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Taking the Leap

Jennifer Hollinshead is the founder of Peak Resilience, a leading counselling practice in Vancouver specializing in empowering women to live authentic, meaningful lives and achieve their true potential. Jennifer is an alumni of the 2016 FWE E-Series Program.

My road to starting a thriving counselling practice in Vancouver has been exciting, scary, and fun from the start. About four years ago, I started my private counselling practice part time while working a full time job. I started this “side-hustle” to work with great clients… and paying my dreaded student loan was a pretty nice benefit too.

After  years it hit me: what if I could make my side-hustle into a full time business? I was scared and excited, and had no clue what I was doing. For about a year, I researched every book/podcast/website I could get my hands on about entrepreneurship. I dreamt of building a community of counsellors who were inspired to do great work with great clients. In July of 2015 I took the leap and ended my “day job” to jump into the unknown: entrepreneurship. Since then I’ve worked with inspiring clients and brought counsellors on board who amaze me and who I genuinely respect and adore.

It hasn’t all been “beer and skittles” as my mom would say. I think my two biggest challenges have been:

Feeling overwhelmed as if I’m never doing enough
Feeling insecure and thinking “who-do-I-think-I-am”

Let’s address the first challenge – Feeling overwhelmed as if I’m never doing enough:

I have learned (slowly) to shut off my brain when I need to. When I feel happy, healthy, and motivated, I listen to podcasts or audiobooks about business or counselling. When I feel overwhelmed with information, I make a list of the minimum work I want to get done that day and then power down. I listen to music, meditate or just “veg out” in silence on my overwhelming days. I try to remind myself that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and my business wasn’t either. Oh, and I see my own helpers when I need to (counsellor, acupuncturist, naturopath, massage therapist).

Now to address the second challenge – feeling insecure and thinking “who-do-I-think-I-am:”

I’ve realised that I wasn’t born insecure. There are so many things around us that breed insecurity, especially for women. In some circumstances, women are chastised or ridiculed when they are confident. Once I realized that a lot of my insecurity was bred into me from societal messages, I could externalize the problem. I chose to be secure with myself, be resilient and be inspired in the present. This has helped me stay focused, whether it is my business or my personal life.

Being an entrepreneur means I’m always working on my mindset. I listen to motivational audio books and podcasts on my way to work so I can psych myself up. I try to surround myself with other people who are motivated and willing to be vulnerable too. Finally, I remember that the people I love can’t read my mind so I communicate my needs in order to feel supported. For example, saying “I’m not looking for solutions right now, just support” helps people know how to respond when I’m overwhelmed.

Overall, I am so grateful to be able to do this work. There have been so many challenges and I’ve learned so much. As an entrepreneur, I love the freedom that I have over how and where I want to grow my business. It is inspiring (and terrifying on my overwhelming days).

Some books that inspire me and which I recommend highly are:

To learn more about the FWE E-Series Program, click here. E-Series 2017 takes place next April in downtown Vancouver. Applications are now open!