How My Community of Courage Transformed My Life | Jessica’s Story
Jess Lyons is a professional coach and teacher, helping others design their life with intention around discovering their core desired feelings.
When I caught up with her, she was just wrapping up a meeting with a client who she’s helping work through the anxiety-ridden choice moment of deciding whether to leave a job for grad school or pursue a promotion instead.
But it wasn’t too long ago that Jess herself was on the other side of the table.
Two years ago Jess was a little lost.. Burnt out from the trying task of teaching with Americorps in under-funded public schools, she landed a “real job,” the kind where you have your own office and meetings all day, only to find she hated it. Suffocating already on her third day stuck in a cubicle at a small nonprofit, Jess quickly realized she made a grave error.
To make matters worse, her 2-year-old relationship was unraveling, and she was living off friends’ couches while she and her ex made the physical split.
Each day, Jess would arrive at work depleted and depressed, to do a job that wasn’t the right fit for her (even though she applauded the organization’s mission).
“I really didn’t know what to do next,” she says, “I felt like I had royally messed up. I had made so many mistakes somewhere and now I felt stuck.”
A distant friend on Facebook posted about Bossed Up Bootcamp – our first-ever weekend training program for helping women beat burnout and navigate career transition – and as Jess says, “I bought a ticket instantly.”
“At the very least,” she figured, “I will be around other women who are trying to figure all this out, too. I need this.”
At the time, Jess had already been reading coaching blogs for years, but had never admitted that it’s what she wanted for herself and for her career.
Once at Bootcamp, Jess heard from dozens of other women who were also feeling stuck, despite have measurable professional success. She realized she wasn’t alone – and didn’t have to dwell in the guilt of having gone off-course in her past.
“I felt validated,” says Jess, “There are incredible women out there who look like they have it all together and are successful in many ways, but are never 100% sure of what they’re doing. I realized that like them, I don’t have to have all the answers to move forward. I just needed the courage to take the right next step.”
That weekend, Jess announced to her fellow bosses that she would become a coach, a dream deferred far too long. And she did.
Over the next two years, Jess changed jobs to make room for the training and certification she needed. She invested in joining coaching communities and learned new methods to strengthen her practice. Slowly but persistently, she’s building a thriving small business and the life she desires.
And it shows. Jess shines as a trainer at Bootcamp, now helping shepherd others through the same weekend that transformed her life just a few years ago.
“What’s been huge for me is the community,” says Jess. “Being surrounded by women who could hear the story of my past and then join me in embracing this audacious vision of my future was life-changing. That collective courage gave me the validation I needed to pursue my dream and make it a reality.”
Jess is not alone. Research shows that people who set and manage their goals with a friend or partner increase their likelihood of achieving them by about 33%.
Her advice to other women struggling like she was? “Find a safe space where you can do this work with other people – not just with a book. Go seek out a community that’s talking about these things, where you can really bring what’s in your heart.”
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