Jan & Martin Mills: Our Stories
Two Dynamic Individuals, Making a Difference Every Day
Jan and Martin Mills, your husband & wife team for better health and well-being!
What do you call it when 1 + 1 = 3? That is known as synergy, when the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. Meet Jan and Martin Mills.
Jan and Martin are both accomplished business people, teachers, mentors, and authors who offer a diverse range of services to help people reach their maximum potential, whether in life, business, health, or sports.
While nobody would like to be defined by a physical challenge, Jan’s story in inextricably linked to her life journey with MS, which started at age 23.
Up until that point Jan, who was based in Vancouver, BC, was in the early stages of a highly successful career as a marketing, communications and PR expert. She worked for large agencies and eventually went on to start her own agency. At each step along her path she distinguished herself with a passion for excellence.
Jan played key roles in local and national marketing launches for major international brands (Air Canada, Canadian Airlines International, CTV, Jaguar, Royal Bank of Canada just to name a few) and also worked with non-profits and start-ups (Bard-on-the-Beach, Cirque du Soleil, Rick Hansen Man in Motion World Tour, Mesquite Mind Body Spirit Group, Deepak Chopra). But through it all MS was going to be one of her greatest teachers.
Jan was diagnosed with MS at the age of 23. She was a competitive beach volleyball player when, one day, she noticed a tingling in her legs. Within a matter of a couple of weeks, she suddenly found herself in the hospital paralyzed and needing a wheelchair. She soon recovered her abilities but then, over the next eleven years, she was hospitalized at least once a year with recurring paralysis, blindness and other challenges.
How would any one of us respond to that?
Jan responded in ways that have been nothing short of inspirational to people around her.
Not only did she find ways to continue her business exploits, but the experience with MS launched her on a path of personal growth and spiritual development that transformed her life.
You can read about her journey in several of the books she contributed to, such as “Life Choices: Pursuing Your Passion” and “Heart of a Woman in Business”, where she writes: “As a fired-up young Canadian businesswoman, I wanted it all—‘The American Dream’—with a Canadian flair! In my early twenties, I resigned from the Vancouver-based advertising agency where I began my career. I was driving the brand new luxury sedan, living in the condo with the ocean view and I opened my own event-marketing firm where I worked with some of the most prestigious companies in Canada. I figured I had it all—it was the mid-80s and my clients included international airlines, five-star hotels, and a local circus company that dreamed of performing in other countries (perhaps you’ve heard of Cirque du Soleil?). I was living like a jet-setter, producing events and television shows throughout North America and then……”
The “and then ….” was the life change which set her in a whole new direction. As she describes it: “Life is a journey, complete with detours, points of interest, bumpy roads, and some jet speed travel, too. I’ve travelled north to points beyond the Arctic Circle, south to Australia, and to Europe and Asia, but the furthest and most important journey I’ve travelled, and continue to travel, is an inner voyage from my head to my heart. …”
Through her experiences, Jan developed an approach to life that brought strength and joy to many people around her, who saw how she met every challenge (including excruciating chronic pain) with a smile and a “can do” attitude.
Behind everything is her deep belief that we humans find ourselves enveloped in the presence and care of what some people call “God” or “a higher power” or “the Great Spirit”. Knowing this naturally leads to the logical conclusion that if God be with us, then who can be against us? That is, that no matter what challenge or difficulty we might encounter in life, we can have total confidence that nothing happens by accident and we can therefore respond with joy, hope, and optimism to whatever life dishes out.
Jan’s coaching practice (and in fact her life’s message and purpose), is based upon this key insight, that we are not alone, that we are loved, and that we have every opportunity to respond to life with love, with kindness, with service, with strength, and with the ability to overcome and create a better life for ourselves and for all.
Whew! That is quite a journey to go from running high-level marketing events for some of Canada’s largest corporations to becoming a guide and coach to people looking to live a better, more meaningful life. Through her experiences in business and life, Jan has developed an approach to help clients clarify their goals and find ways to achieve them. Through her research, she has uncovered resources and tools that are making a huge difference for people.
Martin’s story shares a key element in common with Jan’s: in the middle of a successful business career, he was suddenly confronted with a life changing event that served to completely change his focus and direction.
Martin built two highly successful companies in Vancouver during his twenties and thirties. He achieved a comfortable level of financial freedom and was living a very fulfilling and enjoyable life with extensive overseas travel, exploring the magnificent Gulf Islands off the coast of BC and Washington by sailboat, and involvement in all kinds of sports, music and play.
In his late thirties, Martin lost two of the most important people in his life to illness. His response was to come at life from a new direction and live it on his own terms while serving others and making a positive contribution wherever possible.
One of those new steps was to take up the game of golf in a serious way. He had an emotional connection to the game through his late father, who was a real golf enthusiast, and as Martin spent time away from the office and out on the fairways, he made a decision at age 42 to dedicate himself to the game and become a professional golfer.
This started Martin on a path of exploration and discovery that gave him two entirely new career paths. First, he achieved his goal and became a professional golfer by age 48, after seven years of dedicated effort.
Second, as a result of all that he learned in turning himself into a professional athlete, Martin discovered that he was by default also turning into a teacher and coach of others who were looking for ways to elevate their fitness, their health, their golf games, and indeed their very approach to life.
Today Martin specializes his focus on golf fitness, nutrition, putting, putter fitting and short game improvement, working with clients one-on-one and through workshops.