We had the good fortune of connecting with Jenny Powers and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jenny, Let’s talk about principles and values – what matters to you most?
Following My Heart. For many years, I lived a very safe life. I followed all of the rules that I was supposed to follow. I did the things that society expected me to do and I judged the success of my life based on the standards that society set. I did well in school, excelled at sports, got into an elite college, had incredible friends and an amazingly loving family. I got a prestigious job, made enough money, lived in a beautiful apartment and had everything that I thought would make me happy. Except that I wasn’t happy. I was living the life that was expected of me and I was deeply unhappy. Because my life didn’t feel authentic to me. It didn’t feel truly unique to me. Despite all of my perceived success, my life did not feel successful to me. Because I wasn’t following my heart. So I took an enormous leap of faith and left behind everything in my life. I quit my job, moved out of my apartment, sold everything and bought a plane ticket to Australia. For the first time in my entire life, I followed my heart. And that decision changed everything. From that moment on, I have made every single decision in my life by following my heart. I have pushed aside all expectations about the life that I should be living and about the person that I should be, and I have focused only on living the life that I want to live and on being the person that I want to be. This life has taken me around the world, through many different countries, through many different cities, through many different jobs, through many different relationships, through many different experiences. And there have been incredible highs and there have been devastating lows. There have been moments of magical bliss and moments of utter and complete heartbreak. And in every moment, it has been a journey. But I wouldn’t change a single thing about this journey. Because following my heart has given me a life that is far beyond my wildest dreams. I have truly lived. It hasn’t always been easy, but it has always been worth it.
Please tell us more about your career. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
My willingness to tell the truth and live in the honesty of my journey with vulnerability and compassion sets me apart from others and is at the core of The Empowered Woman. My purpose on this Earth is to tell my story and to share the truth of my journey. Because I am here to show you, the reader, what is possible when you choose to follow your heart. I am here to show you that the life of your dreams is real. I am here to show you that you are capable of doing anything that you want to do in this life and that you are capable of being anyone that you want to be in this world. And in every moment, I promise one thing. I will always tell the truth. I will always show up in my honesty and in my vulnerability. I will always be authentic and I will always be real. I will always be a woman of my word, and if I talk the talk, I will always walk the walk. Because integrity is everything to me. And I have lived long enough to know that following your heart will take you through this world in a way where there is no more hiding, no more faking, no more lying and no more pretending. You will finally show up in your life and in this world as the person that you want to be and as the person that you really are. If you are ready to take the journey, the ride will be extraordinary. If you are ready to live the life of your dreams, the experience will be magical. If you are ready to follow your heart, your journey can start today.
This is how my journey started and how the mission for The Empowered Woman came to be. A few years ago, I set out to find my greatest purpose in life. I left a life that I knew very well, a very safe life with lots of predictability. I left it all to follow my heart. What has unfolded has been a journey that has led me to a mission, a mission that I believe in with every fiber of my being. The vision for this mission has many pieces and continues to unfold as I write this. However, the mission is the same.
To empower women everywhere to become our best selves. To awaken us to our own power so that we may live as the women that we are born to be. To free us from what we carry around as the caretakers of others so that we take the time to stop, breathe and reconnect to who we each are. To strengthen our relationship with ourselves so that we embrace our bodies, our hearts, our minds and our spirits, in everything we do. To build the tools that are necessary for us to be able to unleash the potential that is inside all of us so that we are each capable of doing amazing things. To grant us the space in this world where we can experience the freedom to feel, to express, to let it all out and to connect to our happiest selves. To honor and celebrate the brilliance, the passion, the fire and the joy of women, everywhere. To create the place on this Earth where extraordinary transformation happens so that we are all empowered to live our best lives.
When I began this journey, I began to write a blog. My book, Empowered: The Woman’s Guide to Following Your Heart, is inspired by that blog. It started as a way for me to inspire others, but it soon became a way for me to inspire myself. It became a way for me to track my own experiences, a way for me to understand all that I was feeling, a way for me to work through everything that I was going through and a way for me to chronicle my journey. It became the place where I expressed myself – fully, openly and honestly – and in doing so, came to find some peace along the way in leaning on what I learned through what I wrote. I am still on the journey, but the revelations that I have experienced along the way are in the pages of my book. They are authentic. They are genuine. They are truly the step-by-step journey that I have been on – nothing forced, created or manufactured for any other purpose than to express all that I felt in my heart at the time, as I found my way. These were not written for any effect or even with a book in my mind, so you can trust the integrity of these discoveries. I never intended to share my journey in this way, but I understand now, that I am meant to. The journey when you follow your heart is hard, and in moments, it can overwhelm you to the point where you feel like you will never find your way. But you will, I promise. If you just keep going. You may feel crazy, lost, uncertain, and so alone at times. May this book always remind you that you never are.
Sometimes in my darkest hour, the things that I discovered in the pages of my book, have been my only light. I share them from this place. They are reliable truths. You can depend on them. They will show you the way. Use them as a light, as a reason to keep going, as a reason to keep believing, as a reason to never give up on your journey, on your dreams, on your heart and on yourself. It is not easy to follow your heart, to seek a life of purpose, to remain true to the song that is in your heart, the song that quietly whispers to you, the song that you are meant to sing that the rest of the world has yet to hear. But you must. The world needs you. To live the life that you are meant to live and to become the woman that you are meant to become. You are here for a reason. We are each here for a purpose, a purpose that is uniquely our own. But the only way that we will each get to our purpose and live our best life, is if we each share the story of our journey and the guiding truths that we discover along the way. They are the light by which all of us will see.
A few examples of these 100 Guiding Truths in my book:
Believe in the Magic
The world rewards courage with beauty. Growing pains are hard and giving birth to the song that is in my heart is testing my strength. Risking it all and putting my heart on the line is uncomfortable and the unknown of the journey can be overwhelming. I am living this. But the magic in this world understands this and recognizes my bravery and says, I see you and I am in awe of what you are willing to go through to give birth. The most beautiful complete double rainbow awaited me in the sky out my front door at the end of my first big day of following my heart. Believe in the magic.
Speak the Truth
I must speak my truth, always. As women, we are often so busy trying to meet expectations that we fail to honor our own feelings. But our feelings are right and justified. We are entitled to feel each and every one of them and we are allowed to tell people how we feel. This is the only way that we build a truly authentic and empowered life. This is the only way that we build a life that feels good to us. In every moment, speak your truth. And never stop.
Have Big Dreams
To have big dreams is a matter of choice. To then reach those dreams becomes a matter of discipline. I have big dreams. People even laugh when I describe them. I have no idea how my dreams are going to happen. That scares me. The size of my dreams scares me too. They are enormous. But if I just keep going, and live with the discipline that they require, then no one can stop me from making them come true. You always get to choose the size of your dreams. So have big dreams. If you live with the discipline that is required to get there, you will watch them come true.
Define Your Success
Did I live my purpose? Success to me is living my purpose. It is the only success that I care to achieve. It takes a lot of courage to live with this definition, because society can make it all about fame, money and the accumulation of things. Society can define success by material wealth and use it as the benchmark to define the level of your success as a person and of your life. But it is not about these things to me because none of these things speak to the actual value of a life. Did you make the world a happier place, did you change the lives of people that you met for the better, did you add sunshine, love, laughter, and joy to the world and inspire those that you met? Did you make people smile and laugh, and make them feel better as a result of having been in your presence? This is what matters. Look at your success in the way that you touch lives, in the way that you uplift those that you are around, in the way that you encourage those that you meet to reach for the stars and to believe in themselves and in their dreams. If I live out my greatest purpose on this Earth, and embody the woman that I am meant to be to the fullest extent that I am capable of, and spread as much love, joy and happiness as I possibly can, and create as much positive change in the world as I can, then I will have lived the most successful life that I can live. That is what success is to me. So define your own success based on what is important to you and based on what success means to you. Then live your life using only that definition.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I currently live in New York City but spent many years in LA and absolutely love it! My favorite thing to do is to get in the car with very little plan and spend the day exploring! Driving along the PCH is such a beautiful way to experience the ocean and the stunning views on the drive to Malibu are always a highlight for me! I love the variety that LA offers and all of the different neighborhoods provide such a wide array of experiences so LA is always a fun adventure! When the world is open again and Covid is behind us, I will be so excited to go to Giorgio Baldi for an incredible dinner, have cocktails at the Beverly Wilshire and explore the my favorite hangouts in Santa Monica. LA is one of my favorite places in the world and it is so full of beauty and wonder. It truly is the city of angels!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Sometimes I wonder if my parents would have preferred to have a different child. I know that they love me, with every fiber of their being, and would never trade me. I know this. But sometimes I wonder how they think about the role of being my mother and my father. I have never followed convention, I have rarely played by the rules, I have bucked the trends that people would have expected me to follow, and I have always, always, always thrown caution to the wind. I have jumped off cliffs, both figuratively and literally, and have rarely looked down to see what might be below me. I have just lived, without fear or concern, for what is expected of me and for the path that is right, safe or easier. I have not tried to make it harder on myself, or on them, truly. If a life that was more secure and more predictable made me happy, I honestly would have chosen it, because I want more than anything to feel secure. But security to me is not about money, or things, or anything outside of me. It is not about a job or a career or a house or a car. Even if a company could guarantee that I would never again have to worry about money, if my heart wasn’t in it, I would never stay. It is not easy to be a parent of a child who lives likes this, who believes this, who goes for it, each and every time, no matter what it costs. Every time, I choose to try, to believe, to dream, to reach and to stretch, even bigger. But when you live like this, you fall more than those who never risk anything. And my parents, each and every time, have always been there to offer a hand to help me back up. It isn’t easy to spend 43 years doing this, and to never judge. I recognize this. It is not something that I take lightly. So I say to them, thank you. I am going for it right now in my life, more than I ever have. I am risking it all, to live the big dream and I will not take the easy path. I will not abandon my heart. It might cost me everything, but I have to do this. So I honor my parents as incredible human beings, as beacons of light, of love and of belief. I know that this is hard on them and that it would be easier for them to sleep at night if I went and got a safer job, one that gave me financial security and a predictable path. They opened their home to me, provided financial and emotional support in doing that, and have helped to give me the opportunity to launch this vision, to live my dream. And they have asked for nothing in return. Nothing. It takes an amazing parent to do this, unconditionally. I recognize them. For loving me as the woman that I want to become and for supporting me in the life that I want to lead. Not in what they want for me, but in what I want for me. I will not give up on this dream, on this vision that is unfolding before my very eyes. I can’t. It’s too important to me and is the piece that I have been seeking my whole life. It is here now, so I will walk forward into it and not look back. And as long as my heart is in it, I will stay. But this has been a hard journey on my parents. I know this. So Mom and Dad, thank you. I honor you, I celebrate you and I recognize the tremendous courage it has taken for you to keep believing in me, regardless of the life that I have chosen to lead. It hasn’t been easy on you. But to me, it has been everything.
In life, we must always thank the people who help us along the way. We must always thank the people who help us to fly.
Photography by Jennyfer Parra.