ANNE SCOTTLIN is an author, consultant and specialist in emotional well-being. She leads innovative corporate training on work-life integration and individual fulfillment. A podcaster and influencer, Scottlin’s popular Twitter feed draws millions of views a month and she produces a compelling weekly show. Her energy and enthusiasm attract clients worldwide to her workshops, retreats and her flagship program, The Power of Joy Transformation.
A uniquely gifted teacher, Anne’s singularity springs from the blend of her academic background, entrepreneurial experience, and unusual upbringing. She also draws from her personal quest for joy, self-actualization and global vision. An aesthete deeply inspired by nature, mindfulness and excellence, Anne’s approach is one of compassion, honesty and high standards.
Anne lives in Santa Monica, California, with her husband and two Mini Schnauzers. When she’s not working with her clients or writing a new book she enjoys wilderness hiking, world travel, and recharging outdoors in her favorite hammock. One of her best kept secrets is that she is a Medieval history hobbyist with a special interest in medieval women writers.
In the Beginning
I was an unusual American kid. While other children my age were listening to pop music, watching TV or going to movies and Disneyland, I was wearing long dresses and learning how to grow food. I was the product of a counter-cultural religious family and grew up in a remote rural environment. I was homeschooled until I was fifteen and sheltered from fiction, movies, television, and most of the arts. It was a lonely existence for a natural extrovert.
The upside of my childhood was that I fell in love with nature, and developed a vivid imagination. I didn’t have friends to confide in, and the only adults I felt I could talk to were my parents. I couldn’t look for answers or reassurances by reading popular books (not allowed), and we didn’t have the internet. So I reverted to self-soothing by visiting the ageless, timeless school of nature.
I lived on a large tract of land with varied wilderness terrain. I’d lay on my back in the thick rushes by the stream where no one could find me and watch the clouds shapeshift into fascinating and fantastic characters. I’d sit high up on a rocky outcropping watching the natural world go by, talking to chipmunks, watching bluebirds building their nests. Nature became my happy place, my sanctum of healing and belonging.
These solo adventures activated my imagination. Although my understanding of the real word was limited, I was fascinated with people and by any stories I was allowed to read. I began to write stories in my head, watching them unfold on the inner screen of my imagination.
I’d test these tales on my little brothers.These stories often evolved into great serial sagas that I’d literally invent as I spoke. When the little boys got tired and squirmy, I’d tell them they had to come back tomorrow for the next installment of the adventure. By age ten I began writing short stories, and even a short play or two.
Nature, people, and story have become the central elements of my life. As I write this I’m sitting out in nature, suspended in space in my hammock-chair on the porch of my mountain cabin. I just got back from Manhattan, and just before that Greece, just before that Miami, just before that the Bahamas. My curiosity and business keep me traveling the world. But for my soul food, I come back to my hammock in the woods with the deer and the birds.
But then there is the metropolitan me, the one that loves being a part of the vibrant global heartbeat. I love people. When I was finally allowed to go to a tiny religious high school (70 students), I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. (Who knew there was a shortcut?) I was a sixteen-year-old, home-grown mountain girl who had never owned a stitch of makeup, didn’t know how to use a curling iron, and had never had a television or anything else to prepare me for pop references or trendy slang. No matter how unprepared I felt socially, I was still in HEAVEN. I made friends easily, but was astronomically hard on myself for anything I perceived as a social failing. It was a brutal, tearful, amazing, revolutionary time. I had come to life.
I retained a moderate practice of my conservative religious orientation well into my twenties. I had two bachelor’s degrees from a small religions college, but very little understanding of how the real world worked. I moved out of my dorm room and into my husband’s house at age 22.
People were my blessing and my curse. As much as I loved people, I had very little sense of belonging anywhere, socially, professionally or in family. When I encountered sociopathic individuals in my inner circle, I sensed nothing unusual. I was easily attracted to cult-like leaders who gave me a sense of belonging and something that felt vaguely at-home because of my unusual childhood. So it’s no surprise (well, it was for me) that I eventually crashed and burned. But it was a gift. It was one of the most defining experiences of my life.
A traumatic divorce and an identity crisis later, I realized that my ideological programming had failed me. Life was brutal. The formulas that I’d been told would give me a happy life had failed. I didn’t know who or where God was. Even worse, I didn’t know who I was. At the lowest rung of my physical and psychological collapse, I briefly tasted what it is like to have no hope. But don’t let that new hairstyle, makeup, and wardrobe deceive you… at my heart I’d always been a tough mountain-girl. Since all outside sources of happiness had vanished, I decided that I’d have to pull myself up from my bootstraps and discover how to connect to my joy from the inside.
Two things helped me emerge from those two years of darkness, humanitarian work and writing. A mentor in my late teens that gave me some lifesaving advice. “Whenever you are down and out, “remember that helping others is pretty much guaranteed to help pick you up.” I searched and found an international humanitarian organization with a lively chapter in my own city. I got to work getting my mind off myself and onto how I could improve the lives of others in my world.
Part therapy, part pleasure, I also started writing again, which I hadn’t done since publishing some stories during college. Our inner and outer narratives are often not in alignment, so putting thought to keyboard was very illuminating. The more I wrote, the more I began getting to know (and slowly love) the real me. I discovered what real joy felt like, joy with no strings attached.
For the first time, I also started to formulate a meaningful vision for my life. Part of my vision was to become more self-expressed. During this ongoing journey of self-discovery I worked as an actress in Hollywood for several years, which gave me permission to fully express myself, even if that meant speaking as a fictional character. And while this form of story is a very real passion of mine, I wanted more.
I wanted to bring personal and professional joy to others. In order to further expand my understanding of self-actualization, I studied the science of emotional wellbeing. I also worked with western personal development teachers and studied eastern wisdom. I’d always been a teacher, trainer, and coach in various capacities and decided it was time to take it to the next level professionally. I trained at the College of Executive Coaching in Santa Barbara, CA, as I prepared to launch my corporate and individual emotional wellness education programs. I created The Power of Joy Institute.
I find the greatest challenges to our emotional wellbeing are guilt, fear, and self-criticism. When you remove, even reduce, these emotional dead weights, you begin to see what is really possible. You begin to feel like you have superpowers as you navigate life with greater ease, joy, and comfort. Of course, this is actually the real you, the uncompromised you that you were born to be, what you look like when you claim your freedom.
Three Ways to Jumpstart Your Emotional Wellbeing
So how can you begin working toward that freedom right now?
1. DUMP THE GUILT
Whether you lied to a family member, got someone fired, or caused an accident, most people experience guilt. Some feel it occasionally, others experience it constantly at crippling levels. I was crippled by guilt for years. Start setting yourself free right now by choosing to either come clean, or clean the slate.
Come clean. If you need to apologize, do it now and end the torture. If it isn’t possible to apologize to that person anymore, do it figuratively, create a ceremony and get it done.
Clean the slate. If apologizing is categorically not an option for you, choose to release the guilt. It’s served its purpose and now you tell it, “Enough!”. Let go. Wipe the slate clean. Stop defining and victimizing yourself with guilt, or destroying your opportunities for happiness in the present by reliving something from the past.
2. WATCH YOUR JOY METER
Become aware of what brings you joy and what drains it. I’m amazed by what my clients come up with when doing these exercises. Even seemingly small things, like running late, not getting exercise, or hanging out with negative friends impact their joy tremendously. And where can you increase experiences that bring you joy? What experiences have you forgotten about for ages that bring you joy? Getting a hammock? Getting a dog? (Those were two of mine.) Sailing? Remembering to listen to good music more often? If you’d like to start practicing this easily, you can get my free workbook Joy Journal: www.annescottlin.com/
We are outrageously hard on ourselves. So focus on the opposite. First, watch for chances to stop needlessly punishing yourself for “failings”. Second, look for opportunities to celebrate wins. Even small wins are worth celebrating (“I gave myself a day off from being hard on myself”, “This week I got to bed earlier and got up earlier”) Start keeping lists of what you’ve achieved and what you’re proud of. You can even celebrate past wins. Celebrating increases dopamine and serotonin in your system, it lowers your cortisol and helps you feel good.
I’m driven by the deep need of everyone I meet around the world to experience more joy, more health, more wealth of all things positive. Since I had few emotional wellness tools early in life, it’s my greatest pleasure to bring others the tools and techniques that can help them find shortcuts to a better life now. I cannot articulate the joy I experience in my groups or one-to-one sessions as I watch the faces of my clients when they have a transformational “aha” moment that unlocks the door to their personal freedom and unlimited growth.
If I could wave a magic wand that could change one thing, it would be to see the students and young adults I meet around the world realize how easily they can connect to their joy and emotional wellness, any day, any time. Imagine a world where a whole generation bonds around joy and wellness to discover their commonalities rather than focus on their differences.
So now that my self-empowerment book, Live for Joy, is an Amazon best-seller, I‘m busy working on my next book. It’s an engaging how-to manual for millennial professionals to help them counter the record levels of anxiety and social media depression of their generation. I can’t wait to get them connected to their joy.