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what do i love about this moment
February 28th, 2013     |    Life


WhatDoILoveAboutThisMomentLately I’ve been feeling just a little bit “stuck.”

You see, I’ve been making huge progress in my life by simply shifting my success paradigm and success metrics from achievement to service. I’ve had a huge increase in blissed out moments of peace and joy this year.

Perhaps more than any other time in my life.

But with my new familiarity with what it feels like to be in that amazing state very frequently, I’m finding myself irritable and frustrated when I’m not “feeling the love.”

I’m getting less comfortable with not feeling awesome.

And because I know that this feeling is achieved from within, it really has everything to do with my own motivation in the present moment and nothing to do with external conditions, I’m the only one who can “fix” this problem.

So I get really annoyed when I can’t seem to make that “switch” in motivation instantly. It’s a muscle I’m developing, but not nearly as quickly as the recovering perfectionist in me would like.

My impatience, in and of itself, is something that I need to show love to. At this moment I’m not able to intentionally change my moods and emotions as much as I’d like. I’m a work in progress.

Realistically, I will be “a work in progress” the rest of my life.

(My ego chokes on that truth-nugget. But it’s true.)

More than anything, I feel like this internal frustration eventually plays itself out in different areas of my life. I start an argument with Mr. Lively. I get weird about a business situation. I get kinda caught in a funk that’s hard to pull myself out of.

But recently Mastin asked: What do I love about this moment?  

Reading that question stopped me in my funk-filled tracks.

It encouraged me to pause and ask myself – despite my bliss-lacking state of mind – what I love about this moment?


I love that I am getting a massage today.

I love that I’m not overwhelmed with things to prepare before the trip tomorrow.

I love that Franklin has been really well behaved today.

I love that Mr. Lively and I are going on a date night tonight.

I love that I am going to get to see my best friend after the Boston workshop in NYC.

I love that Jen has been doing such a great job.

I love that I was able to help people today in the Book Club.

I love that I’m making progress in my service paradigm shift.


Phew. There are plenty of things that I love about this moment – even though I haven’t been “feeling it.”

What do you love about this moment?

what do i want to come of this?
February 28th, 2013     |    LifeThink About It



I’ll be honest, though I read passages or a few pages of A Course in Miracles every morning, I’m not often stopped in my tracks.

But today was different.

This passage on page 341 rings so true and full of helpful, tangible potential.


In any situation in which you find yourself uncertain, the first thing to consider, very simply, is “What do I want to come of this? What is it for?” The clarification of the goal belongs at the beginning, for it is this which will determine the outcome. In the ego’s procedure this is reversed. The situation becomes the determiner of the outcome, which can be anything. The reason for this disorganized approach is evident. The ego does not know what it wants to come of the situation. It is aware of what it does not want, but only that. It as no positive goal at all.

Without a clear-cut, positive goal, set at the outset, the situation just seems to happen, and makes no sense until it has already happened. Then you look back at it, and try to piece together what it must have meant. And you will be wrong. Not only is your judgement in the past, but you have no idea what should happen. No goal was set with which to bring the means in line. And now the only judgement left to make is whether or not the ego likes it; is it acceptable, or does it call for vengeance? The absence of a criterion for outcome, set in advance, makes understanding doubtful and evaluation impossible.

The value of deciding in advance what you want to happen is simply that you will perceive the situation as a means to make it happen. You will therefore make every effort to overlook what interferes with the accomplishment of your objective,  and concentrate on everything that helps you meet it. It is quite noticeable that this approach has brought you closer to the Holy Spirit’s [your intuition’s] sorting out of truth and falsity. The true becomes what can be used to meet the goal. The false becomes the useless from this point of view. The situation now has meaning, but only because the goal has made it meaningful.

A Course in Miracles


What a glorious way to bring intention to every situation.


working with a pup {an update}
February 27th, 2013     |    Life



Last weekend at game night my friends informed me that it was time to set the record straight.

You see, Franklin has been a Lively now for almost four months and in the beginning he was quite a handful.

To say the least.

It’s hard, looking back, to really understand how that the little five pound white fluff ball was able to wreak so much havoc over our lives those first few months.

He just looks so cute and innocent in his pictures. It’s hard to imagine his nipping, growling, potty training (or lack thereof), and chewing.

And though I didn’t spare you the difficulties of puppy rearing here on the blog, I haven’t shared his improvements. As my friend Steve said, it’s time to save Franklin’s reputation.

Sometime between four and five months old, Franklin calmed down considerably. As his teething passed and he got more socialization in puppy class and doggie day care, he got better and better.

I’m sure it is partly maturity and the lack of painful teething but either way – he’s sweetened up quite a bit and really grown to become an awesome part of our little family.

And I’ll be honest – he’s quite the daddy’s boy.

When Mr. Lively comes home, Franklin rushes to the door and starts jumping back and forth in the same place. He waves his paws in the air as if to say, “Get outta town! You’re back and it’s gonna be awesome!”

It’s pretty much my favorite thing about him. That, and how his eyes close in ecstasy when I rub his ears.

He’s also learned to sleep near me during workdays or “work with me” as he is right now (shown in the photo above). “Working” for him involves sitting on my chair and chewing a bully stick.

Though I’d like to say that he’s a breeze to work with, that would still be untrue. I do continue to deeply enjoy the two days a week that he goes to doggie day care just as much as he does.

Since he’s never knows when he’s going to day care, he patiently sits near the door after breakfast each morning wishing, hoping that Dad is gonna drive him to day care so he can play with his friends.

All in all, he’s really getting into our work from home groove quite well. I’m especially thankful that we have our patio as he gets older. Whenever he feels like going outside to “check in on things” I can let him out on the patio to people watch.

But perhaps more than anything, I am loving how he has turned us into a little family. Though I’m sure Mr. Lively and I would be just fine without Franklin, it’s been great to bond as a trio. We share responsibilities, have our own unique bonds with Franklin, and take “family walks.”

So though I may have painted the initial puppy picture as difficult, I can now say with certainty, it is not easy at first but things do get better (just like so many of you shared with me as well).

It is possible to have a puppy and remain effective working from home… most of the time.



being in the right jungle
February 27th, 2013     |    QuotableThink About It



Today’s quote is coming from the Seven Habits Book Club reading in Habit #2 of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

This is something I talk extensively about with both my life and business clients. I deeply believe that this one concept can dramatically impact the level of joy and fulfillment in our lives.

It does not always mean that the jungles we find ourselves in are safe or easy.

But when chosen correctly, from our gut, the jungle we find ourselves in will challenge us to hone our skills. The jungle allows us to fulfill our unique potential.



WishIKnewVirtualAssistantsTomorrow on Wish I Knew Wednesday I’ll be sharing the ways that I have found virtual and non-virtual assistants over the past five years.

This is somewhat of a follow-up to the great response that I got from last week’s edition about sharing an inbox with an assistant. Many people have followed up and asked me how I found my assistant or suggest they do the same (this is a very frequent topic with my clients, too).

So if you are looking to bring on extra help – now or in the future – stay tuned to your inbox.


If you’d like to get the email, simply sign up by clicking on the image below. This email list is also where I announce upcoming workshops and other Business With Intention updates.

(If you have signed up for the Wish I Knew Wednesday newsletter, you will automatically get this email.)


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leaving a negative situation
February 26th, 2013     |    LifeThink About It



This month in my Living Well column for The Everygirl I have shared lessons learned from leaving negative situations.

Though every situation is different, I hope that my experiences may prove helpful for others in difficult circumstances.

You can read the post right here.



image from, by
how to choose blog topics
February 25th, 2013     |    Business AdviceLife



Last week I received a great question from Emily, a reader, which I thought would be great to share and answer here on the blog.


Hi Jess,

I just want to say, first of all, that I love your writing & your blog! You have really captured your own voice and tone without being too “bloggy” and sharing TMI. I think a lot of other bloggers get into that and it can be really distracting from the content.

My question for you is this, though, how do you decide what to write about each day? Your topics are very varied but they don’t seem disorganized. I am working on my own website (health and fitness focused) right now and have tons of ideas for posts but I feel like my thoughts are all over the place! Do you have some method to organizing your posts and ideas?

Thanks so much, Jess!



This is a great question and one that can have a million right answers.

First of all, there is definitely an element of trial and error when starting a blog. So though I might have a particular perspective on content direction, there will inevitably be a bit of “try it and see what happens” as you go along.

The more you pay attention to which posts get the most response, the more you will hone in on what your readers enjoy.

In the early stages of blogging, it might be hard to discern what readers like because there may not be tons of readers to get feedback from in the first place.

That’s where a purpose statement comes into play.

With my small business clients I often help them to create a purpose statement for their brand. You could also call it a slogan, tag line, mission statement, you name it.

I prefer “purpose statement” because it elevates what could be seen as corny and outdated with an updated title and concrete intention. I believe the same exercise can be used for blogs as well.

A purpose statement allows you to connect varied content to a higher, universal theme.

I also believe that the purpose statement is oftentimes more important than the brand or blog name itself.

You see, JessLively.com is my blog name. But if you’ve never heard of me before you have no freaking clue what you will find on this site. My blog name alone tells you nothing.

However, when you get to the site you will notice the phrase “Designing a life, home, and business with intention” right below the title.

This phrase, or purpose statement, tells you exactly what blog content to expect. Common topics will include life, home decor, and business.

When you look a bit closer, you notice the phase is active. The word “designing” gives you the sense that I’m coming from a first-person perspective – [I’m] designing my life, home, and business with intention. This means my content will be centered largely around the things that I encounter in my own life, told in a first-person narrative.

This may seem subtle, but it’s intentional. My posts don’t come out and “tell” people what to do. They are a reflection on what I’m doing in my own life and my purpose statement conveys the same.

Meanwhile, my business site is focused on helping others create personal intentions.

So on With-Intention.com the purpose statement is simply “Design a life, home, and business with intention.”

The word “design” is active and focused on the intentions of the client. My blog is my personal story, my business site is about helping others do the same in their own lives.

And lastly, the “with intention” part at the end of each purpose statement is the thread that ties my posts together.

I almost always try to share things that relate to some personal or universal intention, no matter what the topic may be. So though I might write about my weight loss struggle, bad birth control prescription, break up, new semi-custom table, or taming my schedule, I always try to share what I’ve learned with a purposeful, personal point of view with the hopes that it may help others in similar situations.

Now that I’ve shared how I have applied this concept to my own blog and purpose statement, we can see how this could help other bloggers craft purpose statements as well.


Things to consider when crafting a purpose statement:


  • Create a theme is specific enough that people will understand the common content, but broad enough that you can share across a wide range of topics.


  • Use “-ing” with your active verb if you will share mostly from your own life and point of view. If you want to be seen more as an “expert,” are focused primarily on the reader, and share less personal content, drop the “-ing.”


  • The phrase you come up with will need to resonate deeply with the readers you seek. So make sure your phrase is either catchy, powerful, funny, or whimsical — depending on your ideal audience and tone.


  • You can break away from your theme every now and then. If personal stories aren’t part of your daily content, you might want to include them every now and then to help your readers learn a little bit more about you. Or, use your social media accounts for these little glimpses. You don’t have to share personal info if you don’t want to. But it can be powerful and instill trust and connection when done authentically.


  • Your purpose statement is your first opportunity to set yourself apart from others in your blog niche. Consider any personal, unique perspective you have on your industry which others might find captivating.


I hope this helps those out there, like Emily, who are trying to find a cohesive way to share and select blog topics.

It may not be easy to create a purpose statement quickly, and it can be added later once you have more experience. But being able to clearly communicate a cohesive theme, point of view, and value to a reader within the first five seconds of their visit will help them decide to stick around.

And it gives you a solid framework to work with as a content creator as well.


thoughts on… chilling out
February 22nd, 2013     |    Life



This week has come and gone rather quickly. And while I have a lot to prep for the upcoming Boston Life and Business With Intention workshops next week, this weekend will be all about chillaxing with my favorite two buds, Mr. Franklin and Mr. Lively.

There will be wine, take-out, Diddy Kong Racing, snowy puppy walks, and a poker* night with friends.

Thank you so much for reading and I hope you have a great weekend as well!



*  Euchre too, if I can convince them to play.


facebook love
February 21st, 2013     |    Life


Though I enjoy Twitter and Pinterest, I have a special spot in my heart for Facebook.

It’s actually my favorite place to respond, post little updates, and share random awesome links I find.

(Franklin makes frequent guest appearances there as well.)

So if you are looking to connect outside the blog, I highly suggest heading on over to the Facebook page!


Franklin will be excited to see you.


what is the lesson in this career?
February 21st, 2013     |    Business AdviceLifeRelationships



This week I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the greater significance that a career path has on our lives.

Similar to an a-ha moment I had about marriage, I’ve come to realize that a career is about much more than just our financial gain, or even our purpose.

As Mr. Lively and I approached the next stage of our relationship last year, marriage took on a whole new meaning for me. Instead of the common “finding Mr. Right” marriage paradigm, I swapped it for the understanding that a long-term partnership is about learning to grow as a human to become more understanding, compassionate, and universally loving.

Up to the point where we got married, I had reached a certain level of independence and self-mastery. I was far from perfect in these areas, but I knew that the greater evolution and growth I had to make as a person rested in the inter-dependence of sharing my life with another.

At that point our ceremony wasn’t so much about anything completely ego-induced (though it may be impossible to avoid all shades of ego in a special relationship), but it also was a symbolic new life lesson. To live with understanding, compassion, love, and support of another person as unconditionally as possible.

For me, life partnerships aren’t primarily about completing the other person or “making” them happy. It’s about learning and evolving as a human into a more compassionate, loving being and then sharing that love with the world.

Now, as of this week, I understand that there are greater contexts to our careers as well.

For a long time I’ve been keen on the idea that we all have talents to share with others, which may maintain our livelihood in many cases. At the core, these gifts center around simply serving those around us in whatever way we can in the present moment.

But I never made the connection to the greater life lesson that a career provides us as individuals. I’ve been so focused on how we can help others, I’ve never seen the power that a career can have in our own evolution.

For example, I have been self-employed my entire career. I have learned to serve those who work with and for me, I’ve learned to serve others through sharing my stories on this blog, and I’ve learned to serve those I consult with daily to help them improve their lives and businesses.

I have learned over the years to serve in these ways. I’m comfortable in these areas and they come naturally.

But my newest frontier, design, puts me in a new position. While I still am ultimately hired for my expertise in design and branding, I am also a contractor working for my clients.

I’m no longer serving from the same vantage point as I do in my other pursuits. I need to learn to serve someone that I work for.

I know that may seem obvious, or even perhaps easy for some. But for me, it’s something I have not done in my career before and that means that there is opportunity for me to grow.

I now understand that my design projects, for my personal growth, aren’t about “being a better designer.” They are here to help me serve others in a new way. To expand my compassion, love, support, and understanding for others.

Each day that I serve my clients, my focus now should not just be on the design I create, but also on the way that I’m serving the people who hire me. Elementary? Yes. But not something I’ve done before when working for myself.

The concept of life lessons in a career can apply to virtually any situation.

Earlier this week, for instance, I worked with a Life with Intention client who is at a job that she hates and has seen as simply a means to an end (money). She is working towards supporting herself with a new business, but until the business can support her, she is choosing to stay at this job.

Instead of looking at her time there as deplorable, but financially profitable, she too as a greater life lesson to learn.

For her, the people she works with are often negative, reactive, and afraid to make decisions. Because of this, she dislikes interacting with her co-workers and going to meetings.

During our session we discussed what greater lesson she might gain from this situation. For her, the concept of learning to not let others steal her joy is the greater meaning behind her position.

No matter how reactive or negative her co-workers might be, her lesson is to not let them steal her own happiness.

If she can truly learn this lesson in her current job, she will have that strength to apply to her business, when the time comes as well.

There may be upset customers, slow sales periods, or production delays that might try to steal her joy. But if she applies the growth she makes from this current situation, she’ll have greater patience and a steadier, more joyful outlook during her self-employment as well.

What she learns now will serve her for the rest of her life.

I believe that if we look hard enough, we will find that almost every job is ultimately here to teach us something far more valuable than our paychecks.


the positive use of free time
February 20th, 2013     |    Life



Today I’m continuing the Mr. Ferriss love by sharing another great quote which caught my eye while reading The 4-Hour Workweek.

Well said, Tim.


let’s work together
February 20th, 2013     |    Life



There are several workshops and Business in the City meet-ups coming up (including tonight!), so I thought I’d share a quick round up of the places and ways that we can work together via Life and Business With Intention.



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Business in the City is a free, casual, meet-up group for entrepreneurs or those thinking about starting a business. Each month we gather at Next Door and share small business tips, suggestions, and ask for guidance. Snacks are also provided.


659 W. Diversey, Chicago

February 20th, 6:30-8:00 @ Next Door (please RSVP to attend)

March 20th, 6:30-8:00 @ Next Door (please RSVP to attend)

April 10th, 6:30-8:00 @ Next Door (please RSVP to attend)


I also will be running daylong, small group intensive workshops for Life with Intention and Business with Intention.

These events are amazing for self-reflection, collaboration, and individualized feedback on your life or business intentions.


East Coast

Boston, March 2-3 (last day to register is Friday 2/22!)

West Coast

San Francisco, April 20-21


Austin, June 1-2


Not near Chicago or the workshop destinations? I also do business and life one-on-one consulting over the phone in the US or Skype internationally.


Have a question? Please email hello(at)with-intention.com.














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