Renowned Speaker and Play Activist Jenny Ward has brought the joy of life all over the globe. She received her MFA from New York University, is a licensed Life Coach and Author of three books. She is the CEO of, and a proud mother of Leela, her greatest teacher on play.

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Finding the Joy in Life

I have always found in amusing whenever I do speaking engagements how most of the audience assumes my life has been a “bed of roses.” Throughout my 33 years I have experienced an array of circumstances that may have seemed “hard” but these specifics moments have brought me closer to who I am.

Choice is a powerful thing. Each and every moment is an opportunity for us to choose who we are, and what we can do with the situations we have created. For most of my life, I craved to be perfect. Dance and theatre were big parts of my life, and unfortunately something I loved at an early age, became a path of perfectionism, competition and self sabotage. I never could be good enough, so I exercised more, ate less and tried to fit into the “perfect” box. I learned at a very early age that in order to be successful I would need to change something about myself. This led me to a liposuction doctor at the age of 28. 20,000 dollars later, with bandages on my thighs and unable to walk for over 2 months, I was alone with the voices that led me there. This was the BEST time in my life. Stuck with bandages and pain, I was forced to look within and see why I was wanted to be different. Who was I living for? What were the beliefs I was holding onto about life? Did it have to be so hard?

The liposuction didn’t work, but the time alone did. It was this experience that led me to a place of self love and acceptance. I began to write and share my story with others and my company Playward was born.

We all have our stories, and I could write more about where I came from, but the truth is what we DO with our stories is what matters. What are the gifts in life? I began to look around at all of my expressions and see that none of them really were WHO I WAS deep down. I wanted to laugh more and play in this GIFT called life. I was tired of taking it so seriously and began to create a new way of living PERFECT.

When I try to be something other then me, it feels heavy, sad, stuck and uncomfortable. I feel blessed for life itself and the adventure that CHOICE offers me. My past has gifted me with empathy for countless women who continue to think that life begins 5 pounds from now. I understand why perfectionism is an epidemic and how PLAY unleashes the freedom for me to be who I truly am.
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