February 17, 2021
Author: Heather Lowey
Jennifer’s story gave us heartbreak, showed incredible resilience, and was a lesson to everyone that self-care is not selfish but rather an essential part of our existence.
Jennifer Chapman grew up in what she called a dream childhood. Loving parents, a younger brother, extended family nearby who were more like siblings and a second mother than cousins and aunt. She spent almost her first decade of life in dance with her cousin and best friend.
The summer before entering 6th grade, Jennifer and her family were on vacation in Myrtle Beach when her mother had a reaction to something she ate at dinner. Two weeks later, back home at a family cook-out the same thing happened. Another allergic reaction to something her mother ate, but this time medics were called, and she was rushed to the hospital.
In the most heart wrenching turn of events, her father came home from the hospital to Jennifer, age 11, and her brother, age 9, to share the news their mother had passed away. Still unclear to this day of the actual cause, her mother had suffered an allergic reaction causing her to suffocate.
It goes without saying this was a turning point in Jennifer’s life. Her one release from the frustration, sadness, and confusion of losing her mother, and so suddenly, was playing tennis. In fact, she admitted picking up the tennis racket given to her the previous Christmas by her mother and not putting it down for a solid 7 years.
Her maternal grandfather became her biggest fan and supported her in this tennis endeavor. Never missing his granddaughter practice, let alone a game!
Upon graduating from Ball State, Jennifer began her career in sales with Monarch Beverage. This is where she met her partner in life and now husband, Ray. They were married on September 9th, 2009. The date became an even more significant day in her life two years later, when her maternal grandmother, a rock and confidant to Jennifer, passed away from brain cancer.
After a shift in roles from Monarch into a sales position with Cintas, Jennifer quickly made a splash in this new space earning President’s Club in her first year. She received the news of this accomplishment two days prior to her 34th birthday. Then the realization struck. 34 was the age her own mother had died. Jennifer had so much more life she wanted to live and started to consider what her calling on this Earth really was.
The seed was planted but still unclear.
One morning while preparing for her workday, Jennifer began to feel dizzy, sweating profusely and in general disoriented. She quickly called her aunt who confirmed Jennifer’s speech did not sound right.
Jennifer was rushed to the hospital and after a series of tests, a neurologist confirmed she’d had a stroke in three places in her brain.
Jennifer describes the experience as very surreal. She spent a week in the hospital and was completely overwhelmed with exhaustion. The smallest of tasks took an unprecedented amount of effort to accomplish.
She then moved to a rehab center for 10 days. Feeling as one of the lucky ones, her physical recovery went well.
After 18 months though, the mental toll was the hardest part of this entire journey.
The mental toll consisting partially from anxiety over if this would happen again and what had been the root cause. She found herself working out constantly trying to remain physically healthy but for a time neglected the mental side of things.
Jennifer then began working with a life coach, Des Garcia. It was in their work together, her shift began. In fact, she found purpose in the stroke happening FOR her not TO her. Shifting from a place of victim to understanding there was a reason she had overcome this challenge.
They also worked together on processing the grief of the old her. Viewing the stroke as a turning point in Jennifer’s life to believe in herself and focus on what mattered to her most.
In 2019, she left the corporate sales position and started a marketing role with Select Home Health & Senior Care.
On one of her first training introductions, she went back to the very same rehab center she found herself after the stroke. This strange encounter suddenly made her realize she was back where wanted to be and serving others in a manner fulfilling to her purpose.
As the quarantine in 2020 began, Jennifer continued to meditate and think about her calling more robustly. Feeling as though it was not an accident the stroke happened to her, she knew her story could support others.
Through this self-analysis, she made the decision to begin coaching. She launched Just Commit Coaching as a means to support women in their 20s-40s find their purpose. Specifically, to overcome their challenges after a life altering event and accept their new, better version physically, mentally, and emotionally.
The name Just Commit came from her own coach’s messaging to Jennifer to just take a step, just go, just make one move. JUST COMMIT.
As a stroke warrior, Jennifer’s drive, compassion, and experience support her clients into just committing to themselves.
Jennifer has lived into and moved through tragic loss, tremendous grief, and personal hardships. Even through the laborious recovery, she came out the other side wanting to support others. In fact, sharing her story so we can all understand it’s possible to overcome life’s challenges too.
- Determine what your cup is full of. Stress, anger, and anxiety? Or love, joy, calmness, strength and courage?
- Control the controllable items in your life- let the rest go
- Support- find your people
- Gratitude- find your happiness in the small things
- Everything happens for a reason. So, use it.
Thank you, Jennifer, for being an inspiration and light through your story.