JoAnna Ferrari: The Transition Specialist

JoAnna Ferrari popularly known as “The Transition Specialist” joins HPR to talk about the unconventional but extraordinary nature of her practice. She explains that she is not only a “transition specialist” but a performance coach as well. She clarifies the difference between these two areas of coaching.

JoAnna Ferrari is ‘The Transition Specialist’. She has a brilliant track record as a Transition and Performance coach. JoAnna has personally transitioned or reinvented herself over 21 times during her life. Some examples of these are; she has transitioned from child to entrepreneur at 15, from sciences to entertainment and model at 21, from sales to executive at 34, from executive to international speaker/author at 38, moving her life from Chicago to Australia where she underwent a most significant transition in 2013 when she transitioned her gender from male to female. She works with businesses, teams and individuals to get them into, out of and unstuck from transitions to reach their desired outcomes in business and in life.


Wayne Bucklar:  You’re listening to Health Professional Radio. Today my guest is JoAnna Ferrari. Now JoAnna is a Transition Specialist and she works as a consultant I guess, and a trainer and a speaker in those areas but she can tell us her own story. JoAnna, welcome to the show.

JoAnna Ferrari:  Thank you very much Wayne.

Wayne:  Now JoAnna, we chatted before and I know that you’ve got some fascinating stories to tell. But fill us in on what it is that a transition specialist does.

JoAnna:  Okay, a great question because a lot of people don’t typically understand what the word “transition” means and what I would actually do is that if I was working with someone. So “transition” actually means that I help people to get to the status or the outcome that they want. That’s the type of coaching I would typically do. But I also do “performance coaching” which means once I get somebody there, I make helping to do well or the strategic way improved once they do get to their destination or outcome. I have to make it so they can actually stay there. So when I’m working with transition, I’m really teaching people to learn how to confront themself and learn about themself so that when they actually get into new situations, they don’t freak out, they don’t feel as much stress and they can actually make much better and more precise decisions.

Wayne:  Now Jo, what’s your backstory that lead you to be a transition specialist?

JoAnna:  Okay. Well, gosh we need a long cup of coffee for that one but really, just give me a little idea. In my own ways of transition myself, a little over 21 times and that means in my careers, in my personal life and the last transition, big transition that I really went through was my gender transition. So I’ve been in transition for 5 years now and I can tell you, going through that transition helped me to understand all the different transitions that I’ve gone through before that it let me see failure in a completely different way, it let me see success in a completely different way and let me understand how I was letting the world into my mind and how I was letting it affect my body. And so when you have your body and your mind affected, your outcomes change, your choices change, your relationships change, even your experience and perceptions of the world change. So I learned by going through this and not easily by the way, how to actually take that from just going through a gender transition and show other people how they could use my experience so that they can actually make theirs easier.

Wayne:  That’s certainly a big shift to make if you’re looking at gender transition like that. And because we’re on radio Jo, you’re not 22 anymore so you’re what we put into the mature category.

JoAnna:  Yes, I am 23.

Wayne:  Yes, and if you made this change 5 years ago, this was something that wasn’t done in the spur of the moment as a teenager. This was something that was done at the other end of your career as a very mature person.

JoAnna:  It was. I actually made the decision to go into my transition at 53. But Wayne, I knew from a very young age that I was very female because that’s what I call myself as female, I don’t myself a woman because I’m not a woman, I was born a man and I’ve got a very different life path than a woman would have. So I’m 58 now and I had made that decision at a point where I was a CEO of a major corporation and going through that kind of a change at that time was quite interesting. But you want to know the one thing that I learned from going through my gender transition was, that you cannot change or transition one part of your life without understanding how it’s going to affect and change the other areas of your life. So I don’t call it gender change or gender transition but my whole life actually had to change for this – financially, physically, mentally, spiritually, all of that, my relationships changed. So you learn that one little domino can really topple a whole bunch of areas of your life and that’s what causes people so much pain and they actually are looking at a change.

Wayne:  Now JoAnna for most of our audience, they’ll be working in some kind of clinical care situation. A lot of them are in acute care hospitals and a lot of them are in aged care. They’ll going to be dealing with people who are having change thrust upon them often by their health conditions but also they’re in an industry where there is change as a constant and how do those people cope? I guess my better question is what are the strategies you can share with those people? What’s the advice you can give to them?

JoAnna:  Great question, I love your questions, I said it before I’ll say it again. So good. Here’s what I’ve learned. Going through this, I device that there are really four major types of transitions. So you got a “natural life transition” which a lot of change is reflected of what happens to you at different ages. But you’re talking about is what I call an “imposed transition.” It’s when you’re sick or when you’ve been through like losing a job or you’ve been through something where life rose upon you, a transition. We ended up seeing those and have been taught to think of those as negative, we’ve been taught that “Oh my God, now I’m in peril. Now something bad has happened to me.” But what we don’t realize is if we could quiet our self just for a minute and you really have to practice this, like if I quiet myself for a minute. Sometimes I see that it’s actually a way for me to get to what I want or to get through to better health faster. So we end up making really poor decisions when something is imposed upon us because we see it as negative. But if you can actually make it a neutral, what you’ll tend of to do is make a different decision about you’ll seeing that there could be light at the end of the tunnel or a way to improve through that situation more quickly because as most of your audience would know, the mind plays such a huge effect on the body that if a person doesn’t think they’re gonna get better, they never will. But if they can neutralize that thinking not go to positive mental attitude but just neutralize that idea that, “Maybe, there’s hope. I could get better.” They will actually be able to get people to make different decisions and that’s when people move into the third type of transition which is called a “self-realized transition.” And that’s where you actually say, “You know what, I’m going to do better today as I did yesterday.” And you start to move yourself forward and believe me, it’s like walking in mud or running in sand, it’s very difficult. But it is something that you can take control and start to move to dial the other directions so that it’s something that you’re actually a part of and creating. So that’s the third. The fourth is a really difficult one but I’ll tell you what it y it’s called “compounded.” And “compounded” simply means that the longer you actually avoid the conflict of going into transition or a lot more or avoid trying to heal yourself, the more you stay negative about something, you’ll compound that in a negative way that will make it even more difficult to get out of. And as you know, human beings can complicate pretty much anything. So those are the four types.

Wayne:  I love the fact Jo that you can take what is for most people just the big blob of yuckiness. Something bad that’s happened or some problems are just this big blob of yuckiness and there’s no way to deal with it because everytime you poke it, it just moves and gives and then you put a framework around it and you break it up into types – those big blobs of yuckiness, so well done.

JoAnna:  I’ll give you one more step if you don’t mind?

Wayne:  Yes.

JoAnna:  Okay. So there are four types but here’s what someone would be it to know to change. There are only three phases. You’re either in a “conflict phase” which is the beginning of a change or you’re right smacked out in the middle which is where you’re “in transition” or you’re coming up the other end which we call “reset phase” which is where you actually start to see the transformation, the fruits of your labor so to speak. So if you know what type of transition you’re in and you know what phase you’re in, you can actually make different decisions and feel like you have a choice. And that’s what gives you the opportunity to actually take a deep breath, reduce your stress and be able to move forward.

Wayne:  JoAnna, there’ll be lots of people listening today who will be saying, “I need a bit more of that person. How can I get hold of JoAnna?” How can people get hold of you Jo?

JoAnna:  That sounds a good question, thank you for asking. The two best ways to get a hold of me, number one if somebody goes on to LinkedIn, they’ll be able to get a hold of me there at JoAnna Ferrari. That’s probably one of the easiest ways. But if someone wanted to hire me to give presentation or talk more about this, they can actually get a call to my agent Carson White because he’s usually available, he can give you more information. His number is 614-9981-1817. And that’s probably the best way but if they just have a question and want to connect, connect with me on LinkedIn, I’d love to hear from you.

Wayne:  JoAnna, thanks for making yourself available today. I realize you’re a busy a person and as always, it’s been a pleasure having a chat with you.

JoAnna:  Wayne, thank you so much. I really appreciate your time as well.

Wayne:  Now if you just joined us on Health Professional Radio, then you’ve just missed Transition Specialist JoAnna Ferrari talking about I guess how to manage, survive, instigate change, go thru transition for yourself. But the good news is we have a transcript on our website so you can read the whole interview again. We also have an audio archive on YouTube, SoundCloud and iTunes where you can listen you JoAnna’s interview with me. And at the end of both the transcript of the interview, you will get the contact details including phone numbers where you can get hold of either JoAnna or her agent and she’s available for counselling, consultancy and for speaking. And having spoken to her a couple of times on the radio, JoAnna is a speaker that any conference or convention would really get great value from. This is Health Professional Radio, my name is Wayne Bucklar.                  



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