Time to read: 8 minutes
This week, we introduce you to seeker, optimizer and maverick, Jessica Warren. Jessica is a Co-Founder of Mind: Unlocked, a mental wellbeing business for the modern human. She helps people improve their mindset to lead a more fulfilling life through her company, articles and talks all around the world.
Hi Jess. So good to talk to you. Can you share with us what is unique about you and what you do?
The most unique thing about me is probably that I equally enjoy being analytical, creative and intuitive.
This has been reflected in my career – in the past I’ve run a photography business; trained as a Chartered Accountant at PwC; worked in venture capital and as an investor. I then co-founded mental well-being business, Mind: Unlocked, and write professionally about one of my great loves in life – personal development. At Mind: Unlocked we aim to share applicable, research-led mental well-being content and tools to help pragmatic urbanites who are stressed, not sleeping well, or struggling with all of the screen-time modern life can ask of us. I find being entrepreneurial in support of a cause I’m passionate about has been the most fulfilling way for me to use my skills at work so far.
What inspired you to start Mind: Unlocked?
I’ve always wanted to work for myself. My family runs a medical practice and at school, I often used to enjoy finding different ways to do things that made more sense to me – being entrepreneurial appeals to my maverick side!
After starting my career in finance, a few years ago my long-term relationship broke down and I went on a deep self-discovery journey – including taking two iDiscover courses. I was inspired to use the tools that seemed to work best and information I learned during that time to help others improve their mindset and find more life fulfilment.
What would you say is the most challenging aspect of your work or the biggest challenge you have dealt with and how did you overcome it?
Mind: Unlocked is the first online business I have run – I had a lot to learn about building and sharing our content and courses. I’m lucky to be able to work on any ideas with my business partner Niraj Shah, and we keep our audience in the centre of our minds to stay focused and motivated through the challenges. I don’t judge them as failures – life for me is about trying, learning and then refining for next time.
What is your Mount Everest? What would you love to create in the world?
During my lifetime, I would love to make a significant contribution to how connected people feel to themselves, others and nature; and to help people live more from a place of love rather than fear, maybe even write a book about what I’ve learned one day!
You have done iDiscover Core I and II. What is the most inspiring thing that happened to you as a result of doing the programmes?
iDiscover helped me dive into my subconscious and work out the kind of life I wanted to live – making me more aware of the decisions I was making about its direction. This included the type of relationships I wanted, and iDiscover gave me the courage to move work industries from finance to mental well-being. I also learned to see the positives and negatives in every situation, which boosted my resilience through life’s inevitable ups and downs; and my relationship with my parents massively improved! I got a lot from it!
That’s amazing to hear Jess. You are now a valued member of our iDiscover community. What does the iDiscover community mean to you?
Thank you! The community is a fascinating group of international people – entrepreneurs, artists, leaders and philosophers – who are passionate about opening themselves up to deeper personal development. I’ve made some lifelong friends from around the world, and I’m always so grateful for how welcoming, and interesting everyone is. I’ve introduced a few friends to the course and they’ve seen amazing results in their lives too. It’s great to have ongoing online talks and community catch-ups on Zoom during this time also.
We are currently experiencing a pandemic and many people are struggling mentally at these times. How are you personally dealing with the Corona crisis? and, since you are an expert in the field, do you have any tips for us?
Yes! I’ve written articles for Thrive Global and Medium on mental well-being during social isolation – the most comprehensive one is “10 Habits for Better Mental Well-Being In Lockdown”. I’m finding staying present with meditation and mindfulness; talking to someone who makes me smile every day; thinking of ways to support those most in need; looking after my physical well-being with healthy food, some kind of daily movement and prioritising sleep; and monitoring my screen time, really helpful. We also have free meditations and a list of COVID-19-specific well-being resources on Mind: Unlocked’s site.
I also try to make sure I do something I find fun (and preferably offline) each day – whether that’s dancing, reading, having a bath, drawing, walking in nature, baking etc. I think trying to find the positives, whilst also accepting, feeling and processing difficult feelings that come up (I have a great online coach who helps me) is important. It is a weird time for everyone and we’re all being affected in different ways at various moments.
What are the challenges and opportunities that are being created by this situation for you personally?
At iDiscover, I realised how much I value personal freedom, so the lockdown restrictions felt a bit claustrophobic at first. Being with my family nearly 24/7 also helped to shine a light on where I still had some things to work on. I’ve dealt with these by allowing difficult feelings to come up and be expressed where they need to be, rather than repressing them; I find that’s best in the medium-long term.
This situation has helped me realise how much practices like meditation can help us stay present with each day, rather than worrying about the future, and how important mental resilience is for being able to cope during difficult times.
Lockdown has also been an opportunity to slow down and write more – my business partner and I are lucky that we mostly worked remotely already. It’s helped me realise how fortunate we are and how much the world’s political values need to change to deal with more inequality, taking care of the environment and people’s quality of life – rather than being mostly fixated on capitalism and GDP.
What is your most sacred daily/weekly/monthly ritual or performance hack that really works for you?
I try to incorporate some kind of enjoyable movement into my day @bodbyrodpt and @teddymcdonald are my current favourites on Instagram and Zoom – it’s amazing how people have adapted to offer so many, and often free, classes online. I’ve been trying workouts I hadn’t before (still working up to Barry’s Bootcamp)! I meditate or go for a mindful walk every day too, and I try to get eight hours of sleep a night – it makes such a difference to how I feel. I’ve also mostly stopped drinking coffee and alcohol which I find helps keep my mood and energy levels steady.
What is your guilty pleasure?
My guilty pleasure in lockdown has been baking “healthy” treats – I justify it when they’re sugar-free etc, but then end up eating a whole batch of cookies in a day!
Yummy! Who doesn’t love a tray of homemade ‘healthy’ cookies? What was your best adventure ever?
One that comes to mind is the first time I went to Burning Man in 2018. I travelled there on a coach in the middle of a dust storm and had no idea what I was getting myself into. I remember how excited and nervous I was the night before: I was meeting friends there who had told me amazing things, but it felt like I was blasting off to the moon! It’s an experience that can’t be fully described, but the sense of freedom, fun and community there is like nowhere else I’ve been on Earth!
That sounds absolutely amazing. To finish our interview I would love to know what is your favourite quote that you want to leave us with?
“Freedom From The Known” by Jiddu Krishnamurti is my favourite book of all time – I often re-read it and it always blows my mind in a new way! One of my favourite quotes by Krishnamurti is:
“Happiness is strange; it comes when you are not seeking it. When you are not making an effort to be happy, then unexpectedly, mysteriously, happiness is there, born of purity, of a loveliness of being.”
Thank you for your time Jess! All the best for you and your company Mind: Unlocked! We are looking forward to seeing you continue to make a big contribution to the world.