An Interview with Jen Carrington
On fighting fear, starting a business & living life on your own terms.
Jen is a creative coach, podcast host, and all-round content pro. Simply visiting her website inspires me to be better. It’s important to engage with content that makes you want to up your game, and Jen is exactly that for me. She has created a business on her own terms, been remarkably honest about her struggles with mental health, and has inspired me to lead a more impactful life. She doesn’t preach unrealistic advice, but actually tangible, sustainable things to help you become your best creative self. This interview originally appeared in my newsletter. Enjoy!
1. If you could be mentored by one person, dead or alive, who would it be?
2. You’re a multi-hyphenate who writes a successful blog, coaches and has a wonderful podcast. Do you have any particular writing rituals or creative practices you can share?
I write best in the mornings, so I try and always roll with that and make space for it in my routine. I'm a big believer in giving myself space to bring my best creative work to life - so I try and not force any of my content and instead give myself enough space and time to create throughout the month. Practically that looks like being 2-4 weeks ahead with content at all times (when possible - life definitely can get in the way sometimes!). I also love to read, from non-fiction, to fiction, to self-help, memoirs, everything else in-between and I think that helps to keep my creative juices flowing too!
3. How did you get into coaching and what advice would you give to someone interested in the field?
My background is in social work - that's what I trained in at university but after doing placements in the social care sector I realised it wasn't really what I wanted to do. After starting my blog, I realised what I really was passionate about was encouraging and empowering creatives to bring their very best work to life and give themselves permission to live their creative lives on their own terms. My biggest advice to anyone wanting to get started in a career in coaching is to first explore formal training - I didn't personally do this and I have no regrets - but many of my clients who are health or life coaches really value their training! I'd then just encourage you to keep on developing your skill set - I have an entire day each week set aside for honing and developing my coaching practice, and that helps me to keep on being the very best coach I can be for my clients each week.
4. Since becoming your own boss, what have you learned about yourself?
That I'm capable of more than I thought I was - and that I'm most comfortable when I'm pushing myself and taking risks. I've also really discovered what success means to me in this season of my life, and what makes me feel the most fulfilled along the way. I've realised that I love to work, but that I don't want my life to revolve around my work. I've also learned that it's okay to believe in yourself!
5. What’s the best piece of work-related advice you’ve ever been given?
To get something you've never had before, you're going to have to do something you've never done before. Embracing the fact that if I want to move forward I have to challenge myself to try new things, take new risks, and develop new skills has helped me to get to where I want to be along the way.
6. From all of your blog posts and/or podcasts, do you have any favourites?
I love this post I wrote about my blogging and business journey so far because it was so meaningful looking back over the past few years and seeing how far I had come: http://www.jencarrington.com/blog/2016/3/28/how-i-got-here-my-blogging-business-journey-step-by-step-so-far
As for the podcast, one of my favourite episodes has to be this one with Asia Croson + Paige Poppe as they're just an absolute joy to chat with: http://www.makeithappenpodcast.com/s02-e06 and we have an episode together over on their podcast too: http://www.spacetoface.com/episodes/016
7. You've been open about your struggle with mental health, and your story has inspired a lot of people (including me!). What would you say to anyone who may be scared to share their own stories?
If you have a story inside of you that you're aching to share, don't let fear or self-consciousness hold you back from putting it out there into the world. Stories and honest conversations are what change the world (in my humble opinion). What I've learned is this - only share stories that you have come to terms with, then the response to what you share cannot interfere with your own healing process and journey along the way.
8. Lastly, what do you think drives you?
I think it's two things: my desire to do meaningful work and be the very best version of myself (and how much my creative work helps me to feel most like myself) and secondly, the fact that I want to live my life on my own terms and my creative business enables me to do that.
This interview originally featured in my newsletter! Subscribe here to receive insights from great minds & musings on careers, creativity and more.