Today I want to introduce you to another one of my FAVORITE teachers -Jess Lively. This post is another combination of fan letter, thank you card and Love Note about someone who has changed my life – even though we haven’t met yet.
Jess Lively is the creator of The Lively Show podcast and she has a library of online courses, and she does so much more, but I’ll just tell you about the parts of her work that I personally consume.
Listening to Jess’s podcast has taught me so much. She has shown me that it is possible for a woman to live her life and run her business on her terms in a very non-traditional way.. Without caring about what “should be done.” She has, what I think, is an exceptionally unique story – and one of the first things I heard her say that really piqued my interest was when she mentioned on one of her episodes “I’m writing this in pencil” – meaning- I’m not coming to you as an expert with all the answers, but instead, I think, she’s saying “I’m learning, and this is unfolding for me in real time, and I’ll share this journey with you as I go.”
I have adopted that attitude for myself with this podcast and I’m trying to adopt it in life. I’m trying to remember, we are all just “writing in pencil.”
Maybe we’ll change our minds. Maybe I’ll find a way I like better. Maybe you’ll realize something different than you know right now.. That’s why it’s in pencil- we can erase, we can write over.. It’s not permanent. It’s not set in stone, or even in ink – it’s just pencil!
I also love that she has acknowledged that as she’s changed and pivoted, and as the message in her podcast has changed over the years, she knew she wouldn’t appeal to every listener, and she told those who were leaving – in a very loving and confident way, “thank you for listening, and see you later.” without apology and without trying to convince them to keep listening. And just so you know what I’m talking about- Jess started her podcast as a business coaching and interviewing podcast and over the years, it has transformed into a very woo, very spiritual and at times, somewhat out there podcast. And I love it!
Jess taught me about alignment and flow. She gave me an example of an unconventional lifestyle that’s really interesting and beautiful.
I first found Jess through her podcast, the Lively Show, a few years ago. I may have listened to 1 or 2 episodes way back in the day and liked it but it may not have fully resonated with me back then, because her podcast didn’t make it on to my constant rotation and I didn’t subscribe.
It’s funny to think she had a whole life and online identity before I started following her seriously and really got to know her. Once I finally did jump on the Jess Bandwagon, and as I consumed more and more of her content and went back and listened to her older stuff, I learned that she had a jewelry design company and a business blog and podcast way before she evolved into the Jess Lively that I came to appreciate and rely on.
I may have reconnected with her podcast after those initial one-off episodes I had listened to because of an episode that she did with Brooke Castillo (who I gushed about on last month’s First Friday episode) – and when I listened to that Brooke episode, I probably remembered I had listened to Jess before and liked it, so I got interested in her again and shortly after (in December of 2016), she did an episode called “things I’m afraid to tell you.”That was a really interesting and provoking episode for me to listen to, and some of it was a little out there for me at the time, but it clicked for me so I started listening to more of her episodes and then, I got totally involved.
I was captivated by her journey. Literally! She had sold her house out from under herself and started on a world tour with no itinerary, no agenda and no final destination planned out. She tried out cities and places, went to conferences and took trainings and along the way, she recorded her podcast and facilitated her online courses.
She was a sophisticated vagabond and I loved following along with her vicariously.
I was so surprised and encouraged by her admission that she doesn’t worry about responding to email if she’s not feeling it. She was like, sometimes I don’t want to check email for days, so I don’t.
Hearing about that technique gave me such relief over some guilt I had been creating for myself about some tasky things I had convinced myself I needed to do but that I didn’t really want to do. After hearing her describe her attitude, I still didn’t do those tasky things (I probably wasn’t going to anyhow) and I also dropped the guilt I was feeling around not doing them – perfect! Thanks Jess!
Ok, I just want to interrupt myself here to check in with you right now- because that last comment may have raised some red flags for you – or maybe just your eyebrows, it might have brought up a lot of resistance or discomfort.
So, I just want to be clear, that I’m not telling YOU that YOU should ignore or discard important tasks and emails, what I am telling you is I heard how Jess described her approach, I liked it and I tried it for myself and it worked for me. And, it’s too good not to share and it’s one of my favorite things I’ve learned from her so far – so I’m sharing it with you- but not with the expectation or direction that you adopt it for yourself, unless you want to. And, if this did bring up anything for you, and you want to share it with me, send me an email! I might be curious to read it..
Ok, back to my fanmail for Jess -How do I consume her content?I have been a regular listener of her podcast for a few years now.
I enrolled in the last live run of her online program called Flow with Intention Online (and loved it) and I’m in a corresponding facebook group with other members of that last class- so we love to talk about all things Jess and Jess-adjacent. I also follow her on Instagram when I do decide to wander onto Instagram, which hasn’t been very often- but it is increasing now with this podcast (so if you don’t follow me yet, please, check me out!)
Details I Love
There are a few endearing little details that I love so much about Jess.
I love that she named her houseplants. She inspired me to do the same, so for a while, I had 2 succulents, pinky and spikey – but I’m not a gardner and don’t have a green thumb, so unfortunately, even though they were low maintenance, they didn’t thrive with me as their caretaker. Rest in Peace, pinky and spikey!
Jess loves metaphors too – so that’s a plus- but, sometimes her metaphors are a little weird to me. She likes to make things up how our thoughts are like about ordering cheeseburgers and what we’re dealing with is like carrying backpacks or beanbags. So, Yes to the metaphors and ehhh? To the specific examples she uses…
She refers to going into yourself to listen to your inner voice as “bobbling down”- which I assume is referring to a bobblehead. And I’m just not into all of those metaphors. But I do appreciate our shared love to explain concepts with more every day descriptions.
The Best Metaphor
The best metaphor that Jess came up with that I love to use all the time is what she calls “the Ego’s Favorite Chew toy.” This one is perfect! I do love to think of my ego as an irrational, animal-instinct only kind of personality and it would have a chew toy to keep it occupied and entertained. And it would have a favorite chew toy that it keeps going back to and throwing around, and growling at it when the toy is being withheld or inaccessible.
Basically, this is when you have a thought, or an issue, or some drama that you keep on going over and over again – the mind in you can not drop it, so even if you have intentionally decided to let it go, the Ego (or the mind in you) keeps bringing it up and shaking it around to get your attention – just like a dog with a chew toy. And, once the ego grows tired or bored of one chew toy, it makes sense that it would move on to a new favorite chew toy and keep it close and drop it in my lap when I’m trying to focus on something else.
That description is so delightful and descriptive – and spot on. And I love to recognize when something I keep thinking about is just my ego holding on to a thought and not letting it go. When I refer to something as my ego’s favorite chew toy, it helps me keep it in perspective, and realize that I am in control of my thinking.
Do you get it? Can you visualize it? What do you think? Does your ego have a favorite chew toy? Like a habit that you’re trying to break? Or a relationship you’re hung up on? Or a situation that has a simple solution, but your ego just can not stop creating drama about it?
Why I Love Her
Jess checks all the boxes for me – she is multi-faceted and she’s on her own hero’s journey. And she has a podcast that I can listen and re-listen to. I love that she organizes her podcast into seasons because I feel like I can be more of a fan of one season, where another season might not be my favorite, just like a TV Show. She’s definitely doing her own thing. My favorite season thus far has been Season 4. Season 7 got a little too out there for me.. So I skipped many of the episodes but I fell right back in love with her when she did her Season 7 Q& A sessions and solo sessions.
Learning from Jess has flipped so much for me. She taught me not to “Effort, not to hustle.” This was like a lone voice out in a chorus of sameness. All around me I was hearing and reading “you’ve gotta work hard, you’ve gotta hustle, you’ve gotta push yourself.” and through all that noise, I heard Jess’s voice saying “don’t put in so much effort, just get into alignment and let things flow. Just let things unfold.”What a relief that was to hear!
She taught me not to do a routine if it doesn’t feel good and to get into alignment before anything else.
I think the most profound thing I learned from Jess and use frequently is the concept of ego and inner voice.
Ego and Inner Voice
Jess taught me that there are 2 “voices” or personalities creating the thoughts I think (or hear) – the ego, also known as “the mind” and the inner voice, or my intuition.
Have you noticed, that I refer to “the mind in me” – I use that expression a lot, and I learned it from Jess. I like saying “the mind in me” rather than just “my mind” because it helps me separate the thoughts coming from the mind from the thoughts coming from my inner voice. It gives me distance and perspective and lets me look at those thoughts objectively.I use it interchangeably with “ ego.” When I think of my ego, or the mind in me, I’m separating that part of my brain, that processor of thoughts – from my inner voice, from my essential self, from the true, authentic Bex.
I love being able to differentiate between the different sources of my thoughts. Some of my thoughts are focused on protecting me, making sure I’m part of the pack, conserving energy – those are thoughts generated by the mind in me.
Some thoughts I think are always calming, reassuring, knowing. Those are thoughts of abundance, love, and safety. Those thoughts come from my inner voice, my intuition or my authentic self.
Another well-known coach who I love, Martha Beck, talks about these 2 also- she calls them the essential self and the social self. And Brooke Castillo talks about the mind as “peanut” because it’s a peanut sized part of the brain called the amygdala. So even though I’ve heard this concept from all of my favorite teachers, I think I really learned it and understood it with Jess.
And Jess taught me to check in with my inner voice to get answers. I love when she coaches people and they ask her what they should do or think, and she says “I don’t know, you know, let’s ask.” I love that by understanding this distinction, as I watch my thoughts, I am able to differentiate if something I’m thinking is coming from my ego (which is usually in protection mode- meaning there’s some fear of danger, or scarcity or harm) or if it’s coming from my inner voice which is calm and confident and secure.
Admittedly though, sometimes it’s very hard to tell which voice I’m hearing because the ego is so crafty! She’s like the loud friend who needs to be the life of the party for fear she’ll be overlooked or left out. The inner voice is the more quiet one who usually doesn’t need to call attention to herself because she is not threatened.
So sometimes, when I’m trying to figure out what I’m thinking, and where the thoughts are coming from, I’ll wonder if it’s my ego or my intuition, and my ego will say “Oh, this is your intuition you’re hearing right now – listen to this!” She’s not one to fade lightly into the background, especially when she thinks something is at risk.
When I Feel Resistance
Jess taught me a way to be more open whenever I feel resistance to doing something I think I should do or that I think I have to do. She taught me to ask myself “What would be the most fun way to do this?”
So, if I have a task I hate to do, but really want it to be done- and I’m the one to do it, I can think of the most fun way to do it – maybe that involves listening to music while I do it.
Maybe that means making a game out of it. Maybe it means narrating all the steps I’m taking to my dog in a funny accent until all they’re are done.
Just asking myself the question “what would be the most fun way to do this?” helps me open up my mind just a little bit wider to the possibility of how to get this unappetizing thing done and, I usually do end up having fun, or at least laughing a little at myself.
This question, “What would be the most fun way to do this?” goes along with another Jess teaching which is “Alignment before Action.”
I translate this to mean, I have the option to always get into alignment, also known as a high vibe, or the right frequency before I start doing something or working on something.
So, I give myself permission not to start something if I’m not “feeling” it and I trust that if I get myself into alignment first, I can take action from a better place, and get a better outcome.
It’s basically like releasing my resistance to working on something so that the resistance isn’t creating a drag, or a tension that’s unhelpful.
Jess also taught me to ask myself “What is the Universe flowing to me right now?”This question helps me deal with the resistance that shows up when I’m feeling stuck, unmotivated, overwhelmed or bored, among other things.
When I zoom out from my current tunnel vision and think about what the Universe is flowing to me, it reminds me that nothing has gone wrong. Everything is happening for me to learn from, to grow from, to experience or experiment with. And, sometimes, it makes me appreciate what I do have instead of lament what I think I’m missing out on.
Personal Message for Jess
So, on the off chance that Jess is reading, here’s a personal message to you:
Jess- thank you so much for sharing your journey. I really believe my life is better because of listening to your adventures, thoughts, teachings and advice. And, I want you to know, it hasn’t fallen on deaf ears.. I have implemented what you’ve taught me.
I frequently say “Happy, Thank you, More Please” I frequently ask myself “what’s the most fun way I can do this?” and I love the release of guilt and obligation I learned from you. I was carrying around so many unnecessary “Shoulds” and you showed me I don’t need to. Thank you for that!
Thanks also for spending so much time teaching me to tune into my intuition and giving me so many examples so I would know what it sounds like. As much as I love listening to your advice, because of you, I now know I can tap into and listen to my own advice and it is so helpful, and loving and specific to me. Thank you for that beautiful awareness!
If you’ve never heard of Jess before, I hope you check out her podcast – I recommend starting with the “things I’m afraid to tell you” episode. And, I trust, that if you let your intuition guide you to her podcast, you will choose the perfect episode for you to start with. If you were already a fan, let’s geek out together? What did you learn from Jess? What’s your favorite season of the podcast?