The story of today brings us to Los Angles, in the U.S. state of California. Jessica, a social entrepreneur and founder of Copper H2O, shares with us the impact of COVID-19 on her daily working routine and how meditation has helped her to counterbalance the "productivity threats" of working from home.
My name is Jessica Rose. I am the CEO of a 100% female run e-commerce social enterprise in the health and wellness industry. I am in my early thirties and was born and raised on the West Coast. I studied health and nutrition and, after spending some time travelling the world and experiencing different cultures, have been an entrepreneur for most of my working life. I believe that the purpose of life is to be happy and successful according to our own definition, rather than trying to fit into the mold of success that society pushes on us.
What were you looking for in life?
Before the pandemic, arriving at my office in the mornings automatically put me into work mode, and I was generally able to put in several solid hours of focused work. COVID-19 has been a time of great mental growth for me. There is no doubt that working remotely and having to deal with complications as a result of the pandemic has created more distractions throughout the day.
What was stopping you from achieving it?
Now, working remotely from home, I find that much more effort is needed to create boundaries and an environment which ensures that there is time and space to put in the hard work necessary to advance the business. I have found that the recent turmoil in the world has actually helped me become more connected with myself. In particular, the pandemic has helped me discover a new appreciation for meditation and have found it to be a very effective way to increase my focus and efficiency.
Which was the trigger for the change?
While this leads to challenges, I find that starting the day with a thirty minute meditation exercise with deep breathing can have a profound impact on the quality of my work day. If I find myself losing focus as the day goes on, I will take shorter meditation breaks - generally no longer than few minutes. Although these sessions are much shorter, I find that they tend to restore the initial focus and serenity felt after the longer meditation at the start of the day.
How was your journey? What did you put in action?
I have also started to practice mindfulness. At the start of each day, I spend approximately 20 minutes of self care considering what my day has in store and reminding myself to use a mindfulness approach to tackling my day, rather than letting it tackle me.
How do you think your life would be now if you had continued in the same direction?
When we are not being mindful, our days are consumed by reacting to events occurring around us without being very thoughtful about them. This can cause us react poorly and to be less than ideal colleagues, mothers, fathers, sisters or brothers. When we practice mindfulness, we open up the space between stimulus and response and give ourselves the opportunity to reflect on the stimulus and choose how we respond, which, on reflection, should be the positive response.
How is your life today?
When we respond positively, we can diffuse situations and live a more content and happy life. By setting this intention each morning, I find that I can significantly improve the quality of my day. In particular, I find that I feel more calm and energized, as well as more confident. I also find that I have become more of a problem solver and am able to diffuse situations before they get difficult.
What would you say to someone reading your story?
I would like to say that so much of life is a state of mind and that they should take the opportunity to try meditation and mindfulness and see how it impacts their state of mind and life in general. All it takes is an investment of 20-40 minutes per day, or longer if you feel that you need it. Once you do it a few times, you will find that it becomes a habit, and the benefits will become more ingrained and accessible to you.
Which are your top 3 inspiring books?
Which are your top 3 inspiring movies, series or documentaries?
It's a Wonderful Life. This movie reminds me of the goodness of humankind.
To Kill a Mockingbird. This movie reminds me of the importance of standing up for what you believe to be right.
Rocky. The movie reminds me of the importance of sheer drive and determination to succeed.
Which are your top 3 favourite songs?
Somewhere Over The Rainbow, by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole. It instantly makes me feel calm.
What a Wonderful World, by Louis Armstrong. It fills me with warmth.
Walking On Sunshine, by Katrina and the Waves. It makes me feel excited about my day.
Which is your most inspiring quote?
Between stimulus and response there is space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom, by Viktor Frankl. In my view, this quote perfectly captures one of the key benefits of mindfulness.
Tell us about your own favourite picture!
I love this photo because it reminds me of how beautiful life is. I choose happiness and growth every day and that's what I see in this photo. When I'm having a hard day I know I can always turn to nature to boost my spirits. For those days I just can't get outside I can look at this photo instead and get back on track.