Life Coach Jen Julius is changing the world one stressed out business owning parent at a time! As a part of my ongoing series of interviews with women coaches in the Bay Area, I recently spoke with the spunky Sonoma County based Ms. Julius.
In addition to being a coach, she’s also a regular on community radio station KOWS 107.3 FM, and co-hosts “Talk Story,” a live discussion series at Coffee Catz in Sebastopol, California. Jen gets her busy clients’ lifestyles!
In our interview below Jen discusses how she made the change from working in non-profits to being self-employed by getting crystal clear about her purpose and path.
As Jen states in her website: “It is now my mission to help people take control of their lives, align with their individual truths so they can make a conscious choice to change, and be part of the greater healing of the world.”
How did you find out about life coaching and what made you choose this path?
Jen: I actually started out as a Family Coach for juveniles on probation, so I was doing coaching years ago in the non-profit world while finishing up my Master’s Degree in Counseling and School Counseling Credential. I realized in the process that I was way more of a coach than anything else.
Family Coaching just kind of fell in my lap. I loved it because I love to be directive and solution-focused. When I worked in the non-profit world (for 6 years) I also started to see a pattern in my kids (juveniles on probation and also in the social services sector). Many of them were struggling because of the influence they had from their family- their parents, specifically.
After awhile I started to get burned out by the non-profit world. I wanted to do my work from the top-down rather than try to help get these kids back on their feet. What if I tried shifting some of the parents’ behaviors and tried to get them to start role modeling healthier behaviors that their kids could replicate?
As I began my private coaching practice, I started hosting vision board workshops to gain visibility and realized that I wanted to work with individual clients, specifically career-driven parents. It just naturally developed from there. I ended up quitting my non-profit job over 2 years ago. I started focusing on adults and now I primarily work with high-profile business owners who are also juggling a family and are very involved in giving back to their community in some fashion. I help them manage and reduce the overwhelm that often comes with their success so they can stay focused on their personal goals without being bombarded by other peoples agendas. I basically help them take their overall lives from good to great, so they can be a successful business owner, stay active in their community, and be a good role-model and parent to their children.
This seems really important because most people are not given a manual on how to be parents.
I think people are doing the best that they can with what they’ve got. I also believe that we can’t do things differently if we don’t know differently, and until we recognize that there are other options, we can’t really change much. So I’m really big on education and providing accessible opportunities for people to learn concepts that might be really new or foreign to them. That’s the main reason I have so many free resources on my website.
If people do have unhealthy behaviors that they want to shift because they don’t want their kids to replicate them, let’s teach them something new! But guess what? It’s hard to change habits so we also need to have some accountability around making these changes. That’s what I like most about coaching- holding people accountable while offering them new ideas and skills.
Is there a difference between the help that you provide for the parents as opposed to what you did for the kids? Do you approach it from a different way?
Yes and no. I would say it’s absolutely different because I have no problem letting the parent know that it is their primary responsibility to raise their children to become as healthy and functional as possible; obviously that’s not really going to come up with kids.
I wouldn’t say the approach is all that different when it comes to coaching, though. My language might change, for example when working with teens I might need a little bit more teen-like language, but the process is the same because what it really comes down to is making sure the person knows they are heard and respected, and then offering tools that they can understand and apply.
Do you typically work with the whole family?
No, not at this point. That is what I used to do, but now I typically work with moms because I have a strong belief that the mother of a family unit has a very strong, if not the strongest, impact on a family unit. Clichés like “happy wife, happy life” and “if momma ain’t happy, nobody’s happy” often have a lot of truth to them. We as women have to make sure we are taking care of and honoring ourselves… because literally everyone benefits. Kids are sensitive, they know when mom is having a hard day, and so does her partner. If she has employees she manages at work, they are affected as well.
My real specialty is working with moms in their 30s and 40s that are business owners, CEOs, or managers, specifically at multi-million dollar companies. One of my clients has 30 employees, and I believe that as she starts setting a better and better example to them, running her business with more love, grace, harmony, and improved communication, creating an environment where everyone is feeling more appreciated and respected, then we are making a huge impact on a lot of people and their families!
I’m really curious about the process. Do you have a particular formula? How specifically do you help these women?
Well, as any coach would say, it’s all unique to the individual. But what it really comes down to is I’m a big believer in the concept of individual truth.
When someone schedules a consultation with me, I have him or her complete an assessment that goes over all the different areas of their lives, and has then rate the areas on a scale of 1 to 10. It really gives me insight into the areas where they are struggling or have issues and how best to support them. I also ask what their goals are and what would be different if they accomplished them. Depending upon these goals, I customize my focus.
When it really comes down to it, the bottom line is helping them tap into that deep seated truth that’s within them… what they love and what kind of choices they can start making to align them with the happiest, healthiest version of themselves. Also, how they can keep taking actions steps towards their goals because they are aligning with that individual truth. The tricky thing unfortunately, is that I really believe we as a culture have gotten very far away from that truth.
Why do you think we are so disconnected to what makes us happy?
I think culturally it goes back to the media… we are told what’s supposed to make us happy. We’ve got Facebook and other social media sites inundating us with all this potentially fake happiness- because everyone knows that typically we only post things we want to be seen.
I think the combination of having so much access to social media and the potential lack of truth from an authentic standpoint around how people really are and how the media tries to sell things… if that is what we are taking in all the time then on a subconscious level we become more and more disconnected from ourselves, our truth, and our souls if we are not actively doing work to deepen the connection.
Does that go back to your tagline “change your story, change your life, change the world”?
We get so wrapped up in stories about what’s happened to us so far that unfortunately we overly attach to the stories and they can really limit us. If we can look at the experience of trauma (which 90% or more of us have had, in my opinion), we can then heal and honor the trauma, allowing ourselves to then move forward. But if something happens to us when we are 19 and we never go get help, process or honor it, but allow it to torment and hold us back for years, if not decades of our lives, I think that’s really unfortunate.
I definitely believe we can turn our struggles into strengths. I battled an eating disorder and addiction for four years of my life when I was a young woman, but thank goodness I got help and got my act together… I changed my story, my path, and what I was choosing. It changed my life and through that I get to support others because I did the work, I learned, and I grew.
Do you think women (in particular because that is your core clientele) can have it all?
If they know what their “all” actually is! If they can tap into their individual truth and honor themselves by making choices that align with it, then absolutely yes!
For more information about Jen Julius, The Life Coach for Leaders, go to: www.jenjulius.com
Or follow her at: https://www.facebook.com/JenJuliusCoaching