Jessica is a leader in the personal development space. Her positive attitude and tell-it-like-it-is style is refreshing and inspiring. Jessica has personally been a huge influence in my life, guiding me through deep self exploration, showing me how to honor and respect myself, and cheering me towards action that brings me closer to my dreams and passions. She is seriously one of the most authentic and strong people I’ve ever encountered.
Jessica is a life fulfillment coach, psychotherapist, and author. She teaches corporate workshops, speaks around the country, and conducts a private coaching practice. Her goal is to help those around her accomplish magnificent things in their lives.
Surprisingly, Jessica has dealt with challenges of her own. Before becoming a therapist and life coach, there was a time when, she too, felt totally uninspired, stuck, and disconnected from a life aligned with her dreams and passions. I asked her to share her journey, thoughts, and advice with Live By Design readers in hopes that it will show you that we all have our ups and downs, and we all have the power to design a different outcome.
Name: Jessica Butts
Location: Seattle, WA
Current Title: Owner, Jessica Butts Counseling
Education: B.A. Psychology, Central Washington University; Masters in Psychology, Leadership Institute of Seattle
What is your story up until this point? What were the major influences in your life?
From a very early age, I felt like a weirdo. For a long period of time, I used to think my family was from a different planet, and I’d feel left out as if they all had some sort of bond that I wasn’t a part of.
I was a very instinctive, intuitive person and my family was the opposite (sensing). I thought about the world through impressions, meaning, and possibility, while my family understood the actual, present, practical, current, and real.
Throughout high school, I formed a bond with one of my teachers who gave me my first introduction to leadership and personal development. This teacher got me involved in activities that rewarded my intuitiveness. It was the first time I felt there were other people out there like me. And so he was a huge, huge influence on my life.
After that, I went to normal undergraduate school and met my husband when I was just 20 years old. I did the normal thing. I got the job, I married the guy, and around my early 30s I started to get this itch that I needed to be doing something different. I felt I had designed the wrong life for myself.
I was in corporate America, I was making a lot of money, I was married to a guy who was not at all willing to support me quitting my job and going back to graduate school. And so for a number of years, I was very, very unhappy. I felt very stuck. I knew, with 100% certainty, that I was supposed to be doing something else with my life. And, it makes me cry to think about, it was just SO painful.
As fate would have it, my company was doing voluntary layoffs at the exact moment of this very painful point in my life. Even though I was the most senior person on my team, and likely going to be “safe” through the layoffs, I walked in to the office and volunteered to take the layoff. I just knew I was supposed to be doing other things with my life.
After that, I went back to graduate school, and completely started my life over. And I started embracing the real me. I started hanging out with likeminded ‘weirdos’ and entrepreneurs.
My husband was pissed. He truly couldn’t support me moving towards a life that suited the real me. So I left him. So that’s kind of my back story.
And that brings us to the present day. I’m 42 years-old, and I do what I want. I live this amazing life that I have created for myself. I’m a psychotherapist, coach, and author. I could not be happier.
What was the tipping point? What pushed you over the ledge to do what you needed to do?
A couple of things and they all happened by the universe completely intervening.
First of all, it was my company saying they were giving us voluntary layoffs and giving us a generous severance. I thought, if I say no to that, I am slapping the universe in the face. The universe is giving me what I’ve been asking it for.
The second piece, a Myers Briggs group was getting together to talk about their experiences. Every single person in that room, besides me, was doing what I wanted to be doing. They were either doing consulting, coaching, or being therapists and using Myers Briggs in some form.
Also, every person in the room kept talking about this place called LIOS. I had never heard of it. I approached the group afterwards and asked them to tell me what LIOS was because it was clearly where I needed to be.
LIOS stood for the Leadership Institute of Seattle.
So, on Monday morning at 8am, I drove to the LIOS campus and just walked in to the registrar’s office and said “Hi. I need to enroll. Who do I talk to?”
The lady just looked at me like I was bat-shit crazy, but I was in the right office within ten minutes and that’s how it all started.
My husband, at the time, was completely unsupportive. He wanted all of the details, he wanted the how, he wanted the numbers, he wanted everything. I just didn’t have it for him. I just knew that this was what I supposed to be doing. And so I went to school without his support and it was, by far, the most incongruent two and a half years of my entire life. Just completely incongruent, my home life vs what I wanted to be doing and it just slowly started to separate from there.
Tell us about your business and what you do.
I am a psychotherapist. I do relationship coaching, and I am a life fulfillment coach. I coach mostly entrepreneurial women.
I also do group coaching for intuitive types only. And my niche really is that I only work with intuitive types.
I am also the author of the book Live Your Life From the Front Seat.
What are your tips for people who feel stuck right now? For people that are surrounded by naysayers?
- Trust your gut. Because that knowing, that believing – that is a sign.
- Find the people that do get it! Find your people. Find your tribe.
- Find other people that are doing what you want to be doing because they will inspire the hell out you. Hang out with them.
- Just do it. Just do something about it. Take the leap. Find the coach that has done it before, find the people that have done it before you and follow them.
- Don’t dismiss universal signs. Things do not happen via coincidence. Was I offered a layoff at the perfect time just because? No. It was a sign! Everything lined up, but I had to be paying attention. I could have very well made a decision out of fear and worry and doubt, and instead I just saw it as what it was. It was a signal. Instead I chose to be optimistic. I was excited, I chose to believe it as a sign. There are so many people that make decision out of fear, and that is what keeps you being stuck. Period. Sometimes you just have to do whatever it is.
What is Myers Briggs, and what is your personal Myers Briggs type?
Myers Briggs is the most widely used personality assessment tool in the world, and in my opinion, the best assessor of a person’s innate, essential self – how you were born in to this world.
Myers Briggs sorts personality traits into four opposite pairs, or “dichotomies.” This is the start of the Myers-Briggs assessment process. It helps normalize much of our human behavior and highlights our unique, innate gifts and qualities.
I use Myers Briggs to help people understand themselves and design their lives around their innateness. Things are easier when we design our lives around who we really are. It’s always been my number one passion.
I am an ENFJ, which means I am an Extroverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Judging type.
What does it mean to live your life in the front seat?
Myer Briggs can be too complex for people to understand, so I created the analogy to explain it. My analogy is of the car, which is made up of the driver, the co-pilot, the drunk uncle, and the baby in the backseat.
Living your life from the front seat is firstly, understanding your personality and your innateness. Spending at least 80% of your time (personal, business, career) doing things that are innate to you – meaning, how you were created in this world. We all have unique abilities and things that we are good at, it is just simply, learning what those things are and then spending your time doing them more often than not.
And then there is the backseat. Your backseat is all of the activities that you suck at that you should stop doing. The best way to get yourself out of the backseat is through front seat activities. Every Myers Briggs type has different front seat activities. For example, intuitive feelers, are big picture thinkers. We like to be with people we can have deep connections with. We like to be creative. Deeply connected, creative activities put us in our front seats. Sensing Perceiving types (SPs) are the opposite. SPs like data and details and prefer to be in their head.
There is not a one size fits all solution to get each type in to their front seats, and I don’t coach different personality types the same way. You have to coach people in to their front seats differently based on their type.
Ultimately, I am trying to help people to tap in to what they are innately and naturally good at. Not things the world tells people they should be good at, or things our jobs tell us we should be good at, but what you are innately good at. And that is a big differentitor because a lot of people have learned behaviors and have learned to be good at things that they actually suck at – and it’s not a good use of people’s time or energy.
We all have unique abilities and things that we are good at, it is just simply, learning what those things are and then spending 80% of your time doing them.
What was it like to launch a business? What were some of the biggest adjustments or struggles? How did you overcome them?
It was the most exhilarating and terrifying time of my life. I didn’t have a coach, and I had no idea what I was doing. But I was so determined, and I had the end in mind. I had the vision that I’m living right now.
I’d get dressed up, and go to my office everyday, even when I had no clients yet. And I’d spend my time teaching myself how to run a business.
I’m not going to lie, I had at least two incredibly memorable moments where I kind of made a deal with God. I got on my knees in my office and would look out my window thinking, “God, I need your help. I am doing everything I’m supposed to doing. I’m getting pressure from everywhere. I don’t have any money. I need this to work.” These were literally on-my-knees moments. I would pray.
I did everything I was supposed to do – I networked, I believed, I manifested, I meditated, I put myself out there, I built a website, and I spent money that I didn’t have…because I knew what the end result was.
And so it is a process that I love helping people through now because I know how hard it is…and it takes a few years, it truly does. You’ve just got to believe.
Now that you have made it this far on your journey, what tools do you use to continue developing and growing? What inspires you and keeps you motivated?
- My clients. I’m super lucky that I work for awesome people that keep me inspired.
- I always have a coach. Always work with someone that has bigger visions than I do, and is just further along than I am. She’s not necessarily better, she’s just further along. I hire the person who is where I want to be.
- I practice what I preach. I do everything I tell my clients to do. I work really hard. I have a great coach. I work with an energy healer, that helps keep me grounded. I try to keep a balance between working hard during the week and relaxing on the weekend. I take vacation.
What has been the most memorable moment of your career so far?
Probably my book, Live Your Life From the Front Seat. But not the book itself. My book is bigger than its physical existence. It was the process of creating it that helped me get very clear about what my message is. It helped me learn how to take a stand for what I believe in – and that has been the defining moment.
What advice would you give yourself 10-15 years ago?
Just do it. ‘F’ what everyone else says. Screw the naysayers. There are going to people out there that will tell you you’re not going to be able to what you want to do. To that I say, “You’re wrong.”
Back 10-15 years ago, I knew what I was supposed to be doing, but I let society talk me out of it, I let fear talk me out of it, I let my husband talk me out of it, I let myself talk me out of it.
The advice I would have given myself would be ignore all the doubters and negative energy.
But you know, I’ll also say, that that’s part of my story. I love that question, but I believe that it takes the time that it takes. I am where I am because of what I went through.
Just do it. ‘F’ what everyone else says. Screw the naysayers. There are going to people out there that will tell you you’re not going to be able to what you want to do. To that I say, “You’re wrong.
Anything you else you want to share with Live By Design readers?
Trust your gut. Trust your intuition.
Here’s a fact: we are not given images of our life unless they are meant to be. That is a fact. If you have a gut check that you are supposed to be doing something different, or weird, or woo-woo, or whatever you want to call it. We are given visions for a reason. Trust yourself and start designing your life around what you know is calling you.
Take any step necessary, even a baby step, and do something to move yourself in the direction of that vision. I believe that is the life you are supposed to be living, or you wouldn’t have that vision.
If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
Probably my great grandmother. She was one tough lady and her independence and strength has been passed on to my grandmother, mother, sister and I. I would love to ask her how she managed that back when that wasn’t really an acceptable path for a woman. She paved the way for me, and I would love to honor her and thank her for that!
Live Your Life From the From Seat by Jessica Butts
Codependent No More by Melody Beattie
The Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte
The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
Do you have a theme song?
Roar by Katy Perry
PYT by Michael Jackson
“Who are you? Where are you going? How are you going to get there? ”
“Be unapologetically who you are.”
What are some of your favorite things to do in Seattle? Favorite spots?
Love funky little restaurants tucked away in Capitol Hill.
Also, I’m a life long Seahawks season ticket holder.
Favorite way(s) to treat yourself?
Walk along the water anywhere in Seattle area. Drinks, small plates and amazing conversations at fabulous Seattle eateries. Weekend brunch.
Want to get more of Jessica?
Find her here:
Photos by: Nikki Closser Photography