Shifting identities in the power years with Janet Bomza…


In this episode of the Happiness Hive Podcast, Catherine chats with Janet Bomza. Hailing a highly decorative and deeply influential career,  Janet led the exponential growth and transformation of a North American legal practice within a global professional services firm and also successfully built and led a leading national corporate immigration law practice, which was ultimately acquired by PricewaterhouseCoopers. She joins Catherine on the podcast to chat about the nuances of shifting our identity as women from what we do to how we be.

In this episode you'll also hear:
– how the pandemic was a catalyst for Janet to finally surrender her achieving nature to embrace the power of being
– what it feels like to be deeply in the point of transition
– why the Covid lockdowns were a silver lining for Janet and her family
– the practice of taking off the pressure and letting go of fear
– the conversation that Janet had with herself that changed everything  and so much more!

Join Catherine's membership The Happiness Lounge here

Connect with Catherine here:

Connect with Janet Bomza here:

This podcast is produced by Nikki O'Brien from Quintessential Being

Read Full Transcript


Hi, welcome to the happiness hive Podcast. I'm Catherine Bowyer, and I am completely fascinated by people and what motivates them. I've spent the past three and a half decades specialising in mindset and human behaviour. And I've helped 1000s of people to create happy and amazing lives. And now I am super excited to be chatting with women from around the world who I have secret. And to be honest, not so secret crushes on their women who inspire me, I'm intrigued as to how they do life and what makes them tick. I want to find out the magic formula that makes them who they are. And at the end of the episode, I'd love for you to say, I'd like a little bit of what she's having. The conversations are real and raw. They're full of passion, inspiration, and lots of fun, and nothing is off limits. So grab yourself a cuppa, or Papa New tracky and go for a walk and join us for today's chat. There may just be that pool of wisdom you need to hear. So let's shimmy on over and get started. I am so looking forward to chatting with today's guest, Janet bonzer from all the way from Toronto in Canada. And I've only recently met Janet last year, we're both studying spiritual psychology through the University of Santa Monica. And I met Janet in one of our breakout groups. And we just connected and I knew that I wanted to find out more about Janet. So I've invited her as a guest. And Janet's had a really interesting stage in her life, a real transition point in her life, she has been a very successful and still is a very successful businesswoman and entrepreneur, and has very many strings to her bow. And you know the saying that if you want something done to ask a busy person, and I kind of get a sense that that's how Janet has lived her life. And I can relate a lot to that. She's a highly regarded and awarded lawyer who focuses on business optimization. And I really love this too. It's Janet really focuses on cultivating high performing and passionate and caring cultures, which is just sets my heart on fire. She's led legal practices to great heights, she's built her own very successful national corporate immigration law practice. And Janet was so successful that Price Waterhouse Coopers bought that from her. And since doing that Janet has been in a bit of a transition point about what's next for her. And that's what I really, that's one of the things I really want to chat with Janet about. So welcome. Welcome, Janet from Toronto. I'm so excited. You're here. Well,


thank you, Catherine. And thank you for that beautiful introduction. And thank you so much for inviting me to be a guest on your podcast today. I'm really excited to be here.


I'm so excited to Janet. And one of the things when we got together and we met through the spiritual because oh, that's the other thing that I forgot to mention as well. So studying spiritual psychology. You're also studying to be a life coach, which also sets my heart on fire. That's something that I do and I'm very, very passionate about. And in your spare time, you are a loving wife and mom of six. Do you have much spare time?


Not a lot, but I'd actually manage to make time for it to me. Yeah,


yes. So tell me Janet, what's the last couple of years been like for you? Because you know from the intro, you have been very successful entrepreneur, business woman and I get a sense that's in your blood. What's the last couple of years been like for you in that transition point?


Yeah, well going. Going back to pre COVID I actually experienced a few big life traumas. Also, my mother was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. And then she passed away and shortly after that, the father of my children was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer, less than like two and a half months he passed away. And all that was so hard and I ended up leaving my position as managing partner of the law firm, which was also very difficult leaving something that he had invested so much time into growing and it was so successful. And and right after that COVID started and it was As a huge transition, huge transition, because I was really in a place where I was pretty distraught. I've really been felt like I've been beaten up by life a bit. And I was experiencing a lot of grief and a lot of confusion. But one of the Silver Linings for me and at least our family with COVID was that we were all home and that we were all together supporting one another, following this very difficult time of loss and grief. And that was really necessary for where we were all at. And so, during COVID I, initially I thought, okay, you know what, I've given myself a few months to, I took cooking courses, I did a lot of painting, lockdown


was Toronto in law, were you in lockdown in


Weaver in very strict lockdown? Yes. It was similar to


I think so. Yeah. I mean, Australia, we had


very, very strict, very strict. So we were very, very isolated. But there was a lot of available online and I immersed myself in a lot of different things that I was interested in. But I really put a lot of pressure on myself after getting myself a few months to sort of, to grieve and just sort of ground my or centre myself. And I felt like you know what, you you got to start the next business. If you are an entrepreneur, you have led this big law firm and grown this Global Practice, you're a doer, you got to do and so I very, very quickly started researching, not one but two businesses I wanted to get through different businesses. And I started, I was trying to find a partner and I found this technology that was going to support my new business ventures. One was in the spirituality, industry, the other one was in health and wellness and focusing on vegan and natural products, because I'm, I'm vegan. And I was really like working long hours at this sound.




And I was really, really stressed. And and one day, I thought I just sort of had this epiphany. And I realised I was actually reading Eckhart Tolle is the power of now I had just completed it. But I just realised, for the first time, even though my husband had said to me, you know, you don't have to do anything like you are, you've you've accomplished whatever, you know, you've set your, your, you set your sights on and it's okay, you don't have to push yourself so hard. But in Suddenly, I felt like no, that is what defines me, and I need to push myself and get that next big company going in order to feel like I'm enough. And then I had this epiphany, and I realise you are the only one who is telling yourself that you have to push and go and achieve and build and, and you have never, in at least two and a half decades of even more, if you've never taken a break. Yeah, and just allowed yourself to just enjoy life and just not put any additional pressures on you. And here you have this opportunity to spend time with your family and, and to pursue some of your interests. So I had a long conversation with myself and I was like, okay, you know what, pens down. And for the next year, you're not doing any of that. Forget about starting a business. Just give yourself time to breathe, and pause and just be


Yeah. I want to ask you something about that. Because I remember when we met in study class, I just resonated with that sort of busyness and doing, like, I'm a doer, I can get stuff done that when people say, you don't have to be doing all of that. I kind of get this a bit of a feeling of discomfort because it's about how do I just be? What was going on for you, Janet, when when people when your husband and others were saying, you know, you don't have to do all of this. How did that feel like what how do you experience that? Yeah,


that's a really good question. And I thought a lot about it what was going on inside of me? First of all, I was having an identity crisis. Janet is an entrepreneur who runs a big company and I had to come to terms with the fact that, no, Janet is many different things. And I'm not defined by my work. And it's okay. And I am enough as I am without having that big title, yeah, in the head of something and leading something, and being viewed a certain way, in the eyes of my peers. Yeah. So I had this identity crisis, and I came to terms with it. And I was eventually able just to let go of it, and I realised, and, you know, I've heard this said many times, in certain ways, we have to die in order to be reborn, and I wanted to be real, I want to be reborn into something else. And it doesn't necessarily have to be this big, successful entrepreneur, maybe it will, maybe it won't, but it's okay to let go of that part of my life, which was very much like a leader in the immigration law industry and running this big firm. So that was one of the things that was going through my head, can only


unpack that a little bit, because a lot of the listeners and a lot of the women that I work with, I think will be able to relate to that that identity crisis, you know, who am I? Who am I? You know, often we do put a title to that, that we, you know, this is where I work, or this is what I do. You know, who am I? What was the process? Because you said you came to terms with letting go. There's some practical things that helped you to come to terms with that. I'm just thinking some of the practices that might be useful for some of our listeners and our audience.


Well, before I answer the professionals yet, getting there, I really had to think about what makes me happy in life. And where do I find where does Joy sit in and I was reading a lot, I'm still reading a lot about personal development and spirituality. And I was really searching. And I mean, what became very, very apparent to me, reading all of the, whether it was authors of ancient wisdom, or modern science, they all said the same thing. Happiness is not outside of us happiness inside of us. And so from a practical perspective, that really, really got me focusing on Okay, what does it take to be happy within and part of it. So the first part was okay, I don't have to worry about what it doesn't matter what anyone thinks about me. And I don't have to live up to an identity based on impressing others outside of me, it is all about inside. So I had already started meditation, a meditation practice, and I love meditation. And that's such a big part of my life. I meditate on a regular basis, or every single day I meditate. And I really started to incorporate some of the exercises. And some of the teachings that I learned through my studies both at USM, as well as many of the books that were that that I had read. And one very important thing. I mean, one very important to lesson that jumped out was starting with a from Byron Katie, which is loving what is loving what is right and just appreciating. This is where I'm at, in my life right now. And so embrace that. Don't worry about what happened in the past and who I was in the past and feeling guilty about anything I'm not doing because of where I've been in the past. And don't worry so much about the future, practice more, being in the present. And I'm a big believer that life happens for us. Yeah, not to us. And life put me here. And I again had an elegant aha moment. When after thinking about all this stuff, like no like put me here because I'm supposed to have this break. Yes, I here because I'm supposed to be here. And I am going to love and embrace exactly where I am right now. out, as opposed to, as opposed to struggling and putting all these different, or additional pressures on myself to do and, and produce and whatever, just enjoy exactly where I'm at. And trust that life is a process. And it's a journey. And I'm here right now, because I'm supposed to be here. And when I'm supposed to be somewhere else, I will get to that somewhere else. And I don't need to worry about it. That doesn't mean I'm not doing things because I'm a really big believer in learning and growing and engaging, I do love that. But really loving what is was a really important part of this process and a practical tool that I incorporated. And then also recognising that going back to a few things, allowing myself to a follow my bliss, yes, just do whatever made me happy, and or what makes me happy, but also deciding to be happy, designing, deciding to be happy. So that was another practical, or a practice that I've really embraced. And that's helped me a lot on my journey. And I can tell you, Catherine that I really like I haven't felt this happy and this light in ears.


Yeah, I can feel that and I can, I can relate to so much of what you're saying. And one of the things for me, like the happiness hive, it's about finding happiness, and what sparks joy. And my my story, you know, it's different to yours. But you know, from a trauma of my mom passing away when I was young, that I got to a point where I went, you know what, I don't want to live life like that anymore in that sort of numb, void. And I made the decision that I was going to turn my life around. And I think what you've said there is about deciding to be happy that, and I agree with you to that life is for us, that we're where we're meant to be and trusting that that's the process and learning the lessons of life. But I very much made that decision that I wanted my life to be the most beautiful life that I could create. And every day, I start the day that today is going to be, you know, a wonderful day and wonderful things are going to happen and setting that intention. So there's a lot of really practical things that you had said there. And I think you also said Janet, about what actually brings you happiness, what brings you happiness, and I think sometimes we're caught up being so busy in the doing that we forget and we go what actually does bring, you know, spark joy. And it can be like this sparks my joy. You know, catching up with wonderful, amazing women and just hearing their stories, connecting with others absolutely sparks my joy. If I could do this all day, I would love, love love to do that. Yeah, and loving what is just being in the present moment. And for me, that's been one of my probably most powerful practices, but one of the hard ones as well, that it's about being loving what is and being in the now. Not in the What am I going to be achieving tomorrow on the next day in the next year in the next whenever. And not living in the past of you know, all these things happen. It's about being in the now and loving the now. And when you said that you just feel so much peace and lightness. That's exactly what I experienced. I get the, you know, my head starts racing when I think about what I've got to do next and all that this and that and the, you know, getting caught up in the busyness of it. So they're beautiful, so many and following your bliss, love, love. Love that.


Yeah, I mean, and there's so many other, like practical tips are things that I've incorporated into my life from, you know, as you mentioned, starting your day with an intention. I love that. Yeah, I actually sort of practice gratefulness when I wake up. Yeah, and and just just give thanks and think about all the things that I'm so grateful for. And I love starting my day, like that and just even like sending like light and love to pee Pool in my life and just taking that time to really just appreciate, I feel like it becomes a much more appreciative for life and people, nature, right, all the opportunities we have and everything that's around us and all the good things. And going back to the happiness part. And as in just, as I mentioned, deciding to be happy, also is very influenced by what we focus on. Oh, absolutely, yes. Yeah. So also choosing to really focus on the beauty and the good in life. And as opposed to allowing my ego to sort of raise alarm bells of fear about everything, or to focus on all the things that aren't working in the worlds. And, and that was really important to do during COVID. For me, yes,


yes. I really retreated during COVID. I, I remember, oh, gosh, when was when was our lockdown? It probably happened March each, I think. And I remember in the January of that year, I do a lot of January's my time to sort of do my reflecting of the previous year. And what do I want to bring into my life for the next year. So I and it's summer in Australia in January, and it's just that really beautiful, energetic time for me. And I remember prior to COVID, I went, you know what, I'm just so busy, I'm getting pulled in so many different directions, and all of my undoing. But I need to slow down I need to sort of think about the way that I'm working COVID here. My work just shut up. I had three months of no work and I'm just going oh my goodness universe. That's not what I meant. That is not what. But do you know what I did? Janet, the first month was like, oh my god, oh my God, oh, my God, then I went, you know what? It's going to be okay. It will be okay. So take this time, and I actually spent a lot of time retreating within. And I think, you know, they made comments during COVID about, you know, going people finding themselves. I really, I enjoyed that time of, of slowing. And I think it was probably the first time for many, many years for me, that I was just being I experienced what Bing not doing but what Bing was like, and it was beautiful. Yeah,


that's beautiful. I'm so happy to hear that. And a lot of people experience that for the first time. And, and I truly believe that so many of us needed that. Yeah, I


needed it. I needed it. I was a bit kind of when they when locked down. When we opened up us it's like, oh, really like, I think I'm just staying with joy. And a lot of things have changed in my life since then. And, you know, reflecting I've really pulled back and thought about what, what is important to me. And what does bring me bliss and joy, and putting more of my focus on those things. And yeah, I feel a lot lighter. I feel a lot lighter from this. Yeah. Yeah.


And I really practice releasing guilt. Yes. Yeah. Actually, a few of Yeah, a few few new habits really releasing guilt. Yeah. Practising not judging myself or others.


Oh, yeah. I'm still praying. That's still my lesson.


Is I'm practising it. And also, and also letting go of fear. Yeah. Yes. Yeah. Letting Go. Whenever I hear it, I just sort of say like, like, laugh at it a bit, or basically say, like, I'm not falling, falling for that one, choosing love over fear.


Actually, that's interesting, because a lot of I do a lot of work with, with my clients around letting go and releasing and changing the narrative around those stories that we tell ourselves. And there's a whole range of processes that I go through on it so often, depending on who I'm with and what we do. But when you talk about letting go, I just heard you say then you recognise the voice is that you're able to recognise the voice in your mind in the show. Yeah,


absolutely. That has definitely been something that I've learned over the last two years to be much more aware and to not be hostage. Yes, that voice. Yes. voice doesn't control me. I control me. And so hearing that voice, and setting it aside and I think I'm very very good at becoming very sensitive to anytime I feel a disturbance. And this is part of from USM billion that disturbance, examining it and, and releasing it through several different tools that I use. But I became so I'm aware that once I became aware about the voice in my head became so aware that it always goes to the worst possible case, like the worst. And so, and for so many years of my life, I was not aware that there was something that was doing that to me. And so I would respond with fear or stress or anxiety or whatever. And now, being having it so visible and being able to stop it, it just has transformed my life, because I don't buy into it


at all. Yeah, I love that. And the practice that I do is the same thing, like I, I have recognised the voice. And I know when she is going to pop in there. And what I do is I actually just catch myself and say, Why am I thinking that? Why is that triggered that response in me? And, and I learned to be really honest with my answers to that as well. And what is that triggering in me? And why am I thinking those thoughts? Is this a real thing? Or is this just the habit of you know, those old stories that have been ingrained in me? So I sit with it. And then sometimes that's enough, sometimes just even catching the thought is enough to break the circuit. Then I think, why am I actually responding that way? When I get some insights from that, and then if I need to, it's just like, Well, what do I want to be thinking or feeling instead? And then I focus on that. So what I'm really doing is breaking that, that habit of the, you know, the inner critic, and then replacing the inner critic with the inner love, and guidance. So it is a process and a lot of people a lot of my clients asked me that, how do you? How do you tame the inner critic, and for me, it's a practice. It's, it's about being aware of when the inner critic is there and how they act. And then for us to be able to break that cycle of it. So we've got to practice. It's not like we do this once. And we're, you know, everything's okay. Well, certainly for me, my belief is that it's, you know, that it's taken a lot of years to fall. So I need to practice and I have a very, my mornings are my sacred time, like I love I love mornings, I we talked before we got on air, we're both early risers. And that is, you know, that's a really sacred time of the day for me, about, you know, setting myself up for the day. And it's just beautiful. It's just a really lovely energy. So I do have my practice of about setting my intentions, my gratitude, I visualise a gratitude, a well of gratitude. And as I'm at the well, it's kind of just spilling over with all these things that I'm grateful for. And then some days, it's just giving, thanks for all of the things in the well, and sometimes I actually bring out specific things and give gratitude for those. Yeah, Alexa, and when I do my visualising, I'm next to my gratitude. Well, it's kind of morphed into, it's manifesting well, so it's about one of the things that I want to bring into my my life. And, and it's not always about physical, actually, most of the time, it's not about physical things, that wanting to bring in, you know, beautiful people, you know, beautiful experiences, positive energy, you know, all those lovely things that I want wanting my life to be. It's beautiful. Yeah, yeah. Well, what are some of the other things so it sounds like that the transition, it's an evolving journey for you from from the busyness of your corporate Janet, to the non corporate there, the being Janet, are there any other things that you're sort of experiencing at the moment around that establishing your identity?


I feel so much more balanced. When I when I really feel like I'm for the first time in my life also that I have a good balance of, sort of me time, yet time with family, the work that I am doing, whether it's focusing on USM, or I'm consulting company or or my coaching course, and spending time on on my health, making sure that that's, that's that everything's going well their contribution and community like I feel like I've and of course my spirituality like I feel like I have, for the first time really like covered, you know all those parts in the circle divided into all those different sections that I'm really well balanced at that and part of it is make it like allowing myself to have time for things part of it is not putting any pressure on myself if I don't check every single box. Well, yes, and, and then just really like embracing things that that I'm interested in. And as I mentioned before that, that that light me up and not waiting until I think I'm good enough to do certain things, but just not having that hanging over my head just like just jumping in and doing things and trying different things that I think I'm interested in like, like playing guitar, or just seeing lessons and I'm starting to do an outline for a book and you know, part previously it would have been well, you have to like, know how to write and be like a good writer in order to do these things. And now it's really about No, just live in the present and allow yourself to shine and just like enjoy where, where you're going with these things without putting that added pressure on yourself that you have to be the best before you start doing some of these things. Just jump in and know that the more that you do and the more that you jump in, whether it's with a spirituality practice or any other area of interests, that you got to start somewhere. And with time, you're going to get better and better and better.


Yeah, I so agree with that. I think a lot of people, Fi holds people back certainly has for me, but that feeling of perfectionism and the standards that we put on ourselves. And I know for myself, I can't say for everybody else, but their self imposed their standards, the ones that I've put on myself, not what other people have put on myself, so and then the inner critic comes in because I haven't lived up to those unrealistic expectations. And so I'm very much like you is bringing it back into it following my bliss. Absolutely following my bliss. And I think, you know, I certainly am at a very, very heavy point in my life. And it's and I think when we feel good about ourselves, and feel good about what's going on life reflects that back to us. Yeah. One last question before we wrap up what is what's the future hold for Ghana? Now that we've been talking about being in the present, is there anything? Yeah. Is there anything that?


Well, I am going to be more involved in many areas of my life. Yeah. That by because I'm on a journey. Yeah, I definitely the continue to be very happy. And ideally, I will be inspiring as many people as possible to lead or to live a life of greater happiness, joy, he's, in whatever way I ultimately choose to actualize that.


And I would say very much that's probably happening right now, Janet, that I would suggest that you're probably inspiring a lot of people just by the journey that you're following. Because that and even through the chat that we're having, there's so many pearls of wisdom that have just kind of dropped out today. But I would 100% say that you're already living that future, which is kind of a nice little bow to tie this chat up with because that's what we were talking about being being you. And I think that's exactly what you are doing. You're embodying those words that you're saying. So I have just loved chatting with you, Janet, I really haven't. Let me just ask you, where can our listeners find you? We've got we've got the details in the show notes but got LinkedIn. If they're they have a website or


have a website on LinkedIn, and they're welcome to message me and I'm open and we'd be happy to speak with anyone who would be interested in hearing more about my journey or if there's any can help anyone with their journey. So much Catherine, this was such a pleasure.


This is beautiful. I love I really love the, you know, my, the purpose behind the happiness hive podcast is really just hearing from women and just how they do life really. It's not any more complicated than that and the beautiful stories and just for people to meet people that they wouldn't ordinarily meet and just to hear how they do life. So thank you, Janet. I have just absolutely loved having that chat again. And I hope you have a beautiful y'all have a beautiful evening. I'll have a beautiful day. We're coming to you from the future. So Hudson happiness, see


happiness back to you and enjoy your happiness. Catherine. You are just oozing with happiness. I can see it. It's coming through the screen. So yeah,


do you know Yes, I feel I absolutely feel that I can. Yeah, I'm in a really, really great spot. So I'm glad you can pick up on that all the way across the across the waves, as well.


Thank you again, love to you and to all your listeners. Thanks so much. Thanks


gorgeous. Bye bye. Thank you for listening. I hope you enjoyed the episode. You can spread the love by sharing it with a friend so she can have a little bit of what we had today. Don't forget to rate and review so we can get it into as many hearts and ears as possible. You can keep the conversation going on my happiness hive socials. And if you'd like some more high vibe happiness in your life, come and join me in our community of inspired and motivated women at the happiness lounge. This is my online membership club and your central hub for everything you will need to be truly happy and bounce out of bed every day living and loving your best and most beautiful life. To find out more pop over to the happiness hive website and click on the link working with Catherine. Until next time, Big hugs and happiness