“Twenty years ago, I was a battered welfare mom. Who would have ever thought … that I would be now an inspirational publisher inspiring others? There is no way in the deepest recesses of my soul back then that I ever could have thought this was possible. But now I can actually, from a place of authenticity, say anything is possible for anyone who will step through their fear and take those baby steps.”
Toni Reece: Thank you so much, Linda, for agreeing to be part of this Project, and before we begin, can you please introduce yourself?
Linda Joy: Hi, my name is Linda Joy. I’m the publisher of Aspire magazine, the premiere inspirational magazine for women, and also the publisher of Inspired Living Publishing.
Toni: Well thank you so much, Linda, for being here. Linda, when you think of the word inspiration, who do you inspire, and how does that happen?
Linda: Well, when I think of the word inspiration, I’m always guided to women. I mean, right now more than ever, women need the inspiration to transform their lives and bring the wisdom from within out to the world and share their gifts. Those I like to inspire are women to step forward into a bigger vision of themselves.
Toni: How does that happen? How do you think that women are inspired by what you do? What is it that happens here?
Linda: Well, with all I do and the projects that I’m part of, one of the biggest things I can say is, a lot of women have spoke to me in the last five years about the magazine because it speaks to them and not at them. We only provide content that is true, has a lot of deep meaning to it. We want to connect woman with her inner wisdom.
So I do it personally, through all my companies, through the written word. I believe the power of story and the power of the written word has the power to inspire and transform, and that’s what I’ve dedicated my life to.
Toni: And are these other people’s stories?
Linda: These are other people’s stories. I like to say I’m the universal middleman. My publishing companies are dedicated to bringing the wisdom, insights, and stories of others, and they could be the world’s leading visionaries to everyday women who I believe should be able to be heard.
Aspire publishes insightful articles and stories from everyone, because I believe everyone has a wisdom to share, not just the leading visionaries.
Toni: How do you think by sharing these types of stories help other women to – and, you know, actually just an audience in general – help to explore their own potential?
Linda: Well, what I’ve discovered in my own personal journey from welfare mom to inspirational publisher is when we can realize and connect with others through story and discover that we’re not alone on our journey – that many women or individuals have walked through the fire before us – and have come out transformed. Do you know that for me in my own journey, it was reading other people’s stories that inspired me that, “Oh my God, if they can do that or overcome this or walk through their fear, then so can I.”
So I think stories inspire hope in all of us, especially true authentic stories that are written from the heart, and that’s what I love to put out to the world.
Toni: Linda, what inspires you?
Linda: Women. Everyday women are just struggling to get through their daily life, but also way down deep in the quiet parts of their soul, they know they have so much to offer the world then.
What inspires me is when I see women stepping forward, even if it’s the smallest of baby steps, to follow on that dream, whether it be to take that first art class or write the first word of a book they always wanted to do. They inspire me to keep on going, because it’s those baby steps that have the power to change the world. So it’s the everyday woman that inspires me.
Toni: Linda, how did this happen? How did you get to this place where you were able … knew that you wanted to and were able to put something like this together, the work that you do for women to learn from these stories? What happened along the way?
Linda: Life happened along the way. I am just one that I’ve always led by my heart, not my head. I’ve shared this story numerous times over the years. I never meant to create a publishing company – well, now two of them. I went into the inspiration business, and what happened, it became a publishing company.
My mission has always been, one, to inspire women to live deeper, more authentic lives. And what started as a small publication that I didn’t even know that I was creating … I just had a concept and 11 weeks later went to print. Thankfully, no one told me that it couldn’t be done because it happened, but my mission wasn’t to start a business. My mission was how can I reach more women, and the decision was through a magazine, and now we’re global.
My mission has always been the same, so I like to say … like I said, I’m in the inspiration business, not in the publishing business. Publishing is the tool I use, but inspiration is my passion.
Toni: When you are needing inspiration maybe some days more than others, are there tools and resources that you tend to reach for on a consistent basis that help you to be inspired?
Linda: Oh yeah, definitely. Definitely. For one … there’s three major things. People I surround myself with. I always keep an amazing core group of people – most of them are women, but there are a couple men that are mentors and guides, but they inspire me. When I am feeling like I’m losing direction, maybe a little tired, they remind me what I’m here for, and I do the same for them.
Second, I love quiet time, which for my personality was one of the hardest learning tools that I use, because I like to just go, go, go. But now as simple as taking a break yesterday afternoon and going to sit on my patio in my little beach chair with my puppy next to me for 20 minutes eating little tomatoes – that is something I couldn’t have done even three years ago. But I know now it is so important just to reconnect with nature, whether it’s 15 minutes.
And then the final thing is that I love good books and the written word. In my family, they lovingly call me the book geek. I mean, I read nonstop. Whereas others may use their time to watch TV, etc., I don’t. I fill my time with books, and that’s what feeds my soul.
Toni: So let me ask you something in regards to how you inspire other women, but I think it’s also what’s inspired you. It’s really come full circle. You’re providing a platform to showcase other people’s stories and you also had a story yourself that got you where you are.
How … there are women that are listening to this all over the world, and how do they take that first step? How do you take that first step, Linda, towards that passion? You know what your passion is, but not a lot of people know how to do that first little baby step. What advice would you give them?
Linda: That was step one. And believe me, where I am today, I wasn’t there five years ago. So I was exactly where they are right now, knowing that I had something within that was trying to come out, but I couldn’t quite name what it was, but I knew I had a mission that was bigger than myself.
But I was exactly where they are, and the first step they have to do is believe that it can come out. Second, take baby steps. We’ll use the example of … let’s say there’s a woman that just wants to be a published author. Well, the first step is writing that first word on your journaling page. The second step is that paragraph. The third step continues on, until you finally submit it to Aspire magazine for consideration.
So see what I mean? There’s so many little steps, and every time they step forward through the fear to take a baby step – one that’s comfortable for them – they will notice two things happen. One, the shift occurs. Two, opportunities start to come to them because suddenly they are aligning with their true purpose, and doors will start to open, and they will be blown away that they held their dreams in so long. Because once you start taking forward action on them, it’s as if the Universe heard you say, “Hello, I’m ready!” It is amazing.
Like I said, I didn’t do this all myself. All I did was align with who I was, and I aligned my business and my personal life, so now they are both in alignment. And when you do that, amazing things happen.
So I’m finally living my core values inside and outside myself, and that’s an amazing gift – one that I want for all women and one that I know is possible for all women. Twenty years ago, I was a battered welfare mom. Who would have ever thought that 20 years ago and that journey, that I would be now an inspirational publisher inspiring others? There is no way in the deepest recesses of my soul back then that I ever could have thought this was possible. But now I can actually, from a place of authenticity, say anything is possible for anyone who will step through their fear and take those baby steps.
Toni: What great advice to give to anybody that’s listening to this Project right now. What a fantastic value you’re giving. Linda, what are you doing now to explore your own potential so you can just keep growing this wonderful piece of work that you have?
Linda: Well, the big thing for me … I love to be the little hermit publisher for the last four years, so aside from holding live events and producing those with my magazine, about a year ago I launched the Mission To Inspire 100,000 Women Campaign. And with that, it was my way of saying to the Universe Aspire is going to touch more lives than New England. We went global.
Well, to do that, I also knew that Linda, the woman, would need to step out of her comfort zone and practice what I preach. In other words, we all come to different places where we challenge ourselves, and then we hit a comfort zone again, and I have done that numerous times over 20 years.
Well, I’ll be honest, I was in a comfort zone for a while. So I announced to everyone, “I’m stepping back out.” I’m back speaking again, back in front of large audiences – which I had stopped doing even prior to Aspire – and I’m back on the circuit. Amazing doors and opportunities have opened since I said to the world, “Let me break through. I’m at a comfort level again. I need to challenge myself.”
And for me, I love my little hermit-ville life here on the water, but I know that for me to fulfill my true mission it meant stepping out of my comfort zone again.
Toni: Again, another piece of advice, because that’s very difficult to do, but once you’ve become aware that you need to, then as you said, those doors will open. And wow, congratulations to you for recognizing it and walking through it.
Linda: Well, thank you. I want to encourage all women. Like I said, start with baby steps, because that’s all it takes to get the energy moving and the shift to occur in yourself and in the Universe, and everything will come to support you when you stay in alignment with what your true passion is.
Toni: Linda, we cannot thank you enough for taking time out of … I know this is a really crazy week for you with everything that’s happening, and I’m so grateful that you were able to join us on the Get Inspired! Project. We look forward to just connecting with you and staying inspired by you.
Linda: Well, we’re a perfect match. I love the work you’re doing in the world.
Toni: Thank you, Linda. Take care, and good luck to you.
Linda: Thank you. Have a great day.