March 17, 2014

Living with Purpose in Life and Business

Living with Purpose in Life and Business


12 hours after arriving in Santa Barbara, California for the UNITED 2014 Conference I ran into Kevin Sturm. He’s such an amazing guy who heads up planning UNITED. He comes to me and says “Hey! So did you talk to Meg? Cause I’m wondering if you two can move your talk up to Monday at 1?”

My response –  “Pshh ya of course we can! We’ll figure it out.”

Inside… HOLY SHIT!  Meg Courtney and I had some amazing opportunities over the last few weeks to talk at UNITED 2014 and also at WPPI about Specialism and designing a business that cares about you. Meg and I aren’t planners. There is no secret to that. We thrive on spontaneity and impulsiveness. Thus why we said YES we’d love to talk on Monday (which is TOMORROW) instead of Wednesday. But the truth is, our talk wasn’t ready. We spent days over skype building an outline. And really it didn’t take us days, we just would get distracted by sunshine and guacamole. Living in different countries and the two of us ALWAYS on the road we decided to make an outline and then Sunday before UNITED we’d sit down and put together our talk. We’d have 3 days to get it together. No big deal.

Well now we had 24 hours. So we went shopping.

While shopping we were reminded of a conversation with our business coach, Jeff Jochum.  He once told us to just get drunk and things will flow and before we know it we’ll have our talk. So we hit up the hotel bar for appetizers and drinks. Although we forgot to order the appetizers, oops! And 2 hours later we had one slide made, an intro video and a $110 bar
tab. A run in the ocean, comfy clothes, and food had us back on track. Sitting in the lobby til 3am.

We went through each point that we wanted to make and who should take the lead on that point. And up came ‘Giving your business a purpose.’ We quickly decided I would take the lead on that point. Ya, ya. Cool.

This last year I discovered and began owning my purpose. And I’ve shared it with others, one-on-one or in small groups. But I had yet to share it with a room of 100 or more people staring at me. It’s personal. I played it off to Meg that ya I could do it and not cry. Honestly I didn’t know if I could. But, if I did, oh well. This is me unapologetically being me. Authentic and raw. And the first time I shared it, I cried. And the response has been overwhelming. I shared it again at WPPI and now I’m sharing it here. To encourage you to find your purpose.

When I was 12 years old my dad passed away at the age of 33 from a massive heart attack. THIRTY THREE YEARS OLD. I am my fathers daughter to the core. And honestly, for most of my life that scared me. He didn’t leave behind a legacy. I can’t tell you much about him. He didn’t change the world. He didn’t make a huge impact on people and their lives. He had a lot of friends, but didn’t make a difference. He worked A LOT. Sometimes 4 jobs at once. And not his dream jobs. He didn’t pursue any passion. And he was unhappy. As much as he tried to play off he was happy, he wasn’t. He suppressed his unhappiness with more work and lots of alcohol. Don’t get me wrong, he wasn’t a bad person. But he did show me a life I didn’t want. Yet I’m like him in so many ways. I feared I would be the same way. Until I decided that wasn’t for me. I would CHOOSE something else. That I would use this as the push to live differently. His life showed me how short this life is. And I’m damn certain it’s going to be sweet. My 5 year old, my family, my friends, my clients, will have something to share about me when I’m gone. They will know what I stood for. And I will have impacted their lives in some way. I refuse to just exist. 

I jump before I can talk myself out of it, because I don’t want to miss out. I’d rather make the wrong decision quickly than the right one too late. I believe in taking chances, there is no better time than the present. I believe that a failure isn’t failing, unless you don’t get back up. I believe in living out loud. Why not? What have you got to lose? Great reward is only found with great risk.

I dare people to do epic shit. To stop overthinking and live in the moment. You’re only guaranteed now. I show them how. And I give them that little push to do it. Once they do, they do it on there own from there out. They just need to believe they’re capable. They, YOU, are.

Photography just happens to be the tool I’m using to share that. To reach people. To dare them. It’s more than just a photo. I’m focused on encouraging, pushing, DARING people to (as my friend Andrew calls it) have “an attitude of reckless abandon towards enjoying life.” It’s much richer when you do. I don’t want you to let it pass you by.

Don’t just exist. Have purpose, focus, reason. Why do you do what you do? Live a life you are proud of. A life that you’d be proud of your children to live, and share. This life is yours for the taking. What are you doing with it? Are you proud of it? What are you leaving behind? What will others remember about you? I know this isn’t easy to answer. But it’s beyond worth it to think about it and discover what it is.

Yes, I’m daring you right now! 😉





Speaking United WPPI_0001
Thank you so much to Mary Marantz, Suzy Van Dyke, Alyssa Turner, Jeremy Kester, Maggie Henriques, & Matthew Coppersmith for snapping some pics of us and sharing. We appreciate you and everyone else SO much!

And I have to gives some serious love to my business coach, Jeff Jochum. Papa Jeff. He is like a father to me. I even bum him for coffee money as if I really am his kid 😉  He helped me break down these walls of fear that I put up. Thinking I was protecting myself from living a life like my father when really putting up those walls I was living the exact same life. I’m living life to it’s fullest because of him. Thank you, Papa.

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  1. Meg Courtney

    March 17th, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    YES. SO grateful for you sister. Love you like family, and this trip is one I will remember for a lifetime. I am SO freakin proud of you. Big things my friend, big things. #bestfriendsweirdstories <3 <3 <3

  2. Kelley Jo Spurlock

    March 17th, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    Freaking AWESOME!! I can totally relate to this. My dad died when I was 16, and although he did live as much as he could, he was always hanging on for retirement. And he never got it. I refuse to have the same fate. I will make my life rich and fulfilling, and I will take chances, and yea, I might be afraid, but that sure as hell won’t stop me!

    Get it girl! I’m SO happy for you!!

  3. Jeff Jochum

    March 17th, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    dammit Jackie… you made me cry. I love you.

  4. Tori Pintar

    March 17th, 2014 at 10:55 pm

    Love this. Those words for your daughter at United, they hit me too!! 🙂

  5. Emily J Photographer

    March 17th, 2014 at 11:18 pm

    I’m on the beginning of this journey. Boy is it hard, but if I can live with the joy and purpose that you do then it will be more than worth it. What is my purpose? To celebrate life. To celebrate who you are. To be unashamedly proud of accomplishments and to learn to rejoice in failures because they make you better. More than anything I want mothers to celebrate the dirty diapers and the sleepless nights to be proud of the sacrifices they have made and the millions of lives they have changed by raising a child. I want them to stop worrying about how Jane down the street cloth diapers or Sue on the internet disciplines. I want them to make their own choices and their own path confident in who they are, without judging others or putting them down. I want them to recognize themselves as the superheroes that they are.

  6. Sarah Roshan

    March 17th, 2014 at 11:57 pm

    Love you lady!!!

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