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Apr 02, 2024 | Podcast

Living a Non-Linear Life while Following Your Intuition with Jill Ferguson

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About the episode:

If you’ve been a part of my community for a while, you know that intuition is one of my favorite topics to discuss. This is why I’m so excited to sit down with Jill L. Ferguson, serial entrepreneur, best-selling author, and international speaker, to talk about embracing your intuition and following a non-linear path in business and, perhaps even more importantly, life. Jill started her first business at the age of eighteen and has been in-and-out of self-employment ever since, authoring dozens of books and exploring different passions, from painting & photography to consulting & coaching. She learned early on that there’s no straight path to entrepreneurship, but along the way she has learned the importance of following your gut, saying yes to opportunities, and learning to trust yourself. Jill believes that all of us – especially Highly Sensitive People (HSPs) and empaths – were born with divine creativity within us. Yet, in a world that’s so focused on “staying on track,” cultivating a strong sense of self and giving yourself permission to explore is no easy feat. Jill and I have a vulnerable and insightful discussion today about unpacking people-pleasing, taking creative action, and living authentically. If you find it hard to give yourself permission to do things your own way, you’ll undoubtedly learn a lot and walk away inspired from this episode.


Topics discussed:

  • The idea that we’re put on a linear path as small children and that even though many linear notions are ingrained in our brains, entrepreneurship, life, religion, education, relationships – none of it has to be linear
  • Recognizing when you’re making choices to fulfill other people’s expectations vs. your own and learning to trust yourself
  • Giving up on the notion that you have to run your business a certain way to be successful and building processes that feel authentic to you
  • Living as a human being, not a human doing, and embracing passion, openness, and creativity
  • Learning to block out the noise around you, connect deeper with your intuition, and approach life playfully


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Click here for a raw, unedited transcript of this episode


Catherine A. Wood  05:55

Hi, Jill. Welcome to the podcast.



Hi, thanks for having me on your show.


Catherine A. Wood  06:42

I’m, I’m thrilled for our conversation today. And I’m thrilled for you to educate me on on the topic that we’re chatting about. But by way of getting us started, I’d love for you to share your pronouns and a little bit of your story and who you are.


Jill Ferguson  06:58

I choose she her pronouns. And a little bit of who I am, is I’ve been kind of an entrepreneur since birth, I feel like I’ve been writing for publications since age 12. I officially started my first business at age 18. But I remember during my preteen, and teen years, selling magazines, and gift wrap, and all kinds of different things through the neighborhood. And it wasn’t like for Girl Scouts or anything like that. It was just I joined an organization that said, you can sell these things and make money. And I thought, Oh, that’s cool. And so I did that even from you know, the age of a small child. And, and I did write my first book when I was five, but it was a disaster. So at that age, you really don’t underst I decided to illustrate it. And you don’t understand the concept of water to pigment ratio. So I made a big soupy mess. But, you know, I feel like that drive was always in me. And


Catherine A. Wood  08:03

am I remembering correctly that you’ve both authored and ghost written? Many, many books? Yeah, dozens. i Yeah, I was curious. How many is dozens I always love Um,


Jill Ferguson  08:15

well, there’s 18 books with my name on the front cover. And there’s probably, I think about two dozen more without my name on the front cover. They have somebody else’s name on the front cover. That’s extraordinary. Yeah. And my brother and I actually just started writing a mystery series, a cozy mystery series featuring a capital dog as one of the main sleuths. And the first book is called paws and puzzles. And it’s a whiskey mystery dog series is the name of the series because the dog’s name is whiskey. And we’re writing those under the pseudonym Faith Walker. So


Catherine A. Wood  08:56

sounds like you’ve been a writer your whole life?


Jill Ferguson  08:59

Yeah. writer and an entrepreneur. Yeah. How


Catherine A. Wood  09:03

have those how have those paths, inter woven writing and entrepreneurship? Have they always been one in the same? No.


Jill Ferguson  09:10

Um, so I have, I had full time day jobs during my life. I think just like almost everybody who’s entrepreneurial that I meet, occasionally we feel like we have to give in to, I don’t know, parents societal expectations of, you know, you need to get yourself a job instead of playing with whatever it is you’re doing or, and so I a lot of my entrepreneurial endeavors through my 20s and 30s. Were businesses I owned on the side or became side hustles where I was working for ad agencies or digital marketing companies or even companies themselves who needed product naming and copy for packaging and and things like that. So it wasn’t always writing books. And I was always teaching writing classes on the side, and doing book coaching and writing coaching of clients on the side, but I go in and out of full time self employment. i In this stage right now, I have been full time self employed since 20. Well, 20 Yeah, 2012. And I have not taken even a part time job with anyone else since then. So I feel like I’m staying on that path.


Catherine A. Wood  10:40

Well, I appreciate that. And I also appreciate just the sense of permission, I hear in your entrepreneurial journey to allow yourself to, to embrace a side hustle or full time self employment or a day job and how there doesn’t have to be that significance. You know, I work with a lot of entrepreneurs. And I find that we often put, put so much pressure on ourselves to, oh, I’m gonna become an entrepreneur, as if there there’s one way entrepreneurship has to look. And there’s one way the journey to get there has to go, because truly, there’s limitless ones. And it sounds like that’s certainly been your journey. Yeah,


Jill Ferguson  11:17

I think if you if you don’t stay open, and you you assume this, like linear path to entrepreneurship, or even to non entrepreneurship, right, but to entrepreneurship, that’s what we’re talking about, then you miss the opportunities that are in your life. And I’m one of those people that always stays open to the connections that I make to the possibilities. Everybody that I meet, I look at them as a way that a possible collaborator, and hey, this is a new person, and what cool thing could we do together. And so I take that kind of approach to life. And so that following that way, tells me that I’m never going to be able to figure out exactly what I’m doing 100% of the time, because I don’t know yet. And I’m not closed off to what the future holds, which could be something really, really cool and interesting. And something that, you know, feeds my soul more than even everything that I’ve done already, which is already been, you know, completely life affirming. And in a lot of cases, fabulous, right?


Catherine A. Wood  12:29

I wish that our listeners could see your face as you talk about this, because your eyes are totally glittering, as you talk about this experience of opening yourself up to the countless possibilities of you know, what a new person you meet, could unfold or create. And I think for so many entrepreneurs, that in and of itself speaks to a mindset, shift that that we have to make. It’s like this idea that we go into an opportunity or a client engagement or a potential client engagement, really clear on what we want. And we can get so fixated and attached and limited in our thinking around what’s possible, that we really kind of cloud ourselves from the full expansiveness of what what could result and what could happen. And I, I just I really appreciate in your speaking about it, just how creative and exciting and playful it can be when we have no agenda. Yeah,


Jill Ferguson  13:34

it is. And you you summarize that so well, and so grateful for that. It is in you, and going into things with that kind of mindset. And just saying, okay, universe, I’m open to whatever right now ends up presenting a whole bunch of stuff to us that we’re not expecting, and that we, you know, have the chance to be delighted and create and CO creators of everything around us.


Catherine A. Wood  14:05

I love that. So that’s a perfect segue to what we’re talking about today. And I want to give some backstory for our audience, because the reason we’re connecting today is because a mutual friend of ours, thought you’d be a great guest for the podcast. And when you reached out to me, you were talking about intuition and how intuition is a topic that’s really important for you and meaningful and you’d love to come up on the podcast and talk about it. And I was like, Okay, well love that that’s such a important topic for me. And you know, what’s a different spin? We could bring on that because I’ve actually had a guest talk about intuition. And so what you brought to me was this idea of a linear Business Path, and how specifically, highly sensitives and empaths thrive from following a no on linear business paths, so I am dying to dig into this topic. And I’m, I’m really curious with how intuition and a non linear business path are connected.


Jill Ferguson  15:14

Okay, so and I can I can I, though that is the focus of what we’re talking about, Can I also add that it’s not just for business? We’re put on linear paths. I think from the time we’re small children. And we can be on nonlinear paths in all parts of our life. Amen. Which, yeah, which relationships religion is another example, I think, not just education, careers celebrations, right, we’re even taught how to like, this is the kind of wedding you should desire from a small child till, you know, you become an adult. There’s things that are ingrained in us. And sometimes it’s subconscious. And we don’t even know. So linear path is like, straight line, right? point A, point B, point C, point D, we do this, from the time where kids were told we’re going to go to school, and in school, you’re probably going to be put eventually on the College Track, so that you can go to university because everybody needs a college or university degree in order to achieve whatever the next step is in life, which means usually a job, right? That this is the normal kind of I hate to use the word normal, but the the kind of career progression that we’re that most humans are put on at least most western society, humans, from the time they’re little. And they may, we may think we have other things, other skills, we may, especially HSPs, and empaths, may feel a little like, we don’t always fit in the world, because we’re being accused of being too sensitive or, or, you know, we may hear animals talk to us or something else. And realize very quickly that if we admit that to people, they’re gonna think we’re a little nuts. And so we kind of squash that down. And, you know, go on our little merry way and do the things we’re supposed to do play the sports that we’re supposed to play, get the grades we’re supposed to get at so that we can go on eventually and get good jobs. And so that’s kind of how linear stuff plays out in life. A nonlinear path would be to really ask yourself from a tiny or small, what it what is it that I want to do, what’s my passion, what feels good to me, and it’s okay to explore this over here for a while and this over here for a while, and maybe take classes in dancer pottery, or whatever is your thing from the moment. And if you end up not liking that, or if it’s not quite like you thought it was going to be, then it’s okay to go do something new, and create it creating our own career paths doing that same kind of thing, where you don’t have to decide that, okay, I’m going to get an engineering degree, and I’m going to become an engineer. And I’m going to do this, and I’m going to work for these companies. Or I’m going to try to launch my own app or my own startup or whatever. And put all this pressure on yourself, when you may start doing that. And you’re developing skills in certain areas. And all of a sudden, this other thing, side door over here looks like oh, that looks like that would be interesting to go through. And instead of feeling guilty, because we do that to ourselves a lot when we think that what we’re working on, we’ve worked so hard on so hard on so hard on what happens if I give up on it, or I decide to do something else. And then we kind of feel like we’re failing a little, even if we’re really not. And it’s like, well, let’s go through the side door and see where the same thing takes us. And that’s kind of what a nonlinear path would look like. It’s following your heart and saying yes, very loudly to opportunities that present themselves and give you just a quick example. So I started my college career studying musical theater, a voice in theater. By the time my freshman year of college, the second semester happened, and I was taking makeup for the stage classes, my parents, God bless them for like this. Why are we spending 300 hours on stage makeup for this for this class? And you know, this is just what are you going to do with this when you get out? But would it be better if you study in business and marketing or something more practical? Right, so sophomore year, I studied business for a while. Then I studied business and communications and that’s what I ended up with my undergraduate degrees in. And from there, I got a full time job but I was still writing freelance and doing other things. And then eventually I got a graduate degree and I became a professor. And I still had all these side hustles that I was doing because I gave myself permission Shouldn’t you do all of that. But I still felt like I was fulfilling other people’s expectations, which was you had a steady job with a paycheck, you know, and all that kind of stuff that goes around that. And it wasn’t until I was working full time for an organization that it was a really toxic environment. And I was still doing the side hustles. But the main job was taking up all my time, all my energy. I was on 132 airplanes in 10 and a half months. So I had no life outside of work, that I decided that I would take a Thanksgiving weekend and go to a spa, and Calistoga, California, and I’m floating in a mineral pool, and I’m like, I should quit. And then all of a sudden, my heart was like, boom, boom, boom. It was like, oh, yeah, I should quit. And because I’m like, super, super responsible, like I’m sure most of your listeners are, I spent the next 72 hours doing the next six weeks of my work. So I didn’t screw over my colleagues. But that was Thursday or Wednesday night, I decided I was quitting, I think it was Thursday. By Sunday, I handed in a written letter of recommendation to my to the CEO and the board and said, I’m done. Like I’m not coming back. And here’s how I’ve handed off these projects. This is where we are, did a status update and everything. And I all of a sudden felt this incredible weight lift and this freedom, right, that I wasn’t expecting to feel. And that was Sunday, Monday is when a company or university contacted me and asked me if I do a big consulting gig for them as a contractor. And it happened to be in Hawaii. So that was nice. I got to go to Hawaii for work every so often. But it was like amazing that, okay, I shot this store. And I really needed to shut the store to protect myself, and to heal, because there was a lot of trauma from that. And it’s like this other thing that I had no idea was going to open up open up the next day. And I could work from home and occasionally fly to Hawaii to do stuff that I needed to do. And you know, and it was a beautiful relationship. And so when we listen to ourselves, and we choose to take the nonlinear path, our lives just evolve in ways that we don’t expect. And they become so beautiful, and so full of connections and all kinds of creativity. Even if you’re a person who thinks I’m not a creative person, because I’ve heard people say that to me, Oh, I’m not creative at all. Like, I’m an accountant. I’m not creative. And it’s like, no, we were especially women. But all of us were born with a divine creativity within us. And all you have to do is say, Okay, I’m willing to explore that, embrace that. And we follow our nonlinear path as my passion.


Catherine A. Wood  23:26

What a beautiful story of how it can look. I mean, I’ve just been appreciating all of your hand gestures and your facial expressions as you’re sharing this story, because I think when we follow our own intuition, it’s very embodied. Right? Like you had a very embodied response when you had this kind of gut instinct that you had to leave your job. I think for many empaths and highly sensitive we we don’t always attuned to our body’s wisdom we have to learn to. And I guess I’m curious if you’ve always had that connection with your own inner knowing your own kind of inner gut response, or has that was that learned?


Jill Ferguson  24:13

The short answer is yes, I’ve always been connected. But the the part that’s been learned is the part that where you have to learn to trust yourself, because I’m very empathic, very sensitive. I, I hear a lot of things myself about myself, but I also hear things about other people. And because, you know, we’re all empathic and we act like a bunch of sponges. Sometimes it’s hard to know what’s mine and what’s not mine. And also, I grew up in a very conservative Christian home, and an evangelical home And so there’s a lot of emphasis on what’s from God and what’s not from God. And so there’s an internalization of Wait a minute, I think I know this, and is that good or not good. And so those were the pieces that I kind of had to let go off and grow to know that I trust myself with this. Even if I don’t understand why I trust myself. And I can give you a little example, if that’s okay. Okay, so this goes back to what you and I were talking about before the show began. You asked me if I had any kids. And I knew from the time I was a small child, that I was never going to have my own kids. I don’t know how I knew that. And I eventually, as a preteen, or teenager, told my parents like I’m not having kids. Oh, you’ll get over it. You just think that now? And it’s like, no, I don’t think you’re understanding. Like, I am not having any kids of my own. And I didn’t know what that meant. I just knew that that was the kind of the facts right that the fact that was in me. Well, it turns out that I have Oh, negative blood. And if you have a negative blood, and you partner with somebody with a positive Rhesus, and you become pregnant, odds are very strong. In fact, they get the the doctors now and give you drugs to reverse the the recess of the baby. Because if I partner with a positive, racist person, and conceive a child, my body attacks it as an allergen and kills it. The odds of that happening are really strong. That’s what happened to me twice. So I had two miscarriages. I had no idea why I was having a miscarriage. It wasn’t like we were doing like, serious family planning or anything I just, you know, got pregnant. Within the first few weeks, my body was like, Nope, we’re not doing this. And we’re done. And so it kind of came in 2011. It ended up that I had a big fibroid tumor, and I needed hysterectomy. Um, and one, I went into the surgery to do the hysterectomy. And I said to the doctor, can you tell me I know I have low blood type. Because you know, I’m old enough that back in the day in high school, we actually tested our blood type and biology class. But we couldn’t do the recess. I said, So could you tell me what I have? And she said, Oh, you have Oh, positive? I’m sure you do. Because we’d know a few had no negative. And I said, okay, and she said that I’ll have them check. So she came back. And, you know, it’s like 40 minutes before the surgery is about to start. And her face is ashen. And she looks at me and she said, you’ve only got a blood. How do we not know this? And I said, I don’t know. And she’s like, Well, did you have miscarriages? And I said, Yeah, into them. And she’s like, Yeah, that’s why. And then she explained to me the whole kind of like the allergen thing and, and she said, that’s why you couldn’t maintain a pregnancy. And I said, Oh, okay. And to me, it was just like, Oh, my body knew that, you know, my first husband was going to be like this. And then, you know, I thought that it knew I was having a first husband, and knew that I was not going to bear a child. But the really cool thing about this whole thing is that because I’m OH negative on the universal blood donor. And my blood, there’s 15% of the population that is CMV negative, which is a virus that most adults have, like I said, 85% of the adults have it in their system. I don’t some OH negative and CMV negative. And because of that, my blood can be given to preemies and infants, and it’s the only kind of blood that can. And a few months ago, I give blood every eight to eight to 10 weeks because of that. And a few weeks ago, when I was a few months ago when I was at the Red Cross, donating blood, the phlebotomist that was going to take my blood. She was like, Oh my gosh, how many babies have you saved? And it gutted me because I couldn’t believe that I had never thought of it that way. And I ended up writing a very personal essay that I haven’t published anywhere, share with anybody But it’s about the fact that what flows through me the blood that courses through me can save children, even if my body couldn’t save its own children. Sorry, I didn’t plan to


Catherine A. Wood  30:14

go here today. No. I have goosebumps. Thank you so much for sharing that story. I am so touched by your grace and power. And I mean, I think it’s so impactful like that you knew, right that you knew that you weren’t going to carry children of your own. And that, that didn’t mean you wouldn’t save so many other babies lives and support your own children by way of marriage. Yeah.


Jill Ferguson  30:48

Yeah, I do have three adult stepchildren. I love them dearly. But yeah, I mean, this is part of the whole nonlinear path, right, that we go on when we embrace being empaths. When we embrace being HSPs, those nudges willing to be open? Yeah.


Catherine A. Wood  31:07

Well, I I guess I want to explore this idea of being open because you were talking a little while ago about this idea that as empaths. And HSP is like if we want to follow this nonlinear path, we have to follow what we want. And this is a question I support clients and answering every day all day, and it is a very confronting question. And I have found that it is it’s a muscle like it, it requires a muscle to learn how to lean into that question to giving ourselves permission to embrace the nudges and the wisdom that we gain. And and I also think that it, it can start in childhood with more ease, or it can be learned in adulthood with a bit more resistance. And something I appreciate about my own journey. And I think I think this will resonate for many of our listeners is that, you know, as an HSP, and an empath, like I was a people pleaser, through and through my entire childhood, the really the textbook, good girl who wanted to do everything right and get things perfect. And, you know, when we’re so focused on doing things the right way, and getting it perfect. were fulfilling other people’s expectations and desires. We’re trying to make other people happy and pleased with us were finding our own sense of self and self worth, through fulfilling other people’s desires and preferences, versus connecting with our own truths, connecting with our own authentic wants and desires. So while it sounds really easy, like oh, just follow the nonlinear path, like listen to what you want. That’s been a decade process in the making, for me to really give myself full permission full embodied spiritual, mental, emotional, permission to Gosh, I’m tearing up as I say it, but to to, to answer honestly, that question, and then do follow through with what comes to me.


Jill Ferguson  33:34

Yeah, I agree. I have on to a few weeks ago, I one of my clients was in documentary that Tony Robbins did, and was on kind of live on a Tony Robbins event. And so I went to support my client did the online version of it. And Tony had a guy do a short little workshop towards the end of the event. And one of the things he said is he said, you know, we talk about, like, where do you want to be in five years from now? And we asked people where they are now and most people can’t really genuinely answered where they are now. And they certainly aren’t even sure where they want to be in five years. He said, So what he found was he asked them the question of if you could describe what the best year ever of your life would look like, what would that look like? And he said, you have 30 seconds, make a list. And so I made my little list because I figured I’d go along with it. Right? And, and to me, it was like almost mind blowing, because one of the things that was on my list was that I would be more flexible and stronger in my body. And he said, so look at the things on your list, and figure out how you can do one of the things on your list right now. And my first thought was well Oh, I could go to yoga more often than I am now. And to be more flexible, stronger, and the first thing that comes up in our heads right often is all the excuses and the reasons why you can’t do this. And for me, it was like, Well, if I carve, so I shouldn’t say I live in a town where there is free yoga on the bluff overlooking the beach, five days, or seven days a week, for no thing. And from April to November, it’s twice a day. Wow.


Catherine A. Wood  35:32

And California, California.


Jill Ferguson  35:36

And so I was like, well, I should start going to bluff yoga, right to go on the bluff. And, but then in my head, I’m thinking, well, it’s from 11 to 12, every day, 11am to 12 Noon. And I thought, okay, it’s gonna take me a half an hour to walk there and a half an hour, back home, right? So that’s two hours, none of my day. And my head is going, well, you can’t leave the office for two hours in the middle of the day, right? Cuz you’re gonna, like, not be there for your clients, and you’re gonna miss calls and you’re going to, and then I was like, Holy crap, I work for myself for crying out loud. Like, I can set my own hours, I can answer email, whenever right, we get up in our household between four and 5am. Anyway, because my dogs want to get up and eat. And it’s like, I could work earlier I could work later doesn’t really matter, right? And we do this to ourselves, we talk ourselves out of things that we think would be our best lives. Because it’s just like, well, you know, what’s everybody gonna think? Right? Or what? What are they gonna say? And it’s like, no. So we I now on my schedule, two days a week, two hours is blocked out on my calendar. And the other days, I do yoga at home, but um, and so that’s like, my step to living my, my best life. Right? And and I think that’s what people need to do, right? Is they need to realize, no, I’m, that’s a linear path, me thinking I have to be in my office from X hour to XLR, right. We’re self employed, we’re entrepreneurial. We can set our own hours, we can answer our email on our phone whenever we want. That’s part of the beauty and the flexibility of working for yourself. Like, if you can’t control your own time, who’s gonna you know, who can control it?


Catherine A. Wood  37:27

You know, I love I love that you shared that story. Because it makes me think of one of my own. And it’s just, it’s great. The example about envision the best year of your life because we’re not, you’re not, we’re not focused on what do we want to produce? What business program? Do we want to launch? What’s the specific business plan that we need to write out? It’s like, what does the best year of your life look like? It’s so holistic, it’s so much more all encompassing, which, let’s be honest, that’s why we go into entrepreneurship in the first place, for the time freedom to live life on our own terms by our own design, and then it’s often the first thing that goes out the window when we feel like we can’t get off. Like, we can’t walk away from our desk, because there’s so much to do, and so many clients to generate it. And, and, and, and, and I want to share I want to share my own version of the story. Because yeah, back in, I would say it was like in 2019, I was in this mastermind and i i made a great connection with a friend who had this gift in seeing possibility for folks, which for me, I think that is a magical muscle. It’s to help people you know, see more possibility than they can then they can hold for themselves. And and from that relationship stemmed this future visioning exercise, which I adapted for myself, and I often share with clients who are really wanting to expand their own possibility. And the exercise that I have them do is to envision an ideal day from start to finish in as much sensory detail as they can from the moment they wake up to the moment they go to bed. And then after that, that’s the first part of exercise and then after the second is to create a monetary budget for themselves on what it would take to live that lifestyle. How would they spend their money? How much money would they need to generate? How much would they save, where where would they spend money in each of these buckets to really kind of help them I visualize it both both in concept and in practical and then from there to create a monetary goal for how much income they want to do. So I adapted this exercise based on something that my mastermind friend wanted me to do. And 2019 was the first year that I declared I wanted to generate 250,000 In my business, that was like my fifth year in business. You know, I started out slow and steady. And that, that next year was the very first year I generated that figure in my business. Yay, good, right. And for me, it has everything to do with what we’re talking about here. It was to give myself permission to really embrace that not only the nonlinear path, but also the nonlinear lifestyle. Yeah, the business schedule, by my own design working when I want to work not working when I want to work. And, and it really is, I think it comes down to this concept. You’ve, you’ve said it a couple times, but it’s permission, giving ourselves permission to embrace our way.


Jill Ferguson  41:22

Yeah. And that extends to the way that we get clients, right? Or customers, if you’re in a business that gets customers, because I find that there’s so many people out there, and we’re inundated every day on LinkedIn, by them love, like, I can create you this funnel, or I’m the marketer that you need. And there are basically saying the same thing. And it’s like, you know, nothing about my business and me, right. So that may not be the best fit for me. And, and I have friends that have multiple times, like created sales funnels, and done all these things that are like textbook, this is the way you do this. Or run this, these ads on Facebook, or Amazon or wherever. And they’ve had like zero results each time. And I just look at them and think it’s because that wasn’t a that’s not deep in you. Like you’re just doing what you think everybody else thinks is the right thing. Instead of doing what internally you feel is the best thing for you. Yeah, and your business, because nobody knows your business better than you do. It’s


Catherine A. Wood  42:38

I mean, it’s such a beautiful, that’s such a beautiful reminder, because I think as empaths and HSPs, we are naturally intuitive. It’s a superpower we possess. And it can be it can be a major superpower in business, when we choose to trust it. And when we kind of give up this notion that we need to do online business a certain way as if there is a right way, when in reality, our own intuitive way is the most is going to be the most effective and successful and joy producing way for us. Yeah. So it makes me think, oh, go ahead.


Jill Ferguson  43:17

No, God, God,


Catherine A. Wood  43:19

I want to I want to bring it bring it to your tattoo. Because before we hit record, you were shared, we were talking about being authentic, and you were sharing about your tattoo. And I feel like there’s just a real connection here around this overlap. Yeah. And I’d love for you to share what your tattoo is. But the overlap between intuition and authenticity. Yeah.


Jill Ferguson  43:42

So in the in, in November of last year, on the inside of my right wrist, and I’m right handed. I had an oversized. B. That’s black Bumblebee


Catherine A. Wood  43:56

is it


Jill Ferguson  43:58

is Yeah, well, kinda, yeah, we’re a horn, I have had a bee on my wrist. had it tattooed there because I wanted to reminder every single day, multiple times a day, to remind me to be a human being, instead of human doing. And to remind me to be authentic, be passionate, be open, be inspired. And to you know, sometimes take inspired creative action, just like a bee but being very purposeful with the way I live my life and the things that I do the things that I choose, the people that I come into contact with. Right and also that it takes a hive really to do the bigger picture things. And so all of those people that I’m open to that I connect with, that we are all working together for the greater good of society. Yeah, that’s what bees do.


Catherine A. Wood  45:01

I tell I love that. I really love that. And we, my hometown, we have a lot of beef bead farmers. And it’s such a reminder for me about how we just the the power of community.


Jill Ferguson  45:18

I respect the farmers because, you know, one of the good things about like Groupon and LivingSocial is you get to try things and lock them kind of inexpensively. And so there’s, I give myself permission to go do things right. One thing I did was I took a beekeeping course amazing. And I learned very quickly, the bees are super high maintenance. I do really enjoy the beekeeping course. So I was like, Okay, we’re not having backyard hives, because I thought maybe I would want to. But you know, the, these are the kinds of things I’m talking about where you can explore what your what you think you might want your life to look like, just to see if you like it. Right? I took a glassblowing class to do the same thing. And I did one lesson about in a small airplane to see if I wanted to learn to fly airplanes. And learned that I didn’t really like any of those things.


Catherine A. Wood  46:16

And you gave yourself permission to try and to dabble and to play and to discover Absolutely. What fills you up? Yes. And coming back to the nonlinear path. Like I think that is such a key, right? It’s like giving ourselves permission to play and to be unattached to where, where, what sticks and what doesn’t. And it’s not a failure, right. It’s like a thrilling adventure. I think entrepreneurship


Jill Ferguson  46:43

comes right. Yeah,


Catherine A. Wood  46:45

totally. Um, wow, well, this has been so inspiring. I had no idea we were going to take our conversation today, is there anything that we haven’t talked about, as pertaining to the nonlinear path that you, you want to make sure we touch upon.


Jill Ferguson  47:05

Um, I would just say to that, the nonlinear path is always the chance to follow love, it’s the chance to be spontaneous, it’s the chance to listen and hear to your inner knowing. And it’s also the chance that when you allow yourself to experience different things that you do, you end up acquiring skills that you don’t expect, and you never know when those kinds of skills are going to be useful in a totally different situation going forward. And I think that if we follow our lives, that way, where we follow what we feel like is best for us that we ended up with all of the skills that we need to navigate anything, right, because we’re just following our intuition. And our intuition will never lead us wrongly. It’s always going to lead us correctly. But the hardest part of all of that, right is learning to listen just solely to us and block out the rest of the noise around us.


Catherine A. Wood  48:16

Yeah, and, and not attaching significance to how things go. I think so often, when we’re following the intuitive path. We can just get so myopically focused in what we produced or didn’t produce or how it went or how it didn’t go when in reality, the clarity on the journey is the value, right? Like being able to redirect ourselves while we’re already in motion? Is the lesson. You know, I studied I majored in economics and Latin American Studies in college, and I never was interested in economics and I still to this day, kind of question, you know, why did I major in economics? And I never would have met my husband had I not majored in economics, because economics is what got me my first job after the Peace Corps, which introduced me to my husband on my very first week of work. No, and so, you know, I think that again, it’s not the nonlinear business path, it is the nonlinear life path and


Jill Ferguson  49:27

Excuse me, do you feel like your your, your your intuition was telling you to study econ? I


Catherine A. Wood  49:34

did. I felt like I was meant to, meant to study economics.


Jill Ferguson  49:41

We everybody knows now that you’re expecting a baby, how long have you and your husband been together?


Catherine A. Wood  49:46

We have been together a decade this year. And we were friends for four years before we started dating. We we were just joking about this because he just left the federal government after that. 15 years of service and we met in our very first week of my going to work at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, balance. That’s


Jill Ferguson  50:11

exciting. Yeah, with you. This is actually my this year is my 10th wedding anniversary year to my husband. Well,


Catherine A. Wood  50:20

it’s, we’re just in our first and a little year of marriage. So you got nine years of marriage on us, but


Jill Ferguson  50:30

but that’s, we will. We weren’t together that long before we got married. So well, that


Catherine A. Wood  50:35

sounds like you following the intuitive path for sure. Well, I’ve so I’ve so appreciated our conversation. I always love ending every chat with with just an invitation to share. You know, what, what do you say has made the difference for you and becoming a prosperous Empath on your nonlinear path.


Jill Ferguson  50:59

I think it’s really listening to my intuition. Most, because it’s taken me like some on some wild rides with things I never saw coming and taking me to clients and have relationships with clients that have morphed into various kinds of things. And so, yeah,


Catherine A. Wood  51:21

is there a practice or ritual that you employ that kind of most attunes you to your intuition?


Jill Ferguson  51:28

Um, I, every morning, I do meditate, and I’m not one of these people. I think meditation is another one of those things where people create, I don’t know if it’s goals, but they definitely create expectations for themselves. Like, I have to sit for X number of minutes, and I have to do this, and I have to do that, right. And I’m not one of those people that do that, because I found that that doesn’t work for me. What works for me is to say, Okay, I’m gonna meditate now. And sometimes I listen to a binaural beats app that like is a theta Brainwave meditation or something. And, and sometimes I sit in the sunshine on my back porch and just bask in the sunshine, and stay in a meditative state for however long it feels good for me. Other times, I’m meditating while I’m walking my dogs in the morning. So I so do what works best for me as a practice on that particular day. And then doing that always confirms, I would say, my openness for everything that happens the rest of the day. Yeah.


Catherine A. Wood  52:39

I love that. And I really appreciate the reminder that even meditation is the place where we can so often fall into this perceived right way of doing it, and how much more satisfying and impactful attuning to the nonlinear way is yeah, for you for me, too, for sure. Yeah. Yeah. Well, Jill, I appreciate you coming on today and loved our conversation and I really appreciate your vulnerability. It was really lovely having you. Thank


Jill Ferguson  53:12

you. Thank you very much.



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If you want your website to rank high on Google but have always been intimidated by the concept of SEO, this episode of the Prosperous Empath® is for you! I’m sitting down with Kelsey Flannery, a Google Certified Expert and CEO of KaeRae Marketing, and UNBOUNDED Mastermind member, to talk about the basics of search engine optimization and how to approach it in a way that aligns with your values as an empath. Kelsey quit her job at a big marketing agency to develop an innovative Google marketing framework that allows you to authentically share who you are while strategically using SEO to your advantage. We’re digging deep into how Google really works, breaking down common SEO terms that may have overwhelmed you in the past, and sharing easy steps you can take right after listening to this episode to improve your rankings and visibility. While Google may appear like the cool kid that’ll never talk to you, it actually wants to be your best friend. In this conversation, Kelsey and I will equip you with the understanding and tools you need to start making Google your best friend as an empath.. 

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