189: Find Your Career Calling and Own Your Purpose with Jessica Williams


How many people do you know that are actually doing what they said they would be doing when they grew up?

How many of those people enjoy their career choice?

How many of those people are wishing they still had a chance to do something different?

Guess what?

There is still time.

No matter what age you are or what stage you’re at in your career, there is still time to go out and look for your career calling — to find that purpose, to make your mark on the world.

If you’re ready to tap into something bigger than your current job situation, you’re going to have to change your mindset from one that thinks that opportunities are limited and resources are too scarce for you to make a life change, to a more holistic approach of assuming abundance and becoming more in-tuned with yourself.

Now, let’s get to work on finding your career purpose and owning your calling.






Being proactive in reflecting and evaluating your current job situation as it pertains to your life goals is crucial in finding your calling and the next steps of your career journey.

Create little mini-getaways for yourself clear your mind and start with a fresh slate to think about your career purpose on a deeper level.

Reflect on your strengths, what you value, a purpose you want to be involved in, and the kind of people you want to surround yourself with.

This first step of reflection is the hardest, but the most valuable in finding your career calling.

Taking your time and finding your calling can help you begin to create career goals to help design a life you love with purpose.


Our careers constantly evolve as our priorities, life goals, and interests change.

Accepting these changes as we take the time to re-evaluate where we are in our lives will help us progress along our career change process.

Being able to acknowledge that, ‘Yes, this is what I want to do. This is what the accumulation of my skills, experience, and passion has led me to want to do,’ creates a sense of knowing and a feeling of confidence within ourselves that will start turning the wheel of momentum that we need to change our careers.


Now that you’ve taken the steps to reflect, identify, accept, and acknowledge what your career calling is, you’ve got to own it. And, you’ve got to own that purpose sooner rather than later.

There will be doubts of your decision from outside perspectives and maybe even from your inner voice, but you will need to develop strong boundaries that will give you the ability to discourage those nay-sayers and negative thoughts.

You have to be very in-tuned with yourself, believe in your purpose, and own your decision to pursue it.

Create a space within yourself that will give you the ability to gain self-mastery through your strengths, skills, and confidence to protect yourself from people that question your calling.


With a clear direction of where you know you want your career to go, the next step is making a plan to get there.

How do you do that?

You can begin by identifying positions and organizations that align with your calling.

If you find that you’re in need of more guidance in the planning step, you can look into outside resources like hiring a career coach or recruiting mentors that have been in your position of change.


In order to own your purpose, you’ll need to take intentional actions in reaching your newly identified career calling.

Start making small incremental changes toward your goals.

You can even volunteer in an organization that matches your calling or network with those that work in those same organizations to get more information or dip your toes in the waters of that new career.

Remember that it is always a good idea to evaluate your progress. If you have to, you can always pivot your career course.

As high performers, we are always looking for ways to improve where we are to where we want to go.

High performers want to build careers that are in alignment with their dreams and values.

The steps above will help you jump start you down a path to reach your new career goals and aid you in finding your calling.

Once you own your purpose and take action to do something different from what you’ve been doing, you’ll build momentum to continue to live out your calling.

Remember not to rush your career change process. By doing that, you defeat the purpose of the time you’ve put into doing all of the soul-searching and goal-setting to find your next career move.

If you find that you need more support through your career journey, we’ve got the resources for you.

Check out the Career Change Bootcamp program as it was created to guide you to build a strong foundation in finding the right path to your next career.

Read more about it here or visit our Career Coaching resource for a more personalized one-on-one career adviser that can help you reach your career goals.


Introduction 00:00
This is the Happen To Your Career podcast, Episode 189.

Jessica Williams 00:08
And I ended up moving there, sight unseen, with no furniture, it was just me and my dog. And I slept on the floor for a while. And no one would hire me. I mean, I had gone from $100,000 a year to sailing around the world to, now I can't get someone to let me pour coffee.

Scott Anthony Barlow 00:35
This is Happen To Your Career, we help you stop doing work that doesn't fit you, figure out what does and then make it happen. Whether you're looking to do your own thing, or find your dream job, you've come to the right place. I'm Scott Barlow.

Jerrad Shivers 00:58
Decided that maybe, you know, 80, 90 hour weeks and a young family doesn't necessarily go together.

Scott Anthony Barlow 01:05
Jerrad was burned out with long hours and high stress.

Jerrad Shivers 01:09
When we started to do the questionnaire and write everything down, we started our pros and cons with where we wanted to live and who wanted to be around and all that stuff.

Scott Anthony Barlow 01:17
Listen to Jerrad's story later on in the episode to learn how he used coaching to help him figure out what fits him and actually make the change to work he loves.

Jerrad Shivers 01:26
I ended up with my dream job.

Scott Anthony Barlow 01:33
This is Scott Anthony Barlow, and you are listening to Happen To Your Career, the show that helps you figure out what work fits you by exploring other stories. Now we get to bring on experts like Jenny Foss, who's a career consultant who helps people define and communicate their personal brands, or people that have really amazing stories like Michael Bigelow, who identified as big value adds to follow a career path that he was able to grow. And these are people that are just like you, they've gone from where they are to what they really want to be doing. And today, we get to talk to, Jessica Williams.

Jessica Williams 02:09
I am the founder of a company called The Superwoman Project. And we do everything from training, speaking, writing, coaching, to support the advancement of women into positions of power. So helping women with their careers, their leadership, helping them run their own businesses, so kind of run the gamut, but it's focused on women who want to become powerhouses in the world.

Scott Anthony Barlow 02:38
In this interview, we'll get into the importance of being very clear about your career direction, and owning your calling. And even what that means and then the internal process in which you figure out your calling, if you're still unsure, and then how to transition out of the job without burning the bridge. Because as it turns out, that's not easy to do. I've done it both ways. And you know, it's much better one way versus another. Jessica has an amazing story of how she got to where she is now.

Jessica Williams 03:07
Yeah, so it's funny, Scott, because I don't talk about this often. And it's something I'm trying to talk more about. I grew up in the deep south in Raleigh, North Carolina. And it was an environment where women weren't taught necessarily to do the kind of things that I'm teaching women to do now, which is, go after what you want. You can be anything you want, do it unapologetically, be authentic, be you, you know, you could be anything you want, but don't be too loud, don't be too noxious, you know, maybe keep your mouth shut because you want men to like you. And by the way, keep your hair long and wear tight clothes, like I was taught a certain way to be as a woman. And I knew as a child that like something just wasn't right. And my dad, also when he drank, he would get incredibly violent. And he hit my mother in front of me a few times. And I saw my mom really sacrificing herself for her children and really not taking care of herself in the way that I now know, that's how I want to take care of myself in a different way. And I want the women around me to take care of themselves in a different way. And she did it for the sake of me and my brother, which I have very confusing feelings about sometimes, but my father was like, you can go out and be anything you want, but don't be too much, you know, and so it's always like, "Oh, I'm stuck and I feel confused." And so I went to college and then literally like bolted to the west coast like, I have never been further west in Tennessee, and I've never been to California but I just knew it was the place for me and I jumped in a two seater car and drove across the country, lived with a cousin I never met in Los Angeles, and, oh my god Scott, I don't know if you... a lot of your listeners, they might be recently graduated from college. But no one tells you when you first graduated from college, how hard it's going to be to integrate into, "real life" I think. I certainly did not know. And I had also put myself on a path of really challenging times. I didn't make it easy on myself. And I didn't have any connections in California, but I had been looking for work about six months prior to moving out to LA and I had a couple interviews in the pipeline. And within three weeks, I had a job. And I had a great job. I was working as a sales rep for a wine distributor. And my territory was the LA beaches, territory.

Scott Anthony Barlow 05:41
Awesome. I've been there. Learn to surf there.

Jessica Williams 05:45
Right. I was living here most of beach, traveling all up and down LA, selling this beautiful wine. And I was so lonely, like I would cry and I didn't know if I'd made the right decision to move out there. And I had a really hard time making friends and but I pretty quickly met a man who was really 22 years older than me. And he was very adventurous and charming. And he sold Italian wine. And so I was just like...

Scott Anthony Barlow 06:11
Even better.

Jessica Williams 06:12
Right? I know and I was like, "Oh, I love you." And he was like, "Let's go. Let's go on adventures." And he had a little sailboat that he had sailed from San Diego to Florida through the Panama Canal in his 20s. And he took me on that boat one day and he said, "I want to sail around the world. And I want you to come with me." And I was like, "Sign ne up. I'm in! Yes." Like get me out of this like, rat race I'm in with work. And I feel so alone in the world, I don't understand like this what life is like just going....

Scott Anthony Barlow 06:46
All the questions. Yes.

Jessica Williams 06:49
I love it. I want to check it out. And so we ended up buying a bigger boat. I ended up moving down to San Diego and I got a job working for, this is really funny speaking of careers, working for autotrader magazines. Yeah, back when like print magazines was the thing. And it was right around the time autotrader.com was coming on. And they were kind of kicking our butts. And they hired a whole new sales staff to try to beat up territory. So I had this like huge territory of used car dealerships in San Diego where I was selling print advertising. And it was one of the most challenging jobs I've ever had. Because it was so toxic. I was so sick when I went to work.

Scott Anthony Barlow 07:31
What made it so toxic?

Jessica Williams 07:33
I mean, I hate to be mean, but just the environment of used car salesman and being a woman and I'm a very sensitive like person. I'm a very intuitive empathic person. And so I just pick up on things all around me. I didn't realize this at the time, but I look back. And I know it was draining on my soul just standing on car lots and taking photos of used cars with a little camera. And it was a grind, man, you had like deadlines because it was publications and advertising and quotas I had to make, and I was making big money. And like it was my first $100,000 a year job. And I was in one of the highest or the biggest territories in the country because San Diego is the largest used car market in the country. And my territory was the one of the biggest territories in San Diego. So arguably one of the largest like car dealership areas.

Scott Anthony Barlow 08:27
You're in used car mecha?

Jessica Williams 08:28
Used car mecha, and it was just the hustle. But I quit in 2007, is kind of an interesting story, because I worked for this publishing company, you know, and we had people on the back end who were publishing the magazine, I was just the deliver of the content that I collected on the lot, and one day the magazine got messed up and one of my clients was pissed. And I got called into their office and it was like this mobster, gang of big brutish guys, like three of them standing behind a desk. And they were yelling at me. And I mean, they just needed somebody to yell at you know, and they're yelling at me and they're pounding on the desk and they're cursing and they're telling me what a horrible human being I am and how I'm never allowed on their lot again, and I'll never see another dealership, one of their dealerships again. And I literally like almost peed my pants. It was so terrifying. So I quit the next day because I had an anxiety attack. And I was like, this is too much. I might be making a lot of money, but this is too much. And my partner and I we've gotten married and we decided after that it was time to leave on the boat and we left in oh seven and we sailed around Southern California which was really cool. But we knew we needed to do more work on the boat and then we went back to San Diego for the winter, we worked on the boat nonstop. Like I didn't have a job, I just worked on the boat which was a lot of work.

Scott Anthony Barlow 09:53
What was that like?

Jessica Williams 09:54
It was crazy. We were living with his mother in law and she lived out in Rancho Bernardo which is kind of East County San Diego and we were working on our boat down in Point Loma. And you were commuting down there. And she would like pass us a lunch and we go down and we'd work on the rigging and the painting and the bottom of the boat. We read the through holes, and we were constantly working on the engine. I mean, I took diesel mechanic classes, like, I know everything there is no, well, not everything but I know a lot about diesel engines. You know, I mean, it was just constantly like, in the grit and the grime of that life. You know, in preparation for this big beautiful dream, we had this thing, we just like... we were consumed by, and looking back, he was more consumed by it than I was. I was just kind of tagging along in a way. And I think that was part of the problem. And when we left, you know, we sailed from San Diego to Canada. So we went up the entire West Coast of the United States headed north, which is arguably one of the most dangerous sailing crossings you can do in the world, because there's not a lot of places to duck out to harbor for and you're basically going against the wind the whole time. So it's more advantageous to motor. It was a hard rough trip and our relationship too, was not healthy. And I came from this childhood where I saw my mother kind of beaten down. And I was in a relationship, just like that. I mean, it wasn't physical, but it was emotional. And it was controlling and manipulative. And we had that situation on a boat. And I literally lost myself like, I mean, I just became a shell of a human being, I became whatever he wanted me to be, which was never enough. And when we came into Canada, we sailed around the San Juan Islands in the Gulf Islands for a summer. And then we landed in Port Townsend, Washington, and I bought a one way ticket to North Carolina to stay with my family, which just felt odd because I felt like I had kind of run away from my family, and now I was running away from him back to my family, but I didn't have anywhere else to go. I spent three months back there. And it was a hard three months. I eventually came back to Port Townsend, and we tried again and by just a couple of months and it didn't work. And he wanted to keep going on the boat and I didn't. So I went to had this kind of like awakening in my life where I went to this retreat center on Cortez Island, which is...

Scott Anthony Barlow 12:27
Been there.

Jessica Williams 12:27
Oh, you have...

Scott Anthony Barlow 12:28
I have been. Yeah. All over that area, actually. On boat.

Jessica Williams 12:32
Yeah. It's beautiful. I mean, you know, it's right off of Vancouver, right off of Vancouver Island. It's a few islands in, so it's pretty isolated. And I worked as a volunteer at hollyhock. Did you go to hollyhock? when you were there?

Scott Anthony Barlow 12:45
For some reason, that doesn't sound familiar. I assume I would remember that.

Jessica Williams 12:49
It's this beautiful Retreat Center for like meditation, yoga.

Jessica Williams 12:53
Higher consciousness. I mean, it's right on the water. I lived in this cabin with 10 other people from around the world who were also there, for some reason, similar to mine. And we volunteered, 30 hours a week for room and board, which meant I got these organic, beautiful organic meals, I got to attend a lot of the sessions that were happening in the retreat center, and I made some amazing friends. And I was just kind of like, I don't know what to do with myself, like, I don't know where to go, I can't go back to California, because everything about California reminds me of my ex husband, or at the time we were just separated. But you know, when I'm grieving, and this is so hard, and I can't go back to North Carolina, even that's all my family wants me to do. Like there's no way that's happening. And a friend of mine, at the retreat center, she was a chef and she was a naturopath and she had gone to the naturopathic school in Portland to get her degree. And she said, "You're gonna love Portland, just trust me, just move there and move off of Hawthorne Boulevard." And I was like, "okay" so I like sat down one day, Scott, like meditated. And I was like, why do I want... in true visualization like this is manifestation in action, right? Like I meditated on what I wanted my life to look like in Portland and I just like, I could taste it. I could feel it. I knew like down to what the molding would look like, on the walls in my room, what this place had to look like. And I swear to you, I mean, this happens to me all the time, I don't know if this happens to you. But I went on Craigslist. And that place... that place I visioned showed up in my search results. And I ended up moving their sight unseen, with no furniture. It was just me and my dog. And I slept on the floor for a while. It was the height of the recession. So Portland was so hard headed. We had one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, and no one would hire me. I mean, I had gone from $100,000 a year to sailing around the world to now, I can't get someone to let me pour coffee and I was biking around the city because I didn't have a car, I didn't have enough money to buy a car, I had barely enough money to pay my rent. And I'm biking around the city with resumes in my backpack, just like passing them out because there were no jobs online to apply for. If there were, I wasn't qualified, because I hadn't worked in a couple of years, I started just kind of like doing whatever I could to find work. And I remember I was working with this recruiting company in Portland. And they sent me on a few interviews and interviews I could get because I had done sales, or sales jobs. And they were sales jobs for software companies, which I can't think of anything I'd rather sell less than...

Scott Anthony Barlow 12:54

Scott Anthony Barlow 15:43
Hey, I want to ask you about, but I am curious, even before, like, just to jump back for a second here. I am so curious, what prompted you in the first place to begin visualizing or anything like that, because you had up till that point, it seemed like very much lead a life where you were, for lack of a better phrase, kind of running from one thing to the next and then following what somebody else wanted. And something in there occurred, it seemed like, I don't know if it's just being around other people. But, what took place where you even got to the point where you had that moment?

Jessica Williams 16:20
Wow... that moment where I started really living the life I wanted and pursuing that?

Scott Anthony Barlow 16:25
Well, that moment that we're meditating on what you actually wanted, and then of course, had the very serendipitous, which I find that serendipity is sometimes not so serendipitous, can't always explain it. But what led up even you wanting to begin imagining what you wanted versus what...?

Jessica Williams 16:44
Well, it was kind of like, it was a lot of things. I mean, there were a lot of signs coming my way, books I was reading. A friend of mine, she's a Sikh, and she lived in Santa Fe at the time. And...

Scott Anthony Barlow 16:56
What does that mean?

Jessica Williams 16:57
For god! I'm not the right person to ask. But it's a form of religion. And it's a belief system around non violence. And there was a gentleman who kind of ran, who was kind of the leader of the community died a while back, but he was... it's very, very into yoga and non violence. And

Scott Anthony Barlow 17:15
I'm googling right now.

Jessica Williams 17:17
Yeah, they typically were the the headdress, and she very much into yoga meditation. And she sent me this entire box of books on meditation and yoga, and I was already practicing yoga. So it helped deepen, those books help deepen my practice. And then, I mean, it was just a lot of things. It was a lot of mentors that came along my path who encouraged me, like I was in a coffee shop one day, and there was a card on a cork board, and it said, 'writing group' and I was like, "okay, that sounds good." And this was when I was living in Port townsend, I was like, I liked the writing group was comprised of two older lesbian women who lived in Port Townsend, who were like, 65, 60 years old, and it was me and them, and we'd write in their little house and drink tea. And, you know, and they were just bad ass women who've done really cool things in the world. And they were just like, you know, encouraging me. And then all the people I met at hollyhock, all the amazing women I'd met, who have either been divorced, or were in their 40s and still single, had like, encouraged me, like, your life isn't over. Like, there's so much available to you. And then somewhere along the way, Scott, someone pointed me to what color is your parachute, which is like classic career book, and I sat down and did a lot of the exercises around what I was good at, what my values were, what I felt like the kind of people I wanted to surround myself with, the kind of purpose I wanted to be involved in. And right around that time that I was looking for work in Portland, I kind of had this vision, I mean, and that's kind of the moment when I realized, I want to do something to help women because I don't want other women to be here where I am, sleeping on the floor, with no possibilities in front of me, no opportunities. And I don't know where to find resources. It was just kind of like, you know, grasping for things. And I want to be home base for those women at any stage in the game. And that was when I had the vision for the summit, which I'm now doing this fall for the first time. The first annual Superwoman summit is happening in Portland and that vision came to me over a decade ago, because I thought we have to convene women, we have to talk about this, we have to have conversation.

Jerrad Shivers 19:36
It literally made me sick, the anxiety, the stress that I was under.

Scott Anthony Barlow 19:42
Jerrad's job was obviously not a fit for him.

Jerrad Shivers 19:47
Decided that maybe you know, 80, 90 hour weeks and a young family doesn't necessarily go together. So I knew I needed help and I knew I wasn't going to be able to do this by myself.

Scott Anthony Barlow 19:59
So Jerrad came to us looking for help and found that in one on one coaching.

Jerrad Shivers 20:04
You can let life happen to you or you can happen to your life.

Scott Anthony Barlow 20:07
As we worked with him, Jared and his wife really had to figure out what they really actually wanted in their life.

Jerrad Shivers 20:14
When we started to do the questionnaire and write everything down, we started our pros and cons with where we wanted to live and who wanted to be around and all that stuff. All those things added up over time in the final discussions of, okay, well, this is what I can do. And this is what I can't do. And this is what I need to do. This is how much travel I'll do in my job and how much time I will spend, you know, during the week, the immune to the concessions that I can make, what are the concessions I can't make, and all that. We've kind of just all just piled on to the end.

Scott Anthony Barlow 20:45
Jerrad did a phenomenal job, not just designing the life and career that he actually wanted, but then taking the steps to make that happen.

Jerrad Shivers 20:53
I ended up with my dream job.

Scott Anthony Barlow 20:56
Congratulations to Jerrad on finding work that he loves and fits his family's needs, at the same time. If you want help figure out what work fits you and find that fulfilling career that lights you up and gives you purpose, find out how coaching can help you step by step, go to happentoyourcareer.com and click on coaching to apply. Or pause this and text MYCOACH to 44222. Just text, MYCOACH to 44222. We'll send over the application quicker than two shakes of a lamb's tail or however that goes.

Jessica Williams 21:32
Everything I did after that, like I decided that I needed a break for men from the autotrader, no offense to men out there, but like for my dad and my ex husband, to the autotrader experience, to I was working in the wineries in the valley and in Oregon trying to piece together some money. And I had a bad experience with a gentleman winemaker out there who was... who stiffed me for my salary. And I was just like, I'm done, I need to work with women, I need a break. And I got a job through someone I knew, actually a neighbor. She said, "Well, this clinic I work at, my mom works at, my sister works at sometimes, it's an OB GYN clinic, it's a women's clinic, they're hiring for receptionist" and I was like "Sign me up. I could just show up and do a job every day and heal the other parts of my life and not have to focus on work so much." And I get to work around women, and women's health and like this all seem to me so in alignment, even though I was only making $12 an hour. I was almost 30 years old and making $12 an hour. But in 2009, 2010, I was the best I could find. And honestly Scott, it was one of the best things I ever did for myself was to give myself that time. And yes, I didn't have a ton of money. And yes, there was some credit card debt, but because I still like to do things that I have enough money to do things, so like, I'd worked there for two and a half years. And one day, I think your listeners will appreciate this, one day, I was at the clinic, we had hundreds of patients coming through the clinic, and I would manage like the front desk and phones are ringing, doctors need stuff, nurses need stuff, that people are coming in, they need stuff. And I'm really good at managing all of this. And I love this. I feel high from this. I'm in my state of flow. And I started to learn about what flow meant and was like, this feels good. Why does this feel good? And I started to think it's because I'm using my greatest strengths, which is working with people and managing people's expectations and keeping the relationship intact and challenging times. And I was like, what am I doing, because at the time, I wanted to become a midwife. And I was, not only working at the clinic, but I was getting my pre-reqs to go to nursing school, which is like a long path if you've never pursued that path.

Scott Anthony Barlow 23:51

Jessica Williams 23:52
I was like, in the local community college, taking some classes and I had this like epiphany, like, what am I doing, I'm not meant to be a medical professional. I meant to do communications. I mean, that's what my bachelor's degree was in. I don't have to do sales. But I think I need to go back to communications. And that's when I decided to get my master's degree in communications, which terrific, I'm like talking a lot.

Scott Anthony Barlow 24:17
This is super interesting, particularly because I knew part of your story, because we met up in Portland about a year ago. And what I didn't know is all the little pieces along the way and all the decisions that led to other decisions and epiphanies and everything else. And I think it's real. And I like that, I'm a total nerd, and I'm fascinated by this stuff and what causes people to make one set of decisions versus another. So I'm having a ton of fun. I'm curious for a couple of different things, this was like 2009, as you said, right? Someplace in there. So this is still like about eight years ago or so. And it sounds like, you're kind of going through and it's getting clearer and clearer and clearer to some degree, as far as not only the things that you don't want to be doing, but also the things that you are much more interested in. What ended up prompting you to decide to go back to school? Because that's a big commitment as well, like nursing is too. But you know, so is...

Jessica Williams 25:17
Getting a Master's degree. I mean, it's a huge investment. You know I was terrified, because I was making $12 an hour, and I didn't have any money in the bank. And I started to realize, like, there's this gap between where I'm at and being able to make that decision. And so I started asking a lot of questions like calling around, you know, asking the universities, okay, what's this going to entail? How am I going to get the money? Can I make this happen? I started to realize, like, they'll just give you a big chunk of cash to go back to school.

Scott Anthony Barlow 25:45
It blows me away that...

Jessica Williams 25:46
It's amazing, right? And my employer was like, "Yeah, we'll support you. We'll let you work part time when you go back to school." And it was... I applied, at first I was like, I want to be get an MBA, because I didn't... like, I couldn't find anything that was like Master's in Communications. And I also was like, I want to run my own business someday. So I need to get an MBA to do that. And I'm terrible at math. So I took the jima and it was not pretty. I got accepted on probation. I think that's the way they call it at Portland State University into their full time MBA program, and probation for my math, as long as my math did okay, I could stay in the program. And right around that time, right around the time I got accepted, I heard a ad on, I think it was OPB, or your local PBS station. And it was an advertisement for a strategic communications program. And because my bachelor's was in communications, and that was where my real strengths were, I looked at this. And I was like, "This is perfect, because they get a little into the business, a little end of the finance, but they mostly focus on the thing that I'm most excited about, which is communications." And I applied, got in right away, like kind of in the last minute right before the program started. And it was perfect for me because like I said, it helped me build up my strengths. Instead of feeling like I was going to have to be working on my weaknesses the whole time, I get to focus on the things I was really good at. And I was so good in that program. I mean, it was easy for me, I don't know why. But it program came really easy for me. One of the cool things about it was, it was a professional master's degree. So they encouraged you to partner with local organizations, all of your projects or you could use them as case studies. And so because I knew I wanted someday to build a business or do work with an organization dedicated to women's empowerment, I picked a women's empowerment company every single time. So I could learn as much as possible about that industry or that like social good cause. And so every project I did, everything was around women's empowerment. I think my classmates were kind of getting over it. But I learned so much. And also right around that time, a big moment in my career was, I had to call a colleague at school, named Laurie and Laurie worked with Mac Pritchard in Portland, Oregon on Mac's list, which I know you know, Mac.

Scott Anthony Barlow 28:09
Yeah. Mac's been on the podcast too, Episode 149, I believe.

Jessica Williams 28:13
Awesome. Yeah. So Laurie works with Mac, they're very small operation running Prichard, which was a social good PR firm and Mac's list, this kind of side project he had been focusing on for many years. And he decided he really wanted to invest and someone to help him grow the business. But I think he was a little timid so and he wanted to try people out. So he was looking for like a part time sales associate to help build up Mac's list. And Laurie recommended me because she'd seen me in action and in school. And apparently, they didn't interview anybody else. They hired me within a week. And I was so excited after two and a half years of looking and trying to find work and to be working for Mac's list, plus, I had been using Mac's list for my job search. So it just felt like a really cool opportunity. And wow, that was pivotal for me. It really propelled my career, you know, I got to surround myself with a lot of organizations doing good in Oregon. And I learned a lot because Mac's was at that time, in the very beginning early stages, I mean, that was in 2012. And, you know, they were making $5,000 a month from Mac's list, and that was barely enough to pay my salary. And so, I mean, he was really bootstrapping that business. And I kind of created because there was a lot of opportunity there. I kind of created my own position. So because I did great, I got promoted really fast. And I was given more and more opportunity. And I really just dove in.

Scott Anthony Barlow 29:48
Very cool.

Jessica Williams 29:49
Yeah, I learned a lot about how to build community and we had to take a lot of my experiences around building my career and translate that in a way to help others and I love doing it. Like I love talking about career development, professional advancement, leadership. People were asking me to come and speak on the topic. We were running these events and writing blog posts, and we wrote an ebook. And I was speaking at conferences. I was over the moon having literally the time of my life with this job.

Scott Anthony Barlow 30:22
So you've had this entire time, you've known that you wanted to do your own thing, though. So where does that come back in?

Jessica Williams 30:28
Yeah, well, it's funny, because I always told Mac, he was going to be my last employer. And we discovered Chris Guillebeau, kind of together, Chris Guillebeau, his art of Nonconformity and The World Domination Summit, which I know for those of you who aren't aware, like sounds hokey, but it's really, really cool. Their mission is to connect people around adventure service, and community. And Mac and I would go to these conferences together, and they would talk all about quitting your job and starting a business. That was literally like, the most common theme of the conference, and Mac would look at me and go, "Don't quit, don't quit." "As long as you keep me happy, I'll stick around." And so I think, honestly, that was a big part for me, I started to see these people on stage who I felt like weren't that different from me doing the thing that they loved. And I was like, the only difference between that person and me is they're doing it, like I literally have the skills. I've grown Mac's business by over 100% in three years, like, I can do this for my own business. And one day I honestly, I just kind of woke up, I was like, it's time and I didn't want to do it because Mac and I were friends. I didn't want to hurt him, or any of my colleagues, but I couldn't not quiet the whisper inside of me. And it grew to the point where I felt like I was harboring a secret from him and from the rest of the team. And I felt like I was being disingenuous, and I wasn't living in my integrity. And they had to know the truth. So I began parting ways from them in May of 2015. Kind of transition out slowly.

Scott Anthony Barlow 32:13
What did that look like? Because I know that you and Mac are still friends and everything along those lines. But I'm super curious, because I get this question all the time. How did you go about those conversations, especially when you're coming in... I've been there too. So I know what that feels like, where you start to feel somewhat disingenuous, because you have this other part of you that really needs to come out for lack of a better phrase, but how did you go about doing that? And what were those conversations like?

Jessica Williams 32:41
Yeah, they weren't easy, Scott, it was hard, because I really cared about... really cared about Mac. And I really cared about the team I was working with. And I really felt strongly about the work I was doing. So I just wanted to slip out the back door, you know, to avoid everybody. But it was hard. I mean, I'll be honest with you, you know, I think Mac was caught off guard. And I think in hindsight, everybody would have handled it a little differently. So the transition out was very rocky, there were some bad days in there for everybody involved, I think, because I think Mac wanted me to stick around for a long time. And I think Mac truly cared about me, and I think he felt hurt. And so the reaction wasn't from him, wasn't what I had hoped it would be. And that hurt me. And so we just had a lot of hurt feelings around. Also, it wasn't what I thought it would be. And I would tell anybody who is thinking about quitting their job to start their own business, if, you know, I went into the conversation, assuming that he was going to have a positive reaction, or at least be open to the conversation. And that wasn't what happened. And I presented this whole transition plan and this opportunity for collaboration and partnership, and I wanted to be of service and I didn't want to abandon anybody, and I wanted to do the right thing. And the reaction I was met with was not equal to that, from my perspective, and at least initially, and I was in shock and I grieved over it, it was pretty shitty times. But I would tell anybody, if you're thinking about quitting to start your own business, be very, very sure that the person you're talking to is going to support you and if not, come up with a transition plan that works for you in advance and do it in a very clear way that sets really clear boundaries, because I think I wasn't super clear. I was giving too much. I opened up too much for like, what do you want? Let's make, you know, and instead I should have probably been more like, okay, I want to start my own business, my last date is going to be blah, blah, blah, and here's my resignation notice and that's not what happened. So I would say be very clear. Be very sure you're going to get the reaction you hope for before you go into that conversation. I get a lot of people who ask me like, "I'm really close to my employer. Should I tell them, I'm looking for another job? And I'm like, "No. Not unless you're very, very sure that they're going to be cool with that."

Scott Anthony Barlow 35:11
Well, I think that there's ways that you can make sure in advance proactively, that I can help them and you'd be more sure too, yeah,I had that same experience too, I have done it four or five times, I guess, where, like I've given well over two months notice for something either, because I was like, I gave two years notice when I was leaving for my business, I guess. And there is a lot of potential danger there. And it took three years literally, of building the relationship in a very particular way, in order to have that measure of like you're talking about of being very, very, very sure.

Jessica Williams 35:50
Yeah, but even with like, I felt like I had done that. Like, sometimes our intuition tells us like, this is how it's gonna work out. And sometimes things don't work out, like we plan and we have to be prepared for that. And ultimately, I think that's okay, like, as long as you're following your heart, and you're following what feels true to you, then you're on the path, and whatever happens as a result is they support you on your path. And so, I look back and think, you know, things happened in divine and right timing for me, because ultimately, it was a gift to be like, sent out of the nest and like, go do your thing. None of this halfway and halfway out stuff and visit forced me to really get clear on my business. And right out of the gate, I mean, I started doing everything that I knew how to do to get paid, just so I could make money, make ends meet. But what really started to transform was when I got, I finally acknowledged my calling and I said, "You know what, I got to work with women, I got to work with women on professional development, leadership and the advancement of women collectively into positions of power." And the moment I owned that, was the moment everything changed for me, it was like, the universe was like clapping and applauding, and like, "you finally get it!"

Scott Anthony Barlow 37:02
Woohoo! Rainbows and butterflies.

Jessica Williams 37:03
It took you a while, but you finally get it. Like, you owned it, right. So for your listeners, if you've got a calling, just own the calling, like whatever you got to do to own it, because you're gonna own it, eventually, might as well do it sooner rather than later. So it's been a crazy journey. But the work that I do now, it is so personal to me, Scott, like I stood up on stage last week and told portions of the story that I just told you and I literally like cried on stage, when I pointed at my business and said, "This shit is personal like, this comes from a very deep place. I feel like perhaps I've been doing this kind of work in past lives. I have been doing this work energetically, spiritually for a very long time. Empowering and supporting women is my calling. And I will do this unapologetically for the rest of my lifee, if everything permits me to do that, because I can't imagine doing anything else. I literally can't."

Scott Anthony Barlow 37:59
Yeah, absolutely. And I'm curious about your opinion on this too. But it seems like when you go through all the types of things, and types of experiences and different types of loss, and other winds and one thing leading to another, when you go through all of that, it seems like it makes it so much sweeter once you're actually embedded in it.

Jessica Williams 38:24
It totally does. I mean, you know, it's not to say that, like, I hate to tell the story that like I earned it because I struggled because I like to think that we don't have to struggle to arrive at this place. But for me, the story of my getting here is like a pushing off point. It's like, you know, it gives me, you know, when you get into the pool, and you push off the side to go swim, and you get that big boost of energy, that's what that was. Like all of that is the brick on the side of the pool. And now I'm just like floating through the water and swimming, and it's just like, keep swimming. That's all I have to do now. I'm on the path. I help women negotiate their salaries, and I see them getting higher raises, as a result making thousands of dollars more. I help women build businesses that feel in alignment. I'm a certified life coach. So I help them overcome a lot of the limiting beliefs and stories and things that are standing in their way from achieving their real dreams. I'm also a certified yoga instructor. So I like compiling all of this to help them get into their bodies and tap into their intuition. Because I really feel like we all, women and men, we need to start tapping into something deeper, to create, to build to innovate and to solve some of the bigger problems that we have to solve in this world. And in order to do that, we're going to have to get super creative and we can't do that if we're like walking around. And that scarcity mindset of resources are scarce, opportunities are limited,abilities are, you know, it's competitive out there to get things, like, we have to assume abundance.

Scott Anthony Barlow 40:06
Well, I think that, that's what when you and I sat down over coffee or little great little coffee shop, and I remember talking to you about how your thought process around this works. And that's one of the things that appealed to me about you, because you are looking at this so much more holistically, and you talk about things like calling, which I think is a pretty intimidating word to a lot of people, especially if you're like, I don't know what my flippin calling is, I don't know if I'm ever going to know what my calling is necessarily. And I think for anybody to have a chance at that, you have to be incredibly in tune with yourself, in all areas.

Jessica Williams 40:46
Yeah, one of my favorite quotes, Scott, is "leadership development is self development." And I go so far as to say that professional development is self development. So in order to figure out what your purpose is, what your calling is, what you're passionate about, you got to do the inner work. And in order to do the inner work, a lot of stuff is going to come up that you might not want to deal with, that might be hard, that might be scary, that might be overwhelming might be confusing. But if you don't look at that, I think you'll remain stuck in a life of... you lack satisfaction that I know that your people crave. So doing that inner work, whatever you got to do, hire a coach, recruit mentors, you know, take courses like you offer, listen to podcasts, read books, go on adventures and journeys. I took off for a month and went to Thailand by myself when I was 30 as like a vision quest for myself, like, I have to do this. I still do stuff like that all the time. Like, you have to take that time for yourself to reflect and to figure out, hey, where are you going to go? How are you going to do it?

Scott Anthony Barlow 41:56
I think that's a must. And I know some people are looking at that when... that's part of the reason why, you know, we went to Europe for six weeks, about a couple of, geez, I guess six months ago now. And then why we're going to the UK for a month next year. But to be able to get away and have those experiences and be able to reflect and everything like that. But even if you can't go to Thailand, even if you can't go to the UK, I still think that you can create little mini versions of that, too. I mean, I started recently going stand up paddleboarding every single morning. And the main reason for that is it's like getting away on the water. There's nobody else on the water at 5am. And it forces that reflection. And I think that that is super good advice from you in order to be able to get to that deeper level. And this is super cool, by the way, there's been an awesome conversation. And first of all, thank you, by the way, this is...

Jessica Williams 42:48
You're welcome.

Scott Anthony Barlow 42:48
Yeah, and thanks for making the time, we've been trying to schedule back and forth for quite a while now. And I'm so glad that we got to finally have the conversation.

Jessica Williams 42:56
Me too. It's been so fun. And you know, to tell my story from the perspective of you know, how I navigated my career, you know, it's been just an honor. Thank you, Scott.

Scott Anthony Barlow 43:08
Absolutely. So for anybody that wants to get more Jessica, where and how can they get in touch with you?

Jessica Williams 43:18
I like to say all things Superwoman, like literally own all the URLs for Superwoman stuff. So the superwomanproject.com. Also, you guys, I am over the moon, summit I'm doing in the fall. And you can learn more about that at superwomansummit.com. I've recruited over 35 speakers, we have three days geared towards the professional development and leadership development for women. It's going to be amazing. And early bird tickets are on sale right now for that, you can also, I have my own podcast where I interview women around the world about their career stories. And we often get into a theme and give you a lot of advice. The name of that podcast is Superwoman Chronicles so you can find that at superwomanchronicles.com and everything else superwomanproject.com I'm @jessicajoellen that's my middle name on Twitter, everything social @jessicajoellen. And feel free to email me at jessica@superwomanproject.com I love to hear from everybody. And if I can be of service, please reach out.

Scott Anthony Barlow 44:26
Awesome. Thank you again, thanks for taking the time and making the time. I really, really appreciate it, Jessica.

Jessica Williams 44:31
You're welcome, Scott. Thank you.

Scott Anthony Barlow 44:42
Hey, I just want to cut in here and tell you that we've been getting so many questions from our listeners about how to actually use your strengths to get hired, how to career change with them, that we put together the ultimate guide to using your strengths to get hired. And I want you to be able to take advantage of it because in this guide, we actually go through and talk about how strengths operate differently than what you think they do, and why they can be one of the keys to doing work that you love and how you can actually do that. Plus, we talk about four specific ways to get started immediately, identify what we call your 'signature strengths' and then even how to represent those strengths in the interview process. And we go into how to answer some of the most common questions that you would get too. So if you want all that and a whole bunch more, there's a lot packed into this guide, we can send it over right away, all you have to do is text MYSTRENGTHS, that's strengths, plural, MYSTRENGTHS, no space, plural, to 44222, we'll ask you for what your email address and where you want us to send it, and then we'll pop it right over. That's it. That's all you have to do, MYSTRENGTHS, go ahead and text that to 44222. And by the way, I want to say thank you so much, because many of you have gone over to iTunes or Stitcher and left us a rating and review. This is the way that we get more people to find the show, and that means if we get more people to find the show, then that allows more of us to be able to make a change, which as it turns out, is the whole goal here. So I want to say thank you and read a review. This one comes from, joinupdots it's a five star review says, "happened your career should be a much or a must listen, not much listen" much listened to but how about a must listen, "I'm an avid podcast listener and been very pleased to stumble across HTYC, there was good banter, connection amongst the two main presenters and a standard of guests is very good indeed. I look forward to hearing more from Scott and the others. And we'll promote others to listen." Hey, thanks so much, really very much appreciate that. And thanks to everybody else who's gone over and taking the time so that we can get more people to work that they absolutely love. We have so much more coming in store for you next week on Happen To Your Career, take a listen to what we've got coming up.

So I went to school for civil engineering. During college I did a co-op program. So I would work for a semester, go back to school for a semester, back to work. And through that I realized that there's a lot of parts of engineering that I liked, but it didn't really touch on all of me.

Scott Anthony Barlow 47:20
All that plenty more right here next week on Happen To Your Career. Thank you so much for being here. I appreciate you taking the time and making the time and hanging out with us. We'll see you next week. Adios. I'm out.

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