which wall are you climbing?



When it comes to our major life choices, especially those revolving around our careers, it is important to keep our eye on the wall.

What does that mean?

Whether we know it or not, we are all climbing walls. Corporate walls, creative walls, education walls, you name it.

The amount of thought and intention that goes into our wall choices dictates how closely our lives reflect our visions – or not.

We must ask ourselves, what building am I climbing? Why? Will I like where I would be if I reached the top?

No, we don’t all need to become CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies if that is where we work. But we do need to ask ourselves what the our vision is, and whether the wall we are climbing can lead to the outcome we seek.

For example, when I graduated I knew that if I got a full-time job for a company, my type-A personality would want to climb the ladder in order to please and do a good job. Even though I knew deep in my heart that I was meant to help people design lives with intention – which had nothing to do with a corporate job.

So rather than get on a ladder and climb while doing a side-hustle, I fixed my career ladder to my own company in order to stay autonomous and steer clear of any type-A corporate climbing tendencies (and a cushy paycheck that would be hard to leave). It was easier to get my “paycheck” from my accessory company and shift gears towards my purpose than it would have been working for someone else.

Mind you, having my own business and starting it from scratch with practically nothing was not the easy part. A job would have been easier than that. It was the ladder shifting ease that I sought.

Then, in 2009, I started the blog because I realized that in that first 17 months of business were leading me to the top of a jewelry empire – not a life of helping people. I then began straddling two walls, one was my company and the other was my purpose.

I did this straddling bit for two years until my purpose-led workshops and consulting replaced the income my accessory company provided.

It was not easy to juggle the two at times, but it was indeed much easier to make the shift be cause my “day job” was self-employed.

And to be honest, some people thought I was crazy to leave a successful small business climb to go for my gut-led purpose. Just like when they thought I was crazy when I went straight to my own business right out of school with $700 in my pocket.

But because I began with the end in mind – the vision of helping people live with intention – I was able to make difficult decisions that others scratched their heads at.

I climbed the walls I had available to me that led to the path I wanted. I also hopped from wall to wall in order to land on the one I knew I was meant to climb.

I also know that my story here is unique. Not everyone has a self-employed “day job” to lean on before they pursue their purpose. Some people might also have much more at stake than I did at 22 right out of school with no major expenses besides a few college loans and a studio rent.

But I will say that beginning with the end in mind and reflecting on the purpose of any given career climb is important.

What others may have in common with my story is the necessity to make difficult choices for long-term benefits. Some may need to make shifts that others will scratch their heads at in disbelief.

Yet all of that doesn’t matter, in the end, when the summit is reached.

Once reached – and often during the climb – people (the ones that matter) do begin to see the method to the madness. They see the calculated risks and the faith in the pursuit for the desired reward.

But first, we must select the right wall for this point in our lives. And not be afraid to shift to a new one if the time comes.


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  1. Nicole

    Beautifully said, Jess. Thank you for continuing to share your wisdom and insights.

  2. Anne

    What a great reflection. I like the insight that we are all climbing walls, whether we realize it or not. It is so easy in today’s world to be climbing a lot of ladders, simply because we can, without thinking about which summits we truly want to reach. We need to be intentional–and this is why I enjoy reading your blog. Your words always remind me to reflect on where I truly want to be and focus my energy there

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and are thinking about the summits you’d like to reach. That’s awesome to hear!

  3. eunice

    great to have ongoing reminders still 🙂 completely random but your post made me feel like Humpty Dumpty… I just hope I don’t fall!! lol…

  4. Abbie

    Wonderful post Jess, as always. Thanks for sharing yourself with us via this blog, we are truly blessed.

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