Jessica Improta is a licensed psychotherapist, coach, and founder of OM*Lab, a live virtual meditation studio. She works at the intersection of presence and action through the studio, online courses, and personal consulting. Her vision is to help over-stressed achievers access their own inner wisdom to live a centered, happy life. You can connect with Jessica’s at TheOMLab.com
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- Meditation and mindfulness are about practicality – take these skills and harness them.
- Do not underestimate the value of pausing – there’s so much value in finding stillness.
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Time Stamped Show Notes
(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode)
- [01:05] – Jessica lives in Santa Monica, CA with her cat, Tabasco
- [01:17] – Jessica is a licensed therapist and an obsessively good ping-pong player
- [02:02] – Her mission is to help normalize what it means to be human
- [02:39] – Value Bomb Drop: “Building yourself through action, but also take moments to pause and reflect”
- [05:16] – What is something you’ve changed your mind about in the last 6 months? “I need to constantly be looking at other people for inspiration & comparing myself to them.”
- [06:51] – We always have to be learning and looking on some level in order to stay on the cutting edge
- [07:43] – Worst Entrepreneurial Moment: The first month of business… she was completely on fire, so she raised her prices and communicated it to her list.
- [08:44] – The second month, Jessica had fewer customers than the pre-launch
- [09:48] – “Fear is something that you have to get used to”
- [10:15] – “Look at things objectively and move forward”
- [10:42] – There will always be good times and bad times
- [11:10] – In just one sentence, what do you want to make sure Fire Nation takes away from your story? “For people who are just starting out, this happens. And this is not when you stop, this is actually when you give yourself a moment to pause and move forward”
- [11:34] – Entrepreneurial AH–HA Moment: It was the first month when Jessica was asked to pitch for media and she was able to book 4 out of the 10 pitches she made
- [13:41] – Jessica’s destiny in this business
- [14:25] – Invest in yourself
- [15:18] – What is the one thing you are most FIRED up about today? “The launch of my first course”
- [16:10] – For people who are stressed-out
- [20:00] – The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? – “Striving for perfection”
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – “Just get it out there”
- What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? – “Meditate – every single morning”
- Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation – Momentum
- If you could recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be and why? – The War of Art
- Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning in a brand new world, identical to Earth, but you knew no one. You still have all the experiences and knowledge you currently have – your food and shelter is taken cared of – but all you have is a laptop and $500. What would you do in the next 7 days? – “I would look to sell a course before I’ve actually created it”
- [24:42] – Connect with Jessica through her website
- [25:12] – Parting piece of guidance: “Just stand in your own lane”
Jessica: I am beyond prepared, John. Let’s do this thing.
John: Jessica’s a licensed psychotherapist, coach, and founder of OmLab, a live virtual meditation studio. She works at the intersection of presence and action through the studio, online courses, and personal consulting. Her vision is to help overstressed achievers access their own inner wisdom, and live a centered, happy life. Jessica, take just a minute. Fill in some gaps from that intro, and just give us a little glimpse of your personal life.
Jessica: Alright. Thanks, John. Well, first of all, I’m super, super pumped to be here. So, let me just say that! So, I live in Santa Monica, in California, and I have a weird little cat named Tabasco, and we live a few blocks from the beach here which is really nice, and, like you mentioned, I’m a licensed therapist. I’ve got thousands of hours of training under my belt, and I actually still do on-call crisis week a couple times a month at a sexual assault clinic here, which is really great. It keeps me involved in that clinical work – and I’m also kind of an obsessively good Ping Pong player. So, I feel like your listeners need to know that.
John: That’s – that’s necessary. There’s an amazing Netflix documentary on Ping Pong. Have you – have you watched that?
Jessica: Really? No. I must!
John: Gotta check it. It’s amazing.
Jessica: I’ll do that. Yeah, and then a few months ago, I left my job. I was providing education to therapists at a startup – for software, and I started my own journey as an entrepreneur. So, this is a little bit different for you to have somebody in the first 90 days of their business as opposed to crushing it on the back end. So, my mission’s really to – to help normalize what it means to be human, and support people towards a fulfilled life through meditation, and mindfulness, and coaching, and taking those therapeutic skills into the realm of helping people go after their dreams.
John: Well, Jessica, you have an area of expertise, and what I kinda want you to do to start off with is just give us two value bombs that you think that we should know – our listeners: Fire Nation, about the area that you know most about.
Jessica: Okay. So, I love working with people on mindfulness – and I’m a meditation facilitator, and one of the things is that a lot of people think that meditation and mindfulness is something that’s – that’s boring or it’s – or you sit down, and you channel your energy, or you erase your thoughts. But for me, it’s about practicality. So, it’s so important, and especially in the – in the case of entrepreneurship, and for your listeners, that you take these skills and you actually harness them, and use them.
And so, mindfulness is not a concept. It’s something that you take out into the world for the work that you’re doing. It’s being in the present moment, and – and, more specifically, noticing those limiting conversations – the things that hold you back. It’s about learning your traps so that you can move forward, and for me, it’s been instrumental in being able to push through the blocks, through the things that keep me stuck so that I can move forward in a confident way. It’s about building that relationship with yourself through action.
So, I think so many people get stuck in the learning, and the strategy, and the how-to’s, and they’re not putting things into action, and it’s really the same way with mindfulness and using those skills. So, that’s the first thing that I think is really, really important that people understand. That this is something – this is not just something that you – you – you practice. Even though it is a practice, you take it out into the world.
John: It’s all about the action, Fire Nation. Now, Jessica, you said that was the first thing. What’s the second?
Jessica: So, the second thing is that people really underestimate the value of pausing. For your audience, go-getters, for people who are really driven, it can be all about pushing forward: pushing, pushing, pushing, and the doing, and even though the action’s important, there’s so much value in being able to find stillness, and understanding yourself so that you can get clarity for your next step.
So, a lot of people think if they just do that pushing, they’re gonna push through – but there’s – there’s these things that come up, and you can start – you can understand what’s blocking you, and when you can do that, then you can observe it, and then you can move through it. So, pausing is a really underestimated skill that a lot people, I believe, need to develop.
John: This is a combination, Fire Nation. If you can take action, you can build that momentum, but the reality is this: you have to step back every now and then. Give yourself space. Give yourself time to think, and just observe what you’re doing. That’s why I’m so obsessed with journaling and meditation because it gives me that step back, that pause, that reflection.
So, I’m not just always go, go, go, “oh, look, there’s a squirrel”, social media this, email that. You need a combination of all of the above. Now, Jessica, you mentioned that you’re 90 days in, and you’re rocking, and you’re rolling, and you’re learning a lot. Tell us something that you’ve changed your mind about in the last six months. Meaning, what’s something that you used to believe that you just don’t believe anymore?
Jessica: This was an interesting one, since it’s been about 90 days. But there – one thing that’s really, really important that I’ve definitely changed my mind on is that I need to constantly be looking to other people for inspiration. That – that comparing that – I know you talk about standing on the shoulders of giants, and I think I’ve spent so much time prepping for this – these – this moment, 90 days ago. But it also is something that can be hampering when you’re trying to build something because you – you stifle your creativity, in a sense, looking to see what everybody else is doing.
So, at a certain point, about maybe halfway in, I just realized that I needed to play my own game. To hunker down and say, “I’m gonna hide seeing all of these sponsored ads on Facebook, and I’m not gonna – I’m not looking to purchase programs and – and, there’s things that I can learn. But it’s really about playing my own game, and – and knowing my “why”, and what I’m up to, and my vision, and – and corralling myself in that lane.
John: One area that I’m a believer in is that it’s a scale, Fire Nation, and that scale on one side says, “consuming”, and on the other side says, “producing.” And when I first started, I was 100 percent consuming, and 0 percent producing because I didn’t know what the heck I was doing. I had to consume great content from other people who had “been there and done that” to learn the game. But then, over the years, the scale has been shifting, in that I went to 40 percent, 60 percent, then 60/40, and then – now where I stand – I’m actually at 90 percent producing, and only 10 percent consuming.
Now, I do say only 10 percent – I wanna make very clear: I’m never gonna go below 10 percent of consuming content. I believe that we always have to be learning, and looking around on some levels, to stay cutting edge, but you just have to have that balance. You know that you can never have that scale out of weights. So, that’s so important. I love that, and it’s just something that I had to change my mind about, when I was like, “Okay. I actually have to start producing now. Not just consuming every single minute of the day.”
But again, it’s going through the seasons, Fire Nation. And so, just be patient, be calm. This is a marathon. Now, Jessica, speaking of a marathon, marathons have that Heartbreak Hill area – if anybody’s familiar with the Boston Marathon, where people just get crushed – I think it’s like mile 21. It’s like a hill that just keeps going, and going, and going, and hencely named – or aptly named Heartbreak Hill. Bring us to your worst entrepreneurial moment, to your Heartbreak Hill. Take us to that moment in time, and tell us that story.
Jessica: Starting this journey, and – and wanting it so bad, you come out of the gate really strong, to use a racing analogy. You really – you – you – you’re fresh out of the gate, you say – you think, “This is gonna be so easy. This is no problems. I’m on fire”, right? And so, for me, it was that first month: I was completely on fire, and things were falling into place. It sort of reminded me of my first trip to Vegas; I couldn’t lose. Things were just happening – and I was thinking this is just so easy. I think I even posted to Facebook how smooth the sailing was. And so –
John: Oh, no!
Jessica: Yeah, so I was – the first month in this prelaunch phase for the –the meditation studio side of things for my business, and I was excited to officially launch – at which point I planned to raise my prices, and I had communicated to my list, “They’re gonna go up, and definitely get in before this happens.” And then, when I – when I – launched that official launch, I – actually, that second month – I had fewer new customers come in than I had in the – in the prelaunch phase. And it was like this immediate resistance kicked in, that immediate feeling of –
John: This is the beginning of the end. That’s that feeling!
Jessica: This is the beginning of the end! I’m not even gonna make it to mile 21, you know. And so, it was – I just – I felt really afraid and really down, and I – I crawled into my bed for like two hours, and had a good solid pity party. Just kinda feeling sorry for myself. And – in that moment, I – I – I actually called my dad, and was just talking to him about the whole – the whole – arc of things, and he said to me, “Did you – did you help one person today?” And I said, “Yes.” And he said, “Well, then don’t worry about it. It’s gonna be fine.”
And, so – so it was that moment of – of feeling like, “Okay, it’s not going to be perfect forever”, and that’s something that I’ve talked to other entrepreneurs about too. Which, I was aware of, but until you experience it – that – that first low – it’s like this is – this is never gonna end! It’s gonna be so perfect forever! So, just learning that that fear is something that you – you have to get used to, to some extent. That the – the down moments happen to everybody.
There’s no shame in that, and – to check in with yourself, and – and understand, and – and that’s something that you learn through meditation too, is to be able to stand – tall, and strong through the ups, and the downs. The equanimity of – of life. It’s just that’s what happens, and so, that was the first moment of really having that kinda hit me in the face that, I also need to learn to look at things objectively, and say, “Okay. What’s working here? What’s not? What could I have done better? What’s – how are you gonna move forward, and through this?”
John: That’s one of my major goals for this show, is to arm you, Fire Nation, with the knowledge that it’s not always going to be that smooth sailing. And that’s why we start every single episode with, “Jessica, take us to your worst moment.” I don’t wanna hear about the best moment right now. I wanna hear about the worst moment because everybody needs to understand there’s gonna be great times. There’s gonna be bad times. There’s gonna be times in the middle.
It is that entrepreneurial roller coaster that we have committed to, and it’s just so much better if we just know that going in than being like, “Okay, this is going great. I love this. Let’s continue to just keep the pedal to the metal.” But no. If and when things, the wheels fall off, that’s okay because that’s just part of this journey. Now, what, Jessica, in just one sentence, is what you really wanna make sure Fire Nation takes away from your story?
Jessica: I wanna normalize for people who are just starting out that this happens, and this is not when you stop. This is actually when you give yourself a moment, do that pause, and then move forward.
John: Nothing wrong with a little pity party. Nothing wrong. It happens.
Jessica: It’s a party. You bring the cocktails.
John: Jessica, bring us now to one of your greatest “aha” moments. Take us through that story.
Jessica: This one is – again, in the beginning when I was on fire, I was just getting started, and, for me and – maybe some of your – your listeners can identify to this – not feeling, per se, like a natural entrepreneur. This is something I’m learning skills, I’m moving forward. There are definitely areas where I wanna develop myself. So, I’m not really – a salesperson just yet. I’m more of a support. I’m a therapist, I’m a coach – and I worked in PR in New York in my 20s, and I was so amazing with working with clients, but I hated pitching. And so, not really much has changed in that area.
So, the first month, I was – I have my own coach, Vasavi Kumar, who is amazing, and the first week or two in, she was like, “We’re pitching podcasts. We’re pitching media. Let’s do this thing.” And I’m like, “Well, I have – I don’t have revenue. I’ve got fear – my business is just starting.” And she’s like, “No, you’re gonna – you’re pitching. We’re doing this.”
And so, the first – the very first day I prepared ten pitches – and it took me – I was looking at the first pitch, and it was for a moderately big business podcast, and I’m – walking back and forth, and – I – stepping away from my computer, and like – coming back, and like, “Do I hit send? Does this sound good? Do I sound stupid?” And, walking away. And it took me about 45 minutes to actually hit the send button. And once I did that, the next nine were much easier.
But then the next morning, I woke up, and I had booked the first one, and by the end of the first week I had actually booked three more. So, I booked four out of the ten. And – that was – that was really eye-opening for me because it was such a scary thing that I pushed through, and in – in this case, the “aha” moment was really that people – say yes, but you have to ask. And I – I think it’s very easy to assume the outcome because it’s something new, or it’s something foreign.
And that was really a big moment for me to realize that my destiny with this business is gonna be a factor of how much I’m willing to do things that other people stop before they actually have a chance to try out.
John: I love all of this, and for you, Jessica, you did all of the right things. Stepping back, and looking at that portion of your journey. What happens? Well, you invested in yourself. You reached out to Vasavi; hired her as a mentor. She’s somebody who absolutely knows what she’s doing. She’s been there, she’s done that. She pushed you, and you followed her lead, and you booked some really solid business shows, and then you said, “Hey, I want to keep on with this momentum.”
So, the – when the time came for you to pitch entrepreneurial on Fire, I was like, “Oh! She’s already been booked on three or four really good shows. Vasavi is her mentor. Vasavi is an EOFire alumni. I know her, so I know she must have her stuff together because Vasavi doesn’t take any crap from no one. So, I knew that you were definitely rocking and rolling in all of those areas. So, you had really checked the blocks, and that’s really important, Fire Nation, is investing in yourself.
And I’m not saying it has to always be with money. It can be with time, with energy, with effort. A combination of all of these things, and that’s what Jessica had done. She set herself up, so she was building that foundational block moving forward, just going from one “yes” to the next, building momentum – until now we’re chatting here today on EOFire. So, that’s just a great story of the journey. Now, Jessica, again, in just one sentence: what do you want to make sure our listeners get from your story?
Jessica: I wanna make sure that they understand that people stop before they start, and you have to start. You have to start, and you have to be willing to ask – and if you don’t do those two things, then you’re gonna stay right where you are.
John: Let’s talk about something that has you super fired up right now, Jessica.
Jessica: Other than this interview – like a super fan! Yeah, no – I’m super excited that I’m putting out my first course. So, I’m launching a course, and really it’s a 28 day, four-week course to really help people wake up, and create results in their life through pausing, through meditation.
So, I’m just – I’m super fired up about everything that’s coming with that: doing my webinar, and launching the course, and marketing it, and putting myself out of my comfort zone in a way that – just – I haven’t done before. So, it’s really exciting.
John: Well, where can Fire Nation find out more about this course?
Jessica: So, they can go to TheOmLab.com/Zen, and that is a – I – I believe by the time this airs, I believe we will have run the first round already. So – or it’ll be in process, but they can go there and – and enter their info for – we’ll keep them posted!
John: Well, what’s the main background of this? Who are people that are going to wanna learn more about this?
Jessica: For really everybody who’s stressed out! But there’s so many people out there that – they say they want, they say they’re stressed, they say wanna – some peace of mind, and they say they wanna move forward in their business, and they’re stuck, and they’re trapped but they’re not doing anything about it. So, coming back, I just really believe that you have to do things rather than learn about them.
So, this is a practical application. A practical taking – building a meditation practice, and bringing it into your life. So, stressed out entrepreneurs, ambitious people, stressed out moms. Whoever is really feeling like they need to find their center in their life.
John: Absolutely, and when you said webinars, you definitely touched a chord because, of course, I’ve built my business off the back of webinars. So, I want to give this advice to you, Jessica, but also to everybody listening, Fire Nation: sales happen on live webinars. If you just remember that sentence, believe me, your business will be much, much better for it.
We all have this dream, this aspiration, that we’re gonna create this one perfect webinar, then just put it on record, and everybody’s gonna watch it at their own leisure, and things are gonna happen. I wish that was the case. I – I’ve tested the crap out of it, and I haven’t found it to be so. As of now, things might change but I honestly doubt it. So, if you’re going to commit to doing something like a course, like building an audience, you have to commit to live webinars because people have to be there with you on this event, where they can ask you questions so you can remove those final barriers from them right there in that webinar.
So, the – they can hear their name when you’re saying, “Oh, Jessica, thanks for joining me on Podcasters’ Paradise Webinar. This is great. Any questions you have, let me be there.” It just feels real. It’s a different ball game. Sales happen on live webinars. That is a mantra that I live by, and Fire Nation, and Jessica, I hope you do too. Now, don’t you go anywhere, Fire Nation – because we’re about to enter the lightning round! But let’s take a quick minute to thank our sponsors.
Jessica, are you prepared for the lightning rounds?
Jessica: I am!
John: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Jessica: For me, it was really striving for perfection. I just wanted everything to be perfectly lined up in my life. Not just externally, but also internally with my mindset. And it was preventing me from moving forward. So, I’m really striving for excellence, not perfec – perfection so I can progress.
John: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Jessica: So, it was actually recently. My ex-boss and mentor, Howard Spector – he’s an entrepreneur and the owner of SimplePractice. His advice to me when I left that job was, “Just get it out there. Just get the minimum viable product out there, and then adjust as you go.”
John: MVP! Jessica, what’s a personal habit that contributes to your success?
Jessica: Well, every single morning, as you can imagine, I meditate. And I take a long walk on the beach, which is completely non-negotiable for me at this point in my life.
John: Are you barefoot?
Jessica: Of course! Well, not for the walk to the beach, but once I’m on the beach –
John: Once you’re on the beach, you have to be barefoot because, Fire Nation, it’s all about connecting with the earth. I’m not getting all “woo woo” here, but we’re meant to connect with this actual earth. Not carpet, and rubber, and cement – the actual grass, and sand, and water. Now, if you can share an internet resource, Jessica, like Evernote, what would it be?
Jessica: So, this is a really simple one, but I really love the Google Chrome extension called Momentum. It’s just a simple tab that opens where you put your most important focus of the day, and it’s got like a beautiful landscape behind it. So, it’s called Momentum.
John: Jessica, do you follow me on Snapchat?
Jessica: I do!
John: Well, you will be amazed because it is literally today, when we’re recording this, that 30 minutes before we jumped on the call, I did a Snapchat of my momentum which is, “Crush EOFire interviews today.” With, of course, a beautiful background of camels walking across a beach – and then the quote I used in my Snapchat rant today. So, you gotta jump onto Snapchat. Check out my little momentum quote that I used today. And, Fire Nation, follow me on Snapchat at JohnLeeDumas. Jessica, are you on Snapchat?
Jessica: I am on Snapchat.
John: I mean, do you snap as a creator, though?
Jessica: I – I am not an avid Snapchatter.
John: That’s fine, and I actually say this. Listen: you can either be a creator, or a viewer, or both on Snapchat. And if you’re a viewer, and you choose three to five people who you really get a lot of value from consuming their content, that’s a great utilization of Snapchat. Not everybody that’s on Snapchat should be putting stuff out there into the world. There’s enough noise. So, unless you have that mission, that plan – I’m getting into a rant. So, we’re going to go back. And, Jessica, if you could recommend just one book, what would it be, and why?
Jessica: Well, right now I’m going back to an old standby called The War of Art, which I’m sure many people have heard of. It’s just about dealing with resistance, and being able to recognize it, and move through it.
John: Steven Pressfield is somebody, when I read his book; I was just like, “I need to read everything that this person has written.” And this is both fiction, and nonfiction. He has amazing fiction books, which I highly recommend.
Jessica: Alright. There’s a new one, too, that he wrote called Nobody Wants to Read Your – Your – or something like that.
John: Whoa! This is EOFire, Jessica. Naughty, naughty. I’m just kidding. I’ll beep that out. But I will be reading that very shortly. Exciting. So, Jessica, this is the last question of the lightning round, but it is a doozy. Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning in a brand new world, identical to Earth, but you knew no one. You still have all the experience and knowledge you currently have. Your food and shelter: taken care of, but all you have is a laptop, and $500.00. What would you do in the next seven days?
Jessica: Well, this isn’t so far from where I started 90 days ago. So, I would definitely do some of the things that I’ve done. So, I would look to sell a course before I’ve actually created it. So, I would get into some Facebook groups of – of groups that I’m comfortable with, like therapists, coaches, and I would find out what’s needed and I would sell and market a beta – course to them immediately so I could just get some feedback, and start moving forward with that. And then I would do things like pitching podcasts. I would get a Square space website up – and just move forward with those things in place.
John: And I hope you use offer code “Fire” for 10 percent off.
Jessica: I wish I had known, back in the day.
John: Oh! I don’t even know if they’re the sponsors today. They actually are our current sponsor. I don’t know if they’re sponsoring this episode. But, you see, since you brought them up – promo code “Fire”, Fire Nation. Now, Jessica, let’s end today on Fire with a parting piece of guidance, the best way that we can connect with you, and then we’ll say, “Bye-bye.”
Jessica: First of all, I just want to thank you. This was awesome. I had such a good time with you. So, the – they can find me at TheOmLab.com, and if they add a “/Fire” onto that, there’s a free training there on how slowing down will lead to more success, and they can also sign up for a free 20-minute consult – I love to talk to people about their limiting conversations, and just getting through that fear to move forward. Also, helping people with stress.
So, I love to connect with anybody. In terms of a parting piece of guidance, I would say just stay in your own lane. Turn off the noise, and distractions of social media. When you’re trying to move forward, trust yourself, and just really surrender to what the ups and downs of your journey, wherever it’s taking you. You need to get to the bottom of who you are, and know yourself, and when you know yourself, then you can start moving forward with confidence.
John: Fire Nation, you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with, and you’ve been hanging out with J. I., and J.L.D. today. So, keep up the heat and head over to EOFire.com. Just type “Jessica” in the search bar. Her Shownotes page will pop up with everything that we’ve been talking about today: best shownotes in the biz, timestamps, links galore.
But, of course – take advantage of this, Fire Nation. It’s not every day you get the offer to go to something like TheOmLab.com/Fire. That’s the O-M-LAB.com/Fire, and get that gift but also get the opportunity for a free 20-minute consult. I mean, hello? Take advantage of that! And – I wanna just say, Jessica, thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that, we salute you, and we’ll catch you on the flip side.
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