We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Jessica Zemple a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Hi Jessica, thanks for joining us today. Was there a moment in your career that meaningfully altered your trajectory? If so, we’d love to hear the backstory.
As a young child, I found myself on a rare and exquisite trip to Jamaica with my family. This trip was my first taste of the adventure traveling – the gentleness of the Rastafarians, the liveliness of reggae music, and the freedom of playing the Caribbean Sea. This trip was also my last good memory of my family being together before my father’s behavior became violent due to his experience with schizophrenia.
The next twenty years of my life was filled with fear as we navigated a world unfamiliar and unsafe for us all. While my security was ripped from me, my joy of travel only deepened. I now realize it was because I was trying to escape the terror and feel all those feelings from Jamaica.
I made it my life’s mission to travel so it is only fitting I wanted a career to do just that. I chased that dream for fifteen years and finally got there. Except when I got there, it wasn’t my dream anymore.
I had built a vision in my head of what it would be like working in international business living in the romantic city of Paris meeting the love of my life. Instead, I was in small towns in Germany where everyone went home to their families for dinner and I was stuck in a hotel all alone.
I also conjured up a story that the only way to travel the world was through work since it was never really part of my life except for that one trip to Jamaica. In those fifteen years it took me to reach my dream, I discovered I could travel the world on my own – to cities I wanted to go to and do things I wanted to do.
In that time, I also reconnected with my father and developed a healthy and loving relationship after coming to a place of acceptance and unconditional love. I no longer needed to find that connection with him through my travels. I was connected to him in life.
Imagine my surprise having spent fifteen years going for something only to realize that is not where I wanted to be. The dream was not what I thought it was going to be. I also was not the same person as the one who dreamed the dream in the first place.
It took a lot of courage to change my life’s course. Now that is what I help others do too. I guide them to get clear on what is real for them to ensure they are living the best life and take inspired action in the direction of their dreams.
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers
Jessica Zemple, founder of Life Shucker, helps individuals and organizations find their deeper purpose and translate that into authentic success through transformative coaching, workshops, and retreats. Jessica is also a keynote speaker and has written for Huffington Post, Inc., and Thrive Global. Jessica’s life coaching philosophies and techniques have been featured in Entrepreneur, Forbes, Huffington Post, and Inc. Her book, Shuck This Way, reached #1 on Amazon.
Shucking is based on the idea that you are a pearl created by layers of strength through the grit of life’s experiences. Instead of being ashamed of, running from, or hiding your grit, it is time to be empowered to own and celebrate the magnificent beauty it has created in you.
There is also a shell around your lustrous pearl that you close in times of fear. This is natural and often appropriate. The problem is the once protective shells start to hold you back from reaching your greatest potential if closed too long. You start to be isolated from the world and live in the dark inside the shell. It is then time to shuck the shell open, with love, to let your pearl shine leading to more meaningful success.
Jessica’s journey started by managing organizational transformations through mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures for over fifteen years. She is an expert on building synergistic cultures to drive stronger results by focusing on the strengths of every organization’s greatest asset — their people. She also works with caregivers of all kinds after being a caregiver herself for a loved one through a healing journey with cancer.
Have you ever had to pivot?
My life coaching practice was everything I wanted it to be and had worked so hard for. I had the best private clients doing courageous things to change the trajectory of their lives and taught leaderships teams, like the YMCA of San Diego, how to lead with love. My heart was full making a bigger impact than I ever dreamed of when everything came to a screeching halt.
My partner got diagnosed with a curable stage 4 throat cancer. Ironically, the diagnosis came in on the very day I was teaching about acceptance to a leadership team. I was fortunate to be in a position to chose to put my work on hold to support him on his healing journey.
The next eight months were some of the hardest days of my life even with the abundance of love and support we had from my family and friends. While I could shower him with love, manage his never-ending appointments and medications, and more, I could not fix it for him. Watching someone you love in so much pain, without knowing what the outcome will be, is heart breaking.
We are so very blessed that he did recover and my heart goes out to all of you who have lost a loved one, just got a diagnosis, or may be in the middle of the healing journey now. It took me quite some time to heal too which surprised me. I had no idea how much it took out of me until I got to the other side.
This is why I have started to focus on Caregivers with my work in addition to all I was doing before. I had everything I needed as a Caregiver and it was still full of grit. I think about someone who may not have all the resources I did and can’t imagine how they do it. If I can acknowledge a caregiver or give them a new idea or tool to support them, it could be the fuel they need to support their loved one another day. I want to care for the Caregivers!
What’s a lesson you had to unlearn and what’s the backstory?
I believe a lot of what we have learned through life needs to be unlearned. Any story that we live by is limiting because there is no story that is as magnificent as life is. Think of it this way. Try describing the color blue. No matter what you say, it could never actually fully capture the entire essence of blue. The same is true with life lessons. There is no way to truly capture the essence of life through lessons.
A specific example is that somewhere in life I learned you have to work hard to make a living. As the overachiever I tend to be, I took this idea to an extreme. I was the first one in the office and the last one to leave. I always created more than enough work to fill sixty to eighty hours a week to ensure I was going to make a living. And, I missed out on a lot of life in my 20’s and 30’s. While my friends were out having fun, I was always in an office “working hard”.
While I still have a strong work ethic, I now balance all the important things in life. And, guess what? I am still making a living without “working hard”.
My invitation to you is to list at least ten rules you live by. With each one, ask yourself if that is what you want to believe? If yes, great. If not, create a new story, or don’t have a story at all, and see how that expands your life.
- Website: www.lifeshucker.com
- Instagram: lifeshucker
- Facebook: Jessica Zemple
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jessicazemple/
- Youtube: Jessica Zemple
- Other: For a FREE copy of my ebook: https://lifeshucker.com/shuck-this-way/