A bit of midweek inspiration: Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall Image credit: Jane Goodall by Nick Step, on Flickr. CC BY 2.0. 

Today, I’d like to wish a happy belated birthday to one of my personal heroes, Dr. Jane Goodall. Her birthday was on April 3rd and she turned 81.

Jane Goodall has dedicated her life to one mission: studying and protecting our closest animal relative, the chimpanzee. She left home for the wilds of Africa in her 20s with little knowledge of the terrain or the animals. She didn’t even have a scientific background to rely on. She turned her love of animals and her natural curiosity into a career that has spanned six decades, and she shows no signs of slowing down.

Jane is an inspiration to me for one reason: her fearlessness. When I was a girl, I remember hearing about this woman who lived in Africa with chimpanzees. I watched National Geographic specials about her and marveled at how a tiny blonde woman could live in the jungle with wild animals. Wasn’t she afraid of the insects and spiders? Didn’t she worry about the chimpanzees, or other wild animals, attacking her? I could barely go down to the basement for fear of seeing a centipede. I wished I had Jane’s courage.

In college, I had the thrill of seeing her speak live. She came out on the stage and greeted the auditorium with her customary chimpanzee greeting. She didn’t blush or even seem embarrassed after doing it. She spoke for over an hour without stammering or forgetting what she was going to say. Her voice didn’t shake. Not once. I was as intrigued by her self-assuredness as I was by what she had to say about her studies. I had an intense fear of public speaking and took a D in a public speaking class because I was too afraid to finish most of the assignments. I wished I could speak like Jane.

Jane travels over 300 days a year to speak about animal rights and to educate people about her beloved chimpanzees. That’s a lot of travel for an 81-year-old scientist. Doesn’t she get tired or sick? Isn’t she afraid of falling and hurting herself or of someone taking advantage of her because of her age or of getting stuck in a ditch on the side of the road? I hope when I’m 81, I can still travel like Jane.

In recent years, I’ve started to conquer my fears. During a recent trip to Costa Rica, I took photographs of huge scary spiders instead of screaming and squashing them with my shoe. I’ve zip lined off mountains and in the rainforest. Scariest of all, I started Emmet Street Creations, a business that allows me to do something I’m passionate about. I still struggle with public speaking and I’ll never warm up to centipedes, but I’m making progress. I’m starting to live more like Jane.

Who inspires you? Join the discussion on Facebook and inspire us!

Christine’s big (soap) adventure: Episode 4

Editor’s note: To celebrate Emmet Street Creations’ first anniversary, we’re reposting the series Christine wrote detailing her journey to bring Emmet Street Creations to life. Enjoy!

I enjoyed the time I was investing in my handcrafted soap making sessions. Soon, I wanted to add some challenge to my repertoire. I knew the next step I was interested in taking—making cold process soaps—but I was afraid of taking that step.

I had to reach deep into the reasons why I was attracted to cold process soap making. I liked the idea of being able to control the ingredients. I wanted what I made to be as eco-friendly and skin friendly as it could possibly be.

So, I studied the techniques and read everything I could. I watched countless YouTube tutorials. In spite of all my research, the idea of working with lye still scared me.

As I learned about cold process soap making, I stumbled upon this website that made up my mind to face my fear head on.

In the article, the author addressed the fear of using lye, liking it to the fear one goes through when learning to drive a car. Cars are dangerous and, when used the wrong way, can be deadly. But, the author pointed out, with practice one gets over the fear and, eventually, barely thinks about the danger of speeding down a highway with other cars merely feet away. We’ve got places to go, after all.

I refused to let fear stop me.

Working with lye is dangerous. When used the wrong way, it can be deadly; but, with knowledge, safety precautions and practice, lye can be a useful tool. I purchased a cold process soap making kit and excitedly waited for its arrival.

Me in my protective gear; waiting excitedly.

My first batch of cold process soap was unscented and uncolored. It came out perfect and so did I—I didn’t burn myself with lye! My confidence bloomed. After six weeks of cure time, I handed out samples to friends and coworkers.

I received rave reviews:

“I’ve never felt so clean,” they said.

“I haven’t needed moisturizer, my skin is so soft,” they gushed.

“You should sell this!” they advised.

A few dozen batches later, here I am ready to try my hand at selling the mounds of soap I’ve made. I know it won’t be easy, but nothing worth doing is. I love making soap and sharing my creations with others.

Welcome to Emmet Street, won’t you come sit a spell?

Christine’s big (soap) adventure: Episode 4

I enjoyed the time I was investing in my handcrafted soap making sessions. Soon, I wanted to add some challenge to my repertoire. I knew the next step I was interested in taking—making cold process soaps—but I was afraid of taking that step.

I had to reach deep into the reasons why I was attracted to cold process soap making. I liked the idea of being able to control the ingredients. I wanted what I made to be as eco-friendly and skin friendly as it could possibly be.

So, I studied the techniques and read everything I could. I watched countless YouTube tutorials. In spite of all my research, the idea of working with lye still scared me.

As I learned about cold process soap making, I stumbled upon this website that made up my mind to face my fear head on.

In the article, the author addressed the fear of using lye, liking it to the fear one goes through when learning to drive a car. Cars are dangerous and, when used the wrong way, can be deadly. But, the author pointed out, with practice one gets over the fear and, eventually, barely thinks about the danger of speeding down a highway with other cars merely feet away. We’ve got places to go, after all.

I refused to let fear stop me.

Working with lye is dangerous. When used the wrong way, it can be deadly; but, with knowledge, safety precautions and practice, lye can be a useful tool. I purchased a cold process soap making kit and excitedly waited for its arrival.

Me in my protective gear; waiting excitedly.

My first batch of cold process soap was unscented and uncolored. It came out perfect and so did I—I didn’t burn myself with lye! My confidence bloomed. After six weeks of cure time, I handed out samples to friends and coworkers.

I received rave reviews:

“I’ve never felt so clean,” they said.

“I haven’t needed moisturizer, my skin is so soft,” they gushed.

“You should sell this!” they advised.

A few dozen batches later, here I am ready to try my hand at selling the mounds of soap I’ve made. I know it won’t be easy, but nothing worth doing is. I love making soap and sharing my creations with others.

Welcome to Emmet Street, won’t you come sit a spell?