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Jacqueline Janssen

Marilyn L. Geary 

LeaveLight in the Workplace: Benefits of Life-Enhancing Practices to Employers, Employees, and Self-Employed

October 7, 2010, 10 am Pacific, 11 am Mountain, Noon Central, 1 pm EST, 2 pm Atlantic, 7 pm Zurich, 8 pm Istanbul

Lack of advance planning has a high career cost. The stress, exhaustion and time lost from work caused by a family member’s illness or death can derail even the brightest career and retirement trajectory. The consequent cost to employers is enormous. Jaqi Janssen and Marilyn Geary have developed the Leavelight Planning Process that makes it easy to put advance end-of-life plans in place, benefitting both employers and employees. Through a focus on the qualities of forgiveness, compassion, gratitude and surrender, Leavelight’s six easy steps turn crucial and often avoided planning into a fulfilling  experience that creates well-being and peace of mind. Scientific studies validate that practicing these qualities strengthens the immune system and leads to a healthier, happier, and longer life.

Activity:  Growing Gratitude

Scientists have begun researching the causes and effects of gratitude. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis and Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami have conducted a research project on gratitude and thankfulness. For this study they asked several hundred people in three different groups to keep daily diaries.

Their studies show that people who keep weekly gratitude journals feel better about their lives as a whole than those who record negative or neutral life events. Those who keep gratitiude journals report higher levels of energy, positive emotions, alertness, determination, enthusiasm, and optimism. Moreover, they experience less depression and stress, more empathy, and are more likely to help others and make more progress toward personal goals. The findings show that people who feel grateful are also more likely to feel loved. They have less materialism and are less anxious about status or the accumulation of possessions.

With all these benefits to be gained, we suggest you keep a daily gratitude journal. Each night before you go to sleep, review your day. Think about the small blessings that took place over the course of the day: the shining morning sun on your back, the aroma of your morning coffee, the smile of a friend or stranger. Over time, you will notice that by focusing on abundance and gratitude, even more blessings will come your way.

This activity is particularly effective when combined with LeaveLight’s steps that focuses on both material and non-material assets.





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Jacqueline Janssen has long been motivated by a desire for people to reach their full potential.  As Director of Transition Services at the Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership of Marin, Jacqueline provides professional recruiting services for nonprofit organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area to help nonprofits fulfill their missions. She believes that growth in one’s personal values and contribution to others is most easily accomplished through healthy families and community.  Having suffered the loss of her newborn and the loss of her parents at an early age, Jacqueline was inspired to create LeaveLight to ease the difficult burdens of loss, and help us enjoy each other and each day as perfect and sacred. 

Marilyn L. Geary, M.A. Education, is a writer, filmmaker, instructional designer, and personal historian. Marilyn is owner of Circle of Life Stories, a service providing personal history recording and preservation. Marilyn is author of Marin City Memories, a compilation of excerpts from oral history interviews with African-Americans who migrated from the South to work in the Sausalito shipyards during World War II. Her writings have appeared many places, including in the Turning Memories into Memoirs: A Handbook for Writing Lifestories, the Oral History Review, and the West Marin Review. For New Media Learning, she created Preventing Sexual Harassment, an award-winning e-learning program that has been completed by over one million users worldwide.  When her husband died unexpectedly, she was left without the benefit of his wishes.  She has co-developed LeaveLight to help others avoid needless trauma in a time of loss and grief.


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Opening Instructions for Listeners

Before we begin, here are a few instructions for listeners:

  • If you have a question, press 5* on your phone.
  • Directly after the interview, be sure to fill out the evaluation linked to your call-in instructions, especially if you want to earn CEUs. 
  • Please register at least 24 - 48 hours before the interview so we have time to send out the call-in information.
  • If you'd like to listen to more of these tele-interviews, and your organization is not currently a subscriber, contact me with someone I can talk with about subscribing your organization so you can listen for free (except for the cost of your distance provider). Email info@ careerwell.org or call 415.312.4294.


This is Dr. Sally Gelardin with Careerwell Tele-Interviews.  Our upcoming guest speakers are Jacqueline Janssen and Marilyn Geary. Jaqi is s Director of Transition Services at the Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership of Marin; Marilyn is a writer, filmmaker, instructional designer, and personal historian.  This year they authored a book called "LeaveLight, Plan Your Way to a Happy, Healthy, and Longer Life." Who could resist that title?  I certainly couldn't, especially when I found out that they had developed circles of people interested in the LeaveLight concept.  So I joined a circle, read the book, and then earned a certificate in the LeaveLight Facilitator Training.  I had experienced several deaths at work and with family members (who hasn't by the time they get to be an aging boomer). The experience of reading the LeaveLight book, joining a circle, and earning the certificate was truly rewarding for me. So I asked Jaqi and Marilyn to join me today to explain how they came up with the concept of LeaveLight, what it's about,  and why they wrote the book. Welcome Jaqi and Marilyn.


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Interview Questions

  1. What is LeaveLight? (Jaqi)
  2. Why did you create LeaveLight? (Jaqi, Marilyn)
  3. How do our cultural attitudes towards death prevent people with coming to terms with end-of-life decisions? (Marilyn)
  4. What is the impact of lack of planning in the workplace? (Jaqi)
  5. What is the impact of lack of planning in one's personal life? (Marilyn)
  6. How does LeaveLight differ from other ways to accomplish end-of-life planning? (Jaqi)
  7. Why did you bring the qualities of forgiveness, compassion, gratitude and surrender into the planning? (Marilyn)
  8. What evidence is there that LeaveLight works? (Jaqi)
  9. How can listeners find out more about LeaveLight? (Marilyn)
  10. What is the best way to go through the LeaveLight process? (Jaqi)


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Thank you Jaqi and Marilyn, for enlightening listeners on how we can not only cope with end-of-life issues in the workplace, but thrive, both at home and at work, by dealing with these issues now.

This month we have a speakers  presenting a variety of topics, from our topic today on end-of-life issues to Dick Gaither on 10/14, talking about breaking the chains of a felony conviction to Vic Massaglia on 10/21, helping us get a grip with Internet tools, to Joan Marques on 10/28, how women can become successful entrepreneurs. I encourage you to register for all the interviews each month, so you can also receive the audio recordings in case you want to listen later.  This is Dr. Sally Gelardin with Careerwell Tele-Interviews.  Goodby until next week.

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