere. Begin today to think about what you are thinking about. Get help with strategies to empty your head trash and replace it with healthier thoughts. Pay attention to what comes out of your mouth and make a mindful decision to upgrade your words and add more positivity in your day. Finally, own your actions. Own past actions and take immediate measures to sow good seeds with your deeds. Take charge of YOU on purpose, every day.

Show Up Well and Own It!

To learn more about Show Up Well Strategies and connect with Jan go to

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How to Stay Civil – Run in Your Own Lane!

Whew! I am just about worn out with all of the incivility on both sides of the aisle in my country. My Dad did not fight in 3 wars so we could fight at home… he fought so we could have PEACE at home. 

I say, let it begin with me! Rather that criticize and complain about my country that is in an indisputable mess, I am doing some soul-searching to find out how to be a part of the solution rather than perpetuate the glaring problems. But how is this objective reached? For me, it is a two-step process. It is by “running in my own lane” and keeping my thoughts and words within the boundaries of being civil. Who knows, I may even go overboard and actually be kind!!!

Image result for images of runners

So what does it mean to be civil? Well. the synonyms are words like respectful, gracious, and polite. Will I speak up? Yes! Will I be in action? Yes! However, I can fulfill my purpose and run in my own lane in a civil way. Of course. I want to stay aware and informed. However,  I can’t worry about what everyone else is doing. I have enough challenges just focusing on what I need to be doing! I don’t have time to be “dipping into everyone else’s business” as my precious foster children used to say. “Mama! Antoine is dipping into my business. He needs to mind his own business”! I can still hear their little voices shriek with disdain. Well, we need to stay out of others business and take care of our own. My babies were right!  We have our own lane to master. Let’s do our part well and recognize that we are all in this race together. Maybe that is why we are called the human race… 

This may sound a little naive. However, isn’t it true that one person really can make a difference? It may not seem like much to you, but I speak on Civility and Showing Up Well everywhere I go. As oversimplified as it sounds, I believe our answers lie in being our best as individuals and bringing our best to the world on a daily basis. I call this “running in our own lane” to the very best of our ability. Focusing on discord, injustice, and dehumanizing others will only make matters worse. Let’s stop whining and get into action. We certainly did that as women in the women’s marches in January! Let’s keep the momentum moving forward with our positive energy!

What can I do to make things better? I can begin with my own civility. How am I engaging with others? Am I adding fuel to a fire that needs to go out or am I fired up to create a positive outcome for all concerned? When I hear people engaged in hostile conversations what is my response? Do I perpetuate hate or love? It is easy to love when people are lovable. It’s not so easy when I feel they are destroying my country.

So here is my personal civility checklist:

  1. Am I being respectful? We do not have to agree to be respectful.
  2. Is it helpful for me to speak?  Is it more beneficial for me to remain silent at this moment? This does not mean I sit in silence. It does mean that timing is everything if I want to be heard … sometimes we just have to wait a minute!
  3. Have I double-checked my facts? Is this truth or propaganda? (there is propaganda on both sides believe it or not) 🙂
  4. Am I listening?  Do I just want to regurgitate my beliefs or am I actually listening to hear what others are saying? People are much more apt to receive a differing opinion if they feel they have been heard first.
  5. Am I perpetuating love? As cheesy as it sounds, love really is the answer. We must stop dehumanizing people who are different than us. Once you have ever loved someone who is different than you, it changes everything.

I understand that sometimes love can come with a sword. I am a Mama and a G-Mama. I am well aware of the “Mama Bear Syndrome”.  Don’t mess with what is precious to me! There is a time to stand up in power for what you believe in. It is also worthwhile to remember that taking the high road is a form of standing in power. Refusing to engage in conversations that are hateful and bitter is another way to walk in power. Choosing to be a part of the solution and not the problem is being the power!

Let’s be the change we want to see in this world and LEAD the change we want to see in America. It begins with me and it begins with you.

America, I love you. You are still the land of the free and the home of the brave.

I will run in my own lane with freedom and bravery and I promise to do my best to not dip into anyone else’s business.

To connect with Jan and receive your free audio about what it means to Show Up Well, go to

Government, Get Out of My Bathroom


I try to stay out of the middle of things. Anyone who knows me well knows that I truly love people … even the little stinkers. I stand for honoring the dignity of the human spirit in people. My company is called Civility Consulting for heaven’s sake! I believe civility is our solution on so many levels.

This bathroom thing has me a little over the edge of my toilet seat … I am a simple gal. As vehemently as I disagree with others at times, I do not see any room to be mean to each other.  As I listened to the ridiculously rude and uncivil behavior this week on the news channels I couldn’t help but think that we are missing some key points in the bathroom debate.

  1. Can we all agree that we are grateful to have public bathrooms? What if you could only relieve yourself at home or behind a bush. That would be a real problem.
  2. Can we all agree we want to feel safe if we go into a facility… restroom or not … but especially if we have our pants down?
  3. My biggest issue: Did you wash your hands … or at least use sanitizer? I am such a clean freak, this is much more of an issue for me. Can we all agree to clean up a bit after our potty break?

Ok, now that we have at least a smidgeon of an agreement, let’s use some common sense. Here is some “uncommon sense” from my perspective:

If I go into a restroom, I do not want men in there. Sorry guys, but I grew up with 3 brothers and let’s face it… guys are just not tidy bathroom dwellers. Also, I have no desire to see you standing at a urinal, nor do I want my grandkids to be exposed to that if they are with me. If someone is transgender or gay, I probably won’t know. If Kaitlin is in my bathroom, I won’t notice or care …. unless she doesn’t wash her hands … If the government wants in my bathroom, I think washing our hands after using the restroom should be the #1 issue. We could stop spreading of all kinds of illness. Let’s make that the issue.

We all need the use of bathroom facilities from time to time. Guys go in yours please, gals go in yours. If you present as a guy, go into the men’s room. If you present as a gal, go in the women’s room. Is this too simple? There is no need to be unkind about it. If you are confused about which bathroom to use, that is not an issue we can fix by inviting the government in the bathroom. Let’s keep it clean and stop spreading this terrible illness of incivility. We are all human beings with bodily functions and need to use restrooms.  Can we please be kind, be safe and be clean? Now, how do I say this in a civil way?

Government, get out of my bathroom … um, please.


How to Gain Confidence on a Really Bad Day

Confident people are happier. Confident people make more money. Confident people have happier relationships. Hmm….. ok I choose confidence! Is it really that simple? Well, yes it can be … even on the really, really tough days.

It was a sad, dreary day. One of those days when you look out the window at noon and it is just as gray and depressing as it was at 7AM. I had just received the news that morning that my friend of many years had lost her battle with cancer. My face was tight and puffy from all of the tears. My heart was hurting and heavy and I was furious at that despicable disease. Not a great day… But I still had clients to serve, people who were trusting in me to deliver my best. Of course, they would understand if I took a day off. I had a choice to make… Judy would have loved to have another day to serve her clients. She didn’t have that choice. But I did.

I took a moment to center myself in gratitude. The darkness of death cannot swallow up the light of life. I thought of those I love and how thankful I am for them in my life. I thought about how blessed I am to have the relationship with my husband that I do and about the happiness in my heart since he entered my life. I thought of my family, church, and friends who stood by me through so many tough times. Deep Breath Jan … I let myself cry, hurt, feel the depths of the loss … the pain of a life seemingly cut so short. When I could cry no more, I knew it was time to celebrate not only the well-lived life of my dear friend but also the vibrant life that I had in that very moment. An unusual excitement flowed up from my belly, an excitement that I was alive and had the honor and opportunity to serve my clients that day and make their lives even better.

I took a deep breath, pulled my shoulders back, stood firmly on both feet and basked for a moment in the power of simply being alive. In that moment my projects and deadlines were insignificant. What someone said or didn’t say didn’t matter at all. Life mattered. And I possessed it in that moment! I was ready to move forward in confidence and give this life my very best. I caught a slight glimpse of myself in the mirror and was startled to see the “eye of the tiger” in my green eyes. In that moment, in a flash, I perceived where true confidence comes from. The deeper I settled into the power of life, the more settled, peaceful and confident I felt.

That day, that really, really tough day, I caught a tiny snapshot of the origin of true confidence. The power of life in me bred the confidence I felt! This confidence was not dependent on my education, abilities or competencies. I knew I had the power to live life my very best, at least in that moment. Just the thought of it made me feel confident.

Is it possible that life itself can breed confidence … even on the really tough days? I say yes it is. It is a choice I make and you make to let our lives matter. In Judy’s honor, I say yes to life … especially on the really, really tough days.

The Power of Pressure


If you are like me, you are not really a great fan of pressure.


Relationships, money, deadlines, expectations … when does it all end??? It ends when we die! However, physical death is not exactly one of my favorites either. Vacations help … well, sometimes. Sometimes we need a vacation from our vacation!
A few years ago a wise woman gave me a new perspective on pressure. She said, “Jan, pressure is designed to press us UP, not down”. Well, that is a new thought.
I have heard the analogies of pressure turning coal into diamonds and “Under Pressure” certainly worked out well as a hit song for David Bowie, but I am still not crazy about the idea.
About half a century down life’s road, I think I finally got it! It took me a minute to figure this out.
Here are the top 8 things that I found out about the power of pressure:


  1. It is Pressure that gets me UP when I don’t necessarily feel like moving
  2. The Pressure of my words lifts me UP into integrity so I do what I say
  3. The Pressure of pushing weights UP builds my body and helps keep me healthy
  4. Pressure makes me have to draw clear boundaries and builds UP my tenacity and inner power
  5. Pressure brings UP my emotions and enables me to see what is going on in me so I can deal with it
  6. Pressure pushes me to be my very best and do what I thought was impossible. That is UPlifing!
  7. Pressure forces me to think in new ways and UP-level my intellect
  8. Pressure causes me to send prayers UP and increase my spiritual life
So, the bottom line is …. pressure truly lifts us UP in our Spirit, Mind, and Body. Maybe it really was designed to press us UP and not down.
I guess Pressure is just doing its job!


Jan Goss-Gibson is the owner of Civility Consulting, a consulting and training firm in Austin, Texas specializing in First Impression Management, Confidence Training and Business Building.


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