Welcome to part five of the Getting to Know Kaizen Leaders series. This week Bethany profiled Jean and Tamie Belanger.
Jean and Tamie have been with Lana and me since the very beginning of our business. They’ve watched us, helped us, and have always been there for us, as both business partners and friends. They’re such hard workers, and even pioneered the French side of the LIFE business. Jean and Tamie are trusted and respected leaders, and they’re going to have a big influence in the years to come!
Getting to Know Kaizen Leaders: Jean and Tamie Belanger as written by Bethany Sampson.
Jean and Tamie Belanger aren’t new to the industry; in fact, they’ve been with Claude and Lana since the very start.
It was 1991, and the Belangers were newlyweds with two young children. They were living in Edmonton, Alberta. Jean was in the Canadian Special Forces and Tamie worked for a cement company doing accounts payable. Jean and Tamie were doing everything they could to get ahead—Tamie was even playing BINGO with two daubers, Jean jokes—but it was Jean’s job as a hockey coach that ended up being their entryway into the business.
It was a parent of one of Jean’s players that introduced Jean and Tamie to the industry and within two and a half years, they were job optional.
They’ve remained job optional for over twenty years now, as their business—and dreams continue to grow.
For a long time, it’s been Tamie and Jean’s goal to live on a ranch, with horses and animals.One month ago, they were able to finally watch this goal come to fruition as they moved into their coveted ranch house.
The Belangers have spent the last twenty plus years dedicated to the business. They’ve watched the system change and grow as they, too, grew.
“We had products that could help build our business but that wouldn’t necessarily help build ourselves,” says Tamie, but, with the entrance of LIFE Leadership, that changed.
LIFE, Tamie says, has helped make them more likable, more teachable, more outgoing, just more.
Jean echoes this, saying the LIFE material helped him to outgrow his sometimes ignorant attitude, which aided him in becoming a better leader.
But Jean and Tamie weren’t just satisfied with building their business and themselves; they wanted to go bigger. Together, they spearheaded LIFE’s growth in Quebec, as they pushed for the French system.
They describe this experience as “a ship leaving the harbor, and going into the middle of the ocean with no navigational system. You just sail until you find land.”
Eventually, they found that land. And that land greeted them with an abundance of success as the French system took off.
Jean is a self-described “system person.” He credits his background in martial arts, hockey, and the military for his systemized approach to life, and thus allowing him to have such success in a systemized business.
“It was a perfect fit for me,” he says, “and it became a perfect fit for us.”
The business suited the Belanger’s familial lifestyle as Jean had been aching to spend more time at home with his children. He’d always dreamed of being married and having children, but with all these financial responsibilities, he wasn’t actually able to spend any time with his family. Tamie, on the other hand, was at home raising their children, but was never able to see her husband.
Getting into business wound up remedying this problem.
When they first started out, the family-oriented Belangers set a goal to take their whole family to Disney World. They succeeded.
And with every goal they surmount, they set a new, even higher, goal. Yesterday, Disney World. Today, the ranch house. Tomorrow? LIFE Coach.
The Belangers are dreamers indeed.
“This is what we do,” says Tamie. “It’s make it or break it, and we’re going to make it.”
Jean nods along in agreement. “We’ve got the right people. We’ve got the right culture,” he says. “I always believe that when you hang around with the right successful people, you become successful.”
The Belangers grew up with great parents for role models. Jean says he never felt pressured to obtain a certain level of education or a certain career, but instead was encouraged to follow his passions.
For a long time, this meant a career in hockey, but after Jean didn’t receive The Call, he decided on his alternate career route: the military. Luckily, Jean was able to revive his passion for hockey as a coach, which eventually led him and Tamie to the industry.
Jean and Tamie’s children are now 26 and 29. Though they’re grown, the Belangers say LIFE Leadership has helped reinforce the way they chose to raise their children—to be confident, dream chasers.
Their kids grew up listening to audio cassettes or CDs in the car, and weren’t permitted to spend a lot of time watching TV. Jean recalls many days when his daughter would gather friends on the couple’s veranda, and the kids would sit outside listening to Jean talk about leadership, the business, and dreams.
Today, both their children are motivated and ambitious, dreamers and achievers. Jean and Tamie, however, haven’t stopped parenting.
Now, they have a myriad of team members who call them Mom and Dad, and who trust Jean and Tamie like family.
To these new couples starting out, Jean and Jamie say, focus on the whys: why are you getting started in business? They encourage team members to use that “why” to help stay motivated.
“When you set your mind to do something—when you have the right tools, the right help, the right mentor or coach—you can do pretty much anything you want,” says Tamie.
For the Belangers, Claude and Lana have been the right mentors.
“Claude’s a team guy,” says Jean. “That is what our industry is. It’s all about team.”
Jean emphasizes the importance of trust and teamwork in any business relationships, but particularly this industry where one person’s success is directly correlated with another’s.
“Claude’s always been determined that he was going to win and that he was going to take as many people as he could with him,” Tamie says. “Claude and Lana have vision, and we follow them.”
In addition, the Belangers consider their relationship with each other to be vital to their success.
“We had ups and downs in our relationship that affected our business,” says Jean, “and we had ups and downs in our business that affected our relationship.”
“If life happens to you and you don’t get back up, then you’ll never get back up,” says Tamie. “For us to work, we couldn’t ever stay down.”
No matter the up or down, Jean and Tamie are certain to stay by each other’s side, likening themselves to peas and carrots or chocolate and peanut butter.
“A lot of things can happen when it’s you and your wife holding a business together,” says Jean.
And after speaking with the Belangers, it’s clear that Jean is right. A lot of things can happen. A lot of really, really great things.
“We’re here to stay,” says Tamie. “We’re not going anywhere.”
I have no doubt that she is right.
If you have anything to add about Tamie and Jean, please leave your thoughts in the comments below!