Jane Herron experienced her highest high and lowest low in a 24-hour time period.

Her high, she said, was offering a workshop at the 1987 Women and Business Conference in Salt Lake City. Until 1986, Herron worked in Los Angeles as a communications consultant and trainer for companies as diverse as General Mills and Levi Strauss. But she had left corporate life and had returned to Utah to attempt to rebuild her business in Salt Lake City."I was self-employed for 21 months. Self-employed means unemployed if you happen to be a consultant with no contracts," she quipped.

Speaking at the 1987 conference gave her confidence that her business was again on track. "That day I experienced my highest high. But that night I experienced death. My sister was killed in a motorcycle accident," Herron said.

Herron, keynote speaker of the opening session of the 15th annual Women and Business Conference Friday, said she felt lost and confused. She decided to hike up Logan Canyon.

There she met a woman named Jenny who later became her guru. Jenny, who Herron described as a "granola woman," saw that Herron was troubled. They hiked down the canyon together and shared a cup of coffee.

Jenny told her she often hiked in Logan Canyon, and during one hike she observed a full-grown eagle eating chicken feed among a flock of chickens.

She approached the farmer and asked him whether he knew there was an eagle among his chickens. The farmer explained that the eagle, named Matilda, was hatched by one of his hens when her mother left her egg in his barnyard. "She believes she is a chicken," the farmer said.

But Jenny not satisfied with the farmer's responses. "She may think she's a chicken, but she has the heart of an eagle," Jenny said.

So she carried the eagle to the top of the farmer's house and encouraged her to fly. Matilda momentarily flapped her wings but resumed her place among the chickens in the barnyard.

Undaunted, Jenny carried her to a peak in Logan Canyon, which was far from the barnyard. Jenny had carried a mirror to the mountain top so Matilda could see for herself that she was not a chicken but instead a majestic eagle.

Given that knowledge, the eagle joined two eagles flying overhead.

"At that moment I realized I was Matilda and I was stuck in my own mental barnyard," Herron said.

Herron offered conference participants three challenges.

- Think about what you think about all day long. "They say we talk 70 percent of the day to ourselves. Our `self talk' will influence how we handle the challenges of today."

- Think about what you say to others about others. Women, she said, are often guilty of "talking" about women who are getting ahead. "You know when someone `talks ' about you, you don't want to be in the spotlight

- Go out and find a role model. "Secondly, I encourage you to find a mentor, a mentor is . . . someone who will inspire you."