We had the good fortune of connecting with Jon (DoctorJonPaul) Higgins and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jon (DoctorJonPaul), what is the most important factor behind your success?
So when I first struck out on my own, a lot of people and brands kept saying to me because I centered Black and queer thought in my work, “we don’t know what to really do with you.” For years, I was so discouraged by that because I felt like my 15 year old self again – feeling like I was waiting on the world for approval. But then something hit me: that was the problem. I don’t need anyone to do anything for me. I have the tools and it’s up to me to use them to build what I want to build. Once I started doing that, people began to see it and asking how they could help me build. Interestingly enough, now companies are asking me to do things for them that honestly I don’t think would have happened if I tried to stay in the box society kept trying to put me in.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Honestly, nothing about where I am in this life was easy. From a young age, I was always told I talk too much, I was too opinionated and that I exhibited behavior that wasn’t ideal (I was too feminine, too confident etc). All that to say now, those are all things I celebrate about myself and bring to my work. When I write, I write from a place of honestly. When I teach, I teach from a place of passion. When I work/speak, I speak from a place of confidence. I have worked hard to become who I am and I have no problem with letting that show up in my work. I also think one of the biggest lessons I have learned in my journey is that people will often see something in you that they can’t see in themselves and try to put it out. I encourage to be weary of those type of people and to remember who they are in the process. The right people will always see you and value what you have to offer the world.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well, with Ms, Rona being in town, we aren’t going ANYWHERE. But, if it was “back to normal”, I’d probably take them to a favorite donut spot (Afters and the Donut Bar), San Diego for the beach and probably somewhere nice for dinner (Lazy Dog is my fave!) Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Whew – this is great but also I want to make sure I don’t leave people out. If there is anyone I want to thank, it’s gonna be my husband Jonathan (yes we have the same name). He has really been my backbone for the last 10 years in even in the darkest of times in both my personal and professional life, he manages to show up for me in ways I didn’t think someone could. So I will always be thankful to him. Next, It’s gonna be both my therapist and my manager, Stephanie Laffin. Both of them work together to help me see the bigger picture. They also help me understand the world I am trying to build, the world I am living in and the world that I WANT to live in. I really appreciate them both giving me the autonomy to be authentic, but also how they challenge me to step out of the norm. Lastly, a new addition to my team – my assistant Vic. While they have only been with my team for the month, they have really helped me see the light at the end of the tunnel. Also – my friends. They know who they are. <3
Katie Simmons-Barth Simen Shchurov