Jessica: Hey there, it’s Jessica Honegger, founder of the socially conscious fashion brand, Noonday Collection, and this is The Going Scared Podcast, where we cover all things impact, entrepreneurship, and courage.
I am currently out on the road right now celebrating my book, Imperfect Courage. Last week I was in Utah, I was in Grand Rapids. This week I am in Washington D.C., and if you’re hearing this on the day it comes out, go to my website, jessicahonegger.com to get you your D.C. tickets. I’ll be in Denver in a couple of weeks.
It’s been so much fun to be out on the road and meeting so many of my listeners. I even met a listener for dinner last week in Utah. Yup, you got that right. I’m always up for an adventure and she confessed that she had always noticed I had not said women correctly, and she was celebrating the fact that I say it right now. So, I’m sure all of you guys are very excited about that as well.
Make sure that you go on over to Amazon and get the book, Imperfect Courage, because this week continues a special series of shows where we walk through the book chapter by chapter. This week’s chapter is called "Discover the Sisterhood Effect," and it is one of my favorite chapters yet. Because I get into the vital importance of women being there for each other. But it’s more than just wine after the kids go to bed. It’s about saying, I’m in, I’m here, I see you, I see your need, and I’m not leaving until you are helped.
"Discovering the Sisterhood Effect" compels us to make each other better, and to be more than just observers of each other’s stories, but to be participants in it. And someone who has been so much more than a participant in my life, someone who has said, "Yeah, Jessica, you need me come and buy African goods to help celebrate your adoption?" is Jamie Ivey.
Jamie Ivey, who was at the very first trunk show I ever held before it was even called Noonday Collection. She’s been someone who started showing up for me before I had a business, before I had a book, before I had a podcast, and I really wanted to have her as a guest on the show because she’s someone who I see is a woman for women.
She’s author of the brand-new book, If You Only Knew, which is a brutally honest account of stepping out of shame and insecurity into a life of transparency. We celebrate so many of the same things. These are things that she and I are living out in our friendship, in our life, and in our public sphere of influence. I’m really excited for you to dive into today’s conversation.
Jamie, welcome to The Going Scared Podcast. Thanks so much for joining me today.
Jamie: Well, there’s no place I’d rather be than with you, Jess.
Jessica: Oh my gosh. So, this is so fun for me because, you know, we’re walking through the Imperfect Courage series right now, which by the way, I was on your series you did for If You Only Knew.
Jamie: Yes. Yes.
Jessica: I still get so many women…that was one of my more vulnerable podcasts. It was probably the most vulnerable podcast I had done up to that point.
Jamie: OK, I was very proud of you because it was vulnerable. I asked everyone to be a little vulnerable, and that’s hard.
Jessica: Well, it is.
Jamie: But it’s always good.
Jessica: But, you know, I’m all about that, you’re all about that, so we kind of had no choice. But it was about body image. If you guys wanna go check that out, it was…what was that series called? The If You Only Knew series?
Jamie: It’s called the If You Only Knew series over on my podcast. I think, don’t hold me to it, you can find your name, but I think you were number eight.
Showing Up for Each Other
Jessica: OK. Well, and that’s what really inspired me to do a series just around Imperfect Courage. And so when it comes to this chapter, "Discover the Sisterhood Effect," I thought, "I have to have Jamie on for this chapter." Because you have been someone who has just showed up for me. And not just recently as we’ve become good friends, but before I really knew you, I remember saying, "Hey, I’m having a bunch of women over to my house to buy African products to raise money for our adoption," and you came. And you brought friends. Like, you didn’t just come, but you brought people and you rallied people. And this is long before Jamie Ivey had a podcast or a blog or any of that stuff.
So, I’ve seen this exemplified in your life, but I’ve actually never really asked you what’s the story behind that. Because I think when I see a woman who is for women, there’s usually some sort of journey that’s gotten them to that place. So, tell me about that.
Jamie: You know, I’m not really 100 percent sure where that comes from. You’ll remember this, but when I tried out to be a DJ in Austin, it was this random crazy story, but I tried out to be a DJ, I won this contest. And that was the first time in my life where I had, kind of, put myself out there in a way that I had never ever experienced in my entire life. I put myself out publicly, I asked people to vote for me. That’s just weird. It’s strange, it’s weird, "Hey, vote for me."
And through that process I really felt supported and loved by people I knew. My friends showed up to the table and were cheering me on. People I didn’t know showed up to, kind of, cheer me on and encourage me. And had I won or didn’t—I ended up winning—but even if I didn’t, what I learned in that experience was how amazing it feels to have people cheer you on.
And I don’t think I had ever…I’m not saying I hadn’t been cheered on, because I definitely have amazing friendships in my life. I hadn’t put myself in a place that needed that much cheering ever, and it really, really changed the way I saw what it can be like to encourage someone to chase their dreams. And so, I think I learned through that.
I’ve also learned through… I mean, listen, here’s the truth, Jessica. We live in Austin. There are a lot of amazing, creative women in this town. I mean, a lot. And I think you have to decide pretty early if you’re going to be a creative woman who’s doing things in the world. You got to decide really early that you’re gonna be a cheerleader, or else you’re gonna suffocate. Like, you will suffocate in this town.
Jessica: Yes. Well, and we celebrate that and one another.
And, I just love that…I didn’t realize that that was, kind of, your turning point, because I feel like that’s very similar to what happened to me when I had that first trunk show. And I remember that day feeling like I wanted to cancel, and I really probably almost did cancel. And it’s because I was afraid of the feeling of standing in my living room…
Jamie: All alone, yeah.
Jessica: …with no one showing up for me. All alone.
And so we’re so afraid of that fear of rejection, and we’re not actually afraid of necessarily the fear of the rejection, but we’re almost afraid of the feeling we’re gonna feel, and that we’re actually going to be all alone in our rejection. So then we just don’t do anything and we stay feeling isolated and lonely. So, I loved that that DJ experience…
“We’re so afraid of that fear of rejection…that we’re actually going to be all alone in our rejection. So then we just don’t do anything and we stay feeling isolated and lonely.” Jessica Honegger
So, did you have relationships with women before that, or, you know, I feel like…were you kind of…you kind of ran around with the guys in college, like, you were into sports and stuff. Like, has this been your journey of really seeing what can happen when we choose sisterhood?
Sharing Success with One Another
Jamie: You know, I have always been, kind of, a guys’ girl, you know, per se. But I’ve had smaller sets of friends. So, I’ve had some super close girlfriends for a really long time, if that makes sense. Like, my closest girlfriend, we’ve been friends for 25 years. And then I have friends that we moved to Austin with, so I’ve known them for 15 to 20 years.
So, I had had some super close girlfriends throughout this time, but that kind of set me apart as, like, people cheering and cheering you on.
Now, I will also say this. Is the more I’ve gotten into my career per se with podcasting and speaking and writing, I am just…and I’ve learned this from you and from other people that we do work with. I’ve learned that it’s so much better to cheer people on than to worry if they’re going to infringe on your success or infringe on your business.
“I’ve learned that it’s so much better to cheer people on than to worry if they’re going to infringe on your success or infringe on your business.” Jamie Ivey on supporting other women.
Jessica: Oh my gosh. When you spend your energy thinking, “oh my gosh, her success is diminishing mine,” and, you know, I struggle with this, and you and I both speak to this because it’s a thing for us. Like, we don’t speak to it because we don’t struggle, we speak to it because we know that that’s our tendency, but we are determined to not let it win because we see that there is enough for everyone.
Jamie: There’s enough for everyone.
Jessica: Like, there really is. Like, that’s not a meme. It’s not just something we’re saying to feel good about ourselves. We have seen that when we cheer one another on, there is always enough…
Jamie: Yeah. I’ve seen this with podcasting. You know, I started my podcast four and a half years ago, and podcasting wasn’t a thing then. But it’s a thing now. I mean, you know, everyone’s starting podcasts. And I have people ask me, "Oh, I saw your friend Jen started, I saw your friend Jessica, I saw your friend this. Does that bother you?" And I’m like, "Are you kidding? Absolutely not. Because here’s why. There’s room for everybody."
Also, here’s another thing that I always wanted to scream at the world. When people start podcasts and more people listen to podcasts, it actually helps everybody that’s podcasting, you guys. Like, it helps us all. Yes, yes, start a podcast, it’s awesome.
Jessica: Well, and then what’s fun, is then…because I was just…I ran into one of your fans last night. I’m in the middle of my book tour right now. I’m actually talking to you from Grand Rapids. So, I was talking with one of your listeners last night who came to my book tour because I think she heard about it on your podcast, and I was telling her, "I’m gonna interview Jamie tomorrow," and she was so excited, she’s like, "Oh my gosh, I listen to The Going Scared Podcast but I never get to hear Jamie being interviewed." And so now she’s gonna get to hear that.
And it’s that whole thing of, when the tide rises, all ships rise with it. And so when you have other people start podcasts, well then you get to be on those podcasts and then people get to hear you in new places.
So, it really is when we choose to lift one another up, when we choose to make generous assumptions about each other, when we choose to cheer one another on, we really do all succeed. You just, kind of, have to actually try it to ensure, like, oh OK, this is true.
“So, it really is when we choose to lift one another up, when we choose to make generous assumptions about each other, when we choose to cheer one another on, we really do all succeed.” Jessica Honegger
Jamie: Totally true. And I would think that if you and I thought really long and hard about this, we could come up with a time when we have stepped out and we haven’t felt cheered on. Like, that’s what I always want people to know, is that’s gonna happen as well, and it just takes more courage to do it again and to try again because it’s worth it.
Our Stories Are Our Choices
Jessica: OK, so let’s talk about that. Because, you know, the DJ contest really impacted me because it is vulnerable to enter a contest and ask people to vote for you, and to say, you know what, like, I could go be a DJ on this country… I mean, it was a well-known Austin station. This was not some piddly thing. This was like, I’m going to be a DJ.
And that courage was contagious for me, because that takes courage in order to say, I don’t know how this is gonna turn out, right?
Jessica: Courage is simply being able to step forward into a risk without knowing the outcome and doing it anyway and just going scared.
So here you are, entering this contest, high stakes, getting people to vote for you, but then you win. But here’s the deal, you won and then you went a few months later. And then that was very public.
So, I don’t actually even know the whole story well. OK. Well, we’ll get into this, we have never had this discussion.
Jamie: I’m ready.
Jessica: So, I can’t believe we’re publicly…
Jessica: But, it was right around the time of Noonday and you quit because of the mommy thing and I felt shame because I was like, "Oh, see, you can’t do both. And yet I’m doing both” and I felt…
Jamie: See, this is good though.
Jessica: I can’t believe we’ve never had this conversation before.
Jamie: This is really good because I always can speak to both sides. Like, I can speak…
Jessica: OK, so let’s talk. So tell our listeners, because a lot of people… So they know now about the DJ thing, so then walk us through.
Jamie: So, I ended up winning. Just speaking of courage, you know, just…I kind of stepped out, like, this will be fun, this will be awesome, this will be cool. I actually never went all the way of if I actually won because I never thought I would. I ended up winning. The difference is…
Jessica: OK, so let me…so you basically are like, "Yeah, sure, I’m gonna enter this contest," but you hadn’t thought through, "Oh, if I win I’m gonna have to wake up at 4:00 in the morning and, like, be at work…"
Jamie: No. No, I had not thought about that, and that’s really dumb. But that’s blind courage right there, I guess we’ll call it that. So, I…
Jessica: Hey, sometimes ignorance is bliss.
Jamie: That’s right. I won and so I started this job. You know, we went on air at 6 a.m., I was there every day, and…
Jessica: And tell me about your babies at this point.
Jamie: So, I had a six-year-old biological son, and I had a four-year-old son from Haiti who had only been home a year, I had another four-year-old that we adopted domestically but he’d been with us his whole life. And then my daughter was two-and-a-half and had been home from Haiti a year. Somewhere along there, whatever. That’s the gist of it.
Jessica: Basically, when an adopted child is home for a year, it’s basically like a week for a biological child.
Jamie: It’s like the first six hours of your biological son coming home, yes.
Jessica: Yeah. I mean, that’s real.
Jamie: And I had two children home from foreign adoption. And so, life was crazy, life was really crazy, and so I then I threw this in. And mind you also, I had not worked outside of the home since before we had kids. I had done some part-time stuff here and there, like working at daycares with my kids, but I had never been outside the home.
So, I get this job and I love it. It’s the best job I’ve ever had. I was a teacher before we had kids, and a coach. The best job, I loved it, I thrived at it. They were telling me, "Jamie, you’re good at this. You’ve never done this before?" And I’m like, "No, but I love it." Like, I found my thing, Jessica, that’s what happened. And I’m thriving in this new job, thriving.
This is probably March-ish, and my kids start not thriving, or whatever the opposite word of that is. My family starts falling apart. That summer…my marriage has probably never been harder than that summer. My kids are falling apart, they’re with a new nanny every week. And this is our reality a lot of times, right? But this was just…this was so hard on our family that about four months in I made the decision I needed to quit. And that was because my family was falling apart before my eyes.
And I remember when I made this decision, a couple of things that I remember the most about this is, number one, I won this job publicly and I quit this job publicly. I had never been in the public eye before in my entire life, and it was devastating. I mean, people wrote the meanest emails to the station, the meanest things on public boards or whatever, and Aaron would come home, and I’d be in the bedroom reading them, just bawling. Because I felt like a failure, I felt like a really big…I had failed my family, and now I had failed at this job. And so, it was really, really difficult.
But I also really struggled with, “God, I don’t understand why you would put this desire in me, why I would win this contest, why I would love this job, why I would thrive at this job, and then you actually would” …I mean, he didn’t make me by any means, but I’m the one that made the decision. I was like, I feel as though I need to be back home with my family. I don’t understand this.
So, I’m frustrated at God, I’m frustrated with my family, I’m like, mad that Aaron doesn’t have to make this choice. I mean, all the things…
Jessica: But see, that’s what I wanted to ask you about in the conversation that we’ve never had, because you are a part of a little bit more of a conservative church… Like, I feel like you have a little bit more of a conservative background. And then here I am, and my husband recently quit his job a year ago so that I could continue in my thing and the family could thrive.
So, I think when that happened, it was like, “Well, what? So Aaron’s career had to win?” I mean, this is me being…I’m just being super raw right now.
Jamie: Totally. Totally. I’m sure…
Jessica: I’m not saying…
Jamie: I’m sure that was a common question. But here’s where it was for us. We had built our family on me being a stay-at-home mom. And that was a decision that we both made, and I am 100 percent behind that decision. Like, that’s what it was. And then I stepped out in courage and in just blind, kind of like, what am I doing for this job? Won it, thrived, loved it. But the decision that we had made early on was really affecting my family.
And so, I think the reason that me quitting, although I say it was the hardest decision I’ve ever made, it was also the best. Aaron never asked me to, ever. Never, never, never. I came to him and was like, "I don’t think this is working." And looking back, I think it would have put up a lot of walls with me ever trying to have a career again, had Aaron come to me and said, "Hey, I think you need to quit."
And he just didn’t, he really let me…because he believed in me as well, you know? And he wanted this to work.
Jessica: Because it was obvious that this was your thing, like, that you were meant to be doing this.
Jamie: Yeah, totally. Totally.
Jessica: I mean, you are. You are an incredible interviewer, you have an incredible on-air presence. You know, and it’s like this is what God used to catalyze you.
Jamie: It totally is. And I look back and I have zero regrets. Also, the team I worked with at that station, by December they were all gone.
So, I look back and I think, I was in this…it was, kind of, a thunderstorm waiting to happen at the station. It would not have been pretty, going down with that ship. And then I got to come home and really, really pour into my kids who needed me at that time, and then when the time was right, I got to just do my own thing. And I don’t have a boss, and I don’t have to report to the station at 6 a.m., and I get to have a thriving podcast.
And so, looking back at that situation, I learned a whole lot, and I always am thinking, like, I believe in women and I believe in women chasing their dreams and doing big things. For me at that point in my life, I needed to be home with my family. Now I’m a working mom.
“I believe in women and I believe in women chasing their dreams and doing big things. For me at that point in my life, I needed to be home with my family.” Jamie Ivey on leaving her career to be a stay-at-home mom.
Jessica: I love that, and I love that you were…yeah, exactly. And you were able to say your yes came from a really authentic place, it didn’t come from a should. It didn’t come from Aaron saying, "You should be at home because we agreed on this," and it didn’t come from you saying, "I’m a woman, I should actually be at home." It came from this place of, I want our family to thrive, and I’m gonna…
Jamie: And I need to be there for it to happen, yeah.
Jessica: And I need to be there for it to happen.
Jamie: And another thing too, like, when looking back, it was, like, it never really was this option of my career versus Aaron’s, because Aaron had his job that he was doing, and I won a contest to be on a DJ. You know what I mean? It just, it didn’t…
Jessica: Yup, it just happened really quickly, it wasn’t this planned, like, “hey, I’m gonna step into a career, let’s find a full-time nanny.”
Jamie: I didn’t go to college for this. Like, this is not a career trajectory that I’m on. I won a contest and it didn’t work out. But…
Jessica: OK, so walk us through. So you…OK, but, sorry, go ahead.
Jamie: No, I was gonna say, but God used that so much in my life, because here I am now.
Finding the Courage to Adapt
Jessica: Here you are now. So, you quit and then you’re pouring into the family, and then what was that journey of, OK, I really discovered this was my thing, so then how am I gonna continue to activate that part of me?
Jamie: So after I quit it was really, really difficult. In fact, the next year…I would say that was probably August, September. The next summer, I had a potential position to go back to at the radio station. And Aaron and I talked about it and we really prayed about it a lot and talked about it, and neither one of us still a year later felt comfortable with that yes.
And that was hard because I wanted it so badly, but there was just something in me saying, this is not a yes, even though it looks so good.
So about a year and a half after I quit, someone interviewed me on their podcast. I don’t even remember what we talked…I don’t remember why she wanted to interview me. But I got interviewed on a podcast, and I remember thinking when that show was done and we did our little conversation, at the end I thought to myself, "I can do what she just did." Like, "I can do this."
And so, I had this idea to start a podcast. And that was probably December, and I didn’t actually start until May, because I just…a lot of reasons. I don’t know how to make a podcast, I don’t own a microphone, I, you know, I don’t know how to upload audio. All those things. And so, I slowly but surely learned a little bit as I was going and launched in May, four years ago.
And literally if you go back and listen to the first…I think you’re number five. If you go back and listen to, like, the first 20 to 30 episodes, it’s sometimes torture. I think, like, it’s so clear…
Jessica: I disagree. You’re such a natural.
Jamie: Well, it’s so clear that I didn’t have my groove yet, I didn’t know my purpose, I just…it was kind of rocky, but it’s…
Jessica: Yeah, but I’m sure, like, four years ago, even the technology has changed so much now.
Jamie: Totally. I mean, it’s fun, and here we are, you know, four and a half years later.
Jessica: And now I’m interviewing you.
Jamie: And now you’re interviewing me.
Jessica: On my podcast that I just launched.
Jamie: See, it’s so fun.
Jessica: You really were a forerunner, which has been really fun to see.
OK. So, as you know, today we’re talking about "The Sisterhood Effect," that chapter in my book, and you were actually a host for my Austin book tour launch, which by the way…was that not so much fun?
Jamie: Was so much fun. It was so great.
Jessica: Oh my gosh, I’m still riding high off of that party…
Jamie: It was fun.
Jessica: Austin has just been so, so good to me and to this book.
Choose Celebration Over Comparison
Jessica: And as you know, I read from that chapter, "The Sisterhood Effect." And this is a story that I might have first shared at one of your lives, or something. Like, this happened a long time ago, and I know it really impacted you because you started sharing it, you started, you know, sharing it with your community.
So, just to recap for our listeners, there is this day where I woke up early enough to exercise and actually blow dry my hair, I didn’t have to do a top bun that day. I left my house in time to stop by Starbucks before my first meeting. I was, like, feeling like a boss that morning.
Jamie: This is like you’re winning already in the morning. I mean, nothing can go wrong now.
Jessica: I’m winning in every way. I mean, I bet that…maybe I even made breakfast for my kids that morning, I don’t know. But that’s how good this morning was going.
So then I walk into Starbucks and I’m waiting in line and I look over and I see her. It’s the mom. That mom from our kids’ school, who’s, like, the glue of the school. She drops off her kids in the morning and she picks them up in the afternoon. She volunteers on the school field trips and she also finds all the other chaperones to go on the field trips too.
For all I knew, she was a Starbucks ordering lattes for the entire third grade teachers. You know? I mean, that is the story that I’m telling myself. I am immediately comparing her mom-ness, which in my mind is this idealized version of, like, the perfect mom, who, you even used this term earlier, pours into her kids, and then here I am, about to run late to my first meeting and who knows when the last time I’d actually been up to my kids’ school.
So, all of that winning-ness suddenly was lost as I began to compare. But then I stopped myself because I had done a lot of internal work, which the whole first part of my book is all about that internal work. And I recognize this is a voice of comparison, this is a voice that cuts off celebration. And so I stopped. I said, “I don’t have to choose this story.” And I pulled my sunglasses up over my head and I looked at this woman and I said, "Christina, hey, our kids go to the same school." She looks at me, curious, like, "I think I might have seen you at some point."
Jamie: Probably not.
Jessica: But then she says, "Oh yeah, Jessica. I just saw you on the cover of a magazine, Austin Woman. You run this business. Like wow, how do you do it all?" And she asked me in this admiring way, and in the past when I’d heard that question asked to me…
Jamie: You had been bad, yep.
Jessica: …what I actually heard was, "You must be dropping all the balls at home." And I took it as an accusation. But in that moment I decided, she’s not accusing me, she’s genuinely celebrating my success.
And so I looked at her in that moment and I said, "Christina, I am able to do it all because of you. Because you were showing up for our kids. Not just your kids, but our kids and our school. And because I know there’s moms like you at the school, I can go to work and flourish in my place, knowing my kids are flourishing because of moms like you. And thank you." And I sincerely thanked her and I ran out the door and started to bawl.
Jamie: Did you ever see her again?
Jessica: Girl, I cannot believe I have not told you this.
Jamie: Oh no, no, no. Keep going. This is new?
Jessica: This is cool. This is super new. But before I get into the new part which is so awesome and cool, what about that story resonated with you? Why has that been something that you wanted to keep sharing with your…
Jamie: Yeah, I think that you actually shared that with me on a podcast early on. And when I started my podcast, I wouldn’t have necessarily called myself a working mom. Because, granted, I put it up whenever I wanted, it was pretty just, kind of, whenever. But about 50 episodes in I decided this is gonna be a job, and then around that…
Jessica: Only 50 episodes? Oh my gosh.
Jamie: Well, I’m up to, like…
Jessica: 50 episodes, you’re like, "OK, I’m gonna get professional about this."
Jamie: Finally, I’m gonna get myself together. But I really did, I decided, OK, this is gonna be my job, you know, whatever, and I started speaking more and writing, all those things. Then all of a sudden, I found myself as a working mom.
And I struggled sometimes of feeling as though… And for me it was this too, Jess, is that I was a different…I’ll say different, but hear me when I say this, different mom to my oldest when he was in elementary, than to my last child. Different as in I was a stay-at-home mom, so I was involved more.
Do you know that I used to substitute teach at my kids’ schools? Did you know that ever?
Jessica: I think I did know that. I mean, you obviously like children…
Jamie: I do like children, I love teaching, and so it was a fun way for me to be around my kids and stuff. So, I had struggled a little bit more with even these kids got more of me than this one at the end.
But it has been really, really, really good for me, because I have thought about that story often and thought about…one of my favorite parts about that story too is the way that that other mom who has a different thing in life, how she, I don’t think so, I don’t think she was being demeaning towards you. You know, she was really admiring you.
Jessica: No. Oh my gosh, no.
Jamie: And so she could have been like, "Well, nice seeing you here, we don’t ever see you at the PTA meetings," you know? But she seems as though she was pretty comfortable in what her…what she was doing in life as well. And that’s one of my favorite things about the story as well, not even from what happened in your heart, but how everybody can look around at everybody and say, how can we cheer you on in what you’re doing? And just because you’re not here, you know, volunteering at lunch duty every Thursday, doesn’t mean you’re not doing great things for your kids.
I even just this last week had a meeting with Story’s teacher, my youngest daughter’s in fifth grade, and I told him, I said, "I just need to let you know, like, I support you guys, I am so for you. But I have a job and I won’t be up here for anything." And they kind of giggle, but I really, I was straight up, like, "I can’t…"
Jessica: I love how you said anything. "I won’t be up here for anything."
Jamie: I’m just like, I can’t. I can’t. I mean, even this morning, yesterday Story told me that she has something special in the assembly this morning, and I have this. And I didn’t feel guilty though, because I thought, "Man, I’m so proud of you. I hope it goes awesome." And then I went to my office and did my job.
So I think that it comes from…here’s what happens too. Is when you and I and that woman, Christina, and every other mom, when we are confident in that we’re doing exactly what we’re supposed to be doing, then we can, to use your word, we can flourish in that gifting, we can flourish in that stage of life, we can flourish in whatever God’s asked us to do. And I feel really confident that God has said to me, like, right now, this is your job, I’ve gifted you, this is what you’re doing. And my kids are just fine. They are great. They’re great, yes.
“When we are confident in that we’re doing exactly what we’re supposed to be doing, then we can, to use your word, we can flourish in that gifting, we can flourish in that stage of life, we can flourish in whatever God’s asked us to do.” Jamie Ivey
Jessica: They’re great, they’re so great. Jamie and I took Story out to dinner the other night and I loved it. We had like a super vulnerable conversation, I was struggling with all the things that we’re talking about today on the podcast because I was about to launch my book, and I was like, "I want it to do well and I want it to do better than this person’s."
So this stuff does not come naturally, this is why I talk about it. But you are…
Jamie: You work at it though, it really is.
Jessica: We do, we do. We’re mom-ing it.
OK. So, to get back to Christina, this is… First of all, when I wrote about her story in the book, I had to get…I mean, any name that is in my book, I had to get approval. I mean, we’re talking…we had to go to the huts of Rwanda and Guatemala to get approval…
Jamie: Could you have changed their names and not done that?
Jessica: I did not change names. I changed one person’s name because of…it was protection around AIDS and HIV, but other than that, no, no changes, it’s…
Jamie: So you had to call up Christina?
Jessica: Yes, yes. So, it was an email and it was, like, OK, you know, my assistant helped me with it. Well, she emailed me and she goes, "Jessica, it is so interesting that that was profound for you. I remember walking out of Starbucks thinking, ‘Man, I really looked like shit that day.’" So she was comparing herself to me.
And then get this, Jamie, get this. She came to my book launch party, I didn’t know that. I’m not friends with her. I mean, literally, I know her as this mom at my kids’ school, and I didn’t see her in the crowd as I read the story. So I didn’t even know that she was there and here I am reading her story.
Well, afterwards she embraces me with tears in her eyes. Literally the moment before I read her story, she was meeting people at the tour, and there was another woman there who was getting to know her, totally innocent, asking her the most innocent of questions that we all ask, and this other woman says, "What do you do for a living?" And in that moment Christina said she felt so much shame. Her kids were about to start school the next day, and she was thinking, "What am I gonna do tomorrow?" And reading that story reminded her, wait a minute, I’m walking in my purpose, I’m doing what I was supposed to be doing, and it dispelled that shame voice for her. It was so powerful…
Jamie: You know, it does go both ways, it really does.
Jessica: It goes both ways.
Bringing Our Purposes Together
Jamie: I remember staying home with my kids and that’s…I knew it’s exactly where I was supposed to be. And I remember dreaming sometimes about putting a suit on and high heels and getting on an airplane, and now I’m like, oh my gosh, I don’t wanna get on another airplane. But, I remember feeling like, if I did that, would I be a better woman?
And, man, I have grown…I’ve matured so much. I mean, we all do, right? Forty now, I feel different than when I was 25. But now I can look back and see, man, the best thing for us to do as women, the best thing is for us to stand tall in our calling, in what we’re supposed to be doing, and to do the best where we’re supposed to be. Like, that is the best thing we can do with our lives.
“The best thing for us to do as women, the best thing is for us to stand tall in our calling, in what we’re supposed to be doing, and to do the best where we’re supposed to be.” Jamie Ivey
Jessica: Yes. And instead of outshining, we can just shine.
Jessica: So, what has been that journey for you? Because, you know, what’s interesting for me is, you know, Noonday grew really, really quickly in our first three years. I mean, by year…I started it in 2010, by year 2015 we were on The Inc.’s Fastest Growing Company in the Country, the 49th Fastest Growing Privately Held Company in the Nation, the Third Fastest Growing Company Owned by A Woman.
So, it was clear, I mean, we were changing lives at a pretty rapid rate, and yet my…it was my internal dialogue that was walking in guilt. So, I was doing my thing, and yet my internal dialogue was, "You’re ruining your children." And that was such a journey for me, that internal story. And so…
But it sounds like for you, how have you…because you said stand tall, be confident. What would you tell a woman right now who she’s like, "This is my thing. I know that this is supposed to be my thing that I’m doing," but her internal dialogue is guilt and shame about it.
Jamie: You know, I think that we need to have people around us who are going to speak truth to us, and I don’t necessarily mean people around you that are just gonna tell you what you wanna hear. I do not want my ears tickled, I do not want you to tell me what you think I should…well, like, what I want to hear. I want girlfriends to surround me who can be the source of truth in my life, who know me as a person, they know my strengths, they know my callings, they know my weaknesses. And so they can speak either truth into my calling, truth into my passions. They can also speak and say, "Those are lies that you’re believing, those are lies that you’re hearing."
“I want girlfriends to surround me who can be the source of truth in my life, who know me as a person, they know my strengths, they know my callings, they know my weaknesses. And so they can speak either truth into my calling, truth into my passions. They can also speak and say, ‘Those are lies that you’re believing, those are lies that you’re hearing.’” Jamie Ivey on what she looks for in Sisterhood
Or they can say, "You know what, you need to listen to that a little bit more. Why are you feeling that?" I wanna surround myself with girlfriends who just like you’re talking about here, "The Sisterhood Effect," that can cheer me on, that can also speak truth, and that can hold me up when I feel like I can’t do it anymore. Because when you do step out and do new things, like, when you started Noonday Collection or when I started my podcast, that is scary ground because you have no idea what you’re doing. You had no one before you that you looked at and said, "This is what you’re doing." I had no one that I looked before and said, "Hey, show me how to do this podcast stuff."
And so it is scary, but I’m going to bet that you had people surrounding you that were cheering you on, the same way that I did as well.
Success Is Owning Our Purpose
Jessica: Yes. And it’s…yes, we have to have the sisters, and by the way, each of us has the power to go build that. So if you’re like, "Well, I don’t have those people in my life," well, first of all go be the kind of person that you…
Jamie: You have to be that person to get those people.
Jessica: You have to be that friend to get that friend. And then you have to be intentional. I mean, you and I have been extremely, extremely intentional in our friendships so that we could show up in each other’s lives like this. And there’s also…it’s not only that it’s scary because we feel like we don’t know what we’re doing and maybe no one’s done it before. We also don’t know how it’s gonna turn out.
Jamie: No, we don’t. We don’t. And that’s scary as well.
Jessica: Yes. So we don’t know if it’s gonna be "successful." And I think if you define success as the outcome and the destination instead of the journey, then you will just get stuck in fear, and I think it’s the fear that breeds the comparison and the scarcity. But when you define success as the journey, as the…I get to be a poem in the world, that no one else can be this poem. I’ve got my own unique stanzas, my own unique song, and it’s not just about hinging everything on the outcome, but it’s about, when I get to the outcome, whatever it is, what kind of journey did I walk when I get there?
“And I think if you define success as the outcome and the destination instead of the journey, then you will just get stuck in fear, and I think it’s the fear that breeds the comparison and the scarcity.” Jessica Honegger
Jamie: Yeah. Here’s what I always wanna scream to women as well. Is, living in the culture that we have with social media, it’s really easy to see the amazing things that a bunch of women are doing. Granted, you and I as well. I mean, you can see, like, oh my gosh, look at them, they’re doing these amazing things.
Here’s what I want everybody to hear and to, like, know in their soul is this, is that you have got to decide what is your mission in life, what is your purpose. Here’s an example, my show, The Happy Hour. We have a mission, so we have a statement, that every show, that we want to encourage women, inspire them, and point them to Jesus. It’s a faith-based show. So those three things is what we want to happen on every single show.
Here’s the deal. If I release a show next week and it gets the most downloads we’ve ever had, my success is only success if we do those three things. Because if I release another show the next week and it tanks, like, "Why hasn’t anyone listened to it?" But we’ve done those three things for those listeners, in my mind it has to be a success. Otherwise I’m just like a little floatie in the waves. Just like, one day I’m happy, one day I’m mad, one day I’m not.
Now, granted, we both work in businesses where numbers matter, so I don’t wanna talk that numbers don’t matter, because they do. But at the end of the day, if I can lay my head down on my pillow at night and I feel happy about the work I’ve done, it’s because I’ve been faithful to what I said I was going to do. And I think that a lot of times women will look around and be like, "If I could only be more like her, or if I could be more like her, or if my book would succeed like her, or my podcast, or my art," or whatever, then you’re missing the people that God has actually put in front of you.
“At the end of the day, if I can lay my head down on my pillow at night and I feel happy about the work I’ve done, it’s because I’ve been faithful to what I said I was going to do.” Jamie Ivey
Like, that’s what I say to people that are like, "I wish that I had…I wish I had more downloads, I wish I had more numbers, I wish I had this." Those things are great. Man, listen, I’m striving for more downloads too, but I never wanna forget the people that are listening. Like, they matter.
And so if I’m constantly wishing I was more like her, because of her platform and her people, well what about the people that are right in front of me? What about the people that are reading my books and listening to my show? They matter.
And so it’s that thin line, and I know you get it as well between, listen, I’m a go-getter, I’m a striver, I want more downloads, more books sold, all those things. Those are all good things. But I need to focus more on the people than I do on those things, or I’ll lose it.
Jessica: Well, and it’s in your value statement.
Jessica: It’s your value statement. So, I think that’s really important for listeners to hear, is what is your why, and don’t just willy-nilly, you know, figure it out, but really you’ve got to spend some time thinking, what is my why, what are my values, what is my mission statement? And if you don’t have a business, you can still do that for your family, you can do that for any of the volunteer work that you’re doing, any of the side gigs that you might be starting. You need to define your why and write down your value so that you can always come back to that piece.
Like, it’s the same thing. You know, a lot of people don’t know this, but my book is not owned by me. I don’t own my book, Jessica Honegger, Noonday Collection does. And it’s because my mission is to build a flourishing world where women are empowered, where children are cherished, where people have jobs, and where together we are all connected. And that is done through this social business called Noonday Collection. And this book is simply meant to elevate that. And that’s so clear to me. Like, that is absolutely so crystal clear to me, that when it came time to signing the contract or any speaking gigs I do, all of the money goes towards Noonday Collection so that then…
Jamie: It goes towards that why.
Jessica: …those dollars, that value can then drive towards the why. And so it’s such a beautiful thing.
Jamie, this is so funny but I actually read… I did an interview yesterday for Medium, which is a…it’s a website for millennials. And they asked me, and this is so funny because I’m like, wow, this is really good. And I really needed to read this yesterday because, you know, I have been getting caught up now with the book, like, is it selling? Because I want it to accomplish that mission so badly, so I want everyone to read it. I mean, I really, really do.
So in this interview they ask, "What’s your definition of success?" And I said, "When I consider whether or not I’m succeeding, the question I ask myself is, am I walking this journey in a way that’s aligned with my values? Values like love, peace, generosity, courage, and compassion. Am I using what I’ve been given, or stressing out about what’s not mine to do?"
I like to think about life as a song, where we all have specific notes to hit and parts to play, and the important thing is to focus on hitting your notes, and not trying to play a part that’s not yours to play. In other words, success for me is about being faithful to my own gifts, my own impact, and my own influence in the world, and letting go of the results I can’t control. Success isn’t about arriving at a destination, it’s about the journey that got you there.
“I like to think about life as a song, where we all have specific notes to hit and parts to play, and the important thing is to focus on hitting your notes, and not trying to play a part that’s not yours to play.” Jessica Honegger
I bet you think that’s hilarious that I wrote that, because here I have been on this journey going, "The results." You know?
Standing Together in All Walks of Womanhood
Jamie: It’s so hard. But I think the thing is, is when you…but you always have that to go back to. You and I also have…both had points in our business where we’re like, oh my gosh, this could be over. Like, this could be done. But we always have that to go back to, that why, that thing that keeps you going.
And so, again, it’s such a thin line between numbers and books sold and downloads, all those things, because they do matter. But I cannot base my success and her success though based on our numbers. Because I have a greater calling to the people that are reading, that are listening, that they matter to me. And so, as long as I’m hitting that why.
You know, it reminds me of this. We were just in Sedona, Arizona, which I cannot wait to tell you about in person, Jessica.
Jessica: I cannot wait to hear.
Jamie: It was such a great trip. My husband and I went there to celebrate his birthday.
Jessica: I’m, like, ready to book the tickets.
Jamie: It’s so great. But here’s something that was interesting, is, we flew into Phoenix and it’s about a two-hour drive from Phoenix to Sedona, so we’re driving. And Phoenix and, you know, Arizona is this different kind of beauty than we have here in Texas. It’s kind of, you know, West Texas feeling.
But there’s these huge cactuses. You know the ones that have the big arms? You know what I’m talking about? Like the…
Jessica: Yes, like giant?
Jamie: Yeah, they’re giant and they’re beautiful. And we were seeing those as we were driving up, but then closer we got to Sedona, we didn’t see any more of them. And so I didn’t really think anything of it.
And then we were on this tour and the guy was telling us about some of the wildlife and the animals in Sedona and stuff, and he mentioned, he said, "You notice you don’t see any of those cactus that you saw down at Phoenix up here," he said, "because they can’t survive up here. Because it gets colder up here and they are full of water, and so they will fall down and die."
And I thought, man, I think those cactuses are so beautiful. Like, they deserve to be in these mountains that are so beautiful, but they were never meant to be in those mountains and they cannot survive in the ground in Sedona, but they can survive in Phoenix.
And I told Aaron, I said, "This is exactly what I want to scream at women sometimes," is that you have a place that you can survive and you can thrive, and it may look different than other women, it may look different. But don’t try to go where someone else is going just because you think that’s better, because you may not be able to thrive there. Just like that cacti…I’ve been saying cactus the whole time, but it’s cacti, right? I can’t even remember.
Jessica: I guess. Cacti sounds good.
Jamie: You know, that they can survive in Phoenix but not in Sedona. And sometimes we cannot thrive in other women’s places, and that’s OK.
Jessica: Yeah. I mean, we can’t. We can’t. Well, and then we’re also hustling to sort of earn our worth or we’re trying to be perfect so that we can escape feelings of blame and judgment, and then you’re just missing…we’re just getting to miss the mark and miss the joy. And that’s what’s interesting when I look at my journey because I was outwardly flourishing. I mean, my business was flourishing, I’m getting to step into this calling of changing the world, of bridging rich and poor, of empowering other women all over the nation to own their own businesses, but it was that internal dialogue of, "Oh my gosh, am I supposed to be a stay-at-home mom and homeschooling like my best friend," that was disrupting the joy in the journey.
“We’re also hustling to sort of earn our worth or we’re trying to be perfect so that we can escape feelings of blame and judgment, and then you’re just missing…we’re just getting to miss the mark and miss the joy.” Jessica Honegger
So, not only can it keep you from actually not stepping out into your purpose, but it really is more of…it just keeps you miserable inside, and then when you’re miserable inside and you’re in that place of shame, you shame other people.
Jamie: Yeah, it’s a cycle.
Jessica: You know, so you end up judging…it is. So you judge others, you yell at your kids more. Like, when you come home from work and you felt shame that you were at work, then somehow your kids are to blame. They aren’t, you know, because they are the result of the shame. And so it’s just…it is, it’s this crazy cycle, which is why I love that so much about your message is getting women to disrupt that story of shame, to come out of hiding, to own their truth, to speak their truth into a safe place so that they can have a soft place to land, and that that’s where the healing takes place.
Jamie: You know, I just spoke with a friend the other day and she’s a stay-at-home mom to two kids, probably both under three. And she’s kind of struggling with staying at home when her husband’s working and traveling, and understandably. I remember, I remember those shoes. And she was talking about it, and I said…I asked her, I said, "Do you think that this is exactly where God wants you to be right now?" She said, "I really, really do." She’s like, "I really value this, I think this is important. We’ve talked about this, we’ve decided it." And I said, "Then you’re gonna have to find a way to make this joyful. Like, you’re gonna have to trust that this is exactly…you’re gonna have to believe what you just told me."
And so I think that goes both ways.
Jessica: It does.
Jamie: Like, wherever we feel as though I really, really in my soul, in my gut, my people have told me this, we all are in agreement, so this is exactly where I’m supposed to be, then we have to find a way to find joy and to do our purpose well.
Jessica: And to have fun.
Jessica: See, and when I was a stay-at-home mom, although it’s funny, just like you, you said after 50 episodes, I mean, anyone would have looked at you and said, "This is not a side hustle." So I also wanna speak to our listeners right now who aren’t owning the fact that they are not a stay-at-home mom. Like, they also have a job, like, a real job, it’s not just a side hustle. I mean, I was a realtor before starting Noonday, and I don’t know why I act like I was a stay-at-home mom before Noonday when actually… I mean, I had a real estate business, so a website, and I had clients. But in my mind I couldn’t be, I couldn’t also have a job because there was no room in my mind where you could be a good mom and a working mom, so then I just denied this part of my story in order to… And then that’s very confusing for your internal…
Jamie: So you were, like, a stay-a-home mom that also sold real estate?
Jessica: Right, I couldn’t say that I also have a job because there was no room in my heart for the "both," for the "and." And I really believe, you know, in embracing that we can love our kids and pour into our kids, and we can love our job and pour into our job. There really is room for both. And it’s embracing those “ands” and getting really…wrestling with those stories that have told you something different.
I mean, for me so much of it was I grew up with a really conservative mom and dad, I love them to death, and they told me I could do anything I wanted and be anything I wanted, and I was a spitfire of a child and my dad is a spitfire of a man. But because they value traditional roles, I didn’t know what to do when suddenly my life wasn’t taking that traditional path.
Jamie: Which is surprising to me, because don’t you have a Master’s in Education?
Jamie: I mean, like, it sounds as though you were always on this path. I know.
Jessica: I know, Jamie, but again, it’s bizarre. It’s the internal, it’s the internal, you know?
Jamie: And, you know, I have dealt with that. It’s funny because you say, like, you know, more conservative and our churches leans on the conservative side. I have never felt, like, weird for working, but I remember growing up when I was a kid, and I would hear a woman’s greatest role is a wife and a mom. And I don’t believe that to be true at all. I think that our calling is not that at all. I think as a believer, as a Christian, my calling is to glorify God, end of story. Because there are some people who their bodies won’t make children, and there are some people… I think you taught me this, like, if the greatest thing is to be a stay-at-home mom, then that really stinks for everyone around the world that doesn’t have a choice. You know what I mean?
Jamie: Yeah. OK. Sorry, I got off on a tangent. I think that’s been…
Jessica: No, that’s good.
Jamie: …in my heart these days to say that’s not true.
Jessica: Yeah. Yeah. Especially if your faith influences how you live.
Jamie Ivey Going Scared with Book Two
Jessica: OK, we’d like to end with, how are you going scared right now in your life?
Jamie: Well, you wanna know something really crazy is…I think you’ll relate to this though, is, I am about to start writing book number two, and I’m really scared.
Jessica: Yeah. What’s the fear?
Jamie: The fear is, can I do this again? The fear is… You know, my first…I talked to our mutual friend, Jenny, about this recently, and, you know, she even said, like, that first book, it’s like this, like, heart. Like, you just say it all, you know? And you just wanna get your heart out there. And then you sign up for book number two and you’re like, OK, well now what do I do here?
And so I…you know, I have so many ideas in my head, but it’s just…I’m taking a step once again. And I think that is just so true that even though I’ve done this before, like, I’ve done this once. I think it might still be scary every single time from here on out. I don’t think I’ll ever be like, "Oh, I’m gonna write another book, this is easy." So, that’s what I’m doing, going scared right now.
Jessica: Well, I also think there’s something about the second book, because the first book, you experience success. You know, you reach this certain goal that you had, I mean, your book did really, really well, and then there’s this pressure that we put on success.
And again, I think that that goes…I mean, you’re gonna have to re-listen to this podcast because you can just preach to yourself, because you said that so clearly and eloquently earlier, that it is just about being faithful to what you’re supposed to do, that that’s what success is. And when we can define success by that, man, it frees us up. It frees us up to be joyful, it frees us up to let go of the results, because I think it’s often times the results and attaching our identity to those results that keeps up back from either moving forward at all, or we move forward but with so much fear that there’s no joy in the journey.
Jamie: Totally. And we look around and go, "Man, she’s selling this many books? I must not be successful." And that’s just not true.
Jessica: If you guys are on Instagram or on the internet, you’ve probably seen the meme floating around, "Her Success Does Not Diminish Mine." We have to make that more than a meme, we’ve got to live that out in real life. To live it out in real life, we need to choose celebration over comparison. Because it’s really true, when you celebrate her success, it really doesn’t take anything away from you.
Jamie is someone who exudes that in my life, and I know you will love coming alongside her online community. So, go follow her on Instagram, give her podcast a listen, The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey, and check out her speaking engagements and more about her book on jamieivey.com.
Next week we will be talking about the topic, "Committing to Collaboration." So, committing to this idea that we can celebrate her success as a lifestyle.
Our wonderful music for today’s show is by my good friend, Ellie Holcomb. Going Scared is produced by Eddie Kaufholz, and I’m Jessica Honegger. Until next time, let’s take each other by the hand and keep going scared.