Empress Avenue had the pleasure of learning more about Jessica Manca, Personal Transformation Coach & Owner of Managing Mindspaces. Not only does she help high-achievers unlock their untapped capacity, she empowers women, primarily perfectionists and supermoms, with the tools to overcome career burnout and design a life with “no regrets.”
1. Tell us about yourself. – I’m a Certified Executive Coach and ICF Associate Coach at Managing Mindspaces helping those wanting a career change to make informed decisions, find their passion, and finally choose a life of happiness rather than live with a well-paying job that leaves them unfulfilled. Like these women, I burned out of my management consultant career after 15 years when I returned to work after starting a family. My book, “Finding Passion,” delivers over 20 self-discovery strategies to help you ask the difficult questions you’ve long been avoiding about what you really want.
2. Describe your most recent business success and tell us about your next big goal. – This year has been incredible. I’ve been working part-time, refocused my overall effort and energy in building long-term client relationships, increasing referral sources and partners and providing new services for repeat business. For my next big goal, I’m excited to navigate having a second child in November 2015 and continue my momentum of personal and business growth.
3. How would you define success? –
Success is being at peace with my decisions. If I continue to do that, I will have all the success I can imagine.
4. Give us the ‘inside scoop’ – what does a day in your business life look like?– My day starts around 8am, and I’m excited to work with my clients, excited to share resources and self-discovery practices with others, excited to meet new people. I work with clients in-person and via phone which makes my days full of exciting challenges, opportunities and the gift of sharing coaching to help clients unlock with new breakthroughs they didn’t think were possible. My work feeds my soul! In between serving clients, I’m writing, connecting or reading. By 3:30pm, I pickup my son from school and might spend an hour in the evening planning or reviewing my inbox for the following day.
5. What types of customers are in your business ‘pink book’ and who are you looking to connect with? – Being in business for over three years now, I know that I can help a lot of people. However, those that bring out my best are also my best clients. They are Type-A, high-achieving women who are career-driven and considering big changes in their life. They face new challenges as they advance their careers, balance family and self-care, and still feel there’s a greater untapped capacity within them. I help them tap into that capacity by finding their passion. When a person doesn’t know what change they want to make, or are second-guessing what’s possible, I help them reconnect with their best self and overcome the self-talk that holds them back from the life they really want.
6. If you were not doing this job, what is your plan B? Are you still chasing your dream job? – I’m very fortunate that my dream job is my current job. I’ve designed this business to support my lifestyle, my pace, my values. It feeds me body, mind and soul. This is my calling, and if delivering it within my own business didn’t work out, I would continue to share my calling using other means.
7. Do you think it’s important to love what you do, or make good money? – Been there, done that. I had a 6-figure job that left me unfulfilled. The irony is that all the while I made great money as a management consultant, I had zero time to enjoy it. I also had little energy to enjoy it because I was so consumed with work. Money’s not everything, but each of us are on our own personal learning journey to how much we can tolerate before we make a real shift in our outlook on career and ourselves.
8. Is owning your own business as glamorous as it sounds? – Sometimes. It’s not for everyone. You have to be very self-directed. You have to love experimenting and refining what you do. You have to be accountable to yourself, your clients and your vision. It’s not always glamorous to have everything you do relate to profitability or revenue-generating activities. Once you do find your groove with your best systems to deliver your services and eliminate wasteful distractions, things magically start to happen.
9. What inspired you to start your own business? What made you decide to take the leap? – I experienced a perfect-storm burnout. I was returning from maternity leave with my first child, I was up for promotion and I had landed the ideal project to help groom me for a senior position with my firm. Had the burnout not been so significant for me to re-connect with myself and reevaluate what I wanted in my career, I wouldn’t have decided to start my own business to help others with well-paying careers that leave them hollow and a glimmer of their full potential. My early book manuscripts were sent to former colleagues at the firm and friends. What really shook me was how many of them privately said, “me too.” That was a defining moment for me to step up to the vision of what was really possible with my talents, my journey and my energy.
10. Where did you get your education? – My formal education was studying journalism at Indiana University. I developed skills early on in graphic design, digital newspaper production and writing which allowed me to gravitate towards work that combined both creative and technical elements. This early talent has helped me in every position I’ve held and is the foundation of why I was able to publish, design and write my book, Finding Passion. (I did outsource the copyediting to a professional!) Since university days, I returned to graduate school fifteen years later to complete my Certified Executive Coach training at Royal Roads University (RRU). The biggest difference in the two experiences is that I know myself and how I work so much more now. I managed my energy and effort well at RRU, and it was surprising that I allowed myself to work optimally and not with perfectionist goals in mind.
11. What was your first job after college/ university? – Graphic designer for the third largest satellite retailer in the US.
12. What are your tips for setting yourself apart in the workplace? – Bring your unique you to work. Don’t compartmentalize the work you and the personal you. Live authentically in who you really are and you’ll find your career, relationships and growth will be much more meaningful.
13. How do you achieve work/ life balance? How do you unplug? – This question comes up often with the high-achievers I work with. First, you need to define work/life balance for yourself. What exactly does it look like? What are the conditions that make it happen? Second, let go of a perfect schedule or weekly routine. Life doesn’t work that way, especially when you have a family. Build in time each week to manage the things only you can do. Make sure you don’t have an unrealistic expectation that working 5 days means you’ll be productive 5 days. Third, find ways to give yourself balance each day. Bookend your day with “me” time, or do one activity such as journaling, being in nature, self-care time, that rejuvenates you and reduces the pressure you feel. Fourth, if you’re concerned with how much you’re working, track your time. Having the real number of hours your working can be a wake up call to how you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed. Know what your boundary is for the workweek. Maybe it’s 35 hours instead of 40? Finally, don’t save up holiday time. Take a holiday each weekend, like a staycation. Unplug for at least one day on the weekend. You’ll be amazed what this does for your creativity and strategic problem solving abilities. With both work/life balance and unplugging, you absolutely have a choice. If you’re an entrepreneur, taking care and having balance is vital to your success. There’s no business at all, if there’s no you!
14. What are your plans for expansion? – The future of my business depends upon reaching not only the ideal prospects, but reaching them when they’re at a tipping point. I’ve been focused on developing new strategic referral partners and supporting organizations to help individuals self-manage stress and conflicts, become authentic leaders and reconnect with themselves in a way that serves both individual and company. I’m looking for more ways that I can be where high-achievers can easily find me and for maybe the first time, ask for help in their careers.
15. Can you offer any advice for new graduates looking for a job or new entrepreneurs? – As a speaker to graduates, I’ve shared my best advice with many recent graduates (undergrad and MBA). My advice is to slow down and really consider what’s the right job for you. It’s very tempting to compare to what your peers are doing, what you feel you “should” do and to believe there’s only one best job out there for you. The reality is that you can likely do almost any job! Making an informed decision takes asking yourself deeper questions to align to your long-term vision for where you, not they, want to go.