Jenny Blake is a bestselling author, micro-business coach and international speaker who helps people move beyond burnout to build sustainable, dynamic careers they love. With two years at a technology start-up as the first employee, over five years at Google on the Training and Career Development teams, and two years of running her own business, Jenny combines her love of technology with her superpower of organizing information to help clients through big transitions — often to launch or elevate a book, blog or business. Today you can find her at JennyBlake.me, where she explores the intersection of mind, body and business. For fun, Jenny teaches a Geek Yoga class in New York City for entrepreneurs. Follow her on Twitter @jenny_blake.
Why does the world need a work revolution? (In other words: the way we’re working isn’t working. Why not?)
People intuitively sense this — that the corporate model of working with the safety of a pension plan waiting at the end of a 30 year sojourn is long-gone. We are now in a much more dynamic, unpredictable time, and our organizations (whether you work for yourself or a large company) need to adjust accordingly. Freedom of expression, schedule and health is at a premium, and given the chaos of the modern technological world it’s imperative that we take care of ourselves so that we can have a fulfilling, sustainable career.
How are you or your organization reinventing work in some way (big or small)?
I prioritize my health as the foundation of my business. I schedule my meetings around my yoga classes, I really prioritize sleep (above almost all else!) and I eat very clean. This helps me show up as my best, most creative self each day.
Why do you do what you do?
I love helping other solopreneurs (or side hustlers) get their biggest ideas out there to the world. It’s deeply fulfilling to help inspire others and energize them with courage and confidence AND to provide insanely useful tips and tools to help them with the nuts and bolts of taking action.
What kind of art (any kind) do you like and why? Any recommendations we should know about?
I love my dad’s art — he’s been passionate about painting his whole life, and I’ve learned so much from his creative process. He sticks with a painting through thick and thin — sometimes covering up the whole thing even after months of work if it calls for a radical change in order to “work.”
What is one specific thing your company does that makes your culture unique and/or different?
I run a one-woman show (with support from my right-hand woman Melissa Anzman), so I don’t have much culture to speak of — other than building a business that fits my lifestyle. My currency is karma, conversation and connection. Raising my revenue is a good goal, for sure, but it’s not the end-all be-all.
What is one discipline/industry totally different from your own that has inspired you? How does it impact your work?
Yoga and mind/body wellness is a huge part of what I do. Even though I do career and business coaching, health is paramount. Without it, we are not operating at our best (or able to truly enjoy the fruits of our labor) and it’s all-too-easy to hit burnout. For this reason, t’s really important to me to continuously look at how to prioritize the wellness aspects of being a high-achieving businessperson.
What’s one tangible and concrete technique other organizations should use if they want to create a more human and/or meaningful place to work?
Look at your employees as a whole person. Though it may seem counterintuitive, giving them freedom to make their own choices, work on a schedule that fits their body clock, and allowing space for things like fresh air and exercise, they will actually be happier and MUCH more productive in the long run. And more loyal!
What piece of technology (other than your laptop/smartphone/tablet) could you not live without and why?
Wait, I can’t say my iPad Mini? It is my third hand! Seriously. We are inseparable so I am breaking the rules on this one.
What do you do for fun?
Walk to the West Side Highway (about 30 minutes from my house) to get sunshine, do yoga while listening to my iPod, and practice handstands. Generally feeling like a big kid.
How do you stay productive throughout your day?
Every morning I have coffee, do a short meditation, and read for a little bit to ease into my day. I identify 2-3 “must do” priorities and tackle those first thing. I try not to get swallowed up by email right away, unless that is my designated “big frog” for the day.
What time of the day do you do your best work?
If I can wake up at 5am, I’m thrilled (but not without getting 8 hours of sleep). Yes, this means I usually aim for bedtime around 9 or 9:30, which I must say, is not all that compatible with living in New York — I’m going to bed while most people are just sitting down for dinner!
What’s your personal motto?
My personal motto is “build and your courage will follow.” Don’t expect to feel 100% confident BEFORE you take a leap or pursue a big idea — usually that comes after you start making moves. It’s part of the reward for finally taking action.
Where in the world are you?
New York, NY