I grew up in the small rural area of Givhans, right outside of the small town of Ridgeville, South Carolina. My personal motto is trying is still doing.

My highs all center around my family and the unconditional love that was so freely given. There was so much security in this. It gave me a sense of richness to the very core of my soul. It was when I began losing the people I loved the most that life suddenly began to lose its luster. First I lost my one and only sister Bobbie, my little brother Troy, my father Robert Sr. and my mother Jannie. Even with me being a teenage mother of a son who would later be diagnosed with autism and non-verbal, I still had an ever present mother giving her constant love, support, and encouragement , so when I lost her , when my son Christopher was just 4 years old, I felt lost, lacking guidance, direction, and the know how to fend for myself and my son.

 

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I found myself looking and searching high and low for a new normal. I needed something or someone to fill the void and hollowness I felt in my heart. My joy was gone. I had no sense of self and looked outside of me for a sense of validation , acceptance, love, and comfort. This led to a slew of bad decisions. I became involved in unhealthy relationships, I experienced homelessness, and a major bout of depression, which I self-medicated with food. After many years of emotionally eating, I knew I had a problem. I knew there had to be something more to life.

Deciding to go back to school was a pivotal point in my life. I left High School months before graduating , due to the overwhelming grief I felt after losing both my little brother and father within the span of 3 weeks , however I always had that burning desire to finish what I was months away from completing. I was faced with a lot of self doubt , but after taking a self improvement course I mustard up enough courage and 11 years after leaving high school I went back to finish what I had started. I also had been in the process of my own soul searching, self-evaluations, spiritual connections with my higher power, and taking ownership of my bad choices. I began to find value in myself and wisdom in my experiences. I went on to finish what I started and decided upon completion to give college a shot. I still had doubt , but now I possed much more confidence.

 

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At this point I was a single mother of 3. I needed a career path that could financially sustain my family. I decided I would become a dental hygienist. Everyone had always said I had a beautiful smile, so I figured that had to count for something. My goal was never to be wealthy , but to survive. I found myself sitting in Bio 210 class looking around at all the life size skeletons, and mannequins with the human organs exposed, all while the professor rambles on about muscle groups, tissues, and lab work! I began watching the clock awaiting the end of class. I knew I didn’t belong. I am a humanitarian at heart. I went to administrators office and changed my major to Human Services with a certification in Family Intervention Studies. My 1st class of that semester changed the course of my life. The course was Personal and Professional Development. The words on the cover of  the course book read “I never knew I had a choice”. That very first semester set the wheels of success in motion for me. I realized over the course of that semester that I truly never knew I had a choice. I also knew that there were many individuals who also thought as I did. I had the viewpoint that life just happens to you, that you take what comes your way , but the truth is there are some things that we must accept that is not within our power to change, however there are many things in our lives where we have the ability to exercise the power of choice. We are full and active participants in this gift called life! We have a choice as to what we will and will not accept into our own little worlds. There is freedom in the power of choice.

My passion has always been helping others, but when I changed my major that day I was weighing in at 412 and I stand 5’5. I never knew my passion would ever lead to helping others through health and fitness, motivation, empowering and evoking others to make life changing decisions, such as working toward better health.

My desire to help others was cultivated throughout the hearts of my loving family. My parents exhibited excellent examples of selfless givers. My mother was the epitome of love. I can no long feel sorrow for the loss of them , because I am far too grateful. Love can never die, even when we cease to physically exist.

Love conquers all. It wasn’t until I began to love myself  and see my own value, that I was able to take the experience of receiving a seat belt violation for not being buckled up, due to being morbidly obese as an opportunity to change my own life. That ticket was a pathway to the start of my journey , but my journey started long before that ticket could have an ounce of power. My transformation started from the inside out. That ticket was the mirror I needed to see that my inside did not match my outside. My love for self and respect for this amazing gift called life led me to living my impossible. I am down almost 260 pounds to date. I have shed more than half of my original body weight through healthy eating, exercising, discipline, perseverance, and my absolute hunger for life!

 

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I am a Entrepreneur , Motivational Speaker, Life Coach, and CEO and founder of Refusing2Fail

My Business Refusing2Fail means just that, Dare to Dream, Refuse to Fail. My goal is the empower, encourage, and inspire others toward positive life changes despite obstacles.

www.refusing2fail.com

My source of inspiration comes from all that surrounds me. Music which is one of my first loves inspires me, others who go after their dreams inspires me. Life itself inspires me. My gift to my loved ones who have gone before me is to live, and live well.

Whenever I have a blockage and struggle with a project or idea not going according to plan, I pray for guidance, I relax, take a look at the objective at hand, and develop small goals the leads the project to completion.

The actions that I have taken in the past that has made the biggest difference in my life  is to love me in my entirety! and not allow the opinions of others to affect how I feel about me or allow it alter my choices or decisions.

 

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I also have found solace in the fact that I don’t measure my success by material wealth. Peace with self, contentment, growth in character, and loving relationships influence what I deem as successful.

My goals are to share my message with anyone who is willing to listen , to let others know that where you originated ( wealth, poverty, abuse, abandonment) is not the deciding factor of who or what you ultimately become.

If money was not an issue I would travel all over the world and share my message of empowerment. People need to know they matter. They need to know someone cares. They need to Dare to Dream and Refuse 2 Fail.

Janette Colantonio