ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Logan native and Logan High School 1985 Graduate Jodi Lanning, founder of let go. be, has received the first annual Rising Phoenix Prime Award from Intentional Legacies, an Ann Arbor, Mich. business that provides tools and services to help people navigate life’s big transitions.
In addition to public recognition of her story, Lanning was awarded a prize package worth about $1,000, including a VISA gift card, services from Intentional Legacies, and free promotion for her business.
The awards program was created to recognize and reward people who have persevered through very difficult life transitions, were transformed by them, and then did something to help others around them. The ultimate goal is to encourage and inspire other people in the community who also are experiencing difficult life transitions.
“Jodi Lanning is a true role model and the story of her journey so far is absolutely inspiring,” said Loo, CEO of Intentional Legacies. “This is a woman who lost almost everything because of alcoholism and rather than give up, she redefined herself and has created a business specifically designed to help others.”
“Winning this award is a real ‘wow’ moment for me,” Lanning said. “My friends and family have been very supportive of my journey, but receiving public recognition? This is a huge encouragement.”
Lanning was fired in 2008 from her position as a divisional president with a marketing firm due to performance problems stemming from alcoholism. By November 2009, she was reduced from owning two homes to living with only a mattress, Internet connection and kitchen table in the foreclosed home of an Ann Arbor, Mich. friend.
“I lost everything that meant anything to me due to my alcoholism, and all that was left was Jodi and a bottle. I was a shell of a person who lost all the good and hope I’d had in myself,” Lanning said about that time in her life.
Fortunately, Lanning had one thing left to keep her going — or rather three things — her dogs, Jesse James, Emma and Sophie.
“I woke up one morning with my beautiful dogs waiting for me to open my eyes to show me how excited they were to see me, and I broke down and realized that I needed to give them and myself the chance to live — which meant facing my alcoholism,” she said. “Over 20 years I had racked up three DUIs and that still wasn’t enough to convince me that I had a problem. It took me losing everything, including the hope for life, to get me to turn my life around.”
Six months into her sobriety, Lanning said the idea for let go. be came to her while driving north to visit a friend.
“I was able to borrow $2,000 from my last credit card when I had to leave my friend’s foreclosed house, and I was struggling to figure out how to make the money to pay my bills when I still needed several AA meetings a week to help maintain my sobriety,” she recalled. “And I had all of these negative thoughts racing through my head, fear about how I’d pay my rent and being angry at myself for the way I’d messed up my life — when suddenly three little words came to me: let go. be.”
“I realized right then that I can’t control people, places, things or situations and the only thing I can control are my actions and attitudes,” she said. “And without knowing how or why, I knew I had to spread this message. So that very week I trademarked let go. be and started a basic website.”
Four years later, let go. be products — ranging from bracelets to hats with the three words — have spread as far away as Haiti, and Lanning’s website, www.letgobe.com, is filled with testimonials from all over the country.