Hey there, entrepreneur. Welcome back!
Today, I’m honored to bring on a special guest, Jess Johnson. And we will be talking about a variety of things.
I first met Jess in the 200K Mastermind with our coach Stacey Bateman. And so, we do talk about mindset and entrepreneurship, as well as a host of all these other topics like what happened in our youth can affect us now as adults, especially in entrepreneurship, which I personally work through working with Jess myself.
So, I’ve experienced what she talks about in this blog, and have felt the benefits and the shifts, and the results in my own business, which I’m so grateful for.We also talk about intuition and how intuition might not be what you actually think it is, and if you actually even use intuition against yourself.
So, all of this and more, including topics on emotions and feelings, and what’s the difference and how they can serve you in entrepreneurship and how you might use them against yourself, and discerning the difference between emotion and feeling and EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique, we get into that type of work and how that can benefit you as well. So enjoy!
Question To Jess: Can you introduce yourself? Tell us a little bit about who you help and how you kind of evolved for you.
Jess: Yeah, awesome. Thanks for having me. I am Jess Johnson, and I’m a life coach for life coaches and other service-based entrepreneurs. And my specialty is really helping people understand their emotions, so they can calm their bodies, quiet their minds, and think clearly.
I think, you know, there’s nothing like entrepreneurship that brings up all of our stuff, all of our anxieties or insecurities, or fears. And I really like to help people understand what the difference is between what’s unsafe, and what’s unfamiliar, and really learn how to just put fear in the passenger seat and go forward with what they want to do instead of letting it stop them.
Alison: Yes! A hundred percent! I say this all the time in some of my marketing, like, mindset work is the fuel behind any strategy. And I think it’s why you can see two entrepreneurs implement the same exact strategy, for example, on Instagram or e-mails, or whatever the strategy might be, one person might really take off, and the other might not.
Some of it’s what they bring to the table to start with, but I think the mindset is a huge component of how that one entrepreneur actually got there in the first place and the action that they may or may not take versus another. And that leads to the difference, I think.
Jess: Totally, because when I talk about emotions, right, I definitely firmly believe that your thoughts create your reality. And depending on how we were raised, certain ways we grew up, the things we learned about ourselves when we were kids, the decisions we made about ourselves in the world when we were kids, really shaped who we are now.
And so, when somebody is working on a belief that they can do whatever they want, right, that success is possible for them, but, they are having constant anxiety or distracting self-doubt that is not allowing them to really take action from that place, that’s what I mean when I say I help entrepreneurs understand their emotions because that’s really what that is. It’s an emotion, this physiological response in your body that happens when you’re just really doubting that these things that you want to believe are true, or can be true for you. Lots of times, we give a lot of other people leeway in what is possible for them. And then we’re like, “I could never do that.”
Question To Jess: I love how you addressed certain beliefs that we experienced when we were kids shape our reality now, can you talk a little bit about how that happens? Just explain more.
Jess: Totally. So when, you know, when we’re little kids, we don’t have the resources to think for ourselves, right? And so a lot of our decisions, and a decision really turns into a thought that we believe and that thought that we continue to believe turns into like a core belief that we have, that we operate from, and most of these decisions were made between the ages of zero and six, because we watched our parents doing something or we affirmed our parents telling us something.
Or maybe we experienced something, like, say, you were an only child for five years, and then at age five, your parents had another baby. And that took attention away from you, like, five-year-old isn’t like, “Oh, mom needs more attention. I totally get that. Have that time for yourself and baby, mom,” right? They’re making decisions like, “Oh my god, my mom doesn’t love me anymore.” Not every five-year-old does that, right? But depending on how often you were exposed to a parent not giving you attention, and you continue to make that decision, like, “I must be unlovable, I must be unlovable,” depends on how deeply rooted that belief can be.
And because we humans are all made of energy, how I think of it, I’m a very visual person, is when significantly, like, traumatic or just disturbing or emotional events happened to us, it’s like, that piece of us kind of peels off and gets stuck in the energy fields that we all have. And I picture that kind of version of us like living Groundhog Day, that same moment, that same day, over and over and over again, making that decision over and over and over again.
And so that is why you can be moving to the world as a 44-year-old grown-up, and something happens that reminds you of that time in your life, and all of a sudden, you start maybe feeling anxious, or your heart starts pounding, or you start sweating, your body remembers what that felt like. And it starts going into that mode again. And it can be confusing, right? It seems sometimes when people feel this way, they go directly to changing their mindset like, “Oh, I have to know this isn’t true. I have to like to force myself to believe I’m safe right now,” instead of just taking a step back, acknowledging that some part of you and this moment isn’t feeling that safety.
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And this is why I think the result of managing your emotions and learning to normalize them is self-compassion. And when you’re able to give yourself self-compassion in those moments, instead of trying to force yourself to not feel the way you’re feeling anymore, that is what allows your body to settle down.
Alison: Yeah, I love that. So, a specific example could be an entrepreneur who goes to post on Instagram, and they don’t feel like, unconsciously, their nervous system, their brain views it as unsafe, or, you know, they might be judged or deemed unlovable, or unlikable by, you know, people that would see the post. So they start to experience the sweaty palms, and a racing heart, and so then they freeze, don’t post, or they flee and get distracted and move on to something else. And then that post never sees the light of day.
Jess: Yeah! Another thing I see when that happens is they then start thinking, “Something’s wrong with me,” or like, “Why can’t I get over this? I can physically, with my eyes, look around and know that I’m safe.” I see this a lot with life coaches, right, who kind of quote-unquote, know mindset work and then can’t know how to kind of shift their thoughts, and they immediately try to go and choose something positive to think in those moments, and that just kind of just really piles a bit of shame on top of that.
And so, we can just accept like, “I am having this moment right now where I’m really scared of somebody judging me.” And yes, I know that every time I expose myself to the world, I’m opening myself up for judgment. That doesn’t feel good, right? And we’re allowed to own that. We don’t have to pretend it’s going to be positive. Like when I hear people say,”Oh, I don’t care what other people think,” it’s never true. We always care about what people think. The trick is knowing whose opinions really matter to us, and how to take care of ourselves when we are feeling hurt that somebody doesn’t like what we have to say, because it’s a thing, and that’s okay.
Alison: Yeah, exactly. And so, one of the keys with this work I found personally is to slow down, become aware, and then take the moment to, I call it honor, honor what I’m feeling in the moment. And that actually was like, you know, I had lots of thoughts about that, like, I don’t have time for that. But then I realized, actually, this helps me to create more time, and it really doesn’t take that much time.
Jess: Yeah. And think about the time that you spend, trying to force the truth of whatever you’re thinking or feeling away is vastly more time and energy than just sitting with something. Like how often do people resist crying, right? And then they have, like, a really good crying bout in the shower, and they feel so much better?
Question To Jess: So, something you said earlier was very interesting. And, you know, it’s said a lot in the mindset coaching world, even in, you know, decades ago with the secret and the law of manifestation, how our thoughts do create our reality. Did you immediately find that to be true for yourself and believe that immediately, or how did you come to believe that fully yourself?
Jess: That’s a good question. Without even being conscious, there were certain things that I just believed about myself. I think when I first heard the idea that your thoughts create your reality, yeah, I was pretty bought in. And then I kind of went down a little bit of a rabbit hole, though, where I neglected the emotional piece.
And I think that’s why I am so passionate about giving people the language and helping them understand the difference between your thoughts creating your reality, and also like owning that our body has physiological responses, which are emotions, that you can’t necessarily just mindset your way out of. It requires an understanding of what’s going on and why you think the way you do when we’re doing mindset work, and we know this idea, like our thoughts create our reality, it’s not about forcing ourselves to believe something we don’t, right?
If I today, believe there’s a 0% chance that I can make a million dollars by next year, like I’m not in, but I want to believe that, I’m not going to force myself to just be like, “Oh, no, I can do this,” right?
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Alison: I didn’t believe that thought for a long time, thoughts create reality, because I’d worked with affirmations, and I was like, “But they don’t work,” you know. And it was really for me, it didn’t fully click until, like you said, where I brought in that emotional component and feeling more into my body. Because my emotions, and maybe we can talk about the difference between emotions and feelings, but it would happen so fast. Like, my emotion and my thought were so intertwined I couldn’t separate them until I started really doing the work and again, slowing down, and then I started seeing how, what I was feeling a lot of the times would drive what I was thinking, and that would cause me to show up, like the actions I would take or not take. So for me, it was kind of like a backward into it, but that’s how I finally started being like, “Oh, that’s actually kind of true.”
Jess: Yeah. So here’s how I think about affirmations, too. Affirmations are really just thoughts that we want to have, and one of my values is specificity. So, sometimes they see like affirmations that just say like, you know, I am whole, I am worthy. Things like that which is great that I think, like, being able to be specific in that for you and know what that means is step one to allowing affirmations or thoughts to work for you. And also knowing that it is not a problem when you feel resistance to believing those things. That’s just your work, right?
Alison: And your growth edge, so to speak.
Jess: Exactly. And when you’re in control of your emotions, and you know that, you know you can take care of yourself, that’s what manifestation is about. It’s not about making a wish, and hoping that it comes true. It’s about setting your intention on something, and then choosing to take the course of action that allows you to access that belief for yourself.
And that isn’t going to look like a lot of action that other people see. The most important action that we take in this journey is the action that nobody but us sees. The rest of people might beg they’ll notice the results of that. But those things are like the way we speak to ourselves in our heads, what we do when we’re getting ready to do that post, and we’re just trying to force ourselves to get there instead of taking a step back and taking a couple minutes to check in, because maybe it’s unsafe to post that thing today, maybe it’s fear of judgment, or maybe it’s your intuition trying to get your attention to let you know, like, “Hey, we don’t actually believe that,” right?
I say that because sometimes, I’ve been working with people, and what they’re doing is trying to force themselves to emulate somebody else. And so maybe they actually have a different opinion, but they don’t feel like they can actually share that. And so, they’re trying to make it something else. And so, we can have a lot of these feelings that make us feel unsafe, but really, it is our intuition or kind of that highest self that we all have just saying, “Hey, this is not in alignment with who we are.”
Alison: Yeah, yeah. When you started, when you brought up the “I am” statements, they can be because you’re talking to a lot of wellness entrepreneurs, so energy workers, chakra workers, healers, so the “I am” statements, they can be so powerful. And for me again, like a decade ago, when I was studying the chakras and using the chakras, it was just like, I felt like it was a three dimensional or I guess people say 5D reality, but it was like a piece of paper like I would just say the sentence and you could feel the vibration, but it was just saying it.
But now, when I say an “I am” statement, and I relate it to a chakra and my body, the difference is that I relate the “I am” sentence to me personally like you’re saying the specificity. And second, I feel an emotion in my body when I do that. So, there is a shift involved, like where maybe I go from being slightly anxious or fearful to when I’m meditating on this, then I might feel more certain or often grounded and calm, depending on what chakra or energy center I’m working with. And that has been so powerful as well. So, there are so many layers involved, I feel, with all this work.
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Jess: Yeah. And I think one of the things that I see, one of the conscious thoughts that I see that get in the way of a lot of energy workers and healers, like specifically, and even if they don’t have that background, is something unconscious is in my way right now. Right? That thought right then is usually the thought that is prohibiting somebody from taking action. Because it stops them really from doing the exploration, and they’re just like, “Oh, it’s something unconscious, don’t do anything about it,” or “I have to wait this out,” or something like that.
There’s still so much we can be moving towards and without knowing specifically, where did these things come from? Why am I like this? We can make lots of decisions right here, right now, about who we want to be and how we want to show up, and most importantly, how we want to care for ourselves in moments where we feel fear, anxiety, self-doubt, insecurity‘s up. And I think that is always so important to learn how to cultivate the patience to choose, to give yourself the space and grace to do that.
Question To Jess: I’m kind of curious, and this might be a little off-topic, but you mentioned intuition. And I read a book, I think it was last year, I want to say, I don’t know if it was that book by Blink, or it was a book by that same author, it was about intuition. And their theory on intuition was similar to your theory that you said, our intuition is actually built from our experiences as a child that becomes so ingrained in our neural pathways, in our unconscious, in our being, that we don’t realize like our intuitive nudges are actually filtered in the path, through our own selective biases that are developed as a child. And so that personally caused me to kind of just slow a bit and get curious about my own intuition and my nudges and being like, Okay, where’s this nudge coming from? Is it coming from a base past, like, fear I had? The nudge is self-protective, and does it really serve me? What’s your take?
Jess: Yeah, I think that’s completely true. And I think that’s why it’s so important to explore everything, even the things that we think we really believe in service right now. That might be true, but there also still might be an update, right? And I think of just intuition, in this inner knowing, maybe I’m like, thinking on the fly here because even as you say this, it’s just an interesting conversation. Are they separate sides? Because, like, if we go by the definition, that you are just kind of saying, I think even our intuition can be challenged sometimes for the exact reason that you’ve just said, and we get to sit with that, right? And pay attention to our inner knowing, listen, feel for that, and see what is ours from the past and what is ours right now, and make choices about what we want to believe, but the information that we have in this moment, not from before. So yeah, I buy that.
Alison: Yeah, so I’ve been, like, having a different lens on my intuition, especially because I’ve been doing this work so much regarding my past and working, healing that, or whatever term you want to say that I’m like maybe sometimes I thought it was intuition, but really, it was like a self-protective, it was actually my nervous system, just a self-protective mechanism trying to “keep me safe,” which, you know, is all for a good thing, positive intention. But now I can be more aware.
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Jess: I mean, yes, I think like the nervous system, you know, the amygdala, that part of our brain where the fight-flight on freeze, like responses, are how, it’s like the most well-intentioned part of our brain but not the smartest, as they think everything looks like danger. And yeah, so I’m like, distracted by this intuition thought, my brain was like going to work thinking about that more.
Question To Jess: So, tell us a little bit more about the difference between being unsafe and unfamiliar.
Jess: Yes. So, I think that, I often kind of see this, that there’s a lot, and I think this is an amazing thing, that in the last couple of years, we are having such an open dialogue about trauma, and different experiences of all of us and extending compassion to ourselves and others knowing that we all come and we’re all shaped from different experiences. And our job isn’t to, you know, necessarily even understand somebody else’s experience. I’m not going to understand, as a white woman, the actual experience of a black woman growing up in the South. Right? But it is my responsibility to listen and not take things personally. And when we come back to like that, and so I think that’s something that everybody should know. Right?
But sometimes, one of the ways that I see people using this dialog against themselves is in assigning any negative emotion, getting wrapped ready to do something, stepping out of their comfort zone as unsafe, and really being able to tease out, do I feel unsafe, because there is something unresolved, some trauma, some part of me that’s remembering something terrible hole that I went through in the past?
Or is this something that, “Of course, I feel this way, I’ve never done it before, I don’t know how it’s going to turn out, I don’t know if somebody’s going to say something really hurtful to me, or if they’re going to tell me, like I’m wrong about something,” those are two really big fears that people have about putting themselves out there. And that is very different from what the body feels from this like unsafe angle. And I just think again, specificity and words are so important.
And so when you feel that coming up, this unsafe feeling, being able to check in and asking again, what is this about? Is it literally unsafe? Does my body feel like this is unsafe? Or is it feeling this way because I’ve never done this before, and that is pretty scary? But I can get myself through it or not, right? And that just becomes like, “Okay, then what do I need to help pull myself so I can go and do this thing that I want to do?”
Alison: Yeah, exactly. And I think that happens for entrepreneurs at different levels. So you can, as you’re starting out, there are a lot of those feelings as you try to figure everything out. And then you’re like, you get more signing some clients, you get the ball rolling, and you begin to feel more comfortable. And you can stay there, and that’s fine. But some of you will want to grow again, and maybe change your offer or change your price or start a group or change something, and then you enter it again.
Jess: Yes. And it never has to be a problem, right? One of the things I see is people being, “Oh, I thought I was through this again.” Then they piled the shame on top of whatever it is they’re really feeling, right? And they’re just like, “Oh, I thought I was over this. I thought I’ve done this all before. Why is this like feeling this way again?” right? But you really haven’t because you are doing something different.
And there are layers to us humans. And when we know that, like, “Oh, this is just the next layer coming up for me, and it’s coming up for me because now it’s ready to work on,” then we can just allow ourselves again, extend that compassion, love the parts of us that are experiencing that fear, and take care of ourselves to that, and then make decisions about what we want to do next.
Alison: Yeah. And I think you just opened up something. Like this work, it creates choices and options for ourselves.
Jess: Oh, totally, like clear, clear ones in alignment with what we want and a value system and things like that.
Question To Jess: What is the difference between emotions and feelings? Because sometimes I see them used interchangeably, and then sometimes there’s like a clear discernment between the two. And is it important anyways?
Jess: I think that again, when we’re talking about specificity, yeah, it’s important. Emotions, there’s really like, six core emotions, and then our feelings are underneath that, right? So, if we say that happiness is one of the core emotions and under that is joy and excitement and like a break it all down. Right? And under sadness would be like feeling lonely and like all that, follow that there.
And so, I think feelings give us the words to describe, they give us better descriptors of what is feeling. When I think about emotions, I really pay attention to sensations in the body and like, the more that I sit with the specific feelings I’m having and can lead them back to emotions, and then I can know where certain emotions live in my body.
Fear is very much prevalent in my solar plexus, anxiety is always in my throat. And so that helps me when I’m going through something. And then I’m like, “Oh, I’m anxious about this.” And then I tune into, like, this feeling in my solar plexus. And I’m like, “Oh, I’m scared or something. What am I scared of?”
Alison: Yeah. And then what do you do?
Jess: I use Emotional Freedom Techniques. In addition, and so I combine the two. It’s the way I combine energy work with mindset work, because I think that there is just nothing that I found, and I’m a former therapist, too. I was an Army. I’ve worked in corrections. I was a therapist for 12 years prior to pivoting to the coaching world, and I just really have not seen anything or experienced anything like EFT that allows you to quickly and gently get to the root of what is going on with you.
A lot of times, people think of EFT, is this tool to be able to help you shift out of an emotion. Like, that’s frequently what I hear, but like, what EFT allows you to do is feel your feelings safely. And then your feelings give you or your emotions give you information and EFT just quiet things down so much.
And then you’re able to kind of see like, “Oh, I’m actually not angry at this person. I’m sad that this other thing ever happened to me,” and then you know what to problem solve for instead of getting caught up in a game of telephone, set our brains and bodies like to give us, like passing all the way down through the years of our lives. Right?
Alison: Sure. Yeah. And I love doing EFT in the moment. Going back to what we were talking about earlier when I am feeling something and just to honor that and I can be present with it and tap with it, and sometimes that’s just it.
Jess: Yeah. And I think that the thing to remember too, is that the purpose of processing emotion is not to not feel it anymore, it’s to again, learn what it has to tell you.
I talk a lot about how our emotions carry information for us. And so, EFT allows you to learn what that information is because you’re able to feel that, let it kind of move through you. And sometimes, it’s still there. Right? If you have fear of uncertainty, that is a very normal experience to have when you’re getting ready to have uncertainty. But the difference is, is this going to stop me or not? EFT allows you to just really, fully, full body experience what it is like to be like, “Oh, of course I’m scared. That’s not going to stop me.” Versus, “Oh, my God. I’m scared. This is unsafe.”
Alison: Yeah, paralyzing almost. Yeah, that’s what I exactly still feel but I’m able to literally, sometimes when I used to feel anxiety or fear, it would come together like a panic and that would cause me to freeze. And literally, I felt like I was doing things like if I looked back on my day, I’d be like, “Oh, I got so much done,” but then if I was actually to break it down, I wasn’t. I was just kind of frozen, thinking I was doing things, and that would end up in a lot of exhaustion. So, it gives me the brain space to again honor what’s going on for me, but then I can think logically about it because it frees my brain from that primal response and it moves it back to like the higher learning centers or the frontal learning.
Jess: Yeah. Because what you’re doing, the points that are used in EFT are connected to the central nervous system. And again, because I’m such a visual person, I literally imagine, because with EFT, for anybody who doesn’t know, you’re tapping on energy meridian points around your body, the central nervous system. And I picture it as a little kid having a tantrum. And you would just be rubbing their back and saying, “Oh, get it all out, I’m listening.” Right?
That’s what EFT allows you to do, to really speak the truth of how you’re thinking or feeling and combine that with an affirmation of acceptance, right? That you’re not trying to force yourself to believe something that you don’t. You’re just saying, even though I’m having a hard time, and this is what it feels like, I accept myself, I honor how I’m feeling. And when we think about wanting validation from others or others to witness or see us so often, that’s got to start with us first.
Not doing that for ourselves, then somebody else can be telling us all day long what a great job we’re doing. Right? We don’t believe it, but we’re unable to just extend that to us first. That is what causes the release. That’s what allows EFT, what makes it feel so good to our bodies. Because all of a sudden, all of these parts of us that are like, “My God, nobody’s going to love me if I show up this way, if they know this thing really about me,” and being able to give that gift to ourselves of self-acceptance, even with those things, allows the body to relax and then the brain (inaudible).
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Alison: And then you can maybe even learn and embrace that, and then it becomes strength.
Jess: Yeah, or not, right?
Alison: That’s happened to me, where I really started to embrace my differences and kind of my quirkiness or how I viewed life or stuff I’ve gone through. It’s what makes me different, and I can provide different perspectives, instead of putting myself down for that or thinking it was wrong or whatever.
Jess: We come to a new appreciation of those things, right? My husband always says to me, he will be like, “Oh, I’m so glad you love me despite X, Y or Z.” And I’m like, “I actually love you because of those things.”
One of the things that happened to me, particularly with my husband, and I noticed I started doing this with my husband, and then I started kind of applying it to myself when I get agitated with him, especially if it’s something that keeps coming up over and over again, right? He doesn’t like to plan anything or put anything on a calendar. And I just stepped back and asked myself, if I changed this thing about him, if I could make him into this super duper planner, and I would never have to remind him of anything again, but that would mean that something I adore about him gets altered or taken away. Would I do that? And that’s just not what I want. The answer has never been yes so far.
Alison: That’s an interesting game.
Jess: Yeah, I think that a lot. And that just helps me. I think it certainly started helping me extend him grace, and then I started kind of using that on myself too. So instead of being frustrated that it is often difficult for me to focus, and I go down rabbit holes and things like that. But I also know that I’m unique and creative and I am self-aware enough to know that about my brain that I just don’t make it a problem. I just say, “Okay, I can take care of myself if I lose my train of thought or my mind starts wanting to go down rabbit holes.”
And I really believe in empowerment over positivity. I wanted to say, when we were talking about what’s the difference? Well, I just think that when we’re feeling bad about something, and people immediately try to shift and force themselves to think positive, “I have to positively think. I can’t think about that. I need to be grateful for where I am right now.” First of all, we are allowed to feel grateful for everything that we’ve had while also wanting more. It doesn’t mean that we’re selfish or we haven’t done enough or anything like that. And we don’t have to immediately find the silver lining in anything because again, that often invalidates whatever experience that we’re having in the moment. It makes us feel shame for feeling the way that we do. And so, when positivity and don’t get me wrong, I think positive thinking is amazing, right? But in the moments where that feels really hard to do, being able instead to reach well, like, “What’s the most empowering thing I can think right now,” it’s going to get you into that problem-solving mode. It’s going to put you back in control, and that will allow you eventually to reach for the positive. Right?
Alison: Yeah. I love that. So much wisdom here today.
Question To Jess: Is there any other parting words of wisdom or thoughts or insights that you’d like to share with everyone?
Jess: I think we’ve covered most of them because especially that empowerment over positivity, I think, is such an important note to really end on, like reach for empowerment. If all else fails, it will get you to where you want to go and what you want to feel.
Alison: I love that.
Question To Jess: And where can they find you?
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