Change empowerment

Against All Odds: Meet Jess Lively

Tuesday, June 17, 2014 Joshua Beck

A common thread woven throughout many of these stories is that of change. If there is one thing that Jess Lively of is capable of, it is braving change. JFK once stated, “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” In our day and age, this concept is something we must embrace; yet so many people become crippled with fear by it. Change can truly be empowering and Jess is a prime example of this.

Jess began her career in the jewelry business. At the ripe age of 15, she started selling what she lovingly describes as, “ugly ankle bracelets at the pool one summer”. This summer business led to a full time career post college.

When most of her friends were picking up corporate jobs, Jess was braving change and picking up her life to build her company in the heart of Lakeview, Chicago. Over time, she was able to develop her Jess LC brand into a profitable and growing company only to close it down after 5 years of success. Why, you ask? Well, because is inevitable and she had a true calling waiting for her. This calling was, “to help people with a book, TV show, or any other way that [she] could spread [her] message of simplifying life.” Despite icky breakups, ups and downs and a not always clear future, Jess maintained her composure and direction.

While Jess grew her brand she started a blog, which led to opportunities in consulting with small business owners. In 2009, when she launched that blog it began to garner a mighty following and Jess saw the opportunity to help people immediately through the words on her blog. In November of 2012, Jess closed up he jewelry shop and decided to pursue her budding opportunity to help people design lives and businesses with intention.

In 2013, she stopped consulting to truly put her energy into her plans of continuing to develop her “with intention” site and online workshops. Despite all of these changes, many of which were intentional, Jess thrived and continued to forge on. The reality is, unlike many people, Jess realized that she may have seemed to have it all, but she didn’t want it all. She had to find balance and dialed back to just focus on the direction her instincts led her in.

Jess realized her calling early on. While in college she had her “aha!” moment. She constantly struggled with her need to please others, her weight and doing what she thought was right. She was miserable. She knew there had to be some other way. Jessica quotes an excerpt from the artist Michelangelo she read years ago that highlights how Michelangelo only, “had to see the potential in the stone and remove what was covering it to reveal the beauty underneath.” In that moment, Jess realized where her stress was coming from. She spent 7 years after that moment, trying to understand what this idea meant and how to implement it in her life.

The basis behind the ideals of intention is rooted in Jess’ belief that society teaches us to focus on achievements as a direct correlation to success and that leads to happiness, but she feels that it doesn’t work this way. She preaches what she calls a “value based perspective.” This means, “we have to think about what our values are in the present moment and embody those values in our every day life despite the circumstances and this ultimately leads to joy and successes.” This inherently leads to the removal of the everyday stresses and “should-haves” and “have-tos.”

Rather than utilizing plans or goals at motivators, Jess suggests that people have “optimal visions” and truly understand their values to live in the present moment and continue their momentum forward. When this is done properly, things occur naturally. Rather than trying to force something or stressing over things not happening according to a timeline, this type of thinking helps people develop in a much healthier manner and think in a different way.

In conjunction with all the great opportunities Jess has uncovered this year, she continues to teach through online workshops and share her passions on living a life with intention through her podcast: The Lively Show, which can be found on

When asked what kind of advice she could offer anyone feeling lost from a professional standpoint she had the following to say: “Our purpose in life is universal and it is to serve and help others and that in of itself will help to create fulfillment. Even if you are in a role you hate, doing what you can to serve where you are, but realizing you don’t have to stay, will make the difference in feeling fulfillment and joy. Then figuring out what is most important to you and finding a path that will allow you to serve in alignment with those values.” This approach can be applied to any situation in your life, not just business, but personal as well. That is the beauty behind it. The strength that can be generated from it is amazing and can empower people to change their lives.

To read this article and many others check out our summer issue here!

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