How to Use Your Strengths to Build Your Self-belief

Jesse Giunta Rafeh is a psychotherapist and certified success coach who’s helped hundreds of young adults who feel lost find clarity and direction in their lives. You’ll learn how you can use your strengths to build self-belief and personal transformation.

As a teenager, Jesse struggled with anxiety, depression, and chronic self-doubt. Through her own emotional journey, she developed the tools and methodology that have helped her empower her clients.

Jesse’s primary motivation and deepest satisfaction lies in the transformation she sees her clients achieve through their own dedication, self-discovery, and strengths. She recently released her book Life Launch: A Roadmap to An Extraordinary Adulthood. You can find that wherever books are sold. Jessie lives in California with her husband, Mark, and you can learn more about her work by visiting her website

This interview was recorded on Oct. 2, 2020.

Your Challenge Invitation

In the episode, Jesse shares one of the first activities that the therapist who ended up changing her life gave her.

At the end of every day, right before you go to bed, say three things out loud that you feel good about that you did that day. It can be any three things that you did.

Doing this exercise right before bed before you go into an unconscious state, putting in your mind that you’re a good person who has good intentions, who’s creating good things around you, it will have an effect. Keep doing this challenge to reap the rewards.

Contact and follow Jesse on Instagram or visit her website.

You can connect with Damianne on the Changes BIG and small website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube. You’re also invited to join the Changes BIG and small Facebook community.

The more sensitive we are, the harder we have to work at being really accepting and loving to ourselves that [fear] exists. And as soon as we accept it, it starts to move through us.

Timeline of the Chat

00:22 – Jesse’s intro
01:26 – Why Jesse became a psychotherapist
03:35 – Facing her fears as a therapist
05:06 – Running a business
08:19 – Silent meditation retreat
09:40 – What determines success in overcoming fear
12:03 – Experiencing Kundalini Yoga
14:25 – Choosing the type of yoga or a therapist
15:52 – Anxiety and dealing with too much choice
20:20 – Advice for young people listening
22:09 – Advice for parents to support youth and young adults
28:20 – What does self-acceptance mean
32:34 – Getting to know yourself
33:57 – Limits to manifesting
39:52 – On living her purpose
40:42 – Challenge from Jesse
43:16 – Jesse’s superpower

There are ways to figure out how to do anything you want to do. The information exists; that’s not the hard part. The hard part is structuring yourself to work through your fear.

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Opportunities come when you’re in motion.

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Transcript of the Episode

Jesse’s intro

Jesse Giunta Rafeh is a psychotherapist and certified success coach who’s helped hundreds of young adults who feel lost find clarity and direction in their lives. As a teenager, she struggled with anxiety, depression, and chronic self-doubt. Through her own emotional journey, she developed the tools and methodology that have helped her empower her clients.

Jesse’s primary motivation and deepest satisfaction lies in the transformation she sees her clients achieve through their own dedication, self-discovery, and strengths. She recently released her book Life Launch: A Roadmap to An Extraordinary Adulthood. You can find that wherever books are sold. Jessie lives in California with her husband, Mark, and you can learn more about her work by visiting her website and that link will also be in the show notes. 

Welcome to Changes BIG and small, Jesse

Jesse: [01:23] Thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here.

Why Jesse became a psychotherapist

Damianne: [01:26] So you’re a psychotherapist. Why did you become a psychotherapist?

Jesse: [01:30] Well, that’s a big story. So when I was 14, a cousin who is – I’m an only child and a cousin who is like a brother to me committed suicide. And so when he did that, not only did I feel immense grief for losing him and had no idea how to cope with that, but it felt like every feeling that I had not dealt with my entire childhood came up in that moment and I got really depressed and pretty anxious. My parents were scared and they didn’t really know what to do and so they sought out a therapist. The first one I saw was good-intentioned, but I didn’t feel understood. I didn’t connect to her and so things kept getting worse and worse and worse until I was getting medicated on drugs that I didn’t really need and just feeling more and more alone and isolated.

Damianne: [02:30] Oh, no. And especially when you’re already seeing a therapist, which is where you go for help.

Jesse: [02:36] Exactly. Exactly. And so after going down a rabbit hole, at the end of that there was one more therapist that was recommended a few times for us to try. And we went to see her and when we did, I felt understood by her immediately. She had my parents in the room, which helped me to not feel like this was just my problem, but this was our family’s problem and we were going to heal it together. 

And through my work with her, not only did I get better and create better relationships with my parents, but also I fell in love with the process of therapy. So by the time I left high school, I knew that’s what I’m going to do for my job so I went straight through college, straight through grad school and I opened my private practice when I was 24 years old.

Damianne: [03:28] Wow. So you found your passion very early from that experience.

Jesse: [03:33] I found my passion. 

Facing her fears as a therapist

Damianne: [03:35] And starting at such a young age and knowing what you want to do but then actually doing it at two different things. And I’m sure along the way you must have faced self-doubt, like you said, and you must have been fearful starting out your career as a therapist. You have to get experienced somehow. What were you afraid of and how did you traverse that terrain?

 Jesse: [04:00] I was an awkward introvert is how I would define myself. So I was really excited about reading books about doing therapy, going to my own therapy. Even going to grad school, I was excited to talk to other people about psychological theory but then when I actually had to see clients, I was terrified.

 I had to practice with one of my mentors going out into the waiting room about a hundred times. Hi, my name is Jesse. Nice to meet you.

Damianne: [04:27] From the very beginning.

Jesse: [04:29] From the very beginning, yeah. I knew once they got in the room and we got into the problem, like I would be good at that, but the part about making them feel comfortable and them having faith in me being able to help them, that was the part that was scary. 

Plus I underestimated that running your own business part. So it’s one thing to go, Oh, I want to be a therapist and people just hand you clients to see, but I had to go promote myself. I was horrible at that. I was scared of it; I didn’t know how to do it. And so it took many years for me to master that part of it as well.

Running a business

Damianne: [05:06] Right. So there is the whole part about starting a business in addition to being a therapist and you won’t have any clients basically. So how did you develop those skills to run your own business, to do the marketing that was necessary to get clients, all of the other stuff besides the actual therapy.

 Jesse: [05:30] Later on my therapist, when I was a teenager told me that I was the most depressed client that she ever worked with. And I was like, wow, I had no idea. But overcoming that depression, everything else, even when I was anxious and scared felt less intense than that.

So I used the same system that I did to get out of my depression in order to start my own business and become a therapist, which is break everything down into the smallest step you can possibly take and make sure you’re taking at least one of those baby steps every day. 

So, okay, let me talk to people who’ve run a business before and ask them what their advice is. And then they would give me like a laundry list of things to do that would seem overwhelming and impossible. And then I would break it down and go, okay, well they told me to read this book, so I’m going to start with reading 500 of that book today. And tomorrow I’m going to make a phone call to some other therapist who is doing what I’m doing and ask them to coffee and so on and so forth. 

So I just think, especially with Google and the internet, there are ways to figure out how to do anything you want to do. The information exists; that’s not the hard part.

The hard part is structuring yourself to work through your fear.

Damianne: [06:59] Yes. And something that struck me when you would talking was also the whole idea of transference of skills. Sometimes we can learn something in one place and it helps us somewhere else. And so a lot of the skills that you’ll learn in therapy help you with any kind of problem-solving, I guess. And those are skills that are handy for life.

Jesse: [07:20] Yes.

Damianne: [07:22] Do you still face as a therapist today?

Jesse: [07:25] Yes. I think that fear is a natural part of human existence. What I love about my job is it pushes me to be the best version of me. So I’m going to have to keep growing and facing my fears and expanding what I think is possible. That way I can translate that energy to my clients when I’m talking to them. 

An example is I’ve been meditating for a long time, but I went on my first seven-day silent retreat. It was on Zoom but I was in an Airbnb by myself. And I was nervous because you’re not allowed to do anything, no television, no reading, no writing.

Damianne: [08:05] Oh, I didn’t know it was that level. Okay. Just your thoughts and you

Jesse: [08:10] Oh yeah. Yeah. so that pushed me. And I love experiences that push me to grow because…

Silent meditation retreat

Damianne: [08:19] What was that like?

Jesse: [08:20] it was awesome, to be honest. I mean, the first two days, my mind was going crazy. It was hard to get myself to sit still and relax, but going at it and going at it, on day three which I hear is very common, my mind was like, okay, I guess we’re doing this. And it, and it quieted down and the quieter it got throughout the week for the rest of the time, the more present I felt and the more beauty I saw outside and in earth, the more love I felt in my heart and I could just be present in a way that there would be no way for me to get there without making myself do something that extreme.

So it was awesome.

Damianne: [09:07] One of my interviewees, Ryan Mallone, he talked about how after he did a seven-day retreat, he did it in Thailand and then he had to get into a taxi and he had to talk and he felt such a sense of loss that he was getting back into the world and having to talk. And he started to cry because it was such an emotional experience for him.

Jesse: [09:27] Yes. Yes, I can see that. There’s quite the contrast when you go from being isolated in your own bubble completely quiet to back into the energy of the world.

What determines success in overcoming fear

Damianne: [09:40] Wow. 

Some people are able to overcome their fear. Fear is a natural part of our existence. Anytime we face a change, anytime we face something unfamiliar, we’re going to experience fear. But we see that some people tend to get a bit more debilitated by fear than others. So what do you think lets some people transition through fear or overcome fear with success while others struggle so much.

Jesse: [10:08] Well, it’s a good question. And there’s a lot of factors to it. So part of it is just our genetic sensitivity. Some of us are more sensitive than others. Part of it is the family that we grew up in and how they dealt with fear, because here’s the thing, fear is transient; it’s impermanent. All feelings are meant to move through us.

What keeps them stuck is our resistance and our judgment. So the more we’re like, I shouldn’t feel this. Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I’m afraid. This is so stupid. The more we have that, the bigger it gets and the more it’s able to take hold. So actually the more sensitive we are, the harder we have to work at being really accepting and loving to ourselves that [fear] it exists.

And as soon as we accept it, it starts to move through us. When I was younger, I went through a home invasion. And so I have some post-traumatic stress and there was a night at the beginning of the retreat when the sun was going down and I’m in this Airbnb by myself and my body started to get scared.

It’s going to be dark, I’m going to be alone. And even me, who’s a trained therapist, I wanted to just pick up the phone and call my husband. I wanted to get out of my body. I did not want to but I was like, no, not going to do that because this is the whole point is for me to grow and practice what I preach.

So, I took a deep breath. I asked myself what I needed. And most other nights I had taken a walk, but I was too scared. So I took a bath and I sat in the bath and I was like, it’s okay that you’re scared, Jesse. It’s okay; it exists. And 40 minutes later, I went from a 10 to it was completely gone. 

So I just think if we can find how to accept and love ourselves, everything moves through us.

Experiencing Kundalini Yoga

Damianne: [12:03] Is Kundalini yoga as well as meditation? 

Jesse: [12:07] They kind of go together. So Kundalini yoga class is a little bit different than regular yoga class because it’s all designed in a very direct; it’s very focused on the spiritual aspect and putting your body into a meditative state. 

Damianne: [12:23] I read that you go to these classes with your mom. Do you still do that? And is that the kind of yoga slash meditation that you practice or is it more expansive that? 

Jesse: [12:35] So my mom found Kundalini yoga when I was, let’s say 20, so it’s like 20 years ago and it changed her life and she went to all sorts of classes and it helped her come into herself and transform her life. And I was resistant because part of that transformation was her leaving my father and getting divorced and being with the woman she’s now with who she loves and happily married too. But for me, I looked at it as it ruined my family and, you know, broke my father’s heart.

 You were probably listening to a podcast where I was talking about there was a day that I was in a real anxious place and I happened to call her and she was on her way to a Kundalini meditation class. And she was like just get in the car and come. 

And I was so desperate that I was like, okay. And so I went and I got on my mat and I just started crying. And what was happening was I was just surrendering to being afraid. And as I surrendered, it was able to come out and release and I was able to move through it.

And from that, for the next year or two, we went every Monday to this class. I love Kundalini yoga and I do it some, but we don’t actually go to that class. And I do lots of different types of meditation. I like to try everything, like a smorgasbord.

Damianne: [14:03] Okay I guess whatever works for you. And there are multiple things that could work. And it’s a bit also like what we talked about earlier with, it’s not necessarily that the first therapist you go to is going to be the right match for you or the one that can help you. But that doesn’t mean because the first therapist or the first yoga experience wasn’t helpful for you, that there is no chance. You can keep looking until you find the right match. 

Choosing the type of yoga or therapy

Jesse: [14:27] That’s right. And there’ve been different times in my life where different types of meditation or yoga are more helpful depending on what I’m looking for. Also with therapists, I have a big thing about the number one thing you need when you’re picking a therapist is that you feel comfortable and understood. If you’re not starting from there, the chance of the therapist being able to help you is very, very small. And that’s a very individual experience. 

So a lot of people, if they don’t have experience with therapists, they’re kind of looking at it like a doctor, like I don’t need to be understood, I don’t need to feel comfortable because they’re going to know what to do, but therapy, because it’s connected to your emotional body, it’s much harder for your emotional bodies to surrender unless you’re in this space where you feel like you could really trust this person. And so I always say, if you’re going in and you don’t feel good, switch it up, keep interviewing people till you find someone because you’ll know; you’ll know when you feel understood.

Damianne: [15:31] Yeah, and I like the way you phrase that too. You really are interviewing people for a role in your life. And this is a very intimate relationship actually, the one that you have with your therapist. And you have to be able to feel that you’re not being judged, that you’re able, to be honest. And if you can’t, then you’re not going to get the full benefits out of therapy.

Anxiety and dealing with too much choice

Now let’s just switch a little bit because I know a lot of the clients that you focus on are younger people. And you have a particular passion for helping people into young adulthood. As a teacher, I saw a lot of children with anxiety especially in those transitioning years, as they go off to college, as they move through high school, as they get ready for exams.

 I have the feeling that there are more challenges nowadays for young people that provide more opportunities for anxiety to build. I don’t know if that’s true if that’s just my impression, but in your experience, what are the particular struggles that are making those transition times so difficult for young adults?

Jesse: [16:40] Okay. Here’s what I think is happening. This is my global perspective is that we didn’t think about our happiness and fulfillment as a priority until really recently, until about people my age and younger. Before that, the goal was to survive. It was go to college, get a good job, start a family, make enough money to survive, have children, you know. It was A to B to C to D.

Damianne: [17:13] There were different standards and different 

Jesse: [17:16] There were different priorities. So that made life simpler in some ways. And now we’ve realized, well, do I want to have kids? And I don’t want a job that just makes good money, I want to feel fulfilled. And I want to have meaning in my life. And I want to have deeper relationships with people, and I want to feel at peace, and I want to be excited, and I want to have adventures.

And this is a beautiful thing that it’s come into people’s consciousness that they can create whatever kind of life they want and whatever kind of emotional experience they want. But we’re in the kindergarten of knowing how to actually execute on that.

Damianne: [17:54] How to deal with all of those choices is a big challenge.

Jesse: [17:58] Yeah, they don’t know. So these young adults are like, Oh my gosh, I want all these things it’s overwhelming.

They don’t know where to start. And then on top of that, you add social media and they’re looking and it seems like everybody else has figured it out because they’re only posting their highs. They’re posting what they’re trying to achieve as well. And so it’s a whole system that’s making everybody feel like a failure for not being at peace and fulfilled in this moment, instead of getting that even though we could see it as a possibility, it’s a new art. 

I mean, I know how to help people get there, but I’m rare because I’ve studied it and thought about it and spent my whole life, hours and hours and hours and hours dedicated to it.

Damianne: [18:43] Society doesn’t prepare children, young people for this, like there is no class on how to navigate all of the choices in your life.

Jesse: [18:52] Exactly. And there’s this friction between the older generation going to the younger people, like you just got to figure out how to survive.

Damianne: [19:02] Like gets a good job like, I mean, you got offered a position…

Jesse: [19:07] Yes. Yes. Why are you still living on my couch at home talking about how you’re going to create beautiful art, you know. And there’s going to be a balance between the two, right, because we want young people to go out and be able to survive and be fulfilled.

 But oftentimes when we’re switching from one program to the other, we go to the extreme. So now a lot of people are frozen in fear because they think everything has to be the most fulfilling, perfect job that aligns with their purpose. It has to be the most perfect romantic partner and those don’t exist.

Damianne: [19:46] Yeah, we see it a lot. We see it in every area actually, where people have more trouble committing to something because there are so many choices and you want to make the perfect choice. I remember having this conversation a lot in terms of technology, like what is the best tool for me to use right now?

And I’m like but do you really need the best? Or do you just need the one that meets your needs? And if we’re searching for best, how do you decide best? You’re going to keep looking forever if best is the criteria.

Jesse: [20:17] Exactly.

Advice for young people listening

Damianne: [20:20] If there are any young people listening to us and they’re kind of trying to figure this all out. And you have a chance to speak directly to them. What would you like them to know?

Jesse: [20:34] I mean, so many things. You mean just about life in general.

Damianne: [20:39] Yeah. Tim Ferriss always asked the question if you had a billboard. Not necessarily a billboard, but if there was one message that you want people who are in those transition in years to think about, to know, to forecast, what might it be?

Jesse: [20:54] Okay. Well, my billboard would say something like line one – it’s all going to be okay. Line two, just take one small step every day towards something that inspires you. Step three, celebrate the fact that you took that step today, and that’s your recipe for getting where you want to go. Because the joy is in the process.

We think that our experience is controlled by the external. Our mind says, if I get all the things that I want, the perfect job, the perfect partner, the perfect amount of money, live in the perfect place, then I’m going to be happy.

But the truth is it’s the opposite. 10% is controlled by the external and 90% is controlled by how you look at it and how you relate to it. So if you feel like you’re a person who’s making progress, who’s impacting the world in a positive way, who’s having adventure. If you feel like that, then that will be true and it matters less how that manifests 

Damianne: [22:02] Yes, that’s so important, our perception of things and the story that we tell about ourselves and about the lives that we’re living. 

Advice for parents to support youth and young adults

How can, and maybe this is too broad, but how can parents and family members help support youth and young adults in their quest for success? I think a lot of people are kind of struggling in terms of, I don’t really understand what they’re looking for, what will make them happy…

Jesse: [22:32] So I think the biggest thing is that we’re so scared of feeling our own feelings and we’re so scared of our loved one feeling their feelings, that we don’t stop to look at it and ask questions. Instead of asking their kids a lot of questions to get them to think deeper, to get them, to articulate their feelings, and to help them feel understood and empathize with, parents are often rushing to, well, you should be doing this. They’re often rushing to the solution, 

Damianne: [23:11] I see that a lot.

Jesse: [23:12] Yes, because they’re so scared either their kids aren’t going to move or that their feelings are going to be too overwhelming for them. But instead here’s what I know. Every human being wants to be, this is my belief, they want to be a good person and they want to be successful. So, all we have to do is give them the space to tap into their inspiration. And the way we do that is by listening and asking question after question after question, and then when we have completely exhausted that we’ve done that for a long time, longer than you think, then once you got the picture of what your kid wants or where they’re trying to go, then you can ask them do you want help getting there? And yes or no, whatever it is, you got to take the answer for what it is.

Damianne: [24:04] I recently listened to a podcast episode from Brene Brown and she talks about how she raises her kids. And she said that she tells them that they need to do the dreaming. And then she asked them do you need help with coming up with an implementation plan, but dreaming is yours. 

And yeah, as you were talking that, that came back to mind because that was an aha moment for me. Of course, our parents want the best for us, in general, parents want the best for their children. And so it’s a protective stance in order to, well, let me help you decide what you’re going to do with your life so that you can be successful. Because you might come up with something that you can’t really make money at, or it might be something that you could potentially fail at.

And. I think from a parental standpoint, parents want to protect their children from these eventualities, but more and more, I am hearing psychotherapists say that that failure is actually a crucial part of the goal setting, the development of a person.

Jesse: [25:15] Actually, my dad was saying this to me last night. I knew it, but he was coming to this aha moment that there’s no way I would be as successful as I am now if I hadn’t been through the emotional drama and turmoil and all that failure and pain. That built resilience; that made everything less scary.

So I can dream big and go big. And I want to add in here because I feel like some parents are going to be listening to this and go, so Jesse, you just want my kids and mooch off me for the rest of their life and live in my room and eat my food. No, I don’t. That conversation is separate from the boundaries that you set for them to be responsible for themselves.

This doesn’t mean that you have to financially bear the burden for their twenties. In fact, I recommend that you don’t, I recommend that you keep raising the bar in what they’re responsible for paying for themselves, their gas, their phone, their food, moving out, whatever that is so that you’re comfortable. Having your back against the wall and having to figure out how to financially help yourself is a huge growth opportunity for them. And it will teach them, It’ll give them confidence and it will teach them about how they can survive in the world.

And so when that is taken care of, like they’re figuring out how to financially survive, then you can have these deep introspective conversations about inspiration without anybody feeling attached to where it goes. Okay, you want to be an artist? Well, you might have to work at Starbucks while you’re doing your art, but that’s okay.

Damianne: [27:01] Right. Like choices have consequences and you can choose, but then there are also things that happen as a consequence.

Jesse: [27:08] Yeah, there’s a balance. It’s about both being inspired and finding fulfilling things in your life and figuring out how to survive practically.

Damianne: [27:18] Yeah, connecting back to what we talked about earlier, this will elicit a lot of fear in parents as well in terms of, but my child might fail, but my child might need me, but my child might whatever the case may be. And so traversing that fear. I imagine, is a very challenging thing for parents to do as well.

Jesse: [27:41] I think it’s really hard for people in all sorts of romantic relationships, parent to child relationships, close friends even less but even sometimes, is that we see our loved one struggling or they might fail or they might be in pain and we want to fix it and stop it instead of realizing it’s just part of life.

And the biggest gift that we can give our loved ones is giving them the gift to know that we have the faith that they’re going to be okay and get through it and be successful eventually, for whatever success means to them.

What does self-acceptance mean

Damianne: [28:20] Switching the conversation a little bit, you talk about what you resist will persist and what you accept will transform. And I keep hearing that and I love the concept of acceptance and that it makes everything easier in terms of any kind of change or transformation that you want to do. But that is not easy.

And even in one of your podcast episodes, I think you deal with it. Like, what does it mean to accept ourselves? What does that look like, like I’m just okay with the things that I am doing that I know are not beneficial to me, do I just accept those things?

What does that mean acceptance? If you could shed a light.

Jesse: [29:00] Yes. So a lot of times people confuse acceptance with complacency. They think if I just accept myself for where I am, then that means I’m just going to stay still and stuck. But this comes back to the idea that I have, that everybody wants to be successful and be the best versions. I believe that’s at the base.

 So there are times for me when I get burned out and I just want to watch 12 hours of some cheesy TV show. When I was younger, I’d be like, this is wrong, I got to get up, I gotta do my to-do list, I gotta make progress on my career. But the more I resisted it, the more another part of me then wanted to dig the heels and then watch more TV because I wasn’t ever getting to surrender to it and I wasn’t ever getting recharged. 

But the more I’m like, okay, this is what I need and that’s okay that this is what I need, then I’ll knock it off. In a Saturday I’ll do that, then I’ll wake up on Sunday and now, I have energy because I’m refreshed. And when I have energy, I’m inspired and I’m excited to go after the things that I want in my life. So acceptance, there’s a lot of different aspects, but that’s one of them where I just believe it’s important to really listen to yourself and hear what you need and take care of yourself because it will open up your motivation.

 And part of it is also that I think everyone should have some sort of goal they’re working towards so that when the inspiration or the motivation comes, you know where to put your energy. It’s really clear for me, I’m a therapist, I wrote a book so right now the goal is to get the book out there because I spent a long time working on that.

If I wasn’t clear about that, then I could feel kind of lost or all over the place when I was inspired. So that’s a part of it too. 

Damianne: [31:02] That makes sense. Because as you were talking, I was thinking, I think one of the fears, for example, for me might be if I spent the day binge-watching TV, what’s to prevent me from doing that tomorrow or the next day or the day after that.

 And I think part of it is trusting yourself and then also being connected enough to yourself to hear when you’re doing something because you’re used to doing it as opposed to because you have that true desire or need for it at that moment. 

Jesse: [31:37] Yes, I think that’s right. When I was younger, binge-watching TV was how I dealt with my depression too. It’s how I sidestep some feelings and it’s how I hid from the world at times. So there were times in my twenties where I couldn’t tell am I doing this because this is really fulfilling to me in this moment or because this is me sidestepping what I want to be doing and what would be more productive for me? 

And I couldn’t always tell, but I would say it doesn’t really matter. So if I couldn’t tell, then I would give it a half-day, a day, whatever. And then the next day I would try to do something different. And if I couldn’t, I couldn’t but now that I’m at the end of my thirties, it’s crystal clear because I’ve worked so much on accepting myself and it’s easy for me to tap into my motivation at this point. So it’s just about sometimes I need to refuel.

Getting to know yourself

Damianne: [32:34] Yeah. And that also connects to the idea of knowing yourself. And that’s also something I wanted to ask you. How do we get to know our true essence? How can we find that if we are to live our purpose?

Jesse: [32:48] Before I meditated, cause meditating was really hard, like even sitting silently for one minute, my mind would go crazy. So I guess I’ll start with meditation. The reason I like meditation so much is because you’re forced to sit still and hear your thoughts and disconnect from them.

And when you do that, as you disconnect from the negative voice in your head, what will start to bubble up in an inspiration and where you want to move so that’s part of it.

Another huge part of it is just figuring out what you like to do. So I knew I loved snowboarding. I’m a big snowboarder. I like to chase the snow. So the more that I’m out on that mountain, the freer and the happier I feel. And the freer and the happier I feel, the more ideas come, the more inspiration comes. I like to cook too. So that’s something I do. So just figuring out where are you drawn to and putting energy into that.

Damianne: [33:48] So it’s tapping into whatever your creative outlets might be and noticing where that happens.

Jesse: [33:55] Psychology books. I like that stuff too.

Limits to manifesting

Damianne: [33:57] And you have a great episode of your podcast and your podcast is called the Live Better Podcast and that episode is on manifesting. I recommend that everybody check out that episode; I’ll add the link in the show notes. Are there limits to what you can manifest?

Jesse: [34:16] It’s a tough question to answer. My easiest answer for that is, I don’t know, but the longer answer is I believe that we all have a limit to what we believe is possible. And so whatever that limit is, is kind of our manifesting limit.

 It was not hard for me to manifest being a professional, running my own business on one level, because there were other people around me who did that. My dad was a lawyer, people went to school. So I saw that as a possibility that people do if you work hard and you put the energy in.

 There’s this woman, who’s like a manifesting investing expert, Lacey Phillips. I love some of her stuff and some of it is so-so. One of the things I love that she says is find what she calls expanders. Find people that you can connect to that have the things that you are trying to work towards because the more that it’s closer to you and that you see it’s possible, the easier it is for you to get there.

Damianne: [35:22] For a lot of years, I didn’t understand what people meant when they talked about manifesting. Also, I’m like does this mean I’m going to have to make a vision board, does this mean I need to visualize, which is something I have trouble with. What does that it look like for you when you say that you’re manifesting something.

Jesse: [35:37] Writing a book was a big one. I always thought I want to write a book. I have all this stuff to say about how to be happy and fulfilled. I want to share my own personal experiences, I want to share my wisdom. So for me, and I don’t visualize a lot either; I didn’t like see the book.

It’s more like that was an idea that sounded good and so I just had that idea maybe 10 years ago, and then inch by inch it would come in and I would take steps towards it. There’s this movie that was popular at the end of the nineties called The Secret where they’re like visual a million dollars and then the million dollars shows up in your mailbox.

I don’t think of it as that abstract. I think of it more as a goal or something exciting for the future. You take action steps towards it and then it becomes real. Because you imagined it as a possibility, you opened yourself. 

There’s a spiritual part in that you attracted opportunities to you, but you also have to take a bunch of action. You can’t just sit on your sofa, then things come to you. You have to move towards them. Opportunities come when you’re in motion.

 Oh, I know a good example of this. When I was younger and I was having a hard time building my, like how am I going to get clients to come? I’m horrible at networking and presenting myself. I was like, okay, I’m going to join a networking group. And I’m going to wake up at 5:30 AM. I hate waking up early. I’m going to wake up at 5:30 AM and I’m going to go before work every week to this group.

And I’m going to practice telling people what I’m about and who I am. And so I went every week and the group was filled with kind of salt of the earth, middle-aged men, like you couldn’t have any of the same profession. So it was like a plumber, a handyman, a painter, a dentist. These people were not my typical crowd for who was going to sign up for therapy.

And I went to that group; I ended up going for like a year, but after three months of going every week, I got a ton of referrals. But they weren’t from the people in the group. They just came. And that process that I just described has happened to me over and over and over. There’s something about three months, whenever I put three months of consistent effort of I’m going to do this and I’m going to get to the next level in my business or whatever it is, all the referrals come, but they don’t necessarily come from the place I’m looking.

Damianne: [38:22] I was just reading this book called A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson. It has a lot of Christian connections and even though I’m not a Christian, I really connected with the book. Sometimes we try to trick ourselves into believing something that we don’t know is true yet, but she was saying if you just do the actions, even if you don’t believe it yet, that does something, it has some effects. She connected it to if you’ll work out every day for 30 days, you don’t need to believe that working out will make you stronger. It will make you stronger by virtue of doing it.

Jesse: [38:58] Yes, I like that. That’s my experience. Just like I’m about accepting myself, I’m also about accepting everyone else. But our mind wants to judge us and it wants to judge everyone else and we have more judgments, the more insecure we are.

So in my twenties, when I was more insecure, there were more judgments floating around. So I would consciously go, I’m going to really work on resetting each judgment. Every time I see someone in the world and I have a judgment. I’m going to recontextualize that and have love.

 That was all internal. I was not doing anything different externally, but what happened is I could see people were talking to me differently. They felt more connected to me. More opportunities were coming. The guy at Starbucks would give me a free coffee. It worked even though I mean…

Damianne: [39:44] In ways you didn’t imagine.

Jesse: [39:47] In ways I didn’t imagine. And I wasn’t really externally looking that different.

On living her purpose

Damianne: [39:52] Interesting. 

Would you say that you are living your purpose or your purpose right now? And if you could phrase that, how would you phrase it?

Jesse: [40:02] I mean, purpose is tricky for me. I want to be inspired and excited about my life, and the way I can do that is I love doing my job, going and connecting with my clients, and then writing this book and figuring out how to help other people feel happy and fulfilled and at peace. I just find it really inspiring and it fills me up with joy and love. So I’m doing that. 

And then I love to travel and I love to be in nature and I love to snowboard and I’ve gotten to do a ton of that the last 10 years particularly. And so, I mean, I’m living it, I’m living the dream for sure.

Challenge from Jesse

Damianne: [40:42] That’s beautiful. And you just light up when you talk about it too, which is always a great sign.

 I haven’t finished reading your book, Life Launch, but one of the things that I appreciate as I go through it is the activities that you include, activities to help people get to know themselves better, to face their fears, to set goals, and all sorts of different things.

Do you have a challenge or invitation of something that listeners could do today or on a daily basis that will help them achieve happiness, to find their purpose?

Jesse: [41:20] Yes. Okay. I’m going to give this one. I mean, I have a lot. That’s what I liked about writing the book. I was a self-help junkie when I was younger. And my favorite books were not the ones that just told you how to make your life different; they actually said, now here, go do this activity.

So every chapter in that book has homework and, you know, you can basically be in therapy with yourself while reading that book. That’s the goal of that. But for today for our listeners, what I would say is one of the first activities that the therapist gave me who ended up changing my life.

 She said Jesse, at the end of the day, every day before you go to bed, I want you to say three things out loud that you feel good about that you did that day. And I was like, that’s just stupid, cause I never felt good about anything at that time. I was like that’s not going to do anything. She’s like, well, you’re gonna have to try it. And then, you know, get back to me in six months. So I was like, I’m going to do it just to prove her wrong.

And at the beginning, kind of like what you were saying, I was going through the motions but I picked things out. Well, I opened the door for the old lady at the store today and, I was nice to my friend or I did my homework. But what that did was, especially right before bed before you go into an unconscious state, putting in your mind that you’re a good person who has good intentions who’s creating good things around you, it started to have an effect. I started to look at myself in a more positive, loving way. 

Affirmations could be good, but a lot of times people say I’m beautiful but they don’t feel connected. So that’s why I like to pick something actually that happened that day that you can get credit for. So that’s my assignment. 


Damianne: [43:16] Thank you. Thank you for that. I think that’s a great invitation and I hope at least let’s take that on. 

 Do you think that you have a superpower?

Jesse: [43:26] I think my superpower is that I really understand people and can see what they need in order to get where they want to go.

Damianne: [43:43] Nice. We can all benefit from that. To end, thank you so much for joining me today. How can people learn from your work and connect with you? 

Jesse: [43:53] Thank you so much for having me. This has been so fun. The best way is to look in the show notes and go to my website because from my website, then you can see the podcast, my blog, my book. If you want to download a free chapter of my book, there’s a place to put in your email to do that on the website. So I think that’s the best.

Damianne: [44:15] Wonderful. It’s been great chatting once again and thank you so much for joining me today. 

Jesse: [44:21] Thank you. 

If we can find how to accept and love ourselves, everything moves through us.


The freer and the happier I feel, the more ideas come, the more inspiration comes.

One response to “How to Use Your Strengths to Build Your Self-belief”

  1. […] approach changes and progress from that place. It does not hold us back as some people expect. In season 2 episode 5, Jesse […]

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