That’s her bio on twitter (where we met).
Gorgeous, whip smart, talented, inspired, visionary, heart-centered, a ray of sunshine, actioneer, girl-everyone-wants-to-know, full of charm, fellow exclamation mark abuser, EN FEUGO.
That’s my take on her.
Jenny is a young entrepreneur who authors the very successful Life After College. The kind of resource I wish I’d had around when I was at University. Her book by the same name is out in the Spring of 2011 and I’m giving a copy away!
Leave a comment and tell me if you or someone you love would really benefit from her book on life, work, money, happiness, personal growth, productivity & I’ll pick a winner next week. Cheers!
1. What does Your Life YOUR Way mean to you? When did you realise you were living life your way and how did that make you feel?
My life my way means listening to my gut and trusting myself. It means letting myself celebrate when I’m happy, and giving myself the time and space to process when I’m sad. My life my way also means not comparing myself to others.
It is important to me that I am clear on my values, goals and priorities, and that I take actions in line with those – not based on pressure or influence from others.
It also means giving myself enough breathing room to be creative and relax and have fun! I had a moment today where I really felt all of those feelings come together – driving on my way to Santa Barbara for yoga teacher training, with the book in its final weeks.
I just felt really proud of how far I have come, and really excited to continue along my path of inspiring others through practical tips and encouragement to live life in their own unique, fabulous ways.
2. Many people fail to get going because they have so many passions that they can’t decide which one to pick. How did YOU discover and pick (if you had more than 1) a passion you could turn into a business / career you love?
I discovered my passions a few at a time, and through some trial and error. Once I find things I am interested in (like writing, yoga and coaching), I start brainstorming how I might incorporate them into my life in a way that feels energizing and unique to me.
An example with writing – for a while I was hesitant to start a blog because I didn’t think I was controversial enough (I had been reading Penelope Trunk’s blog). Then I realized that if I put my own unique spin on things, it would be fulfilling to me no matter what the response from readers was.
Besides, by being myself I had a much better chance of finding “my people” – readers who are inspiring, smart, motivated and energizing.
I also try to tackle my passions one or two at a time — one year I will focus on coach training, another might be yoga training, and another still will be book marketing and promotion. For those of your readers still looking to discover their passion, one of my favorite exercises of all time is Paul William’s Pave Your Life Roadmap.
3. What was the biggest challenge / fear you faced in turning your passion into a living and how did you take the first step in getting past it?
The biggest obstacle I faced was insecurity. If I wrote a book, would it be any good? Even if I got a publisher, would anybody buy it?
Once it hit stores, would it get torn apart by critics? I still don’t know the answer to all of those questions, but I realized that my fear and insecurity was largely a figment of my imagination.
Eventually I realized that I would rather try and fail than never try at all. Once I started taking action, every step forward has been met with positive reinforcement from the Universe.
For a great book on tackling your fears an “upper limits,” check out The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. That book really helped me step outside of my own glass ceiling and take risks to put myself out there.
Other things that have helped me are research (I read LOTS of books) and talking to other people who have tackled similar challenges before me.
4. Knowing what you know now and seeing how successful you are, what ONE most important piece of advice would you have given yourself when you were first starting out and is there anything you would have done differently?
I would tell myself to carve out time to be creative every single week. Emails, meetings and TV can take up all of our time if we let them (outside of hanging out with friends). Some of my happiest nights are the ones where I push all obligations aside and start working on my next project — a book or blog post that is exciting to me, that doesn’t come from a place of obligation.
People ask how I managed to write a book while working full-time and running my blog, and I think it was largely by making space for myself to relax and be creative amidst all the other tasks in my life. Make it a social thing too!
Find friends who are also interested in pursuing side projects and motivate each other. Work in coffee shops, have wine and chocolate nights, and set-up rewards for when you make progress.
5. Being an entrepreneur requires commitment and discipline in both mindset and marketing. What are your best daily / weekly habits & practices that help you stay inspired, productive & making progress especially when it gets “tough” to keep going?
I often get overwhelmed thinking about handling everything on my plate, so it is super important that I block out time for myself to be alone and unwind. I also keep several to-do lists: long-term projects on Todoist.com and weekly/daily tasks on TeuxDeux.com.
To get ready for the week ahead, my friend Julie and I have “email parties” where we both get caught up on work over Reality TV (“Say Yes to the Dress” anyone?), wine and chocolate. It helps make work on Sunday nights something to look forward to! I also think it is important to leave weekends unplanned whenever possible.
Some of my favorite weekend days are the ones where I wake up, make coffee, read the newspaper or a good book, and sit outside on my patio journaling and writing.
Don’t save what you love for the end of the day when you are tired and frazzled from running errands — start your day with what matters and you will feel so much more energized!
Thanks Tia for interviewing me, and to all of you for reading this far!
Want more? Jenny Blake has worked at Google for almost five years, and is currently a Career Development Program Manager and internal coach. She is the author of the upcoming book, Life After College: The Complete Guide to Getting What You Want (Running Press, 2011) and blogs at LifeAfterCollege.org, where she provides simple, practical tips about life, work, money, happiness and personal growth. Jenny’s goal is to help people focus on the BIG picture of their lives…not just the details. Follow her on Twitter @jenny_blake.
Tia: Thanks Jenny, that was fantastic & you rock. I especially loved the idea of email parties – sounds like my skype co-working calls with friends where we just hang out doing our own thing and occasionally chatting or sharing ideas.
Over to you dear reader, would love to hear your thoughts. Is there a tip you could adopt from Jenny in your daily life? I’m taking “start your day with what matters” on board! Remember to let me know in the comments if you’d like to win a copy, cheers!
Last week’s winner: CONGRATS ANSHU for winning a copy of Infinite Possibilites by Mike Dooley, woohoo! Send me an email with your address so I can “ship” it to you 🙂