This is one of our Inspirational Interviews in which we talk to people who have imagined big dreams, made them a reality, and are living a life they love. Today we are talking to Jessica about going outside her comfort zone, running half marathon, and starting a new blog that reflects her passions.
1. Tell us a little about yourself!
Hi! The short version? My name is Jessica, I’m 24 years old and I live in the Philadelphia area. I’m a public relations professional, blogger, freelance writer and runner.
2. What does living a “super awesome life” look like for you?
Living a “super awesome life” to me means taking chances and doing things that force me out of my comfort zone in order to be more fulfilled. Whether that’s doing something small like hitting publish on a personal blog post or something big like training for and running a half marathon, I’m always seeking new ways to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
3. You recently completed your mission of running 12 races in 2012 which is so incredibly awesome! Have you always been a runner?
No! In high school, I could barely run the required mile, and when I graduated from college in 2010, the word ‘exercise’ was certainly not in my vocabulary. In early 2011, dissatisfied with my body, I downloaded the Couch to 5K app and began my running journey.
Two years later, I’ve shed 30 pounds and run nearly 20 races including the iconic Broad Street Run and the Philadelphia Half Marathon. I never could have imagined that running would become such a big passion of mine, but it has truly changed my life. Running gives me a serious boost of confidence, quiets my mind and makes me feel like I can conquer the world.
If I can become a runner, literally anyone can! It’s so inspiring to know that with hard work and determination, truly anything is possible.
4. What advice do you have for other aspiring entrepreneurs who are pursuing their passions on the side, while maintaining a full-time job?
Wake up earlier! No seriously, it sounds silly, but even waking up just one hour earlier will give you a leg up on the day. I’ve found that I’m at my most creative and productive FIRST THING in the morning so I set my alarm for 5 a.m. After showering and getting ready for the day, I have about two uninterrupted hours of quiet, working time. I grab a cup of coffee, cinnamon toast and cozy up at my kitchen counter to write, whether it be for my blog or for a freelance article.
Since I started this routine about six months ago, it’s come to be my absolute FAVORITE time of the day. Between 6 and 8 a.m. my email inbox and Twitter are pretty quiet, so I’m able to take advantage of two distraction-free hours of productivity. Plus, it feels awesome to have already written a few killer blog posts before most people have even rolled out of bed.
Oh…and in case you’re not a morning person, believe me, I wasn’t either! The first few weeks of waking up early can be tough, but once it becomes a routine, I promise you’ll look forward to those precious hours of quiet time.
5. You’ve recently re-launched your blog with a new “get gutsy” theme. Can you share a bit about that?
I’d love to! I started blogging five years ago, first with a personal blog outlining my college experiences and then with a book review and writing blog. Somewhere around the beginning of 2012, I realized I had outgrown my book review blog and had cornered myself into a niche I was no longer passionate about. I took a hiatus from blogging until this past summer when I realized I didn’t NEED to have a niche to blog. I could just be myself. And after seeing this pin on Pinterest, I knew EXACTLY what I wanted my blog to be about: taking risks and not looking back.
The “Get Gutsy” theme came about as I was brainstorming names for my e-newsletter, featuring exclusive content not found on the blog. I love the word ‘gutsy’ and found that it really defined everything I was striving to communicate on my blog. Since then, “Get Gutsy” has evolved from simply the title of my e-newsletter to a series on my blog featuring readers and their personal Get Gutsy stories to the hashtag I use to promote my posts on Twitter. I also have plans to launch e-guides and courses around this theme.
6. What little things in life right now make you you do a happy dance? Big things?
The little things? A steaming cup of coffee, my favorite song coming on the radio, a funny tweet, a sparkly manicure, kisses from my puppy…the list goes on. I’m pretty easy to please.
The big things? Crossing the finish line of a race, landing a new freelance client and writing a powerful blog post that resonates with my readers.
7. In the movie of your life, who would you want to play you?
Tough question! As I thought about different actresses, I kept coming back to Audrey Hepburn. Even though she’s no longer with us, she stands for everything I think a strong woman should be: classy, determined, passionate and timeless.
8. What is one thing you’d like to change about the world?
If there were one thing I could change about the world, I’d say goodbye to all of the naysayers. So many people have big dreams, but are often too scared to pursue them because of what other people around them say.
9. What quote best represents you or motivates you in your current place in life?
Easy! It would have to be the quote that inspired my blog: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
10. What inspires you to continue living a life you love each day?
What inspires me to continue living a life I love each day is knowing that the possibilities for happiness and success are endless. I wake up each morning excited about the opportunities that lie ahead.