Today is a very special episode as I am joined by an incredible woman with an incredible story. Jess Sinclair is a life coach and speaker, but beyond that she is a woman who has overcome major hardships in her life and has come out on top. This is by far one of the most powerful stories I have ever heard.
Jessica was abused at a very young age, grew up in poverty, her parents were divorced, and she got pregnant at 16. Needless to say the cards were stacked against her. However, none of that let her stop her from what she really wanted to do – go to college. Not only did she graduate high school while raising her child and working a part-time job, but she was elected President of her class, graduated in the top 10% of her class and was in the National Honor Society. Then she not only fulfilled her dream of going to college, but she also graduated with a bachelor’s degree, then a master’s degree and purchased her first home by the age of 25. Now she’s the owner of her own business where deems herself as the Reset Coach and hopes to inspire and coach women to move forward in life after facing setbacks.
Jessica is the true embodiment that although statistics can be true, they don’t have to be true for you and they certainly were not true for her. Her story is the definition of what you can accomplish when you focus your mind and energy on your goals, when you drop the victim mentality, when you own your truth, and when you take full ownership of who you want to be in this life.
Her story was so powerful I could have listened to her all day. This is a must-listen. Trust me.
WHAT YOU WILL DISCOVER
How statistics don’t have to be true for you
How to open doors for yourself
How to reset your life
How to move beyond fear
FEATURED ON THE SHOW
Hey, hey, hey, welcome to the Happy Productive podcast. I’m Jennifer Dawn, a business coach and founder of the Best Planner Ever. If you’re ready to start winning big and business in life, guess what you’re in the right place. The Happy Productive podcast is your go to resource for learning how to bring awareness, and determination, a little mental toughness and discipline, a bunch of clarity, all that stuff into your daily productivity so that you can knock your goals out of the park, really set yourself apart from the pack and start succeeding on a whole new level.
So, I am super excited today because we are going to be talking with the beautiful Jessica Sinclair. She is a life coach and speaker, and also has her own planner and also has so many amazing things. And I’m actually I’m going to do something a little different today. I’m not going to read her bio, because I want her to share in her own words a little bit about her own story because I think it’s so so very powerful. Jess do you mind just sharing a little bit about you and your journey.
Oh, absolutely. First of all, thank you so much for having me. Thank you so much
Oh you are so welcome.
And sharing your audience with me. And I really appreciate that.
Yeah, I’m happy to.
I am just so excited to be here. So I’m going to try. My story to me, starts off in Mississippi, where I was born and travels through all Southern states, from Mississippi to Florida. And now I am in Georgia. And while I was a young girl, I grew up in poverty in Mississippi and with a lot of different struggles. I was abused as a child from the age of 5 to 13. And after my parents divorced, there was a lot of trauma left there, and then a lot of freedom, because you know, there’s the fracturing of that family structure.
And so, I found myself, although I was very, very intelligent, and I was driven. Partly because I had a teacher at some point who told me about college in the 5th grade. And that was the first time I ever heard about that college thing, even though I grew up in a college town, right around the corner. And I could hear the bands from these two universities right from it, you know, in my living room, and never knew anything about college.
So that 5th grade teacher kind of planted a seed, and she brought in college students and, you know, college students? They look like people, you know, but then they talked about all the places that they were from, and, you know, I have never been to Jacksonville, Florida. So it was a big deal to me to hear about these different, you know, wow, places they had been.
So, college, then to me became a way to go from poverty, to the opposite of poverty, whatever that was. And I did not know what that was, but I just knew it wasn’t poverty. So I went to school, and I worked really, really hard. And in high school, I was the junior class Vice President, I was on the honor roll, I was dual enrolled in college, and I was you know, what they call a child with great potential.
And then I found myself pregnant at the age of 16. And I was told that the statistics for girls who have children in high school is less than 10% of them actually graduate high school, and they have a less than 2% chance of having earning a college degree before age 30. So the odds are that I would be making, I had a better chance of making $25,000 a year for the rest of my life than to actually have a college education, you know, and do well and change the circumstances for for me and my unborn child at that point. So that was very bleak.
On top of that the school at that time didn’t really know what to do. I went to my counselor and he found out I’ll never forget what he said to me. Jennifer, he said, it’s the ones you put on a pedestal that let you down. I was 16 years old from a home of poverty, traumatized and pregnant and did not have any idea of what I was going to do. But I knew what I was not going to do. And that was give up.
Yeah. And to be in that situation and then you get shamed. Really. You get shamed. Yeah.
Exactly. And it’s interesting that you say get shamed, right because it’s layered. There’s already, you know, the shame of abuse and the shame of poverty. Now, it’s the shame of letting down this whole community of people. This was the guidance counselor. And now I’ve disappointed him. And he said, you know, if I’m not on the pedestal, that must mean I have fallen. So, I didn’t give up.
And I remember I stormed out of his office, and I burst through that door, and it hit the back of the wall. And everybody’s turning around, and I was like, I’m going to show you I’m going to show you, you don’t know what I’m capable of. And so, I left and we ended up have actually having to fight for me to stay in a public school.
They wanted to send me to a teenage pregnancy program. And my mother, you know, she has a high school education, she worked in housekeeping her whole life, did not have any experience with fighting the administration or advocating in that way. I was the first child in my family to go through this. So, it was all very new for everyone. But my mother stood up for me. And she said, tell me what to say like, what is it that you want? And I said, I want to go to college. Does that school help you go to college? And their answer was no. And she said, so my daughter isn’t going.
And so, I stayed at high school, I stayed in my position as the junior class Vice President. They wanted me to step down from that too. And then my senior class actually elected me to be the President of the class and voted me Best All Around. I graduated National Honor Society. I graduated at the top 10% of my class, because as you recall, they said I had a 10% chance. But I graduated in the top 10%.
While I was in high school, I dual enrolled in college, and I worked a part time job. That was it was very difficult. At first, there was a childcare center on the school grounds. But you could not dual enroll in college, you couldn’t leave your child and go somewhere. So, I had to unenroll her from the daycare center. And my mom kept her during the day so that I could go to college classes while I was enrolled in high school. And then I worked in the evenings and my brother and sisters helped. My brothers and sister help with my daughter.
So, I was able to graduate on time. I went to college. I graduated from Florida State University at the age of 22. And I graduated from Florida State University, again with a master’s degree in Public Administration in 2005, at the age of 25. And that’s also the year I purchased my first home. So, my story is that sometimes the statistics though they are true, or not true for you, they weren’t true for me.
And there was no one that was a role model, so to speak. And if she existed, perhaps she too, had been chained, you know, and wants to want it to outrun that that image. And I didn’t see her. I did not see a woman who had been a teen parent and gotten a college degree and gotten a good job and her child went to college. All I heard was that it’s not going to be good for you. My daughter just graduated in May of last year from the City University of New York with a degree in music, and she is a sound engineer.
Wow. Oh, my goodness. So, this is why I didn’t read your bio, because this is why you’re on the show today. Such a powerful story. And I love how you took this stat, right? You get pregnant in high school. And I remember in our high school, there were girls who had gotten pregnant. So, I went to high school in Tallahassee, Florida, because you and I both went to Florida State.
Yeah. So, my high school was in Monticello, Florida, which is this tiny little speck of a town nobody’s ever heard of.
Except for you. You know what I’m talking about. And I do remember like girls in high school getting pregnant and it was just this like, immediate, like, thing that they were done. Like that was it their life was over. And so, when I heard your story, and I was just like, you know, you not only did you beat the odds you like, turn them upside down. And even when a high school counselor, like shamed you is just like, you know what, I’m going to show you what I really can do.
And I just think that is so powerful because in life, life’s hard. Like things happen to all of us all the time. And it comes down to, do we want to make that our truth? Or do we want to find our truth, you know, make our own truth? And so, I’m curious, like, as you were going through that, like, how did you overcome? How did you really as such a young age, like really own your truth and own your power, where so many people fail in this area? They fall into victim mode, they drop out, they don’t, you know, don’t overcome. And so, I would just love to hear from you like, how did you overcome? How did you tap your power?
I think, because I had already been through so much. And that seed that that teacher planted for me, she never said that but if you get pregnant, this isn’t going to be possible. So, she really never put any limitations. She was more of “you can do anything.” So that’s the thought that I started thinking. You can do it, you can do it. And I just had to even when I had to withdraw from classes, I went back immediately and when they said write the letter, and let us know what you’re going through, I didn’t try to make it pretty. This is what I’m dealing with. And, you know, a lot of doors opened, because I opened my mouth and asked for help. Or said, I don’t understand, I don’t know.
And a lot of people began to say, Oh, well, I can show you that. Or I can tell you that or I don’t know the answer. But let me put you in contact with this person. And then it became, you know, more known that, okay, here’s a young lady who’s trying to do something, I’m sending her your way, and people started opening doors. They started opening, you know, even if it was just a little crack, you know, if I can get my toe in the door, then I can bust it wide open. You know, that’s what I’m thinking. And so, I put myself in uncomfortable situations. And I put myself in rooms, where I knew I was the only person that had a kid, you know, in college, you know, networking events.
And I would say “and so my daughter”, and then people would say and what and so I used it, you know, as something that wasn’t negative, but something that I could raise that could actually raise awareness of it. And I’m not saying that I went home all the time, feeling vindicated, or like I had done something, sometimes I went home, feeling even more ashamed and doubting, why did I tell them that? You know, what are they thinking now? You know, I’m not like them, I’m not good enough. And I would have to go home and literally learn how to speak louder than those thoughts. They, in your mind, your mind is such a powerful thing. Now in coaching, I tell people fear is a worthy adversary but fear does not always tell the truth.
So and I didn’t know, I was not aware that I was doing these doing that, you know. But talking back to it out loud. That’s what I had to do. And then literally opening my mouth and saying, you know, I’m here. I remember one time, for instance, I was in a writing class. And I asked my professor, you know, my daughter’s father isn’t able to get her today, we have a 6:30 class, I need to bring my daughter to class. And she said, Oh, that’s going to disrupt the course, I didn’t know you had a daughter. But I will get a graduate student to sit with your daughter in another class. And you won’t have to worry about it
You know, those types of things are what I mean, just letting people know, I would barge into my new counselor because, you know, I was done with the with the pedestal guy. And I would say, I heard there’s money, you know, where’s the scholarships, and I spent so much time asking for applications to fill out because I heard about this free money thing. And I told everybody I knew there was like this free money all you have to do that will pay for your college education.
And the last thing I did, I gave a speech at my high school, graduation, our convocation. And there was the president of the university was the speaker that was the president of Florida A&M University at the time, and he offered the valedictorian, a full scholarship. But the guy had committed to like Yale or Harvard, so he turned it down. And so, I said, huh, opportunity. So as soon as this event is over, I go up to him and I said, I heard you have money. If he turns you down, it sounds like you have a surplus. And he said, I like the way you think, come and see me in my office on Tuesday. And I went, and I waited. And he literally tripled my financial aid package and offered me on-campus housing.
So seizing opportunities, and letting people know what you need, don’t be afraid to open your mouth. And I think for me, that means that’s still true. So, I have to let people know I’m here. So that’s another reason why I coach is because I want to reach girls and women who have had those types of those types of experiences in life. Maybe they weren’t a teen mother, but maybe they’ve experienced divorce or incarceration, or any setbacks in life and you where you’ve been shamed, or feel like you’ve fallen from a pedestal, or people, you feel like you’ve let people down, but more so you feel like you let yourself down. Yeah, then I feel like that’s a perfect moment to reset.
And that’s why I branded myself, the Reset Coach, because I’ve learned over and over my daughter is 24. And over the last two, almost two and a half decades. Uhh I look good for my age! Over the last two and a half decades, I have had to reset. I’ve had to pause and consciously investigate my thoughts and my actions and the way I treat myself and others. And I had to be willing, I had to be willing to change that. And to be willing to challenge that. And that means mining and going deep, even when it like hurts in your chest like I don’t want to deal with, like you taught us I don’t want to deal with my money. Yeah, you know, you have to break through that.
And for me, that whole reset process starts with the pause, just [pause] just yeah. And I’ve had to do that. And that is just like the intro to my program that I’ve been working on. That’s why I was so excited to work with you. Because you helped me clarify and really hone in on the value of my story. And how it connected with the business that I was trying to build. And I remember when I sent you a description early on, before we ever had our first coaching moment together, and it was all over the place. And I provide services to everybody their grandmother to bring the kitchen sink in, I will coach that sink too. And we will I don’t think we ever even looked at that document. It was like Okay, yeah, we’re going to start over here and start fresh.
And you asked me a question about an introduction, I think that was 20 words, 25 words or less. And that was like, and then use when we actually tell you said, girl, your story, your pitch is your story. All that other stuff about this and where I’ve worked and no, but it’s the story. And you said to me, the demographic your market that you’re looking for, is you. And that was so powerful. That was so powerful, because it was also a moment that broke through some fear, and some shame, right, for me. Because if I’m going to openly market that after everything I’ve achieved in my life, right? Then I have to say again, and over and over. I’m a teen mother, I was a teen mother, I was young. And then I started saying it over and over.
And then I started feeling that power, come back, that power. And I looked at I was able to go back and look at pictures of myself from high school, before high school. And just look at this. And I wanted to tell that girl, YOU WIN. Like yeah, it’s really, really good girl. It gets really, really good. And so, my, my breakthrough was coming to you. Like I literally like, left my job. And 2 weeks later, I was calling I was on the phone with you. I’ve gained so much focus. I have gained so much freedom from that from being coached from opening up my mouth and asking for help. And that’s really the key to it all.
It really is. It’s so very important. And I don’t know why it’s so hard for us in some of these moments to open up and ask for help. And what I love so much about your story was that, you know, I work with a lot of businesses owners. You know, we do a lot of marketing, and you don’t hear very often, I want to help the teenage mother, I want to help the person who was incarcerated, I want to help the person who’s you know, going for a divorce or was abused.
Like that usually is not landing pages that we’re creating, right, because everybody’s like, oh, you got to go after the person who has gobs of money. And, you know, and there’s nothing wrong with that either, depending on what your service is. But when you hear like, I want to help these people who maybe struggle in helping themselves whereas you were able to help yourself in a really difficult situation. Not just help yourself, but really exceed everybody’s expectation. And I love that your class voted you the president, your senior year, I’m like, right on, that is so great.
That when you’re in a place like that, where you have been labeled, you know. You were this, you were that I was in an abusive marriage, it was very shaming, like, I did not want to talk about it. But I’ve been there and I was also abused as a child. And you don’t want to talk about it, because it is really shaming. But if you can tap your power, if you can get out of that victim mindset, if you can just start taking actions. And I love what you said, open your mouth and ask for help and surround yourself with people who are going to support you and motivate you, inspire you, who are not going to shame you.
And I love what you said about now your Reset Coach, because everybody who’s listening to this, you’ve probably been through something difficult in your life. This is exactly why I wanted to have Jes on the podcast today. Because if you’ve been faced with something difficult in your life, and you have now labeled yourself as oh, I you know, I was abused, I was traumatized I was this I was that.
And you’re using it as an excuse not to go out and live your best life, not to go after your goals. I want you to hear Jess’ story. If you listen to my podcast, you’ve heard a lot of things on my story. It’s not a reason not to live at our best. And when you hear from people who have done it, it just like gives us hope to know that we can do it.
I hate to say this, we’re almost out of time, I could just sit and talk with you all day Jess. But if I would just love to hear one final thing on if you’re a listener, and you’ve kind of labeled yourself and you’re feeling kind of stuck, maybe you’re in a little bit of that victim mindset. What would you say, one piece of advice you’d love to leave with everybody today on what to do to get out of that so that you can really go after what’s in your heart and what you want to do with your life?
A lot of things that keep us from moving forward actually have to do with fear. What if what they said is true? We are afraid of that. So, we stand and don’t make any movements at all. I’d rather be still than to fall. So, if I don’t go up, I can’t fall. I can’t prove them right, right? So that fear keeps us very still. And it keeps us from moving forward. So, my big, my big, breakthrough piece of advice is to Google this poem that is very, very popular. It’s Marianne Williamson’s “Our Deepest Fear.” And that poem, when you read it, read it through the 1st time, then the 2nd time, put it in the 1st person.
What is my deepest fear? It’s not that I’m an adequate. It’s that I am powerful beyond measure. It is my light and not my darkness that makes me most afraid. That’s the thing. That’s the thing. And that’s the real fear is not that you’re going to prove them right. It’s that you’re going to prove them wrong. You’re going to prove yourself, right. And then what happens next? What happens when you actually exceed those expectations? And that can be a scary place. And that’s why we have coaches like you and me to help people walk through those scary places. Because if we know at the end, you win. If you walk it, if you get up and walk it, you will win.
Absolutely. Oh, my goodness, so powerful. Jess tell everybody where they can find you.
They can find me at www.jniicolecoaching.com
Thank you so much for being on the show today. Like I said, I could just sit and chat with you like all day. Your story is so inspiring. I know everybody who’s hearing it is going to be inspired as well to just go out there and like live your best life. So, thank you so much for sharing it. If you guys want to learn more about our coaching, you can visit me at JenniferDawncoaching or you can find us at bestplannerever.com. That’s it for our episode today. So powerful. Thank you so much just for being here.
Yeah, absolutely everybody gets out there. Thank you for listening and have a Happy Productive day.