Jordan Lee Dooley Chases the Dream and Owns It
Our next “Fierce” guest is coming in hot! The dynamite leader of the Own It Academy, Jordan Lee Dooley, takes the mic to push us to ponder what our true dreams really are and how we can start to own them—even if we have to take steps outside of our comfort zone box (or the box that others have put us in!). And Jordan doesn’t just talk about chasing dreams—she’s a woman who walks behind her words. Jordan reveals how she forged her own path from Etsy shop owner to business educator, author, and podcaster by daring to take chances and try different career paths as she honed her gift for communication. And Jordan realized as she gave herself permission to try new things, she kept herself open to discover all the seemingly random skills weren’t meaningless—they could be woven together to create a phenomenal career to help women all over the globe. Jordan and Jen talk through what it means to pivot well and why finding our passion actually isn’t the biggest task of our lives—it’s recognizing what our skills are, and using them to contribute help humankind flourish. Jordan reminds us that our job is not to accomplish things—it’s to leave behind a legacy of relationships and love as integrated women who know themselves and help others know themselves, too.
Jordan: There’s a difference between passion and purpose. I think there’s also a strength in pairing your passion with your skill sets.
Jen: Welcome to the Fierce, Free, and Full of Fire series on the For the Love Podcast with me, Jen Hatmaker. Today we talk with author and podcaster Jordan Lee Dooley about how to chase our dreams and really own them.
Hey, everybody. Jen Hatmaker here. Welcome to For the Love Podcast. I’m delighted to have you, because right now, we are in a series called For the Love of Fierce, Free, and Full of Fire. This is an incredible series that we built out around the upcoming release of my latest book, of course, which comes out April twenty-first. As a team, we’re coming back together and went, “Who can we invite that embodies this message?” Everything that I’m wanting to put in your hands right now with this book, I believe it’s going to serve you so well. By the way, it’s available for pre-order right now.
If you pre-order this book, you will not believe the pile of goodies you get. You get so many incredible audio pieces and downloadable pieces. You get an hour-long coaching video I’ve done, and probably the most exciting [is that] you have access to the webcast that comes out on April thirtieth, which is going to be incredible with me, Brene Brown, Angela Johnson, and fantastic musical guest Johnnyswim. Any pre-order of the book gets you auto access to the webcast. That’s any format, any vendor. There’s no reason you would not do this. Right now, when we’re all at home, and the only way we can get to each other is through our screens, you’re going to want this webcast. I really hope you’re going to want this book. This is the book of my heart. It’s everything I’ve learned, everything I know, and everything I’m hoping for you and our community of women. You can get it anywhere books are sold, you guys, by the way. Let’s find a way to support our local guys. They’re actually the ones still delivering.
My next guest today is helping this next generation live into their own potential in a really dynamic way. You’re going to see what I mean if you are new to her. Author and podcaster Jordan Lee Dooley is here today. She’s built this robust community because she offers her people practical, sometimes out of the box, tools to help millennial women grow. Jordan helps others recognize everything that’s living inside of them and how to begin moving in that direction, no matter the resistance they might feel or how big a mountain it seems or the circumstances they find themselves in today, anything. She released a really wonderful best-selling book called Own Your Everyday. What a great resource toward this.
She’s got a phenomenal podcast a lot of you probably already listen to called The She Podcast, and a hugely successful online business school called The Own It Academy, which we talk about a little bit. She’s an Indiana girl, happily married to her husband, Matt. They live with their dog, Hoosier, because Indiana, hello? Much respect. She just brings such a vibrant, wonderful joy to this conversation today. Just fresh energy and optimism and also this very approachable way about her, which is just, “Let’s just kind of steer into the curve.” You’re going to see what I mean today. This was such a fun, lively conversation. I am so happy to have met her and so glad to be able to introduce her to you, if you’ve not already met her. So without any further ado, please enjoy this incredible conversation with the outstanding Jordan Lee Dooley.
Jen: I am absolutely delighted to be speaking to you and meeting you for the first time, Jordan. Welcome to the For the Love Podcast.
Jordan: The feeling is mutual.
Jen: Nothing like a weird world to just give us some time to do this, right?
Jordan: I know, I know! You know, it’s chaos and it’s crazy, but it’s also I think giving us different ways to find connection. Get more creative with your connection. Here we go.
Jen: That is 100% true. I mean, it is really interesting to watch the world right now figure out how to reach out and grab onto one another while we’re isolated in our homes. It’s really marvelous.
Okay. I want to talk about you for a second. You recently published a book called Own Your Everyday, which I love your title so much. The book is honest. It is encouraging. It’s wonderful. We’re going to talk about that in a few minutes, because you have a lot of very relevant things to talk to us about in this world.
I wonder if first, for my listeners, reel it back a little bit for us. Talk about how you went from being a college student who owned a small lettering Etsy shop to who you are today, a best-selling author and a podcaster and a business educator, which is fantastic, helping creatives find their purpose. I really love your work. Can you talk a little bit about how you got from there to there?
Jordan: Yeah, absolutely. It’s interesting because I started with a little Etsy store, with no intention of…I didn’t even think I liked the business.
Jordan: I always joke about it. When I was first going into college, I had direct admission to one of the top business schools in the country, and I turned it down.
Jen: Did you?
Jordan: Because business sounded boring.
Jordan: When I saw the suits and the ties, I was like, “No, thanks.” It didn’t really seem in any way foster and serve my creative side. I think I just had this vision of, Business is boring, and tried a million different things. When I started that Etsy store, it was more like a paid hobby. Yes, it was a business, but I was thinking of it more as something that I just enjoyed.
Jordan: And so from there, as it started to grow, I realized, I need to make this a legit thing, because I have to pay taxes, and I actually need to figure this out. It led to this several year experiment of picking up different things and learning how to make money with them, whether that was self-publishing books, or running a wedding photography company, or offering social media marketing services to local wedding venues, or speaking on college campuses. I literally just thought, Hey, I have skills in communication.
Jordan: I have creative skills. I also have a husband who’s trying to play in the NFL.
Jordan: We knew that’s what we were going to be doing. I thought, That’s not necessarily a very stable career. That’s not necessarily something that you stay in one position or one location for very long.
Jordan: I thought, I want to create flexibility in my life. And I just knew the office lifestyle wasn’t for me. I thought of healthcare administration, or a healthcare management degree. I had options there. But I knew that I probably wasn’t going to be in one location the first few years after I finished school. I knew that I wanted to have flexibility when I would one day become a mom, even though I knew that was several years down the road. I started to look at the picture of my life. I just thought, I think I just need to be somebody who finds and figures out how to use my gifts to make money and create flexibility. And If that means I need to create my own jobs, then that’s what I’ll do.
And so I just created a lot of my own jobs, until finally it all started to culminate. All the different experiences that I had, as random as some of them seemed—whether it was writing a devotional or doing photography or something else—they all started to come together into this space. When I wrote the book, Own Your Everyday, I wrote out that story, because so many parts of it felt random. I was like, Oh, yeah. I randomly had a photography business.
Jordan: Like, what? That only lasted for a year? What I realized is all of these things really prepared me for where I’m at now. I still use my photography skills.
Jordan: I still use social media marketing. I still use my writing. All of these things, they just culminated into something that was more focused. It took some years of exploration and experimenting.
I think so often, we women don’t give ourselves the permission to try stuff. We stick to what we know. We stick to other people’s comfort zones. I just was like, I’m just not going to do that.
Jen: Oh my gosh. Totally. This feels so familiar to me. As you’re talking, I’m looking backward at the path that I took, too, which was incredibly divergent. I’m not doing what I went to school for. I took a very meandering path. I’m like you, incredibly non-linear. But I can look back now and go, Oh, nothing was wasted. I took little pieces of all these stages along the way, and they ultimately became bricks.
Jen: In this entirely new structure, I really didn’t even know I was building. I think there’s just a really generous way to look at our life and imagine that maybe this thing I’m doing right now is not my forever thing. Maybe I have some dissatisfaction inside of it. I’m discovering it’s not what I want my entire path to be, but still, something there is going to remain.
Jen: You’re building something inside of you from every single stage that you’re going to use later.
I like this about you. I like that you kept going, that you just kept going, even when maybe something wobbled, or maybe you’re like, Nope. This isn’t it. Or, I don’t love this enough to do it for an entire career. You just chased and you chased and you chased. I did the exact same thing. I stayed my hand at what I thought was going to be my life’s work way before it worked. I mean, way.
Jen: Back when nobody could have said anything except, “This is failure.” That’s literally what it was. I just kept going because I knew. I knew, This is going to be my work.
So I would like to hear you talk about this: What was it inside of you? What did you learn? Sometimes, it’s hindsight. Sometimes, it’s foresight. I don’t know which way it worked for you to keep your hand at building and building and building, even when it was hard. Even when maybe you were not getting the results you were hoping for, or you realized, I’m still gonna change—this isn’t going to be the final destination. How did you keep going?
Jordan: That’s such a good question. I so relate to what you’re sharing. You know, I think I will say just by the grace of God, and a lot of good support.
Jordan: I think another part of it is I knew, even somewhat vaguely, what my vision for my life was. I didn’t realize that I knew what the vision for my life was. Because at first, I thought I was just trying things, which I was. I was just trying to discover what it was that I was best at, what it was that I was passionate about, how those two things came together in a strategic way. But I think part of the reason I was able to keep going is partially because I was living or attempting to live the future vision that I have in the present. I knew that the future vision for my life was that I would have flexibility, because my greatest dream and my greatest ambition was to become a mom. But I knew that I didn’t want to be a mom without also doing something with my own craft and my own skills. I wanted to somehow find a way to blend those things so that I have time, freedom, and flexibility.
Jordan: That was my desire for my life. Not everyone has that desire, but I voiced out when I was first beginning.
And so I think that vague vision, even though it wasn’t entirely clear or even actualized, helped keep me motivated, like, No. I want to have control of my schedule. I want to make an impact. I want to be able to do X, Y and Z. And so partially, I think it was that vision.
But what I realized is that underlying skill that I had that really allowed me to succeed in a lot of these things was communication in a strategic way, which a lot of people would call marketing. Writing and communication were there from the second I started my Etsy store. My Etsy store didn’t grow or succeed or do anything well because it was [called] The Best Hand Lettering. Actually, I wasn’t a very good hand letterer. I looked at it. I’m like, Well, that’s embarrassing.
Jen: That’s great.
Jordan: It worked because I wrote content.
Jordan: I figured out how to use the internet, and create content that connected with an ideal customer, then that customer would share. And that has been the theme that I’ve done through photography. I was a storyteller, much like you. When I identified that, I thought, This is a craft and a skill that I can use to help any kind of business or organization succeed, if I can do it properly. And so I think knowing that— as soon as I identified that shortly after starting that Etsy store, I knew that my path may look a little windy until I figured out exactly where I needed to go…
Jordan: …But that I could keep going, because I identified that skill, and I own that skill, and I was unashamed to use it and make money with it, too. A lot of people know they have a skill and then they feel weird about how to put it out there. And I just didn’t.
Jordan: I don’t know if that makes sense.
Jen: It makes perfect sense. I love it. That’s a good segue, because obviously, a lot of your messaging is geared toward creative entrepreneurs—that was sort of your comeuppance as well. You’re wider than that. You’ve actually also spoken quite a bit about empowering women in whatever lane they find themselves in, helping them wake up to the life that they are meant to live, whether that’s inside a creative space or a corporate space or whatever the thing is, it’s a bigger umbrella.
Why do you think—because you serve women, and I do, too—why do you think we have—and you just mentioned this—such a difficult time expressing what it is we want at first, and then taking steps toward getting there? This voicing of, This is what I want. This is what I’m good at. This is what I’d like to make a living at, honestly.
Jordan: I wrote about this a little bit in Own Your Everyday, but I think the reason we have trouble with that is partially just due to our own lack of clarity. I think people don’t always know what they want. We definitely know what we don’t want. Sometimes, we have to start there with what we don’t want…
Jordan: …and then reverse engineer. I think the other reason, and perhaps the bigger reason, that we do that or that we struggle with that is something I call boxes. I think at some point in our lives, we put ourselves into a certain box, partly because I think our nature is to put other people in a box based on what we understand about them. For example, we might look at someone we know and draw a couple of quick facts that we know about them. Let’s say she is a doctor. Great. We put her in the doctor box. What if she’s miserable being a doctor, and really knows that she wants to be a journalist, but has no idea how to make that career pivot and doesn’t have any background in journalism, even though she knows she’s good at it or she’s dabbled in that space on the side or something? It is so difficult for us to open the door to our own little self-created boxes, because we know that we look at other people and put them in a box subconsciously.
Jordan: We don’t mean to confine them to that, but we really do look at them based on our understanding of what they do and who they are according to how we see them in our lens with which we look at them. I think because we subconsciously and naturally do that as humans in an attempt to understand others, again, we apply that same logic to ourselves and worry, like, Will other people see me as this? This is other people’s expectations of me. This is how I understand me. This is the box I’m used to.
We start creating this little box that we live in based on other people’s perceptions, expectations, and our own understanding of what we’re supposed to do with our lives. It takes a lot of courage to say, like, “Well, what if there was a door in this box? What would it look like to just peek my toe out?” I think part of the problem is that we think if we’re going to pursue the things that we realize we want, we have to go big or go home. But I look back at my own story and it’s like, No. I just started small in a storage closet.
Jordan: I think if we can say, “I’m going to take all of that pressure for a second. I’m going to realize my life is a path to walk on and not a box to live in.” Instead of feeling like I have to just switch boxes overnight, I’m going to move one percent closer to that dream. I’m going to move one percent closer to that thing that it is I know I’m best at, or that I’m most interested in, or I know I’m called to. And that might just look like if you’re the doctor example and you want to work on writing and journalism, maybe that means just writing one Instagram caption a week around a topic you’re passionate about.
That could be the one percent. It doesn’t mean you’re up and quitting your job tomorrow. It doesn’t mean that you’re throwing your life upside down and shifting it all around. It might be that simple. I think as you take one baby step closer, and you move one person, you move the needle of one person at a time. You look back and you’re like, Whoa. I’ve blown the door off this box. I think we have that pressure to think you either have to be in this one or this one, and you need to pick overnight. And these are what people expect you to do, so stay there.
Jen: Guys, quick break for an excerpt I want to read to you out of Fierce.
Okay, so I actually love what Jordan had to say here about her own dreams, and giving them life and attention even when things got hard.
So I wrote about this in the “What I Want” section of Fierce, specifically in chapter seven, which is called “I Want This Dream.” Okay? So here’s what I wrote:
“I am not a self-made woman, which, as I mentioned earlier, is not a thing. But the fire in the belly, the late nights, the zero paychecks, the commitment, the thousands of hours logged in obscurity—those were mine. I put my head down and worked so hard for so many years while also working hard and everything else. When early results could be interpreted no other way than failure, as I mentioned, I refused to take no for an answer. Why? I just knew this want of mine was going somewhere. I’d already said yes to Jesus, to myself, to the women I served, and I refused to grab the low hanging fruit of overnight success stories, easy eject buttons or career ending discouragement—career here being a very loose term. I’ve always found work very noble and I consider it an honor to show up for my own life in a way that I would be proud of later. . . . Got a dream? Show up for it.”
All right, I’m just gonna drop that in here. I hope that serves you in some way, and that if you’ve got your own fire in the belly, to go do what you were put on this earth to do.
Let’s get back to my interview with Jordan.
Jordan: I think we talk a lot about our own comfort zones. We also need to remember that I think we are also sometimes trapped by—in our own minds—other people’s comfort zones for our careers and what we’re doing with our lives. I think there are exceptions, like a spouse who has confusion or concerns or people who generally care about us. I always say that carefully and cautiously, because I think sometimes, we can apply that to everyone.
In the grand scheme of things, I think what we worry about the most is what strangers think of us, or old college friends who don’t actually have any vested interest in what we do. I think there’s a wisdom that comes with that. I think if we can say, “Hold on. I’m not confined to everyone else’s comfort zone for my career and for the life that I’m called to,” that immediately creates the freedom of like, “Okay. What’s one small step I can take in that direction?”
Jen: Totally. This is a song that I sing all the time for women. That was a big theme in Fierce, Free and Full of Fire, too, which is that I think women struggle to trust themselves. That generally, if we can get pretty still and listen to our gut and listen to our instinct, listen to our intuition, listen to our inner voice, she’s generally telling us the right thing. She’s leading us well, but we don’t trust ourselves.
Sometimes there are red flags being raised internally like, “You’re a doctor and you’re really, really unhappy. This career is crushing you,” to use your example. Or, “You’ve got this creative muscle that it would really serve you well to begin flexing.” We can trust that voice. The problem is, I think, as you mentioned other people’s expectations of us, be it career or the role that we are playing, we have this sense of women, which is we’ve been conditioned from the time we were little to keep the peace, right? Just keep the peace. What happens for a lot of us is in doing that, we don’t have any peace. We rob ourselves of peace. We rob our communities of peace.
I think there is really something valuable and noble about trusting yourself and trusting your instinct, in that even if it makes absolutely no sense on paper, if you’re a doctor and you want to open a tulip shop, maybe that makes no sense on paper. But your intuition is trying to tell you something. We should listen. We should listen to that and not imagine that we are the person who knows the very least about our own path and that everybody else knows better. I love that you talked about that.
Jen: I want to talk about something else that you have put out into the world that is so timely right now. You have a podcast called The SHE Podcast. Great title. You had an episode that’s like, “Welp.” You called it “The Secret Art of Pivoting Well.” It’s so funny because the word pivot, this is my internal word me and my team are using forty times a day right now. We’re like, “Okay, pivot! Here’s the new pivot of the hour.” We’re just pivoting constantly.
Jen: We all are. The whole world is pivoting right now.
Jen: This is one thing you said there that I loved. You said, “If you’re growing, you’re changing.” That’s it. That’s some of the secret sauce. Why do you think it is so important that women learn the power of a successful pivot? How did you know your dreams were changing? How did you give yourself permission for those dreams to change?
Jordan: Gosh. That’s such a good question. I think it was through a lot of wrestling. I want to be realistic in that. Because as much as I’ve had to really own the confidence that comes with the calling that I’ve now been pursuing, it has not come without confusion. It has not come without wrestling. It has not come without consulting trusted voices in my life. It has not come without prayer. It has not come without all that work that you have to do.
And so when it comes to pivoting, whether that’s in your career or usually, I guess in this context, we’re talking about in our careers, my husband gave me a really helpful visual. He gave it to me after I learned the hard way. I don’t know if you’re like this, but I can be a very quick mover. I’m like, “Oh, I have the vision of where I need to go. Boom. Turn.” I want to just do that and I create whiplash for my community or for my team or for both, and everyone’s like, “Wait. What are we doing now?” And so that’s where in the past where I tried to move too quickly, it’s led to a lot of confusion, ambiguity, and me just moving too fast for anyone else to keep up with.
And so it took me deep breaths, slowing down, and my husband illustrating it to me really well. He said, “Look, any pivot that you make, whether that’s with writing or whether that’s with what you’re selling, or whatever that is, what you’re doing with your work, you need to be thinking of it like a pickup truck. And if a pickup truck has people in the back, whether that’s your team members or your audience or both, your customer base, if you just hard right turn ninety degrees, they’re all going to go flying out the back. You have people that you steward. It’s not that you have to live to other people’s expectations, but you do have to steward the people that you’ve brought into your sphere: the people that you serve through your work, the people that help you create said work, with that content and everything that you do.”
So his whole thing was, whether that’s your family, your team, your customers, all of the above, it’s really important to say, “If I’m going to turn this pickup truck, if I can do it with wisdom, then the most wisely I’m going to do is take that long, slow wide turn.” And I think we can be so quick to go, “This is my new vision. I need to actualize it.” And I know this because I’ve done it the wrong way before. We move too quickly to where other people are like, “What? What’s going on?” They all fly out the back.
Now, when you take a long, slow wide turn, you might still have people get off. You might still have people go, “Okay. This isn’t the direction that I felt we were going.” Okay. There’ll be new people that get in. That’s great. I think it’s important. That was really helpful for me to understand how I can best make pivots in such a way that’s keeping others informed, that’s bringing them along for the journey rather than being like, “Forget you. I’m bored of this!”
Jen: Yeah. Totally.
Jordan: I think sometimes, when we pivot, we think that’s what it is. It’s like this all of a sudden, competent moment we have. [I’m an] independent woman. I’m doing my own thing. And we just drop people, and we actually end up causing more harm than good.
And so that’s why I think pivoting well really looks more like turning your pickup truck a long, slow turn and helping steward that journey for others with you that you’ve invited into your circle, that have helped facilitate growth with where you are now, even if it’s not where you want to stay.
Jen: That’s great. That’s great leadership principles, and it doesn’t necessarily put our big ideas on the altar for dismissal, but it’s just the stewardship of it. I think we’ll end up with better and stronger results if that’s our approach as well. Because it’s true, other people haven’t lived inside of our brains. They don’t understand all the thoughts we’ve been noodling. And so to a lot of other people, it just feels abrupt. I find that to be incredibly true. I’m also like that. I’m big ideas or I’m big feelings, and so really taking a slow turn is a best practice as we also embrace change. We can do both.
I like the fact that in your book, you admit that women often struggle with this pressure to prove and therefore, completely flounder on recognizing purpose. Look, okay. I am a card-carrying Enneagram three. Okay? I just identify with that. That’s the way I’m wired. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We don’t have to bend and squash ourselves to something completely unrecognizable to ourselves just to please other people or just to prove or just to perform for applause or even just to hit somebody else’s mark. Why do you think we do this? How would you suggest we stop trying to prove ourselves and let our authentic selves rise up that is much more mired and purposed than proving?
Jordan: That’s good. This goes back to the expectations thing. I came up with this little phrase: the toxic trio. When we have insecurities, and then we have paired that with expectations that we believe are honest, whether they are actually there or not, those two things combine to create this pressure to prove. It becomes this really toxic cycle.
When I feel insecure about something that I’m doing, or myself or my calling or whatever that is, and then that pairs with what I think other people expect me to be, suddenly, I feel this pressure to prove either of them wrong or them right. Whatever that looks like. And to answer the question about how do we stop trying to prove ourselves, I don’t necessarily think that we ever just stop feeling that pressure. But I think we can stop responding to it by saying, “Okay, how do I…? Let me write it down. Let me actually vocalize and understand these subconscious expectations that I think are actually on me and then address them.”What I mean by that is I’ll go back to the example of when I first started my Etsy shop. The reason that even kind of became something I gave myself permission to do—I mean, I was always the academic and the athlete. I had a creative brain, but I always wanted to have a 4.0.
Jordan: I want an achievement in sports. What was interesting to me is I remember it was right before I started the Etsy store, I had a conversation with my mom. For whatever reason growing up—I don’t know if it’s because both my parents were successful business people or what—I had this idea that my parents expected me to graduate college and build this corporate career. I don’t know why. They never told me that. They never actually said that to me. I don’t know if it’s just oldest child syndrome and my own ambition. I don’t know. I was getting closer to graduation. I was looking at my life going, “I don’t think I really want to work in an office. I don’t really know if this is the right thing.”
Jordan: Finally, I worked up the courage to tell my mom that, because I felt stuck. She shocked me with her response, because I thought her response would be like, “Well honey, you’ve put a lot of time and money into getting this career or this degree. You need to at least give it a shot. Blah, blah, blah.” No, she looked at me. I told her, “I don’t know if I want to pursue these job options.” She just goes, “Okay, so don’t.”
Jen: That’s great.
Jordan: I was like, “What?” She goes, “Yeah, don’t. Just try some stuff. You have creative gifts and whatnot. You have a few more months until you graduate. Try some stuff. This is your chance. Try it. See what happens.”
Jen: Love it.
Jordan: It shocked me, because the expectation that I thought she would have had for me was never even there. I think one of the best ways we can stop living under that pressure to prove is to say, “What expectations do I have or do I think other people have of me?” And maybe they’re there, but let’s address it. Let’s have a conversation about them. Let’s go to our mom or our spouse or our old friend from college. “Do you expect this of me?”
Jordan: They’re most of the time going to be like, “No.”
Jen: Oh my gosh.
Jordan: If you can just be straight up honest and say, “This is actually where I think I need to go. Here’s why. I know this was the expectation of what we’re going to do but how can we make this work?” With someone like your spouse or something. That’s I think where you overcome that pressure. Again, that’s one of the private sides of things. There’s obviously the public pressure that can come with what the larger scale people think. That’s I think where it actually matters.
Jen: I love it.
Jordan: You know what I mean? I don’t know.
Jen: Do I know what you mean? Okay. I wrote this story in Fierce about when I was a teacher. I taught fourth grade. And then just boom, boom, boom. We had babies all in a row. Nobody told us not to do that. And so I’m like twenty-nine. I’ve three little kids. We’re drowning in babies, and drowning financially because I’ve stayed home to be with them when they were still little. So Brandon, all the time in my brain, he’s harboring this idea. Like, Oh, my gosh. We’ve got to get this girl back into the classroom so we can pay our bills. Get back to work.
Jen: I knew. I knew, knew, knew, I’m not going back to the classroom. I had this burning, I knew what I was meant to do. I knew it was time to write. I knew it was time to lead in spiritual spaces. I knew it was time to lead women. Of course, nobody else knew this. Nobody was asking me to do this.
I remember coming to him, and I wrote this hilarious moment when I came to him, basically babies hanging off every arm, and said, “I think instead of going back to the classroom, I’m curious what you think if I decide to write a book.” And he, God bless. I didn’t even have a computer. We did not own a computer.
Of course, I’m expecting incredible resistance, for real reasons. It wouldn’t have even been invented. It would have been fair to say, “That’s adorable, but we are absolutely paycheck to paycheck right now. This doesn’t make sense, and no one’s asking you to do that.” Instead, Brandon Hatmaker went out and bought a used laptop for two hundred dollars. To your exact point, we don’t necessarily know what somebody in our life is going to say to a pivot, or to a big idea, or to a change. Maybe they’ll buy you a used laptop and be your cheerleader. So let’s not automatically assume that everybody around us is not on our team or not willing to put a little air under our wing.
Jen: People might surprise you.
Jen: Guys, popping in again to read something else to you, because I’m loving this conversation with Jordan.
Isn’t it interesting how we try to prove ourselves when all along we feel better, and ironically, perform better in relationships where we aren’t trying to prove ourselves? Right? Have you ever noticed that paradox? Like when we just get to show up as ourselves when we are safe? I wrote about this in the “What I Need” section of Fierce in a chapter called, “I Need More Connection,” and I wanna read a paragraph. This is what I wrote:
“When we have meaningful relationships with people who say, ‘I believe in you and you can do this,’ we start on third base instead of in the batter’s box. In a study published in the Personality and Social Psychological Review, Professors Brooke Feeney and Nancy Collins studied how positive relationships promote or hinder thriving and found two key effects. One is enabling us to chase purpose and meaning. In other words, connected relationships help us say yes to opportunities, yes to embracing resources, yes to pursuing work that matters. Yes to healthy people. Yes to our talents. Yes to serving mankind. Yes to a beautiful family. Yes to God.
Yes to everything that elevates meaningful living. They do this overtly and also simply with their sustained presence in our lives, because just being loved and knowing we belong is powerful fuel for a purposeful existence.”
Doesn’t that make your heart feel happy? Like, loving others, receiving their love in return, it really is the secret to everything.
All right. Let’s get back to the interview with Jordan.
Jen: Okay. When we are thinking about this, pursuing either our own growth or our own calling or something that we’re deeply wanting or desiring to try, for a lot of us, the roadblocks are not because we have a lack of options or a lack of opportunities. It’s that there’s almost too many.
Jen: Especially right now, in today’s world, there’s so many sources just buzzing around and so much information, so many possibilities. It could just be paralyzing. How would you suggest we move out of that information possibility paralysis and just closer to that thing that means something to us, that thing that feels like, This is going to matter for me?
Jordan: Yeah. It’s interesting, because I always tend to challenge the idea that we should simply pursue our passions. And it’s funny because that seems to be super counterintuitive to what we’re talking about right now. In fact, I don’t think it is. Here’s why: I think we live in a world that tells us, “Pursue your passions. Pursue what you’re passionate about. You’re like this. You’re like that.” We can be passionate about a million things. I think there’s a difference between passion and purpose. And I think there’s also a strength in pairing your passion with your skill sets.
What I mean by the difference between passion and purpose is that I can be passionate about a lot of things. Right? I might be passionate about running. I might be passionate about gardening. I might be passionate about babies. I might be passionate about a million and five things.
Jordan: Okay. How do you begin to narrow down, “What the heck should I actually focus on?”
What I say about why that’s different from purpose is, purpose is your foundational, like, what legacy are you leaving? I think we all share a common purpose. I think that is foundational. Then what starts to happen is, “Okay. If we can understand our foundational purpose is to make an impact,” I always feel like the way I describe it is I want to love God and love people well. I want to use my work as a vehicle to do that so that the actual work that we pursue is more the vehicle to accomplish our foundational purpose. That’s the unchanging thing.
I think it’s so funny that we always say, “I want to go find my purpose.” I’m like, “That’s not the lost thing.” You need to find a direct avenue in which you should be fulfilling that purpose, which works best for you, which is where that second part comes in, where we need to pair our passions with our skill sets. Because if we’re simply aimlessly chasing all these different passions, and we’re not saying, “This is actually a skill. I can pair it with something that I actually really care about.” That’s where the magic happens.
I think that’s really where we find that sweet spot. We tend to forego the skills part. Even the doctor example that I was mentioning earlier, if she really feels called to write, or she really feels called to do something in journalism, maybe the best place to start is to say, “Use your background as a doctor. You don’t have to be functioning as a doctor if you’re miserable in that job. Start with that skill set of writing, and your background as a doctor, to deliver an incredible product and helpful information.”
Jen: That’s great.
Jordan: Even in your case, you’re writing a book. Having your background in education and having the skills of writing, pairing that with the passion to serve women, that’s where that came together.
Jordan: That’s why it led to something great. Even with me, I look back and I’m like, I have creative passions, but I had skill sets in writing, marketing, and small business. That was really where I had natural skill sets. because I was raised in a household of entrepreneurs. It only just naturally made sense. I think when we can learn to be very intentional about saying, “Hang on. Hang on. All these passions are running wild in my head. I have got fifty million options of things that sound awesome.” Let’s look at my skill set and my background and my experience. How can I pair that with something that interests me?
And when we think about passions, this is another thing to help narrow down some of those options. We might be interested in a lot of things, but I think where our true passion and meaningfulness lies is when there’s some story of our own that we can pair with our skill sets.
For example, if someone has a background in overcoming an eating disorder, or overcoming something, maybe marital problems or something like that, it makes sense that their passion is going to be helping other people that are walking through something similar. Now how can they pair their skill sets with that passion? Does that make sense?
Jordan: It’s just different than just a pure interest or opportunity.
Jen: It goes back to what we were talking about earlier, where nothing is wasted. It doesn’t always mean you completely yard sale everything you’ve ever done, everything you’ve ever known, your degree or educational background, and you just absolutely jump into a completely different pool. There’s a lot of connective channels. I remember one time when I was really, really early in my career—I was just joking around but I also mean it—I was telling somebody like, “Whoops. Sorry, mom and dad, completely not using that whole college degree you paid for.” Because I had pivoted so far away from the classroom. And my friend that I was talking to, she was like, “You know, that’s just not true.” She said, “Not only were you an English minor, but you learned how to be a teacher.” And she was like, “You’re still teaching people. You’re a teacher.”
Jen: “You’re a teacher. You’re using writing. Your classroom just looks different.”
Jen: I had never really considered that before, but then I started paying attention. I noticed, “Oh my gosh. I’m actually using a ton of things I learned…”
Jen: …about communication, about different people’s learning styles, about storytelling, and how to be an exciting content deliverer.
Jen: I love that you’re saying that. I want women to hear that, that go ahead, and have a look at what are you holding in your hand? What do you have here?
Jen: What’s your experience in your hand? What is your education? What do you love? What are you weirdly good at? I think that those are really super clues. And I like that you’re saying that because it’s making it feel possible.
Jen: Gosh. Our culture’s weird, because I think what you and I see in the women that we love and serve is that there’s these moments right now constantly, seemingly where somebody’s breaking out. All of a sudden, they’re a big star. All of a sudden, they just went right to the top of the pile. If it’s a breakout hit or it’s a breakout author, or a breakout leader, or whatever. And so it gives us this impression that there is just some monstrous big thing that whether women admit this or not, is often linked to fame, like, with a lot of notoriety, a lot of intention, a lot of eyes on it.
And so what would you say to the woman who’s listening? In her mind, what her mind is telling her is that until that one, big famous, notorious thing is accomplished and she’s a breakout, that she’s living off purpose. That she’s off task. What would you say to her?
Jordan: It’s interesting that you ask this, because it seems so random when I happen to see it on my newsfeed, but it so applies here. In the midst of as we’re recording this, we’re in the middle of this quarantine COVID crisis, and I saw this meme on Instagram. I don’t even remember. I just saw it and I thought, Huh. That’s interesting. I kept scrolling, and it just came to mind. It was basically a meme. At the top half was a picture of a bunch of celebrities. On the bottom half, there’s a picture of a farmer. It said, “Right now, the world is realizing that we can get by without celebrities, but we need the farmers.”
Jen: That’s great.
Jordan: That struck me. Ooh man! It just stabbed me in the stomach, because I think what we think is purpose is notoriety.
Jen: That’s right.
Jordan: Recognition and all that, but what actually sustains the world, what actually fulfills the purpose is—there’s this verse or something. I think it’s a verse that says, “There is nothing better for men to eat and drink and see that his work is good, or a woman to eat and drink and see that her work is good.”
Jordan: And so it’s like, if everything is not lasting, if at any moment, anything could be taken away as we’ve noticed so many things that we thought were secure are not, and also, that perspective of like, “Hang on. How are you contributing to the flourishing of humankind?”
Every time you start to think fame, notoriety, that may happen for you at some point. Great. If it doesn’t, you will still be on mission and on purpose if your entire aim and your primary focus is to use your gifts, your abilities, your talents, your time and your resources to ultimately contribute to the flourishing of humankind and your household and your community and maybe even more nationally or more internationally at some point. What does that actually look like? Is the work that you’re doing and the time that you’re spending dedicated to that?
If so, and if it eventually grows into something bigger and reaching more, great. But if you’ve reached a bunch of people and you don’t have that primary aim and that primary mission, you’re still going to be off purpose even if 100,000 people know your name.
Jen: That’s great. I cannot possibly agree more, which is why I love the idea that you don’t have to start at 100. You start at one percent. Let’s just build the thing. Build it slowly. Build it with intention. Build it when no one’s watching. That’s when you really figure out what you’re made of. If we require applause to have a sense of meaning, that is a house of cards.
Jen: Because applause comes and goes. It really does.
Jen: I cannot even begin to express how fragile applause is. That thing, it could just disappear right as you’re holding it right through your fingers. I couldn’t agree more. Build something that matters. Build something that will last. We don’t control the outcomes to that. We only control the building.
You mentioned COVID. What is life? What is life right now?
Jen: Nobody listening today saw this coming. We have not been prepared for what the reality that we are all now facing and virtually, every listener right now is experiencing some type of disappointment or uncertainty or anxiety right this very second. You and I started talking about this right before we started recording. We were just doing a check in with each other. Can you go back to what you were saying about how you are approaching this strange new season that we’re all in?
Jordan: Yeah. I have really been reflecting a lot. I’ve been trying to look at this strange season as an opportunity. And not in a weird opportunistic way, but in a way that is like, “Okay. This is creating space, a space I think we all desperately need and rarely take time for. And what does that look like going forward?” And I started to reflect that 2020 has just been a weird year in total.
Jen: Hear, hear.
Jordan: From the onset, especially in our household, we had a personal loss and crisis in January. That was very shocking for me and pretty much laid me out. I mean, January? Non-month. I didn’t do anything. I had all these plans set up in December for 2020. Come January third, we found out we were losing our baby. From there, I was like, “I’m done. Nope.”
Jen: I’m so sorry.
Jordan. It seemed like all the goals and ambitions that I had in comparison to something like that were just silly.
Jordan: Almost meaningless, and they weren’t. When you come that close to life and death in such a short period of time, it shifts your perspective and rocks your world a little bit.
Jordan: And so January was pretty much a non-month in my life. What was so interesting to me is that as bad as that was and as bad as that will always be, one good thing that came out of that was this deepened sense of why I care about why I care about. It was me laying on the couch, able to grieve and physically heal and not have to go somewhere else and be on for someone else and say, “I am going to take the time I need, because I’ve spent the last five and a half, six years cultivating a career that would allow me to do that.” I didn’t think it was going to be in a negative sense.
Jordan: I was hoping it would be raising a baby. But in that, it awakened in me this like, “Wait a second.” I went back to my why. And I went back to, “This adversity that I’m facing is deepening why I care about helping women with this, and creating freedom and flexibility in their life should they want it.” And then what’s so interesting is I planned the whole year around, We’re going to have a baby.
Jordan: We lost the baby in January, had a non-month,and then had to re-plan the whole year again. Then we had this great plan, February comes, we start working on that plan, and then all of a sudden, it’s the current crisis.
Jordan: Our plans just got changed. In three months’ time, we planned and re-planned our year twice, which I’ve never had to do.
Jen: Oh man. Right.
Jordan: What was so interesting though is like I said, in January, in this time of being still and pausing and not feeling hustled or rushed or anything, this deepened sense of why came about in me.
Now, in this current crisis, what’s really been interesting is we had to pause and hold off and reevaluate everything, [and with that] has come a deepened sense of clarity and vision. The why was clarified in the adversity in my personal life and the how is now being clarified a couple of months later in this global crisis.
Jen: That’s great.
Jordan: Because it’s daring me to go, “Hold on. How are we going to go about this? What is our big aim? How do we reverse engineer and rethink really on a deeper level, how do we best align with that why? And what does that look like from a practical implementation?” I share that because it’s been so convicting to me over the last few months how much adversity creates clarity.
Jordan: It can create clarity. It doesn’t automatically create clarity. There’s true fear and grief and whatnot, all those emotions that we have to process. I think if we so allow it, and if we search for it, adversity can truly create clarity in our lives. It can take us back to what really matters. It can help us eliminate distractions and get really still and go deeper and really make sure that we’re rushing and we’re working and all these things that we do in alignment with what we’re supposed to be doing and with why we started anything that we may have started to begin with.
I guess my encouragement and the way I see it is this can be seen as a huge obstacle, or it can be seen as an opportunity to pursue further clarity and to make a greater impact. That’s really been the mantra of my team, of my family and how we’re now navigating this very uncertain time. I’m going, “Yeah. I could see it as something scary.” And to some degree, yeah. There’s true anxiety around it. However, the more I can focus on the opportunity that lies within it, even though I thought we had the perfect plan, I’m now looking at, ‘Man, we have such a better plan now. This was actually for the best.’”
Jen: That’s great.
Jordan: Even though it seems super inconvenient.
Jen: That’s so great. It really is a sifting, isn’t it? It almost forces us into a place where we have to really examine the what‘s, the why‘s, the how‘s.
First of all, I’m so sorry that you lost your baby.
Jordan: Oh, thank you.
Jen: That is such a sad story that most women experience in silence. And even though it’s something that’s shared by so many women, I appreciate your willingness to talk about it and to be really open and vulnerable about that, I know that that has been a real comfort to people.
But I think back to your other point, we really have an opportunity to examine right now. And all that’s really going to take is a little bit of our attention.
Jen: Because we can just get caught up in the swirl. We can get caught up in the swirl of chaos and fear and unmet expectations, and all the things that are competing for our line of vision right now. But it is possible to get a little still and to examine the pieces and the parts and the what‘s, how‘s and why‘s. And really take a good look at them and say, “What am I learning right now? What is this showing me? What clarity is available to me right now?” I find that incredibly comforting. I find that incredibly encouraging and invigorating. And I hope that every listener can find a little corner where you can get still and quiet enough to have a look at that. What that might mean for you and for your life?
Jen: We’re going to wrap it up. These are three questions that we are asking every single guest in the Fierce series. Here’s the first one. These are essentially concepts that I really explored in the book, and so I’m curious to hear from another fierce woman who’s free and full of fire what she thinks about this. What’s the biggest lie you’ve stopped believing about yourself?
Jordan: Oh, gosh. You know, I think at least recently, there’s a lot of lies I’ve had to stop believing about myself.
Jen: Same. Yeah.
Jordan: I think recently, something that’s really in the midst of all this adversity and clarity and all this conversation we’ve had, something big that I think I’ve realized, the biggest lie I’ve stopped believing, is that my job is to accomplish things.
Jen: Great. Oh, burn. That actually hurt my feelings.
Jordan: That’s the thing. As an achiever, it’s just a hard stop. You have to marinate that for a second, and think about it and go, “My job is not simply to accomplish dreams.” I’m not here just to go, “Oh, this is my dream. And now I’ve checked the box and accomplished it.” That’s a big one.
Jen: I’m working on that, too and had a clear, clarifying text conversation with a friend. I just cleared that deck, too. That right now, that is not my job. My job is to serve my community. Everything else is a distant second, third, fourth, fifth place. Thank you for saying that.
How about this one? It’s really the flip side of that. What’s the most freeing, life-giving truth that you’ve learned about yourself?
Jordan: I think in tandem with that first lie that we’ve been working through is that I am not the product of what other people expect of me, and my job is to leave a legacy. I think we get so focused on achieving things that we forget about what legacy we’re leaving, which really to your point comes from how we pour into people, not just how we check things off our achieved dreams.
Jen: Great. I love that word so, so much.
Finally, this is the last question that we actually ask every single guest in every single series just to wrap it up. You can answer this literally however you want. What is saving your life right now?
Jordan: Time blocking. I’ve gotten really into it over the last six months or so, especially as someone who works from home, and you know the chaos that comes with that.
Jen: I do.
Jordan: I love someone banging in my master bathroom doing demo as we’re having a conversation.
Jordan: There’s chaos everywhere. There’s always things, demands on your time, all of that. And so one thing that I really implemented last year was time blocking and color coding the time blocks and having consistent blocks as much as possible everyday, rather than feeling like I’m just doing tasks randomly. And setting up that system in my life has allowed me to create a better balance and build my work around my life rather than my life around my work.
Jen: Oh, my gosh. Brandon Hatmaker would just geek out to hear that. 100% that would serve him so well. That is the way his brain works also. I can’t wait to have him listen to that answer.
Okay. Jordan, tell everybody just very quickly where they can find you, your book, your work, all of it.
Jordan: Absolutely. I hang out on Instagram @jordanleedooley. That’s also my website, jordanleedooley.com. The book is on Amazon and at all major retailers. I also have The Own It Academy, which is our online business school, but it’s meant to really be a resource that comes alongside you, helps you build something purpose-driven from home even if that’s just a little something on the side. If you have that creativity you want to flex that muscle on, that would be a great resource for you as well. That’s theownitacademy.com. We have monthly classes there, and roadmaps to really start that well over there in The Own It Academy.
Jen: Fantastic. For everybody listening, we will have every single thing Jordan just said over on the podcast page linked up for you. We’ll link to her book, to her website, to her academy, everything that’s at jenhatmaker.com. We’ll make sure that that’s a one stop shop for all things Jordan, including the transcript if you want to go back and read some of our conversation.
Okay. You know what? Just thank you. Thank you for being on today. Thank you for just living your life in such a beautiful, meaningful way and for bringing so many women along with you. I love partnering with women who love and serve other women. It was just a delight to talk to you today. What a nice, wonderful break from just being in this house with all these people, still.
Jordan: Same here. Same here. I’m so thankful. Thank you for including me in your beautiful show and for sharing me with your community. It’s really an honor.
Jen: Isn’t she fun? Isn’t she great? I felt very captivated by her energy over the course of that conversation. I’m still thinking—I’m actually recording this little piece a little bit later, and I’m still thinking about several things she said.
You’re going to want to follow Jordan. You’re going to definitely enjoy her everywhere. I will make sure that over at jenhatmaker.com under the podcast tab, Amanda of course builds up this incredible page for you. We’ll have everything linked to all of her work and her spaces and The Own It Academy, all of it. That’s a one stop shop for you over there, including the written out transcript, which is a great resource.
Okay, guys. The celebration for Fierce, Free and Full of Fire continues. If you have not already pre-ordered the book, time to get cracking. You get so many good things. You get a mountain of good things when you pre-order. If you’re ever going to get it, get it before it comes out because then you get bonus stuff—including the webcast on April thirtieth with Jen, Brené Brown, Anjelah Johnson, Johnnyswim and it’s going to be really good. We’re really working to make it incredible for you. Like a virtual girls’ night in. You get that with pre-ordering the book. You can find all those details also at jenhatmaker.com.
Okay, you guys. That’s it. I’m loving this series and I’m loving you. So much more to come next week so don’t miss a single episode of this series, which is packed with awesome. All right. See you then.