Finding Comfort In Pivoting Career Paths With Jessica Johnson
Your Biggest Vision
Season 3, Ep. 100
Today’s guest is the author of Your Bright Life! She’s a full-time traveler and digital entrepreneur and you’ll love hearing from her.
This is for you if you are looking for guidance in a pivot, be it into your own business or within the business you already have.
Do you have an idea of a chance you want to take, but you don’t know where to start?
Do you want to learn to take control of your own creativity?
The author of “Your Bright Life” is Jessica Johnson. Jessica is a writer and business mentor, specializing in taking action of your own creative path and bringing your dreams to reality.
In today’s episode, we will be discussing:
How to build your own life that you desire
Making your dreams a reality, and working hard in a way that aligns with your values
Finding confidence and a strong support system in changing career paths
Her new book and what a “Bright Life” means to her
If you want more inside business secrets, then head over to my Seven-Figure Secrets Podcast! There, we discuss what goes on behind the scenes of running a seven figure business, and I give you the scoop on how to make it happen for you.
Want to be coached by Leah directly? Head to her waitlist to be the first to know when spots open up. Leahgervais.com/waitlist
Hear the Episode
Leah: Hey visionaries. Welcome back to the Your Biggest Vision Show. This is Leah, and today we are joined by Jessica Johnson, who is a new author and the author of the book, Your Bright Life. So she is here to talk to us about her book, about her story, and particularly to give some guidance and messaging to those of you that might be feeling like you’re in a transitional period in your life or your business. Whether that is transitioning into being a business owner or within business.
I definitely love this topic and think it’s so, uh, such a gift that you’re giving advice and support around it because, um, it continues to happen. And I think a lot of times for entrepreneurs in the newer years, you sort of assume that once you’ve hit a certain income milestone or threshold, then things are like set. And that’s really not how it is. And so giving yourself permission with pivoting career paths, being familiar with it, understanding how to work, I think is, is such a powerful thing. So thank you so much for joining us.
Jessica: Yeah, thank you so much for having me. I’m really excited to be here.
Leah: I am too. So why don’t we start at the beginning. I’d love to hear a little bit about your childhood specifically. I would love to hear what you thought you would be when you were going to grow up.
Jessica: Yes. Oh my gosh. When I was a child I had a lot of different ideas, but I’d say the consistent one is I used to go home from school and I would line up all my stuffed animals and like teach them everything I’d learned that day or I’d save up my allowance and I’d go to the teacher’s store and I’d buy like stickers and make up all these homework assignments and things like that.
So it’s kinda funny because I feel like I teach now through my business and through books and things like that. Not maybe in the traditional sense, but it’s kind of funny you asked that to think back to that. I was like, okay, there’s, there’s always been undertones of that.
Leah: Huh. That’s so fun. So what did you end up going to school for?
Jessica: I went to school for journalism. Okay. And multimedia design.
Leah: Okay. So writing is kind of where things started to take you and that obviously is largely what you do now.
Leah: So tell us a little bit about your trajectory out of professional or traditional journalism and into entrepreneurship.
Jessica: Yeah, so out of college I went into marketing and communications work. Um, you know, I worked in New York City and um, a variety of different companies, ad agencies, things like that. I always enjoyed the work, but I just dreamt of having my own business in some way. And so at some point in corporate, I got up the nerve to take the leap into entrepreneurship.
Um, and my path was a bit winding, which I’m always happy to share because I feel like anyone listening sometimes there’s this idea that it’s just this straight path to success or all making sense right away, which I don’t feel like it was for me. But when I first started out, I, um, had studied as a passion, like holistic health in nights and weekends. And so I thought that would be my thing. I’ll go and I will coach on that, that’ll be my business.
Um, and what I found when I got into that is I loved the client relationships, but I really, really loved the days I could teach through writing or content creation. And so, you know, pivoting career paths with my business there to be really about more of the writing side, um, for industries that I cared about. And that led to growing a team, loving the mentoring side, and then getting to help a lot more women, um, grow their own profitable writing businesses.
So kind of like a 15 year winding journey from a degree in journalism to then my own writing business agency and then mentoring others. But that’s kind of the quick version.
Leah: It obviously makes sense why you wanna help people pivoting career paths and you know, be able to find their way through their own winding path.
Can you, when you think about those early sort of permission slips you had to give yourself about like, okay, it’s okay to leave journalism or it’s okay to leave nutrition or any of that. Do you think it was harder for you to move through those decisions than it is now?
Jessica: Yes. I 100% think that I had a lot more trepidation and almost like this shame or kind of guilt around changing my path. I was so used to kind of following the D career track and then chasing the promotions and you know, getting the major so that you could go on this one path that every single transition. I think there was a little bit of hesitancy, you know, especially for sharing it publicly and several times announcing, I’m leaving corporate and then here’s my business and that all that’s changing slightly to this.
So I definitely think it was hard in the beginning and it wasn’t until those first few times where I really built evidence that it gets better every time and every step leads you to your next. And even in those seasons of figuring it out, that is usually where your next great idea is born. So that started to really, I think just show me this model of like, okay, this, this is just part of the creative process and business process in many ways.
Leah: I love that you share that. Something I talked to my newer entrepreneur clients about a lot is how you have to, you will eventually be able to find evidence that you can do this and that you do know how to make money and that you do understand how sales work and that you do know how to come through for yourself.
But in order to find that evidence, you have to make that evidence. You have to kind of trick yourself into doing it in the beginning, you know, and almost go so quickly toward it that you can’t fall on your face on the way there. Do you have, and maybe you talk about this in the book, do you have any ways that you did that then, or you do that now or that have really helped you to, you know, find ways to cultivate faith other than through evidence which you have to do a lot of times? Yeah,
Jessica: Yeah. You know, I think one of my driving questions or maybe fears that works to my advantage is not wanting that fear of regret. And so I’ll think through like when I’m 80, what will I wish I would have done? And so often it’s going for it and it’s doing the scary thing and it’s at least knowing what would’ve happened versus wondering what if.
And so that has really helped me when I don’t have the evidence yet to just know that there’s part of me that’s not gonna want to look back one day and have wondered what could have been. And that is usually enough discomfort that it gets me out of my fear of discomfort on the other side. And so I use that a lot.
Um, and then I think also building community or finding mentors, you know, like you working with clients and having someone to kind of hold the space with you and all the emotions and fears that can come up, that helps a lot too because it, like, you can almost lean on and borrow their evidence and their belief as you start to cultivate it and get it in your own.
So that’s been a big part too, kind of internally what would I wanna do and then where can I find the community or the people or the mentorship to really hold me in that journey as well.
Leah: Hmm. Yeah, I agree. Obviously I agree with all of those . So your book is about creativity and a creative process and the steps that you walk through with people. Tell us a little bit about what inspired you to write this and then let’s get into that process.
Jessica: Yeah, I mean, writing a book was just one of those bucket list things that I knew at my core I wanted to do one day. I would say before anything else, you know, building a business or like traveling or anything, I was like, I know I need to write a book one day and I just, I just didn’t know what it would be about. And so once I, you know, set the intention, I felt like I was ready and got the idea for the book that really just began this process of kind of, you know, dumping all the ideas that I could possibly think about.
Um, and you know, just kind of building it from that. But I think it all just started with being really clear that like, this is something I wanna do. Let me set aside some time and just believe that I can get this idea and then, you know, start writing everything down and naturally one step leads to the next. Once you know, you weren’t gonna write, then it’s time to write. Once you write, then you’re like, okay, I guess I need an editor and, and so on.
Leah: Wow. Yeah. I can only imagine what an undertaking it is. I watched my husband write a book and it took him like three years to write. Yeah. It is such, such a big deal. I mean, I’m so impressed that you did this.
So when did the idea come to you that you wanted to share your creative process? I mean, it looks like you’ve had the opportunity in so many different ways to practice it because you’ve done so many different things along the way.
Jessica: Yeah, so the funny part is the idea came to me when I actually was taking a break from work. I think it was on a weekend. Wow. I was, you know, just, I was like looking out at the ocean, um, kind of taking a pause reading another book and that’s when it hit.
And so to me, that’s so funny cuz I’m such a driver normally, like I’ll, you know, work as much as I need to to get something done, but it’s just a reminder over and over again of like creating that white space is sometimes when you get those ideas or when things actually kind of sort themselves out. Um, so that’s when I got it was just like taking a break of all things and , I was like, okay, well I’ll work with that
Leah: Oh my God. Totally. I get a lot of ideas like when I’m getting a massage or in the shower in the most unexpected uh, places. Mm-hmm. . So did you pull a lot from your client work and kind of what you most see your clients needing? Like how it was, I’m sure it was so easy to write in the end once you got the idea.
Jessica: It was so yeah, it felt like this one flowed out of me. I don’t know that they’ll all be like that if I write another one, but this one I feel very fortunate that it did. And I would say the majority of the ideas came from even just my own periods of indecision. You know, for a long time when I was in corporate and I did, I knew I wanted that business, I just didn’t know what it would be or what my passion was.
And I wanted so badly to figure that out and I was like, I don’t care if it’s being a doctor, an accountant, a you know, nurse, anything, like, just let me know what it is and I’ll go do it. So I think that part of the idea came from just having compassion for anyone who’s like, I’m doing this thing that’s technically good, but I feel like it could be great.
Or I feel like there’s something in me that is calling me to something more or something different. Um, and so that’s even how the book opens with like this whole chapter on dreaming and how do you connect to even what you really want and get outside the noise of a culture or, you know, societal system, education system, family and get clear on what you really truly want.
And then from there it just weaves into like, okay, well in my experience you have to really then decide and focus on that one thing to go for so your energy could be focused versus splattered across 20 different things. And then it goes into like, it’s partly this process you’re doing and taking action of course, but you’re also embodying and you’re becoming this person along the way. So I guess to answer your question, it was kind of this mix of what I had learned about here’s what it takes to get clear on what you want and bring a dream to life.
And then also in working with clients and, and seeing them in these stages, just knowing that fear comes up, that you have to work with your own beliefs, that your thoughts can influence a lot about your reality.
Um, you know, and so kind of both of those really gave me ideas for here’s kind of the stages of this process of bringing a dream to life and here’s kind of some help and encouragement, inspiration for each one and what might come up as you are building something that you really desire.
Leah: Amazing. What, so you called it your bright life. What does that mean to you? What is your bright life?
Jessica: Yeah, so it’s different for everyone and that’s even what I’ll say in the book. Yeah.
Leah: No, what’s it for you? I’m curious.
Jessica: I’d love to hear your opinion. My version paint
Leah: The picture of it. Yeah.
Jessica: My version of my Bright Life includes, uh, it includes a business where I feel like I get to make an impact with women and help them create more resources and more freedom. It includes lots of travel. So I’ve been, you know, now to 35 countries since I first left corporate. I do a lot of work abroad and travel. Um, it includes a really fulfilling, supportive, loving marriage with my best friend.
Um, you know, it includes, I guess close relationships with our family and just a lot of love. It includes girlfriends who are ambitious but really heart-centered as well. So I think all of those things are part of the picture for me and it’s still evolving, you know, like we talked about even in the beginning . There’s pivoting career paths and things, but I think those are the key elements that I see a lot of.
Leah: Hmm. Very holistic and I think that that is what the modern woman is looking for. I think the success in a silo is just not resonating with people as much anymore because we’ve had generations of people being able to look back and be like, yes, I made this amount of money, but at what cost? At what cost my health or what cost to my family or what cost to my happiness or my relationship.
And I think that there is a small but strong movement toward that. You know, I know a lot of people are triggered by the saying, you can have it all. But the concept that there, you don’t have to choose one, you don’t have to, um, eliminate the others or sacrifice the others for the cost of one. Would you say that, because that sounds so holistic, do you think that anyone can benefit from this book? Or do you think it’s primarily entrepreneurs that would really get the most.
Jessica: You know, I would say anyone can benefit in the sense that it’s not purely about entrepreneurial steps. So if you even start out with this first chapter and you’re like, wow, I really realized that my brightest vision for my life includes being a mother and includes having a home where I’m holding my babies or I’m waking them up from their naps. I think you can still go and apply every single step in a chapter in the book and will feel just really encouraged and supported and owning what you want and kind of staking your claim there and building a life around it.
Um, but because my journey’s entrepreneurial, I think there are some, you know, parts where it, it leads into ways to use your creative projects and turn them into something that you can monetize or create more passion around. So I guess to answer your question, I think both can apply, but there are some entrepreneurial threads.
So if you feel like you’re listening and you’re like, I don’t know if I for sure am that you might just read the book and get some ideas that you ha ha you hadn’t sparked before. Um, but it’s completely okay if you go through it and you’re like, that’s not my idea at all, but I would love this side of things and now I feel like I can really create it and own it too.
Leah: Sure. Well, most of my entrepreneurs, most of my audience are entrepreneurs. So I think everyone listening will relate. I think it’s just helpful to think about the angle of it and where you’re kind of coming from, but hearing that it is bringing you toward creating the vision that you have in all facets I think is, you know, that’s what most people are looking for. When you think about the pivots you’ve gone through in life, have they mostly followed very hard times, some challenging times?
Can you tell us a little bit about how you’ve overcome and like gotten your done the very first step? Because it looks like the first part of your book and as you just shared with us, you know, you start with how to get clear on what you want mm-hmm. , but you almost have to be to a neutral level to even have the courage to ask that.
So if someone’s listening and they’re like, you know what, I know I need to pivot, but I’m either hurting or I’m struggling, or I’m lacking in confidence, or I’m still recovering from X, Y, and Z. Do you have any tips or any of your own personal stories on how you have gotten out of those places so that you can move forward with things?
Jessica: Absolutely. And I think it’s almost like I think that that first chapter has been really born out of those times when I have felt lost or frustrated or like something isn’t working. Um, so even in my first business I feel like, you know, I really was like going through all the things that you go through the first time in business, learning how to get clients, learning how to do sales, like struggling to really make ends meet in the beginning.
And that’s where I almost got the idea for like what are the threads that are working? What are the days that do light me up? Let me go back to the drawing board and really look at this again because you know, I was in debt for my dream. Like there was so much going on that was really uncomfortable and painful and like, how do I get out of this?
But those can be the seedlings even though they’re so uncomfortable and painful to kind of get your attention, to even do this introspective work and look in another direction. Hmm. And then I think the other times were, you know, really like in that nine to five kind of like we touched on, but just feeling like, man, you know, I, everyone else seems like they’ve got their thing or they have their track. Why don’t, why can’t I figure this out?
I’m so capable, why can’t I figure this thing out for me? And so that, you know, I had to go through years of like, I call it chasing your curiosities of just trying the little threads of inspiration or following the random class, you know, nudges or taking classes or doing something you’ve never done. And that’s what gave me the idea for my first, you know, business and led to the next.
But it was really out of that just period of dissatisfaction that I think it forced me to start looking at things differently. And years later I was able to write a book on it and synthesize it, but at that time, yeah, it was like, I don’t know the path out of this. Let me try some things.
And you know, it just so happened that as it often does, that’s what kind of leads you down whatever path you’re meant to go down or one day be able to kind of support others around. But it comes out of your own kind of journey a lot of times too.
Leah: Sure. I really relate to that. I remember being in my cubicle and I would listen to podcasts or interviews with Sarah Blakely and I would literally pray to God to send me an idea like Spanx and I would like get quiet and I’d be like, I’m ready put it in my brain now , I promise if you tell me what it is, I will execute on it and I will yes, do whatever I can to see it forward.
Just give me this idea because that’s kind of how she talked about it particularly. I, I don’t, I’m sure if you know her story mm-hmm. , um, like that’s how she talks about like the uh, the name. She, you know, she was like, I was driving down the highway and I knew I wanted like a azzy kind of letter, like an X or a Z or whatever.
And then she thought of Spanx and I’m like, why can’t I have that kinda moment where I’m just given this beautiful name or this like thing that just, you know, you just can visualize and just vision. And um, I think probably what she would actually tell me if I asked and what I would now tell myself is that none of those things happen from thinking or praying or sitting on the sidelines.
And it’s not because God doesn’t want you to have these ideas, it’s because you actually won’t be able to execute on them if you have no context toward how well you can do it or what the actual feedback is or what your vision is for it or if you even enjoy doing it. So I think that um, it’s, you know, it can be hard to imagine how just deflating that sense of stagnation can be and that sort of like, why me?
What am I doing wrong? Why is it other, why is this working out for other people and not me? And I think it’s, it’s amazing that you’re addressing that and calling it out because I don’t know about you, but I remember when I was in that, in my corporate situation, I almost felt like I wasn’t allowed to complain or like it was too minor of a sob story so to speak because I had a job and it wasn’t even a bad job and I was able to live in New York, which was like my childhood dream come true.
So who was I to be, you know, getting up during the day and moping about the fact that I had this job and that I didn’t have some spanks empire and wasn’t Sarah Blakely or whatever . But I think when you can call it out and acknowledge that like you’re allowed to want only you can decide when it’s enough to be like your own personal rock bottom. It doesn’t need to mean that you’re fired or that you know you’re in an abusive or toxic workplace or anything like that. It really can just be that lack of alignment. It will suck your soul . Yes. If you live in that day in and day out. Right.
Jessica: Yeah. And that can be enough, you know, to your point it’s like that, it’s just a matter of like in just if you feel that call in some way, I think that that is almost life trying to get your attention and how fortunate almost that you hear it before it does get to that rock bottom.
Yeah. Or before it’s been 20 years of just soul sucking days. Like cuz that’s similar to how I felt. I was like, you know, it’s, I enjoy the work day-to-day. Right. I have a good title, sounds good. Everything on paper looks good, but I just knew something more was out there.
Um, and it’s just amazing what can even shift in a few years of following that instinct. And it hasn’t all been easy at all. It’s been ups and downs and everything, but I wouldn’t trade all that because it almost becomes this like spiritual journey and a sense of just like the growth that you uncover, really having to go through this and build something of your own and figure out what works and like you say, take action and get feedback.
You just learn a lot about it becomes so than just having a different job. Totally. It just becomes totally creating a different life and the impact that can make on others.
Leah: Hmm. I love that. It’s more than a job. It’s creating a different life. It’s so true. It’s a huge crash course in personal development and yeah, just kind of like you’re painting the picture of your life via a business for, you know, for the most part.
Um, there was something else in particular I wanted to ask you about what you just said, but, oh, so, because you kind of have alluded to the fact that this can be free. You, you know, you pivoting career paths out of corporate America, but also if you do have a business and you’re starting to feel the call for something different or maybe a different track or a different idea or whatever, something that I think is important to differentiate as a business owner.
I think, I think the ultimate permission slip is I’m leaving the path, I’m going all in in my business.
That to me is like a big night and day. I’m never going back. But once you’re kind of in the arena, it can get a little bit less clear because sometimes those whispers I have found are shiny object syndrome. Yeah. Or are actually versions of imposter syndrome telling you that you should do that cause it’ll be easier. How do you differentiate those two, that intuitive hit of, hey, this is actually a different direction I wanna go, versus my ego saying, oh my gosh, maybe you should try this because what you’re doing right now doesn’t, it’s not as fun as you thought it’d be.
Jessica: Yeah. Oh that is such a good question. You know, I, what comes up for me is that I feel like if you get still there can be part of you that can differentiate the difference. Like almost for me it feels like when it’s shiny object syndrome or when it’s really like fear talking, it’s almost this more loud bombastic kind of voice that’s like, go this direction, this will be easier, let’s do this. But there’s like this still small knowing or that’s a little bit quieter and like a whisper of you kind of know which path really feels right for you.
So for me that’s just kind of the difference. It’s like, is this really kind of a gut feeling or is this like my brain talking and giving me all these ideas of new things to go for? I also think there’s an element of knowing the difference between something that’s worth working really hard for.
So it can get hard in entrepreneurship and it can be like, there’s can be part of you that’s like, man, I wish I could try something else and maybe that’ll be easier for me. This has come up even with social media and ironically like visibility. Like I know I have a book and like all the things, but for me it was really challenging to get, you know, posting on social media and share the behind the scenes all the time.
And I was never someone who wanted to be like an influencer live streaming my life or anything, but I knew I did want to connect with other women. I knew I did want to offer a message of hope and inspiration. So I almost had to look at those beliefs and thoughts as things that I could work through and shift and overcome and find a way that did feel aligned because it was worth what was on the other side.
So I think there’s part of that too where it’s almost like, it’s not at all saying don’t put in the work or don’t stick it through or pivoting career paths when things get hard. But it’s like just making sure that you’re working through the hard on the right things and that you are kind of finding your way that does feel in alignment to do it. Because there’s a million ways to do sales, there’s a million ways to get clients to fill a program.
Um, and so I think there’s just creative solutions available, but you have to make sure that you are, you know, doing it for the right reasons and um, and kind of finding your way of doing it and making sure that you are kind of sticking through it long enough to see the rewards if it is something you truly feel called to.
Leah: Yeah. Yeah. It’s an, it’s an important distinction to be able to navigate I think as if you’re a leader. Yeah. And if you are a visionary and it sounds like your book is kind of the handbook for that type of thing.
And I think when you do have that clarity on what you want and then it gets hard and then it gets messy and then it doesn’t work as easily and then you have spent more money than you’ve made and then we’re up at one in the morning and like we’ve all been there. Yeah. If you can still come back and be like, but I still want it, you know, then that’s how you know that it’s still worth seeing through and it’s not worth just being like, oh, I’m gonna pivot because this is harder, this sucks, or Yeah. And someone on the internet is telling me it would be easier to do it a different way.
Leah: Okay. I have three, two sets of three quick questions for you. Okay. My first three is I’m curious about all your travels. So it’s amazing that you’ve been to 35 countries since you quit your nine to five job. Yeah. Which is incredible. I loved traveling when I first quit my job too. It’s a little different now that I have a baby.
But , it’s definitely a huge, huge advantage. And I still travel more with my son than most people in corporate America do because Yeah. Because of my own business. So what are your three favorite countries you’ve been to so far?
Jessica: Oh my gosh. Okay. So I’m in Croatia right now and I would say that’s definitely one of them. I just think there’s something so charming. You know, we were touching on this a little bit, but the sea, I sort of had someone I met here and they described it as like the Sun sea and love in Croatia and just the kindness towards people, you know, the love of the sea and the love of the sun. So I love Croatia a lot. Um, I would say, I mean this is probably so common for everyone, but like, I love Italy, just the culture and the pace and every, the food anyone’s not to love.
Leah: I know it has the reputation for a reason.
Jessica: Yes it does. And gosh, for another one that’s maybe a little bit different, I really loved it. I’d love to explore the whole country more, but I really loved Buenos Aires. Um, I thought it was just such a beautiful city, something I didn’t, you know, know what to expect until I got there. And there were just these beautiful purple, like almost jacaranda trees.
They’re almost like cherry blossoms, but with purple leaves just everywhere. It felt very, um, just the architecture was beautiful. I don’t know. So I think they all have their charm in their own way, but those, those ones are the first ones that came to mind.
Leah: Mm. They all sound wonderful. Okay. What three things are you most proud of since you started your business?
Jessica: Oh, such good questions. Um, I would say definitely writing the book is one that was such a lifelong dream and I’m so happy to have that out there. I think the second one, it kind of in line with what we talked about, but I think being excited when pivoting career paths when I needed to and being willing to go through the fear and, you know, hesitations there.
Um, and the third one I think is just, I feel very privileged to be able to teach women how to create more freedom and fulfillment and use all the trial and error that it took me and be able to distill it down and, and help them do that. So I just feel honored and, and proud to get to do that work in my own way.
Leah: Amazing. Oh, so inspiring. So where can people find your book and find more about you?
Jessica: Yeah, so you can find the book on Amazon. It’s called Your Bright Life. Uh, get clear on what you want, overcome self-doubt and bring your dreams to life would be the full tagline. If it’s helpful to find. Um, and then, or hi jessica johnson.com will have links to, you know, my programs, the book, um, anything that you might possibly need. Uh, I’ll, same with my Instagram, which is also at hi Jessica Johnson for the username.
Leah: Amazing. Well thank you so much for sharing your story with us and your book with the world. I’m so inspired and I’m so excited to be able to share this.
Jessica: Thank you. Just love what you’re doing. Thank you so much for being pleasure me be here.
Leah: My pleasure. All right Visionaries. Go check out her book or at least her website for the meantime. And I hope you guys were inspired by this. Got some takeaways and we will talk to you soon.
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