Published on April 10th, 2015 | by Lorraine Leslie0
Julie Flippin – Change Takes Time
Born in Lordsburg, New Mexico in April 1953, Julie Flippin grew up living day to day, not expecting anything new or something to be excited about…actually she lived in a very scary home environment!
Julie didn’t dream about what she wanted to be when she grew up, and there was no discussion about what College or University she would go to. What she does remember is her silent prayers for a different life, one of love.
“I spent a lot of my time praying; silently of course as we weren’t religious – I called them ‘wish prayers.’
If I said a prayer; ‘Why do I have to live like this?’ I had no idea who I was asking this of? Or would I still be alive when I grew up. I was in survival mode from the time I was eight years old until I left home at seventeen. The truth is I continued to go in and out of survival mode for most of my life. Change takes time.”
“My Father was a six foot three skinny Texan. He came to Canada from the Deep South and he where everyone only wore cowboy boots – for every occasion, including golf. We moved to Canada in 1957 and he worked for Trans Canada Pipeline in Thunder Bay Mom was a licensed practical nurse in the state of Louisiana at the time. I have three siblings, Rusty, Charles and Sheri, so the house was busy all the time. We moved numerous times before I started school in North Bay before finally settling in Newmarket. Mom became a stay at home mother until she went back to school when I was fifteen. She took the bus to Toronto every day from Newmarket to become a Registered Nurse Assistant.”
Julie doesn’t remember playing with her older sister of eighteen months, but does recall her getting her into trouble –“She talked me into doing things like taking markers and drawing lines on the walls around the house. Dad came home to two crying little girls with a bucket of soap and he would help us wash the walls… He felt sorry for us.”
In the early days Julie’s Dad did things with the children like building a raft for them to play on…or taking them fishing.
But life wasn’t always that pleasant…
“Things started to change drastically!” Julie whispered in a soft voice.
In order to understand why Julie was in survival mode, let’s start at the beginning. There were marital problems, which she didn’t understand at age eight. “When you grow up in a home where surviving was a way of life – it is so deeply ingrained and habitual that it feels ‘normal’. So when I think about my childhood and school and what I loved and did well I saw it always through the filter of ‘survival’.”
“I was eight when it all started. Dad got his shot gun out and threatened to kill us all. It became apparent that alcoholism and insanity ran rampant in my Dad’s side of our family.
By the age of fifteen we were living in Newmarket ON. My father’s behaviour was getting worse; I never knew what I was going to come home to…..guns, violence, clothes being burned in the fireplace, a suicide attempt – it was just insanity.”
Julie and her siblings rode on a roller coaster of rage, anger, and violence for about nine long years. “We reached out to the police over the years. ….we didn’t dare call them until my dad passed out from drinking. When the police finally did arrive, they made two things abundantly clear to us. They didn’t feel sorry for us; and told us it was “our” problem. When we showed them the shotgun and the bullets, they told us to be careful and would hide the gun behind the curtains in the living room. I realized they were not going to save us! That was a defining moment for me – to realize no one could or would save me.”
Note: That was a long time ago and it is so great that the laws have changed and the police are better trained to handle domestic violence!
“I never told my friends, teachers, or neighbours what went on in our house. The “secret” hosted a lot of shame and embarrassment. I felt that what my dad did was because there was something wrong with ME. I didn’t know alcoholism was an illness. It never occurred to me that there was something wrong with him; I thought if only I was prettier or if I didn’t make mistakes, then Dad wouldn’t want to kill me… If all of us did the right things everyday he wouldn’t get upset. I’d continually think, what’s wrong with me that Dad doesn’t like…”
Throughout Julie’s teen years her belief was already ingrained into her subconscious mind, making her feel unloved, unwanted, and nothing she did to make it right, was enough.
“My relationship with my Mother was like one of us kids…she was as frightened as we were– everything was centred around my Dad; his day at work, his feelings and his alcoholism.”
The pattern was there; Julie’s belief system continued to be formed over many years. It was a deep knowing that not only did she have no control over what was happening in her life, and or choice in what mattered, but more importantly she felt she had no power to change it.
“I attended Huron Heights Secondary School in Newmarket for only two years. My best friend lived with us at the time as her mother lived and worked in Toronto. I was seventeen when I had had enough. Both of us saved as much money as we could and ran away to find our new lives in Toronto. Within three months we had enough money to get our own apartment. There was no furniture, but gradually, due to the kindness of people who gave us some hand me downs, over time it became home.”
Even after Julie left home she couldn’t sleep at night. “I was afraid to make decisions which ultimately affected me finding a loving relationship. Everything seemed to be just out of my reach; the feeling of having no power over my own life affected everything I said and did. It was at the core of my being and shaped my life.”
There was only one escape route for Julie and that was to face her fears, doubts and beliefs, and challenge them. She knew she couldn’t live with the insanity of her life or within her family any longer!
“You either believe what you think or you question it. There’s no other choice” Byron Katie
“When I ran away to Toronto I put my application in for factory work as well as going to an employment agency. It could have really gone either way and when I look back I realize my life trajectory was hanging in the balance. The Agency went out of their way to try and find someone who would hire me and a miracle happened. I was finally in the right place at the right time. A gentleman who owned a sign shop – Banner Signs, hired me. I was a ‘Girl Friday’ in a one girl office. I was trained by his accountants to do bookkeeping. Another positive thing happened; I met a man who I knew when I lived in Newmarket. We dated and eventually he became my husband.
“I married in 1971 at age nineteen. My husband was an experienced greens keeper and when his father’s boss found out he offered him a job designing a new golf course in Florida. We moved to Delray Beach in 1972 and worked at a privately owned club that built homes on the ocean and intercoastal waterways. I worked directly for the retired president of Ford Canada and the president of Molson’s, who were co-owners and developers of the project. What an experience it was at the young age of nineteen to head up their accounting department and once again be trained by their accountants. Thinking back, it was amazing to have a staff of four and we were running a multi-million dollar organization. We lived there for two years until I became pregnant with our first child. I was home sick so we moved back to Newmarket.”
Julie’s daughter Tara was born in the fall of 1974 and four years later she gave birth to a son Ryan in the late summer of 1978.
“The births of my children were truly two of the most beautiful experiences in my life.” Julie said with a soft smile.
Around this time Julie recognized she was incapable of having a long lasting loving relationship. Primary romantic relationships are often formed based on our relationship with our father or mother. “I wasn’t really ready to marry at age nineteen, let alone have a family to raise – lesson learned. My husband and I separated a year after our son was born. I still hadn’t dealt with my childhood trauma, and the beliefs that were formed about me during those years.”
Being a fast learner Julie excelled at all the jobs she did. “Working vs. being in an intimate relationship was like night and day…my personal life was the challenge. Although at work I did feel like an imposter, always asking myself ‘when is the penny going to drop?’
Over the next seventeen years Julie worked corporately in a variety of positions “I was on my game working in Human Resources; as Controller and Sales Manager for Command Graphics and Barrie Press. I loved systems analysis work and became an expert in troubleshooting systems used in companies. I could figure out what my boss wanted and learn how to do it. I loved being appreciated and I really thrived on their approval, which I had been lacking all my life.”
Julie moved to Innisfil Beach in 1980 with her two young children. “I wanted to be close to the beach in the summer and it was a bustling community. When the end of August rolled around however, most people packed up and went home. I didn’t realize I had moved into cottage country with no street lights, cable or paved roads. Interestingly though I never felt safer. My children went to a small local school and the people who did stay during the winter seemed to bond and look after one another. My thirties were a blur; working and raising my children.”
“When I hit my forties something shifted in me. It was time for me to start on a serious journey of healing. I hit quite an emotional and spiritual bottom at forty-one and knew that I couldn’t continue living in and out of survival mode. I reached out for help for the pain and hopelessness I was still feeling and that is when my life really changed. When that all came to the surface and I started feeling what was really going on inside me, it was heartbreaking. I thank God for the people who saw me, for who I really was, not the beliefs that had formed when I was a child.”
“I was living a pattern which needed to be broken, which included drugs and alcohol to dull the emotional pain I was in. So I found a 12 Step Program and started my journey of healing. Over the next five years I attended Alcoholics Anonymous, where I found many loving individuals that held a space for me to step into, a place of truth, love, respect and dignity. For the first time in my life I felt like I could hold my head up and breathe. I didn’t have to hide, pretend or put everyone before me. I really did feel as if I had been reborn. And when that happened I felt an inner nudge to start my own business.”
Julie wanted to work with small business owners and bring the experience and skills she had, to help them be more successful. “I started an Accounting and Bookkeeping company and absolutely loved working with my clients. I had the opportunity to do so much more than just the books. I prepared business plans for new businesses that were looking for funding from the bank, got involved with my clients’ yearly planning, hiring, and organizing and overall business management.”
Julie recalled, “Four years into that business I felt that ‘inner nudge’ again. As much as I loved what I was doing, I wanted to work with people on a deeper level. I wanted to understand why they did what they did – why some people were successful and some struggled. So I got on my knees and prayed for an answer, got quiet, meditated and waited and sure enough within a few days a friend told me about a workshop he was attending that taught people how to work with people’s deeper core beliefs. When he was telling me about it, I felt a tingling that started at my toes and shot right up to my head – I had my answer. I called and registered for that workshop immediately. So at age fifty I went back to school to change my life. That was the beginning of a process to become certified as a psychotherapist. The course I wanted was in Western Canada – so every other month I would hop on a plane with my laptop and spend several weeks at school while at night I was doing payrolls and preparing financial statements for board meetings. It was a whirlwind and I don’t think I ever felt more alive than I did in those years.”
Julie settled down in Barrie and opened The Julie Flippin Center. Over the next seven years she worked with people to help them not only work on their limiting beliefs but on the possibilities that were available to them to create joyful experiences and growth. During those years Julie created workshops on how to live their (and her own) lives with purpose and expanded awareness. “I loved what I was doing. I felt like I was not only continuing on my own healing journey but helping others do the same.”
“Then it happened again…. the inner nudge! I had worked hard in my studies and with my clients and I felt as if I was ready to expand again which meant up-leveling myself. I knew I wanted to start another business but at the same time I felt the fear. I had worked diligently to get to the six figure mark in this business and the idea of a third business and starting over again – felt somewhat daunting. I tried for a year to ignore that inner nudge. I changed the way I worked, changed the type of clients I worked with, moved….but nothing helped. So I did what any person would do who felt pulled, unsure and scared – I hired a business coach!”
Julie quickly identified that with all of the experience she had, she was a natural business coach.
“Working with a business coach help me define the new business I wanted to start, what I would be doing, who I would be helping and how to get some financial success without it taking another seven years. I brought all of my business experience coupled with the counseling I had been doing for eight years and Small Business Savvy was born. I felt exhilarated, terrified and had a deep knowing that my life was about to change once again.”
What Julie was starting to realize was, every time she started a new business, she was challenging every belief she had about herself. She now knew she was good enough. People hired her. She knew she couldn’t fail – she’d been there and wasn’t going back.
Julie’s basic principles she lives her life by are:
- Everyone is doing the best they can from the place they are in, in that moment.
- Our businesses (or relationships, or careers) are our vehicle for personal expansion.
“Although being a business coach was all about helping the small business owner and entrepreneur on a much deeper level it was about me growing, expanding and being more than I had ever been. I remember sitting in my office, hoping the phone would ring, or someone would walk in. I realized that I had been hiding in my office hoping business would come to me. I felt afraid to go out, network, meet people, get on a stage and speak. After everything I had been through and learned and starting my businesses, here I sat feeling frightened.”
Our belief systems are like an onion and as we challenge them, any place that love does not exist will come up.
“My feelings weren’t about what ‘other’ people might do or not do; it was what I believed about myself.”
Julie thought back to the police coming into her home as a child and them being clear about the fact that everyone has to help them self, to find the courage to create a successful life.
“Everything changed that day – I got out from behind my desk and my computer and started to do what I needed to do… my mindset worked and within eighteen months I was a multiple six figure business owner.”
“A year and a half later I joined my coach’s team as the Director of Coaching for her million dollar business in the U.S. I felt a spark of excitement and wanted to have the experience of being on a team. We agreed I could still run my business in Canada, but on a much smaller scale. Over the next year I travelled more than I was home and sold just under a million dollars in programs as well as coached her private clients. What a remarkable time that was. I realized however, as I came to the end of that year that I didn’t have a life outside of my work and that was unacceptable to me. I wanted love, fun and time with my family.”
Julie has four grandchildren but felt like she was missing out on the special times; Valentine’s Day, Easter, Family Day, Christmas…and all of their birthday parties. She finished her contract year and stepped fully back into her life in Barrie and her business.
In 2014 Julie published her first book ‘Pitiful or Powerful; You Choose’. “I felt very qualified to write the book as I know what it is like to live on both sides. It is easy for me to think I’m doing something different, but when the same results cycle around, I realize I’m kidding myself and just doing things from the old beliefs – not the new possibilities.
Julie Flippin learned to trust something she couldn’t see, feel or touch. She learned to trust in herself and to accept and love who she is today. “I allowed myself to love and accept others in the same way. I learned to stop blaming my father for my life and chose to take responsibility for myself and the life I had created and the life I wanted to create. But the most important thing I learned was forgiveness – forgiveness for my father and forgiveness for myself.”
“I know now that every day, every moment, is a choice. I choose how I show up in the world, in my relationships and in my business. I choose how I take care of myself. I choose how I honour myself. Life will not change until we do something to change it.”
Pitiful or powerful, it is always up to me.”
By Lorraine Leslie
© copyright Lorraine Leslie – Women with Vision Magazine 2014/15