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First of all, I’d like to share my immense gratitude for the success of the Business with Intention Workshop this Saturday in Chicago. Going into the workshop I had an idea of what things would probably be most important and helpful. But I think I massively underestimated the power of the in-person connection these women business owners felt from meeting one another. The MML and BWI community is a group of like-minded individuals looking to make an intentional impact in the world, their personal lives, and in the lives and businesses of their new friends.

I have a feeling the Chicago workshop participants will be reaping the benefits of knowing and sharing with one another for years to come. Which makes me feel so humbled. Instead of feeling like  the “one in charge” of something like this, I now feel like a steward that is able to facilitate this wonderful connection and experience for these entrepreneurs.

And I’m honored to do so in Washington DC as well as the cities yet to come. Clara [the coolest person ever] and I will be announcing the new locations soon.

Okay, now it’s back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Today I’d like to follow up my video where I explain the difference between career, purpose, and vocation with a little case study to also illustrate my points.

Above, are my new crushes, Sophia Grace (8) and Rosie (5).

After discovering their immense talent on The Ellen Show, I was struck at how they perfectly illustrate the fluid nature of career, purpose, and vocation.

From watching their singing and dancing it is clear that they have the opportunity to use their talents to make performance a career, purpose, or vocation, depending on their intention throughout their lives.

First of all, it’s obvious that they can probably make money by singing via ad revenue on their insanely popular You Tube videos, Ellen performances, or other events in the future. Or, they can choose to not monetize their popularity.

Secondly, it is clear that they are delighting and bringing joy to people that watch their videos. This is an example of how they are helping to make other people’s lives better in the present moment. Sure, they may not do this once they are 12, 26, or 58 years old. But at this moment, their performances are making people happy and fulfilling their life purpose.

In the future, they may decide to become doctors, receptionists, or fire fighters and help people in different ways. This is a great example that what we do now to help people, does not need to be what we do for the rest of our lives. It can change and evolve with our stages in life and intentions.

When we are actively focused on helping people wherever we find ourselves, that is living our ultimate purpose.

Or finally, Sophia Grace and Rosie might grow up and find that they would like to dedicate their lives to singing and dancing. They may find that this unique talent is deeply fulfilling to them and they want to continue to preform as a vocation. Again, as I mentioned before, they can choose to to make this a vocation without necessarily making this their career. They could choose to be an engineer and build bridges (career/purpose) and sing for free (purpose/vocation). On the other hand, they could sing for money and craft a career/purpose/vocation out of their gifts.

It’s all up to them and no choice is “better” than another. Vocation is not something that is really any more “special” than purpose since they both involve what is truly most important: helping other people in the present moment.

 

this week i’m thankful for…

April 27th, 2012   |   Life

This week started hectic and stressful. Juggling Jess LC, MML, and BWI Workshops and consulting is a lot. So those normal hiccups that arise in any business, let alone three businesses, were getting me flustered pretty easily.

But surprisingly the last two days have been calm and I feel like going into tomorrow I’m much more mellow and relaxed than I ever thought possible.

Sure, I “planned” to have more done by now. But really, the few things that are left to do are no big deal.

My do it well and get it done mantra seems to have worked (amen!).

As you probably know by now, Clara and I have our very first Business with Intention Workshop in Chicago tomorrow. I cannot wait to see all of our plans and intentions come to life. And more importantly, I’m thrilled to be helping the business owners in the workshop get more inspired, clear, and strategic about their companies (or business ideas) than ever before.

After this, we have DC (there is still time to register) and then two more cities which we will announce in the next week or so.

Have a great weekend and thank you so much for reading MML!

through

April 26th, 2012   |   LifeThink About It

 


In my last post about career and purpose Karlita had a question about what purpose really means. In reading her comment, I realized that I think there are really three terms at play. But I usually just use two, and often in the wrong ways.

To best describe the difference between career, purpose, and vocation, I decided to talk with you in hopes that it will make more sense verbally.

the good and real career

April 25th, 2012   |   Business AdviceLifeThink About It

In the wake of my confession about my struggle with my relationship perfectionism, my gut tells me that there may be more people who struggle with this type of perfectionism in their career and purpose categories.

So today, I’d like to get a little feisty and share what I really think about career and purpose over-idealism.*

To be honest, more and more I notice comments, worries, and clouds of anxiety surrounding people and their “career” or “purpose.” Especially among Gen Y and Gen Z.

I think the idea we were all taught about “making a difference” in our childhoods has cast this shadow of expectation that we should all be rescuing the planet, curing cancer, and making hundreds of thousands of dollars while working a 9 to 5 job – from a sail boat in our pajamas.

And the truth is that all of those things are possible, and will happen for some people.

But the fact is that most people will not be doing those things. And that’s a good thing.

The world would not be quite as nice if we didn’t have people to do our taxes, send us Netflix, cut our hair, or cook our organic grass fed burgers on a pretzel bun.**

Yet it seems so many people are sitting in their cubicles stressing out over the utter “meaninglessness” of their jobs.

And I honestly want to say that I think that those people should deeply consider whether their current situation actually does have the potential to become part of their purpose if they dug in, changed their perception, and had a more proactive outlook.

I love you, so please let me explain.

Purpose is not a string of fuzzy warm feelings that naturally burst forth at every moment. The purpose equation explains that it doesn’t really matter what the heck you are doing. As long as you are using whatever you are doing to better the day of someone else, then that is purpose in action.

So even if the job itself isn’t pulling samples for Vogue, saving orphans, or raking in fat checks, it can still be done with excellence, problem solving (aka creativity), and love.

Almost all jobs involve working and interacting with peers or customers. Those interactions are where you have the unlimited potential to step it up and become someone that really does make other people more joyful during the workday.

Take my label guy, Todd, for example. I have only spoken on the phone with Todd a handful of times over the past two years. But I always look forward to calling him for more labels. He’s friendly, happy, prompt, honest, and just plain fun to work with. Of the dozens of suppliers I have to pay, I actually look forward to giving him money.

He’s a label maker with a sh*t load of purpose.

Further, any transaction ultimately fills a need. So there can be a bigger goal to look towards for inspiration or meaning.

On the other hand, if that is simply impossible to find or the environment is unhealthy, there is always the option of leaving the place and going in a new direction.

Either way, we are not helpless beings in search of meaning and purpose. We are powerful. So powerful, we have the capability to transform our current moment into purpose if we put our minds to it.

We just gotta lose the cooky sense that we need to be doing something that we find fulfilling.

Fulfilling is in this very moment if we choose to honor it completely.

 

* Yep, I just made that term up, but I think it fits.

** And a million other careers. But you get my point.

it’s good and real

April 24th, 2012   |   LifeThink About It

 

While on the phone last night with my good friend Emily, I found myself repeating a few times “it’s good and real” in connection to my relationship with Mr. Lively.

As I noticed myself saying it, I connected a few dots and had a little a-ha moment.

To be honest, coming into our relationship, I was determined to make/have the “right” relationship with him. One that is perfectly intentional, is a perfect inspiration to others, and fulfills me in every way imaginable.

(This is back during the time when I had blond highlights too.)

As you can imagine, those high impossible expectations left me constantly worried and stressed during all the moments that the relationship didn’t feel “right” in the ways I described above.

I wanted to not only be a better person because of him, I wanted to be a perfect-ish person because of him.

I wanted to feel like running marathons again, making a million dollars, jumping out of bed every morning, and simply being in awe that “he would choose me?!?!

Instead, I often felt like: running when I felt like it, growing my business organically and intentionally, and getting out of bed sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. And I was pretty clear on why he chose me.

I’m intentional, goofy, and I shower him with affection and attention.

(I’m also an anxious over-thinker [see blond highlights].)

Anyways, I have been unpacking this whole concept of “right” and have finally learned how to allow things to be great and flawed in our relationship simultaneously.

We have a lot of great things going for us as individuals and as a couple. But there are still things we both need to work on and things we need to accept about one another.

To many people, I’m sure this isn’t rocket science. You may be nodding and thinking, “duh, Jess, get with the program.”

And you’re right, I did know all along deep down in my spirit that this is the case, but my ego would not allow for those cracks, flaws, or imperfections to exist without the nagging feelings of doubt and fear.

It was a wrestle-mania smack down between my spirit and my ego, and thankfully my spirit won (again).

And this good and real concept also applies to our bodies, our careers, our purpose, our home, our business, our friendships, our parents, our kids, our hamster, and any other thing that exists.

So when our ego urges us to wage a war against something in our lives, perhaps we need to check in and see if we need to allow the duality of idealism and reality to exist.

Peacefully. With acceptance.

Then the joy can seep back in.

branding: think small

April 23rd, 2012   |   Business AdviceLife

 

Last week I had two fantastic consulting calls. One of which, is a great example of how thinking small can lead to huge leaps forward in creativity, uniqueness, and purpose.

On Friday, I worked with Flavia, a food blogger with a site called, Flavia’s Flavors. Below, she shares how our consultation helped her narrow in and think “smaller” than the food blogging community at large, to reveal her true purpose and much smaller niche of Italian food blogging. I’m so excited to see her take her blog in this new direction and thank her for what has become, an incredibly kind testimonial along the way.

It was a joy to work with her and I’m so thankful I got to help her find her true purpose with food blogging.

Overall, the takeaway here is to really think smaller in terms of your industry and your place in it in order to reach a greater audience and have a deeper impact.

Click to read the full story over on Business with Intention.

 

(And in other news… there are just two days left to sign up for the Chicago Business with Intention workshop.)

 

important no’s

April 23rd, 2012   |   Business AdviceLifeThink About It

Ever since last week when Mr. Lively and I found our next apartment, I’ve been thinking about the importance of “no’s” in life.

While I would love to think that all of my wishes, dreams, and intentions will come true exactly as I expect and wish them to be, much of my life has been shaped by the rejections, denials, or no’s that I’ve gotten.

But when I inspect those events further, there are some important no’s that have fundamentally shifted my life for the better.

Had those fateful no’s not happened, I wouldn’t have many of the blessings I have today.

Here are just a few of the meaningful no’s that I’ve received and the happy outcomes that have since surfaced.

When I was in high school, I wanted to go to Notre Dame. Badly. But my dad, being pragmatic, looked up the rankings of business schools and found my in-state University of Michigan undergrad to be ranked higher than ND at the time. And thus refused to pay for the ND application fee. Since he knew that the extremely expensive out of state tuition would have been out of our family’s reach, I would have been putting undue stress on the family or taking out major student loans for an education that was totally on par with in-state Michigan Business School price tag.

Had I gotten into ND and not had a very huge scholarship (unlikely), I would have been weighed down with significant student loans that would have prevented me from taking my own business full-time right after graduation. I would have likely settled for a corporate job and perhaps never had the courage or financial freedom to be where I am today.

When I was in college, I interviewed for one full-time position after graduation and didn’t get it. The interviewer attempted to guess who I was in the lobby based on the fact that I noted on my resume that I was coxswain on the men’s crew team my freshman year. He suspected that I was a thinner girl in the room, since coxswains’ weight is important in rowing.

Once I said he was wrong, and that I was the one who had once been a coxswain, he remarked “I can see why you aren’t on the team anymore,” pointing out the fact that I was at that point about 22 pounds heavier than my freshman year. After that remark, I had to shake his hand, smile, and walk into an interview. Had I gotten that job, he would have been my boss.

I was badly burned from that offhand remark and was determined not to work for the company. Weeks later, I realized that I was better off working for myself while trying to fulfill my purpose. Which of course, has led me to where I am today.

In 2009 I had sales reps for Jess LC that opened 80 accounts for us. At the time, 80% of my business was wholesale. But to be honest, working with them was extremely frustrating and I had to rely on them for most of my company’s growth.

So as they eventually went off in a new direction and opened their own fashion line, I refused to let the dying relationship and sales channel keep me feeling helpless. I beared the sales dip that followed and refused to replace them with another company and relied on my own wits and sales channels to carry us over.

At the same time, I also started MML and devoted my energy towards online marketing and selling. Since then, I’ve been more in control and personally fulfilled by Jess LC than I ever would have had I continued working through showrooms or reps.

A few years ago I moved in with my boyfriend (at the time). Pretty soon after our move, it became clear that we were not meant to follow the path towards marriage. But we still had six months on our shared lease. Unable to afford the cost of breaking the lease, we stuck it out.

Then, almost exactly two months after the lease did end, I met Mr. Lively. An immediate and intense friendship soon turned into an intense relationship.

I cannot be more grateful for the way things have turned out and I am so excited about the future that lies ahead.

A few weeks ago I was looking for someone to sublet my apartment so I could move in with Mr. Lively when his lease ends in July. But despite a lot of interest, it wasn’t working out.

Then last week we discovered our next apartment which had almost everything we were looking for and more. However, the catch was that renovation would not be complete until September or October. Which actually worked out perfectly with my lease. Had we subleased my home earlier, this amazing situation would not have been possible.

 

So, when we find something isn’t working out as we hoped, we can remember that there might just be something awesome around the corner.

And in order to get to there, we might need to bump into a few no’s along the way.

 

my upper limit problem

April 20th, 2012   |   LifeThink About It

 

Confession: the last two nights I have woken up at 3:00 or 5:00 am worried and stressed out. I toss and turn for a few hours, start feeling anxious, and wake up in the morning only to try to shake off the yucky feelings and begin the day tired.

And for a while I was suspecting “something must not be right in my life.”

But after thinking it over a bit more, I think I might be experiencing an Upper Limit problem.

You see, over the past few days, weeks, and months, things have been going really well.

Like whoa, that just happened?!?! Well.

Mr. Lively and I are doing great and looking forward to the steps ahead of us. After the announcement of the BwI Workshops, Jess LC has hit a new level and my consulting clients are doing great. Our upcoming Jess LC product launch is going smoothly and looks adorable. I’m pushing myself to new levels with the workshop and feeling more “on purpose” than ever with MML. Heck, I even lost weight and am now three tiny pounds away from my goal weight while not trying (I had craft beers, half a burger and fries last night!).

Sure, there have been some setbacks along the way, but not nearly as great as the progress forward.

Then came this week and our apartment hunt.

On a whim, I contacted a building Mr. Lively liked, which then led me to an amazing and helpful lady, Alexis. She gave me the scoop about the apartment building as well as an even nicer one in their community just down the street from me.

Then, she went on to say that next door to the super nice building, they are now completely renovating a three story walk up from start to finish. And that the units were open for leasing, though they wouldn’t be ready until the fall.

At first this renovated building seemed untimely because we were looking to move when Mr. Lively’s lease was up in July. But since my apartment hadn’t been subletted yet and we hadn’t found a breeder for our future Westie puppy yet, we are able to stay put in my apartment until the new building is ready.

And not only was this new building going to be new, it was going to have almost everything we wanted on our wish list (private balcony, large kitchen, gas stove, in unit washer/dryer, space for Jess LC, and central air). You freaking name it, it seems to be in this unit.

Except for square footage.

There we were a bit wary on whether we could make it work. The unit we were looking at in our price range is 890 square feet. Which is a bit larger than my 725 square foot apartment now, but may not grow with us, Jess LC, and a new puppy very well.

However, yesterday when we went to get more information and give Mr. Lively the tour of the big fancy apartment building next door (we are allowed to access to their insanely nice amenities while living in the new building next door), we found out something new.

Instead of our proposed rent being for the unit you see above on the left, it is actually for the one on the right.

Holy crapballs.

1250 square feet of awesomeness for us to live in at less than what we each are paying combined right now. 

Insane. Simply insane.

As you can imagine, like many people, my home is one of the most important things to me outside of friends, family, and meaning. I live and work in my home often for what seems like every moment of the week. And I love that fact.

So to get a place that seems like a palace, have an amazing and sweet boyfriend, growing my business and purpose to new heights, and have lost weight without even trying, I don’t think I’m able to accept that it’s happening.

Instead, I’ve been waking up and worrying about stupid, tiny things like “is the apartment living room 15′ wide or just 12′ or 13′ wide?” “Why don’t I feel like Mr. Lively ‘completes’ me?” “What if this apartment deal somehow doesn’t turn out?”

Even writing it out, I can sense the ridiculousness of it all. Yet the pit in my stomach remains.

So this morning I looked up a post I remembered reading a while back by Marie Forleo which talks about her own Upper Limit problem and how she experienced similar discomfort during a time of prosperity.

Immediately after re-reading the post, I started to relax a bit.

I honestly think I’m having trouble accepting that all of this good stuff has happened to me.

I’m more used to struggling, pushing, striving, and falling just short of what I want. I’m used to sacrificing and stressing over money, my body, my relationship.

And I think I need to work on accepting that I might be in a new phase of my life which is different from my past.

Though I know there will always be challenges on my journey, I may have reached some new level of success I’m not yet comfortable with.

And that is okay. I can take things one moment at a time and push through this Upper Limit problem. I can learn to accept and bask in the gratitude that I wish to have for it all. Rather than making up things to feel stressed about just so I feel more “comfortable.”

I never thought I’d feel stressed with such blessings, but I think it’s good to be open about this in case it helps anyone else who feels this way too.

 

this week I’m thankful for

April 20th, 2012   |   Life

This week has been filled with Jess LC, BwI Workshop, Biz in the City, and… finding our new home!

Due to a string of extremely fortunate (though unlikely) events, we have landed on what seems to be our perfect new apartment home. In order to have this wonderful unit, we are going to have to wait until it is completed in September/October. Which means we’ll be sticking out my lease in my current building. This also delays our next addition… a puppy, until the fall as well.

Because of this wait, patience is going to be a theme for me throughout this summer. I might need to have my own Be Present reminder staring me in the face to chill out.

Over the weekend I plan to do more work for next week’s Chicago workshop and relax like crazy on Sunday. To be honest, with all the hustling I do during the week, I’ve been finding that I need one day to pretty much do absolutely nothing in order to recover.

I’m talking like eight hours of Arrested Development lazy.

Thanks so much for reading MML and have a great weekend!

and the countdown begins

April 19th, 2012   |   Business With IntentionLife

Lately my days are getting more and more focused on the upcoming Chicago Business with Intention Workshop. Our supplies are all rolling in and looking quite lovely. I can’t wait to see the whole thing come together.

Registration for the Chicago workshop ends on April 25th, and there are still a few spots left.

If you are interested in Chicago or the upcoming May Washington DC event, please email me at hello(at)businesswithintention.com. I’d be happy to jump on a quick call to answer your questions to help figure out if the workshop is a good fit for you.

 

what is your purpose equation?

April 18th, 2012   |   LifeThink About It

After yesterday’s Purpose Equation, I feel like I’m sensing more people are starting to “get” the whole concept of life purpose in a much more realistic and true way.

It’s exciting.

I feel like we as a community are going to make great progress once this is understood!

And there is going to be a whole lot less stress and frustration for those who are still in the process of discovering their purpose.

Which, will lead to more happiness, joy, and peace.

I love it.

Okay, to explain the Purpose Equation even further, I’m first going to do a quick recap. Here is the simple equation for purpose:

It’s really that simple.

In fact, it gets even simpler, really.

Anything that you are doing right now, whether it’s a talent or not, that helps people is part of your purpose.

Think about it: we all say that we “want to leave a mark” on the world during our lifetime. To do so, all that really means is that we want to leave the world better off than before we were alive.

We don’t want to just take up space, we want to invest and give back.

And to get inspired, we look at the famous people who have given back in astronomical ways. We look at Gandhi, Oprah, Buddha, Jesus, Bill Gates, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King Jr, or Danielle LaPorte.

So, we try to be kinda like them. Famous, making a big impact.

However, when you think about who has made the biggest impact in your personal life, did any of those people directly help you in any way? Sure, they may have helped us slant-wise. But the people who make the biggest positive impact in our lives are usually:

Our parents, extended family, significant others, friends, teachers, doctors, neighbors, and online friends (I had to throw that in there too!).

These people are the ones that make us smile, pat our backs when we get bad news, cheer us on, and help us make our dreams come true.

When I die, we won’t be thinking of thanking Mother Theresa for what she did for me. I will be thanking my mom for spending most of her life dedicated to raising myself and my two brothers.

So this isn’t a knock on the scale of your purpose dreams, just a reality check that fame and recognition does not the only way to make a deep and lasting effect on the world.

Helping people we come into contact with, on any scale, is the true meaning that we seek. 

So, that means… whatever the heck you are doing in this moment is an opportunity to find purpose and meaning.

You may not be in your dream job, but purpose is not about having a “job” or “career.” So whatever you spend your time doing, is a chance to bring purpose to the table by helping those around you.

Here are a few examples of how purpose can play out in our current situations:

So basically anything done with love and concern for others is in some way, our purpose.

And, if you find that whatever you are doing now doesn’t feel like “enough,” find a way to help out a new group of people who need your talents or current profession even more.

If you are a fashion blogger, for example, consider helping out with Dress for Success or some other program that helps women look their best who need new jobs.

If you are an accountant who is not allowed to help others with accounting based on job restrictions, consider tutoring an under-served  high school student in math.

If you are a mother raising three kids, that seems like a lot already. But, you could also volunteer at their school or give advice to new moms.

If you are a college student, there a million programs and non-profit opportunities to help out in meaningful ways on most campuses. Go get busy doing something that you love which helps others.

But above all, please, please, please, never say you don’t know your purpose again.

Your purpose is always to help others in whatever way you can in this present moment.


Reach Out

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I run an online course, Life With Intention Online, to share exactly how to do just that. Sign up for updates and special bonuses here. (The next class will most likely begin in late 2015.)


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