Businesswoman, author, entrepreneur and MBE Jessica Huie speaks to us about living your purpose and having belief in yourself
Jessica Huie went from being a teenage mother, expelled from school and living in a hostel, to having a glittering career in Public Relations, working with some of the world’s biggest stars and business people including Samuel L. Jackson, Simon Cowell, Sir Bob Geldof and Meghan Markle.
She went on to found a successful company which earned her an MBE in 2014 for services to entrepreneurship and her positive influence on the community. On the outside Jessica’s life was a fairy-tale of triumph, but she spent years struggling with an internal view of herself which left her plagued by depression.
In her first book PURPOSE, Jessica encourages us all to look past our limitations and live the life we want.
In PURPOSE, you’re encouraging people to find what they’re good at and run with it – what if you don’t know what you’re good at?
Our purpose isn’t concrete. It’s not something that is set in stone and waiting for us to find, it’s something that changes and evolves as we do. It will look different during different stages of our lives, so what’s important is to commit to exploration and listening to ourselves.
If you don’t know what your gift is or what it is that lights you up, then the only way to find out is to make the decision to have fun exploring what it is that turns you on as a result. How can we do this? By committing to edge outside of our comfort zone and do things differently.
Make the decision to disrupt your life in the best possible way! Sign up for a new weekend creative activity or class. Aim to listen to an expansive audio book every time you are commuting. Start volunteering. We need new conversations, new inspiration and new mind-sets in order to start connecting with the parts of us that hold the wisdom about who we truly are and what we are here to do.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
One of the best pieces of advice was: In order to be successful you have to make yourself vulnerable. An ex boy-friend said it and he was quite right. Vulnerability is required for every and any kind of success. We need to be open and have our hearts and dreams on the line a little to feel, learn and receive all that life has to deliver to us. Fear keeps us closed and safe but there is no growth or aspirations realised in the comfort zone.
When it came to setting up your own business, what was the one thing that scared you most?
I was fearless when I was younger, particularly as I had a history of overcoming challenge which gave me confidence in my ability to handle whatever life presented. Ironically I have had to work harder at retaining that unwavering self belief as the years have passed.
I don’t actually remember the question of whether I would achieve my goal of getting multicultural cards into high-street stores, or getting clients to engage my PR services, ever crossing my mind! It was a forgone conclusion which is certainly part of what helped me to be successful.
My fears were more centred around whether others would take me seriously or like me, as my view of myself was so unhealthy and at odds with the reality! My biggest challenges, in fact usually all of our biggest challenges, are in our own head rather than external obstacles.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since you started your first work experience?
Gosh my first work experience was twenty years ago but there is one lesson which I have discovered is the most critical insight any of us can haave. True success can only be attained when we are unapologetically us.
Authenticity then, being who we are without compromise, is the sweet spot where we become aligned with out path and amazing stuff happens. So our job, is just to become more and more of who we are and enjoy and take time to really connect and acquaint with ourselves.
Did you ever feel that your age was against you?
I never felt that my age was against me as I was so preoccupied with other things, such as my background. Often I found myself in environments with people who had attended prestigious universities, private schools and experienced a very different background to mine. I came from a home with two parents who worked incredibly hard despite huge challenge and loved us very much but having grown up on a council estate and then having become a young mum living in social housing, I often felt ‘less than,’ and this need to fit and to be seen as worthy, was the thing that worked most against me. Again my view of myself rather than anything as real as my age, was the problem.
Did your background of teenage pregnancy and benefits give you great drive?
Yes. The desire to prove people wrong is an incredible motivator! Combined with a very genuine desire to provide and create a great life full of opportunity for my daughter. That said, drive and resilience are in my blood, so I have no doubt that I would always have picked myself up and gotten to work, regardless of the set of circumstances. I was raised by parents who did just that.
The thing about taking action, is that as soon as you do, you start to experience small rewards which over time become larger rewards. The key, is to start.
What’s the best business lesson you’ve learned?
The best lesson I have learnt, is that our business should be congruent with our life. Joined up. Our passions should spill into our business so that ultimately we are able to make a living from our purpose. When we live our purpose through our business we give the world the best of us. The impact of that is wonderful all round. It is rarely possible to make a living from our purpose immediately. But what is important, is to know that should be our goal.
What have you learned from your mistakes?
I love the Tracee Ellis Ross quote which says: “I am learning every day to allow the space between where I am and where I want to be, to inspire and not terrify me.” I relate to that,j because having been a perfectionist for most of my life living in a way where I am at ease with my shortcomings is new and a much more peaceful way to live.
Did you always have belief in your ideas and in yourself?
No I didn’t always have belief in myself. I did as a child and them somewhere in my teen years it dissipated. There was a period which I write about in my book PURPOSE, when I felt very much like my life was pointless. It was a dark and frightening time.
It was the health visitor who suggested that I could return to college who dramatically changed the direction of my life. She saw something that was possible for me before I did. It transformed my life in that moment. Our own perspective is usually what is preventing us from making progress. We get stuck in our own heads with the noise of that negative chatter and defeatist beliefs and it stunts our growth.
Getting out of our heads I have learnt, is usually the antidote to most things.
Jessica speak about PURPOSE
Purpose by Jessica Huie is available now. Published by Hay House UK