Category: Business Advice

WhatPurposeReallyLooksLikeSeven years ago, I stumbled upon my purpose in life: to help people reveal their fullest potential. Since then, I have literally designed my career around this mission.

It has been a long and winding road. One filled with challenges and anxiety attacks – as well as huge breaks and celebrations.

In talking to people on the subject of purpose, I get the feeling that many people might be confused as to what purpose in life really looks like. So today, I’d like to share a bit about my journey with the hope that it will dispel a few myths about how a purpose led life takes shape.

This is the “un-Photoshopped” picture of purpose, if you will.

 

Though many people often assume that you must “find” your purpose, I did not.

I actually stumbled upon it by accident during the most difficult time in my life. As a college junior I was binge eating candy bars three at a time and going to counseling for personal matters from my childhood. In three months I gained 20 pounds, lost all of my self-esteem, had a constant negative loop of self-talk going on in my head, and desperately wished Dr. Spock could beam me into Perfect Jess.

I desperately wanted to abandon everything about myself and just Be Better. Be Perfect.

Not surprisingly, that didn’t happen.

Instead, day by day, I had to pick myself up from the pit of self-pity and negativity I dug for myself. This is where The Seven Habits came into my life. I picked up a dusty copy of the teen version while home from college and found a foundation that I could build my actions and values around.

While in this self-discovery phase, I also happened upon a passage in The Art of Possibility that described how Michelangelo said it was easy to create the statue of David because he saw the figure within the stone and simply removed what was not David.

This passage was a huge paradigm shift for me: I didn’t need to seek my completion, happiness, and potential by adding to my life, I needed to subtract all the not-so-great habits and things that blocked my potential from unfolding.

That simple a-ha moment hit me so squarely in my heart that I knew it was the lesson I was not only supposed to learn in my own life, but was one I was meant to share with others as well.

My mess became my message.

 

Once I found my purpose, I didn’t automatically know “what to do.” 

With this purpose in place, I set about learning everything I could on the subject of success, achievement, intention, and fulfillment. For the past seven years I’ve devoted my reading and my learning to this topic.

That said, I didn’t know exactly how to bring this mission and the principles I was uncovering to the world.

I debated back and forth about getting a job after graduation. At the time (2007), I was convinced that I was going need a TV show to help people.

You know, like Oprah and Martha.

After a little research, I realized that Martha wrote a book called Entertaining that sold so well that it launched her career as we know it today.

With this in mind, I decided to write a book. I worked on it in my dorm room and in the evenings during my internship at Macy’s in New York.

As I neared graduation, I decided to take my part-time jewelry business full-time in order to pay the bills and continue working on the book proposal.

I moved to a tiny, not-so-nice studio apartment in Chicago and grew my jewelry company to pay the bills. I started with $700 in the bank from college jewelry sales and grew the company to over six figures in three years.

Though this might sound like it was effortless, please know: I’m just sparing all the the awesome and scary details to keep this story going. You can read the whole story of this phase in my life here.

 

Eventually, I decided to do what I could, right where I was. 

About 14 months into the business, I realized I was climbing the wall of entrepreneurship and needed to start pursuing that book proposal. I hated the idea of being a super-successful jewelry company owner that never pursued the real reason for being self-employed in the first place: to write a book, get a TV show, and help people!

At the time, I was learning about blogs and decided to continue my proposal on a blog, rather than a blank Word Doc.

Due to a completely unrelated giveaway I did on a major blog, a trickle of people started to click from the jewelry site over to the new blog.

Seeing readers respond to my posts, I suddenly realized I didn’t need a TV show or a book to help people. I could simply help people one day at a time, writing online to whoever would listen!

Blogging changed everything. I dropped the need to write a book and poured my heart and soul into the blog. I spent half of my day focusing on blogging related content and the other half on Jess LC.

 

My day job benefitted my purpose.

Though many didn’t understand that Jess LC was never my ultimate goal – it was a very pretty, sometimes risky day job – that day job happened to help me transition into my purpose as a career.

This was huge. I know a lot of people think that I started off with my purpose full-time right out of college, but really, it was Jess LC as a day-job that allowed my purpose-based career to take place gradually over the last five years of blogging.

 

People started asking me for help… and paying me! 

The first stream of income based on my purpose (beyond a few hundred dollars here and there for blog ads) was business consulting. I realized early on in blogging, during the peak of the recession, that people craved entrepreneurship online as a way to live intentionally.

So what started as blog posts on the topic of business, eventually turned into one-on-one consulting sessions. Over time, I added traveling workshops, an ebook, and the Workshop At Home.

The revenue I was making from the business services eventually equalled what I was making from Jess LC. At that point, I was able to close the successful accessory line and focus on my purpose full-time.

The whole transition took five years altogether, including four years of blogging.

 

Over time, how I fulfilled my purpose shifted. 

As I closed Jess LC, I was so excited to help people full-time that I got distracted from my ultimate purpose- to help people find a better way to live a better life.

So there I was in November of 2012, full-time helping business owners with strategy, marketing, and branding.

It was nice, but not quite the fulfilling my complete intention.

A single email from a reader asking me to help her with her life helped me reconnect with the a-ha moment that started this whole journey.

I then expanded my workshops and one-on-one offerings to include life with intention options and straddled both business and life for much of the past 14 months.

 

Finally, I asked my gut what to do.

Last spring, as I stood in line for the bathroom in an Austin restaurant, I asked my gut what I should do next. I expected to hear something like “more workshops.” But instead, I heard a different, unexpected response.

And while I have been working on fulfilling that decree over the past year, I found it impossible to focus while juggling everything on my plate.

What once seemed like a really fun and super awesome career in doing everything that I liked (business consulting, blogging, workshops, writing, speaking, interior decorating, and re-branding a hotel) turned into a huge distraction from my gut’s simple direction.

 

I stopped doing some purpose-based stuff do do other purpose-based stuff. 

To get serious about following my gut and evolving into what I am meant to do at this point in time, I dropped the business consulting.

This was difficult for some people to understand as many had come to see me as “a business person who sometimes talks about life topics.”

But really, it is the truest expression of my purpose to date.

I am so excited to see what 2014 brings in this area. It has been a long and winding road with many twists and turns waiting to reveal themselves in the years to come.

 

As you can see, this whole purposeful journey has been fuzzy, unexpected, sometimes clear, risky, and never-ending.

There is no “a-ha moment followed by a permanent and clear vision of what you are meant to do for the next 60 years.” Purpose is not a straight path.

You simply must do the best you can today to help the people in your life through your talents, ability, and love.

Keep going. Keep growing. Keep following your gut.

The rest will be shown to you.

 

FreeBWIWorkbook

To show my gratitude for your support throughout 2013, I have five gifts planned for you over the next five days!  There are no outside sponsors or companies associated with these gifts. They are simply from me, to you.

 

As you may know, my purpose for everything that I do is to help you to uncover your potential and live the life that you want on your own terms. This is why I write, work with clients, host workshops, and create products.

One of the most recent ways that I’ve fulfilled this mission is through the Workshop At Home. It is so awesome to help new and budding business owners reveal their business’ potential and grow with intention – anywhere in the world at a more affordable price point than the live workshops.

Over the last few months, I’ve had a few people reach out about purchasing the Business with Intention workbooks. I’ve never offered the workbooks on their own before simply because the workbooks are designed specifically for the live workshops and Workshop At Home. There are no instructions or advice in the workbooks and the answers to many of the workbook prompts are found in the three hours of workshop videos.

However, I do think portions of the workbooks may be helpful, even without the video advice and suggestions. With that in mind, I have decided to give you the workbook for free during the Week of Giving!

 We have removed the bonuses found in the custom printed workbooks (intentional calendar, lined paper for notes, and contact list) for this PDF so you are able to print it out without using hundreds of sheets of paper. And we’ve included a few highlights from each workshop video in the chapters so you know what is covered in the full Workshop at Home that is not found in the workbook itself.

And for those who want to get the full Workshop At Home – with three hours of advice, custom bound workbook, and tote – we have even included a Week of Giving discount in the back of the workbook!

If you are looking to start a business or take the business you have to the next level in 2014, I hope you use the workbook to help clarify your intentions for your business. And if you are looking for specific, actionable advice from myself and many other talented online business owners, I recommend getting the Workshop At Home.

 

Add to Cart

This free workbook is only available during the Week of Giving and expires on 12/21/2013

The deadline has passed and the workbook is now available exclusively through the Workshop At Home

 

May something wonderful happen to you today,
Jess!

 

 

Thinking of doing The Workshop At Home

I am just starting to figure out how to start my business and was looking for direction. Watching these videos and going through the workbook not only made me feel inspired, but gave me real direction, and asked so many questions that I didn’t realize I needed to answer yet AND showed me how to answer them.

Jess gave examples from many situations that I can draw from to see how real people are using her advice. It also felt so authentic, like we were all just having a conversation over coffee and not at all like a scripted presentation you have to sit through at work. I now feel so much more prepared to start my journey.”

Lindsay Wesley, Lindsay Wesley

 

 

Reader Spotlight

Inspired by the confetti used to celebrate life’s most special moments, Confetti by Annette’s line of handmade jewelry is designed with the spirit of celebrating yourself and your life every single day.  Combining timeless designs with vivid colors, fresh twists, a dash of sparkle, and a pinch of playfulness, our pieces are handcrafted to bring whimsy and sophistication everywhere you go and in everything you do.

Annette Stepanian, Confetti by Annette

 

 

2013 WEEK OF GIVING

Monday: One-on-One Mentorship for a Year

Tuesday: Free Private Victory Starter Kit 

 

PS – Special thanks goes out to Jackie for designing the workbook and Jen for helping me make this possible!
how to be successful in 2014
December 11th, 2013     |    Business AdviceThink About It

HowToBeSuccessfulIn2014

Though 2014 is still a few weeks away, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I’d like to approach the new year in terms of success.

There are the four things I believe effectively cultivate success. For the next four weeks, I’ll be sharing one element at a time, starting with (you guessed it) intention.

For the sake of WILW, I’ll be sharing these four aspects from a business or career perspective most of the time. But these concepts align perfectly with personal habits, relationships, and possessions – so feel free to use them in your personal life, too.

 

Create an Intention

 

Though I’ve talked about intentions before, it can be helpful to freshen up on the concept – particularly around the new year.

After seven years of studying the concept of intentions, I have found that a true intention is enduring, flexible, and communicates personal values – independent of outcomes or shiny pennies. 

Let’s look at each aspect in more detail to understand what this means.

 

An Intention is Enduring

 

Intentions are like the Constitution. They can be amended, but they are built to last. This characteristic is a quick way to test whether you are attempting to use the term “intention” in place of the word “goal.”

If your intention can be finished or completed, it’s not an intention, it’s a goal. (I made this mistake in my own life for about five years.)

A career intention, for example, should be specific and broad enough to convey what you most deeply want for yourself and your work over the long haul. For example, one of my client’s intentions is “to do work that is proportional and mutually beneficial.”

For her, this means that she desires her career to be proportional to the energy and time that she has at each stage of her life (she’s having her first child soon, so energy and time are changing quite a bit right now), and mutually beneficial. The last aspect of her intention speaks to the fact that she’d like to do work that brings high value for both herself and her clients (this addresses her desire to be well compensated in a non-stressful work environment).

With this new intention to guide her, she can select the appropriate course of action in her career now, once she has the baby, and as her child grows. Though her specific work may change and evolve, the intention is there to fulfill her highest value: to work in a way that supports her personal wellbeing and family.

 

An Intention is Flexible

 

An intention also continues despite changing circumstances.

Unlike a goal, that describes a specific course of action or external outcome, an intention can roll with the punches and include more than one course of action.

For example, a personal fitness intention would be flexible enough to still be honored despite a busy schedule or injury. Actions could be modified as needed, yet the overall intention would still be maintained. This means “workout five times a week” is not an intention (what if you get hurt or busy?).

On the other hand, “being adventurous with my physical activity” is a possible intention. It speaks to a value of novelty, challenge, and playfulness in physical fitness. What you choose to do given the present moment, based on the intention, is up to you to decide each and every day.

Also, if you happen to mess up or contradict your intention one day, one week, or one month, the intention can always be fulfilled the next day. There is no end game with intentions. Only a continued practice of honoring what is most important to you.

 

An Intention Communicates Personal Values

 

As I’ve hinted at in the last two sections, intention ultimately speaks to what is most important to you in each area of your life. Not on the level of shiny pennies, goals, and metrics – that’s all fleeting and ever-changing.

It’s a mindset you use to filter all of the actions and choices you make in the present moment.

 

An Intention is Independent of Outcomes or Shiny Pennies

 

Intentions are not fulfilled by any particular outcome beyond our circle of influence. The very act of doing something inspired by the intention fulfills the intention. This means our self-esteem and success is based on what we do, not what we get.

But be careful, our minds can easily play tricks on us and try disguise a desired outcome as an action. For example, if we decide, based on a career intention, to make 50 sales calls, we cannot let the number of sales (or lack thereof) determine our feeling of “success.” The customer’s choice to buy or not buy our product is beyond our control. We can do our best to convey our product’s value, but we cannot force a customer to buy the product.

So rather than stress out about lackluster sales (a not-so-great outcome), we can continue to fulfill our intention by trying to improve our product to better serve our market. Or, we can make more sales calls.

Both of these actions fulfill the intention without tying our success or worthiness to anything beyond our hustle and control.

 

If you have a moment today or even this weekend, you might want to take some time to use these four elements to craft your own intentions for your career and personal life. They can serve as the foundation of your success in 2014 and beyond.

 

 

May something wonderful happen to you today,
Jess!

 

 

Thinking about doing The Intention Sessions with me? 

Thinking about intentions without mixing them up with goals and shiny pennies can be difficult. But the peace of mind and inspired actions that come as a result of crafting intentions is invaluable.

If you’d like help with this process for your possessions (clutter, home, stuff), personal habits (wellbeing, health, fitness), relationships, or career (small biz, corporate, or a mix) I’d love to work with you

 

 
Reader Spotlight

Cristina works with individuals and small businesses to help them establish strong personal and professional brands, develop stellar online presences, and increase their productivity and efficiency. She also runs One Woman Shop, a resource hub and community for female solopreneurs and freelancers.

Cristina Roman, CMR Strategies

TheThreeBiggestTakeawaysFromGettingThingsDoneOver the past few weeks I’ve been reading Getting Things Done, a productivity and time management classic.

Though many may have already read this popular book, I thought I’d share the three biggest keys that I’ve taken away from the book for anyone who has not read the book yet, or wants to read the highlights.

 

Complete any task under 2 minutes immediately

 

This simple concept was powerful. If something on your to-do list in any area of your life takes less than two minutes to complete, do it right away.

I have started to use this line of thinking in my own life and business and found that it helps me knock out a bunch of things that may otherwise get pushed aside and overwhelm my mental capacity. (This tip also supports the idea of always having fresh ice.)

In fact, if you can come up with five things that take less than two minutes on your to-do list, you can knock out a substantial portion of “open loops” in under 10 minutes.

Mr. Allen also says that anything that takes more than 2 minutes should be delegated (given to someone else to complete), deleted (taken off your to-do list if it’s not that important), or deferred (put on a task list to do later).

 

Batch tasks by type

 

I’ll be honest, Mr. Allen’s suggestion to have to-do lists for every type of action you have (calls, projects, errands, research, computer time, etc.) seemed a bit overwhelming and unnecessary for my life and business.

However, I recently started batching my to-dos on my central task list by putting the action associated with the item at the beginning of the to-do – as you can see below.

(I use TeuxDeux on my phone and computer, but a lot of people love Evernote or paper lists, too)

GTDTeuxDeux

Being able to see the actual action I will need to preform before the actual task helps me batch all my emails at once across multiple projects. By putting emails together for instance, I can hop between four different projects without having to switch my mindset each time.

Had I simply listed everything without the batched actions, this list would feel much more overwhelming.

 

Get everything down on paper

 

Last but not least, Mr. Allen is a huge proponent of putting everything that needs to get done down on paper. Here Mr. Allen summarizes the process:

“First of all, if it’s on your mind, your mind isn’t clear. Anything you consider unfinished in any way must be captured in a trusted system outside your mind, or what I call a collection bucket, that you know you’ll come back to regularly and sort through.

Second, you must clarify exactly what your commitment is and decide what you have to do, if anything, to make progress toward fulfilling it.

Third, once you’ve decided on all the actions you need to take, you must keep reminders of them organized in a system you review regularly.” – David Allen 

By tracking any things that need to be done on paper, we free up our minds to focus on the task at hand without worrying about whether we are forgetting something.

I wasn’t too impressed with this idea of being so strict to put things on the list, but I have to say – after trying it for the past week or two I have found that putting the big and little things that need to get done on paper has helped me feel less overwhelmed and does give me peace of mind that I’m not forgetting to do something.

With that said, I still have a ways to go. I now find myself thinking, “Oh, I should put that on the list,” even when I’m not near my phone. Thus, I’m left wondering what I still need to put on the list. My hope is that by getting better about tracking things the moment I think of them, I won’t have this extra layer of processing to do in the future.

 

Overall, I think the book is a great read (although it now feels a bit dated, given the technology changes since it was written in 2002).

For those who struggle with productivity, I believe this book could certainly help, but the process is rather time intensive and would need to be implemented well in order to truly pay off. Perhaps these three biggest takeaways I’ve listed here can help you get started, along with the third habit of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

Those who love organization and taking things to the next level may thrive on the step-by step process and thorough instructions. This book is definitely a must read for people who enjoy list making and want to improve their project planning abilities.

 

Getting Things Done

Must read

Recommended

Not-so-great

Pass

 

Did you like this review? Would you like to see more book takeaways and recommendations like this in the future? 

WhenToPromoteWhenYouAreSelfEmployed

When it comes to running our own businesses, it’s easy to feel like we’re always beginners. Each new project, product, or venture brings with it a whole new learning curve and set of responsibilities.

It’s part of the game that makes things interesting, challenging, risky, and rewarding.

In my own business, I’m on my third career change in six years. After building a lifestyle brand with Jess LC, I switched gears to business consulting and business products. Twelve months later, I’m now shifting focus from business to the personal growth world (with a dash of design, as seen above).

Closing established brands, products, and client bases for the next chapter is exciting – and at times rather isolating.

Lately, I have been thinking about this new chapter and now realize that these kinds of shifts are not about “starting over.”

They’re promotions.

I’m not on Level One all over again, I’m on Level Three.

Just because we still have a lot to learn doesn’t mean that we’re not further in our careers and purposes than ever before.

This type of promotion isn’t about a raise or a corner office. It’s about a shift in consciousness within our careers.  

I believe it’s time for us to start viewing our growth and evolution from a bigger perspective.

Whenever we move towards a more authentic version of our purpose – by expanding our established businesses, launching brand new ones, accepting amazing job offers, or raising our children full-time – we are entitled to honor these evolutions as promotions.

Because looking through the lens of our legacy… they are.

 

May something wonderful happen to you today,

Jess!

 

 

Thinking about doing The Intention Sessions with me? 

I hit a tipping point with feeling overwhelmed in my work life and as a result was suffering my personal and interpersonal life.

Thanks to Jess, I was able to have the insight and clarity I needed to figure out the how and why and take back control of my life. To keep myself accountable I wrote a contract to make myself and shared my experience and goals with others.

Through Jess and living and working with intention, I was able to make the changes I needed to and take the steps necessary to tip back in the right direction. I truly believe it wouldn’t have been possible with out her guidance and advice. Through not only our intention sessions but through the “Wish I Knew” book and blog.

And for that I am forever grateful.

Sadie Cornelius, SadieKCornelius.com

 

 

Reader Spotlight 

My fashion philosophy is that a woman should never leave accessories as an afterthought. Whether it’s helping you find the perfect accent to your existing wardrobe or providing ideas for just the right gift; I love making busy women’s lives a little easier!

Natalie Morrow, Stansberry

WhenToDoSomethingImportantButNotUrgent

Biz in the City Update: Tonight’s Business in the City is the last one that I will be leading personally. Going forward, the meet-up will continue at Next Door once a month under the leadership of Helena Swyter (Sweeter CPA) and Chris Broadhead (Suit Social Media). I am so proud of this little meet-up group and I am so thankful for all of the fun and animated conversations we’ve had over the years. The group is in good hands with Helena and Chris.

In the future, you can check Next Door’s programming page for upcoming meet-up dates.

Okay, now it’s time to share this week’s What I’m Learning Wednesday topic: when to do something that is important, but not urgent.

This new lesson is actually the outcome of my earlier post this week that discussed my struggle to make progress on an important project over the last six months. As I detailed in the post, I came up with all sorts of valid (and not-so-valid) rationalizations excuses for not making progress.

Thankfully, reading The War of Art and Turning Pro helped me do a lot of honest self-reflection about the Resistance I felt towards the project.

But even after I examined my Resistance, I still needed to figure out when to work on this project within an already hectic schedule.

The first thing I did was eliminate my one-on-one business consulting services so that I can direct more of my energy in this new direction. While I will still be doing one-on-one sessions via The Intention Sessions, the hotel lobby design project, podcast, and blog, I am doing my best to eliminate projects that do not directly relate to where I am headed long-term.

As you can imagine, this was a difficult decision to execute, but one that was necessary in order to follow my gut.

Even after making those bold changes, however, I still found myself with another challenge: when to actually do the work on this project day-to-day?

For me, I now know the best time to do an important (but not urgent) project like this is first thing in the morning.  

By simply devoting my first hour of work to this project every day this week, I have already found myself more productive in the afternoons, too.

Why? I don’t quite know.

But I can say that getting that work done early is not only making me more effective elsewhere in my business, but it also make me feel successful that day – no matter what else happens.

To make this shift in my schedule wasn’t very hard. It simply took a focused effort to avoid checking my email or writing on the blog until after I worked on the project.

Based on the results of this new approach so far, I now realize that I enjoy working on my project in the morning and working in my business in the afternoon.

This shift has already been such a dramatic improvement in my effectiveness that I’m surprised I never realized this sooner.

I already understood the power of having a morning victory, but I never thought to apply it to my work-life as well until now.

Though this idea may not be ideal for everyone, particularly those with a full-time job or children, this concept could be adapted within a variety of schedules.

Anything that is easy to do and also easy not to do, is easiest to do first.

 

May something wonderful happen to you today,
Jess!

 

 

Reader Spotlight 

My name is Monique Brown. I’m an Intimacy Coach and founder of the Feminine Allure Academy™, an online charm school where I teach women the intimacy skills to create awesome and peaceful relationships.

Monique Brown, Motor City Moxie

must read: "the war of art"
November 14th, 2013     |    Business AdviceSpiritThink About It

MustReadTheWarofArt

Though I may be one of the last people to read The War of Art, I cannot recommend it highly enough to anyone else who may not have read it yet.

If I was rating it on Amazon’s reviews, I would give it eight stars. But since that’s impossible, I’ve decided to write a post here telling you how great it is instead.

If you have been putting off a deeply meaningful project or change in your life, I implore you to read this book. Don’t let the word “art” in the title fool you. This book will resonate if you have something meaningful you yearn to do but have difficulty taking steps in that direction.

It is a quick read and filled with so many truth-bombs that it is one of the most highlighted books on my Kindle account – despite being the shortest book in the bunch.

It’s also now my third favorite book of all time (behind The Seven Habits and The Slight Edge).

It is wise, witty, and incredibly relatable.

Thank you, Steven Pressfield. I am so grateful you overcame your own personal Resistance in order to bring this into the world for us to benefit from.

when something huge doesn’t happen
November 6th, 2013     |    Business Advice

WhenSomethingHugeDoesntHappenFor the last four days Mr. Lively and I were in Seattle, but I didn’t mention the reason for the trip.

We were there exploring a job opportunity for Mr. Lively.

It all started a few weeks ago when Seattle, a city I never really thought that much about, suddenly became a possible new home for our little family. Rather than dread the idea of leaving my beloved Chicago, I was energized by the idea of moving somewhere totally new.

Without any explanation I was instantly set on moving to the city. And once we explored the awesome haunts that you all mentioned this weekend, I was more convinced than ever that a life-changing move to the PNW was exactly what we needed.

However, last night we found out that will not be happening. Instead of moving, we will be staying in Chicago and Mr. Lively will work at an awesome web company locally.

Overall, this is great news. Mr. Lively will most likely enjoy the new Chicago position more than the Seattle opportunity, and we will avoid a ton of stress that comes with moving across the country during the holidays.

However, I’m honestly still coming to terms with the fact that we are staying.

During the weeks leading up to this trip, I took my unexplainable enthusiasm to move to Seattle as a sign that it was “meant to be.” So I began to mentally and emotionally remove myself from Chicago. I was scouring Craigslist for rental homes in Seattle and was figuring out how I would restructure my career with such a blank slate.

I reveled in the idea of cutting ties with all that I’m familiar with and start fresh. I wanted to make bold moves in my career that seemed daunting to make in my current life situation. Moving was the perfect opportunity excuse to make dramatic changes.

But today I find myself sitting in the exact same chair, in the exact same room, doing the exact same thing I did last week – when I thought I would be searching for a new place to live and writing this post as a moving announcement.

It is a surreal feeling to say the least. One which I am completely responsible for creating. I didn’t need to put that much weight on a possible move before I knew all the facts.

Now, I have two options. 1) Keep things as they were before. Or, 2)  Change the things in my life and career that I wanted to change in Seattle, here in Chicago.

Rather than lean on a dramatic move to spur changes, it is up to me to either keep the status quo, or make those shifts within my daily life (which feels infinitely harder).

We expect for things to be challenging and different when something dramatic happens. But what if it doesn’t?

What if we have to face the challenges and changes right where we are

I think this situation is one that many people can relate to. We might dream of big, bold changes to help us ascend to a new level personally. But there are many times (perhaps most times actually) when dramatic shifts must occur within a stable environment – when it might not be as simple or easy to cut free of what has been holding us back.

It is far less glamorous to “stay put” and change. It may even require us to disconnect or disappoint people in our lives.

But we always have the power to step outside of our comfort zone within a stable life situation.

Though it might be tempting to think otherwise, we don’t need to rely on external changes in order shift internally.

We can be bold right where we are.

 

 

May something wonderful happen to you today,
Jess!

 

 

Thinking about doing a Life with Intention session with me?

Working with Jess has been a truly amazing experience. Having worked with her before at the Boston Life With Intention Workshop, I knew a one on one with Jess was going to be fantastic, but this truly exceeded my expectations.

She gave me the space to explore the areas of my life that needed attention, and took the time to really listen to everything I had to say. On top of that, her advice and suggestions all easily fit in to my every day life. She has given me so many invaluable tools to approach a life with intention.

If you’re thinking about working with Jess, I can’t recommend her highly enough!

Sheerley Z.

 

 

Reader Spotlight 

I run a Pilates business that I have taken online to train, coach and support women as they work toward their health and fitness goals. I run online programs that can be done from anywhere in the world and am passionate about changing the way women look at dieting and exercise.
Robin Long, The Balanced Life

when something huge doesn't happen
November 6th, 2013     |    Business Advice

WhenSomethingHugeDoesntHappenFor the last four days Mr. Lively and I were in Seattle, but I didn’t mention the reason for the trip.

We were there exploring a job opportunity for Mr. Lively.

It all started a few weeks ago when Seattle, a city I never really thought that much about, suddenly became a possible new home for our little family. Rather than dread the idea of leaving my beloved Chicago, I was energized by the idea of moving somewhere totally new.

Without any explanation I was instantly set on moving to the city. And once we explored the awesome haunts that you all mentioned this weekend, I was more convinced than ever that a life-changing move to the PNW was exactly what we needed.

However, last night we found out that will not be happening. Instead of moving, we will be staying in Chicago and Mr. Lively will work at an awesome web company locally.

Overall, this is great news. Mr. Lively will most likely enjoy the new Chicago position more than the Seattle opportunity, and we will avoid a ton of stress that comes with moving across the country during the holidays.

However, I’m honestly still coming to terms with the fact that we are staying.

During the weeks leading up to this trip, I took my unexplainable enthusiasm to move to Seattle as a sign that it was “meant to be.” So I began to mentally and emotionally remove myself from Chicago. I was scouring Craigslist for rental homes in Seattle and was figuring out how I would restructure my career with such a blank slate.

I reveled in the idea of cutting ties with all that I’m familiar with and start fresh. I wanted to make bold moves in my career that seemed daunting to make in my current life situation. Moving was the perfect opportunity excuse to make dramatic changes.

But today I find myself sitting in the exact same chair, in the exact same room, doing the exact same thing I did last week – when I thought I would be searching for a new place to live and writing this post as a moving announcement.

It is a surreal feeling to say the least. One which I am completely responsible for creating. I didn’t need to put that much weight on a possible move before I knew all the facts.

Now, I have two options. 1) Keep things as they were before. Or, 2)  Change the things in my life and career that I wanted to change in Seattle, here in Chicago.

Rather than lean on a dramatic move to spur changes, it is up to me to either keep the status quo, or make those shifts within my daily life (which feels infinitely harder).

We expect for things to be challenging and different when something dramatic happens. But what if it doesn’t?

What if we have to face the challenges and changes right where we are

I think this situation is one that many people can relate to. We might dream of big, bold changes to help us ascend to a new level personally. But there are many times (perhaps most times actually) when dramatic shifts must occur within a stable environment – when it might not be as simple or easy to cut free of what has been holding us back.

It is far less glamorous to “stay put” and change. It may even require us to disconnect or disappoint people in our lives.

But we always have the power to step outside of our comfort zone within a stable life situation.

Though it might be tempting to think otherwise, we don’t need to rely on external changes in order shift internally.

We can be bold right where we are.

 

 

May something wonderful happen to you today,
Jess!

 

 

Thinking about doing a Life with Intention session with me?

Working with Jess has been a truly amazing experience. Having worked with her before at the Boston Life With Intention Workshop, I knew a one on one with Jess was going to be fantastic, but this truly exceeded my expectations.

She gave me the space to explore the areas of my life that needed attention, and took the time to really listen to everything I had to say. On top of that, her advice and suggestions all easily fit in to my every day life. She has given me so many invaluable tools to approach a life with intention.

If you’re thinking about working with Jess, I can’t recommend her highly enough!

Sheerley Z.

 

 

Reader Spotlight 

I run a Pilates business that I have taken online to train, coach and support women as they work toward their health and fitness goals. I run online programs that can be done from anywhere in the world and am passionate about changing the way women look at dieting and exercise.
Robin Long, The Balanced Life

when to listen and when to act
October 30th, 2013     |    Business Advice

WhenToListenAndWhenToActOver the past week and a half, I had what could be considered a “really bad week.” And at the same time the “really bad week” led to a dozen or so a-ha moments that will massively impact my career over the next year.

Starting on Monday and Tuesday of last week, I noticed that I felt exhausted and lacked enthusiasm for a lot of things in my business – which was very unusual. I mentioned this slump on Facebook to see if other people were also feeling this way, and Regina P. pointed out that it could be due to Mercury Retrograde.

Not knowing what Mercury Retrograde was, I looked it up.  It turns out that astrologers believe that Mercury Retrograde wreaks havoc in all sorts of different ways. Though I wasn’t completely convinced that my energy was being zapped by a planet’s orbit, I did think it could have had to do with PMS and the gloomy weather we’ve been having at the very least.

But once other difficult situations popped up on Wednesday and Thursday… I was starting to get suspicious of this Mercury in Retrograde thing.

Then Friday happened. First thing in the morning I lightly bumped my head which would normally not be a big deal at all. But because my neck was bending as it happened, the pressure on my forehead shot down to a disc in my lower neck and knocked it out of alignment. Just an innocent little bump caused immense pain and landed me on the couch for the majority of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (thank God for Tiger Balm).

After such a dismal week, finding myself immobile on the couch was disheartening to say the least.

However, two positives did come out of this couch-bound situation. The first was that I watched hours of You Tube interviews with thought leaders that I admire. I watched Seth Godin, Tim Ferriss, Ramit Sethi, Jonathan Fields, Chase Jarvis, and more.

Because I wasn’t able to act on anything in my business, literally, I was forced to listen

And it turned out to ten times more productive than if I had taken action without listening first.

Rather than operate and make business decisions based on my “in the trenches” perspective, I was able to elevate myself to a higher vantage point by listening to successful people speak from their experience about what is most important, what is essential, what is next.

By simply clicking an interesting link from the recommended videos on the You Tube sidebar again and again, I was able to create my own personalized MBA on the topics I care about with the “professors” and “lectures” that I crave. 

I highly recommend trying this on YouTube. Simply search YouTube for someone you admire and would like to learn from. Then, watch the videos that appear and then let the recommended video sidebar on the right guide you from there. Overall, I found the longer interviews were more powerful than the quick 3-5 minute clips. So if you have a chance to devote a few hours, I would go for the deeper content first.

The other blessing that this whole “Mercury in Retrograde week” presented was the idea that I can be consciously choosing weeks in the year that involve deep listening.

It turns out that MR lasts about three weeks and occurs three times a year. Rather than look at this time as a negative, I would actually like to devote these seasons to listening, learning, and absorbing. I would like to let them be a time for reflection, tying up loose strings, and carefully contemplating the actions I’d like to take going forward – all of which happen to be the positive side of the MR coin.

Historically, I tend to get an idea and try to implement the very next day. But after my experience this week, I now feel a sense of calmness and peace from creating three-week seasons to clarify. In the future, I plan to clear my schedule of regular business activities – as much as possible – during these seasons to make sure I can have that time to read, listen, and think deeply.

At this point, whether Mercury Retrograde is really a “thing” or not is irrelevant to me personally. Either way, I am now convinced that businesses improve when business owners include seasons for deep listening.

 

May something wonderful happen to you today,
Jess!

 

 

Thinking of doing a Grow with Intention session with me?

I’m so glad I took the leap and invested in a business coaching session with Jess. I walked away with a strong purpose statement, a much better understanding of myself and the direction I want my business to go.

Alexandra Evjen, AVE Style

 

 

Reader Spotlight 

Jess Creatives wants to engage the community through outstanding and creative graphic design and photography with a Christ-like perspective. I love being able to help my clients improve their brand with print and digital promotional materials, as well as websites and social media.

Jessica Freeman, Jess Creatives

WhatI'mLearningWednesdayWorkshopAtHome

For today’s What I’m Learning Wednesday, I want to share a peek behind the Business with Intention Workshop At Home. Taking the live workshops and turning them into an online and physical hybrid workshop experience that you see above was a big undertaking.

In fact, it took a whole team to make it happen.

So here’s what went on behind the scenes – and the talented people who made it all possible.

First, I want to thank the guys at Polymyth that made the three hours of video content possible.

PolymythProductions

Franklin and I had many meetings with these guys, particularly Dan and Derek.

Dan (holding Olive, Franklin’s girlfriend) has watched these videos so many times in post-production that I think he might have them memorized. And Derek (in the gray shirt) was incredible at directing on set and getting the voice overs and sound just right in post-production.

I seriously can’t thank these guys enough. I’m still in awe at how professional the videos are (you can see some sample content here).

Next, it’s time to thank the ladies that made the videos so pretty!

BehindTheScenesPrettyErin did our makeup, Liz of Sequins and Stripes styled my wardrobe (a dream come true!).

Meanwhile, Caitlin of Caitlin Creative ran the show – she took these behind the scenes photos, made sure I was wearing the right outfit at the right time, and everyone was where they needed to be.

Though the video makes it look clean and streamlined, the set was filled with lights, cameras, and boom mics.

Stage

The intros to each video were taped in my apartment. But you would never suspect that this is what was going on over at the dining table.

HomeBehindTheScenes

And last but not least, we can’t forget the ladies who helped beautify the workbook and workshop tote bag.

PhysicalGoods

Jackie of Sincerely, Jackie designed the beautiful workbook and Jen Serafini illustrated this amazing Just Keep Going tote.

When it comes to what I’ve learned from this experience, here are my top five takeaways:

1. It will take longer than you expect. So double (or triple) your expected turnaround time.
2. Your team is everything. Pick the people you love working with.

3. Get people to help you cull through the raw video, it can take a long time to find all the items that need editing. So the more eyes, the better!

4. Find a way to make your offering unique.

5. Appreciate your hard work. It is not easy to launch something like this, so don’t take it for granted once it is all finished!

 

May something wonderful happen to you today,
Jess!

 

 

Thinking about ordering the Workshop At Home

As a brand new business owner, I’m currently working to gather all of the resources I can to make this leap of faith a smart one. Having been a follower of Jess’s for quite some time now, I’ve come to really value her voice. 

So when I caught wind of her Workshop at Home series, it was a no-brainer. Now that I’m knee-deep in the videos and working my way steadily through the workbook, I can safely say that I feel on track, like I’m exactly where I need to be – and that’s saying something compared to where I was three months ago!

Her presentation is flawless and the additional insights offered by her guests brought the workshop full circle. I’m learning from the best of the best, and the tips and tricks that I now have in my back pocket are truly invaluable as I continue down the entrepreneurial path. Jess has given me the confidence to never look back.

Carrie Waller, Dream Green DIY  (You can see Carrie’s full review here.)

 

 

It’s time for a new round Reader Spotlights entries!

If you love reading What I’m Learning Wednesday and have a small business, please email hello(at)with-intention.com with the subject line “READER SPOTLIGHT.” In your email please include: two sentences about your business, your full name, and your business name/web url. 

Photo one and ten taken by Jen of Lemon Drop Love
when life hands you lemons…
October 10th, 2013     |    Business AdviceThink About It


Yesterday, I had a few of life’s “lemons” handed to me all at once. Not fun.

Today, I am sharing the way I chose to react to the situation so that it didn’t ruin my day, and also made me more capable of handling larger issues in the future.

Also, for those who want to see one of the rugs I mentioned in the video… here’s an image of the rug that I ordered online.

bb393924c7ce4f9465e6f1e14759401b

Beautiful, right?

Well, here is what it looked like in real life.

ActualRugBlah.

Back to the drawing board. We are looking at new options – in person this time – later today.

Fingers crossed we find the perfect one!


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