An Interview with Jess Lively

April 22, 2013

Michelangelo, the great Italian sculptor, once spoke of one of his most famous pieces, the statue of David. He said that he looked inside the rejected block of marble to find him—he only chipped away at what was not David to reveal the masterpiece.Jess Lively

Jess Lively resonated with the quote of Michelangelo’s David “so clearly,” she says in an interview, “because up until that point in my life I had always tried to ‘fix’ myself by adding layers to my life, not subtract them. That’s when I discovered my purpose and mission is to help others realize the same in their own lives.”

“No matter what I ‘do’ during my career,” she says in the same interview, “I want to help people live lives with intention and understand their best self is underneath their excess layers.” And that’s exactly what she does through her blog, where she writes about her journey to design her life, career, business, and thoughts with intention.

She has taken it a notch up by offering consulting and workshops, With Intention, where she helps uncover not just people’s potential in life and business, but also their home’s potential by “exfoliating” unnecessary clutter.


So I asked her: “How do you design a home with intention?”

“For me,” she said, “designing a home with intention involves beginning with the end in mind. It’s about figuring out how you want to feel when you are in the space and how you will ultimately use the space. Those two things will help you decide what colors and finishes to use.”


Being an interior designer, it is necessary to know what a client envisions for a space. To know how and how many people will use the space is key. And I couldn’t agree more about figuring out how one wants to feel in a space to be a very important factor.


“For example, when I was getting out of a longterm relationship I knew that my new bachelorette pad needed to be cheerful to help myself stay positive during the new life phase. This intention helped me to select light, bright colors and patterns that made me happy. It really did work. Being in that space made me feel feminine, proactive, and happy.”


Knowing I blog about interior design, when I asked her, “How has making under your life got you where you are today?”, her response was customized for you, readers:

“I believe that making under has helped me in my homes because I’ve been fearless about exfoliating the items I no longer need, use, or love. Because I’m thrifty about a lot of my furniture (I often find great deals on Craigslist or at Ikea and give them a facelift), I’m able to evolve my pieces to suit my current needs and taste. By constantly evolving my possessions to suit my current needs, I have been able to have an uncluttered, functional, and beautiful space.”


And it is true that she has an uncluttered and beautiful space. Her home has been featured in three places (I’m aware of) online: Rue Magazine, Design*Sponge, and Apartment Therapy.


I believe one’s space is a reflection of one’s personality and life combined. Jess’ space is undoubtedly a reflection of her “exfoliated” life, a life easily accomplished by setting priorities, or what I believe she would call “living intentionally.”

One way to live intentionally is by writing down what you intend to accomplish within a certain period of time, say, a year, and live your next weeks and months to tick off those goals, provided they’re still in line with what you truly want.

I write all the time, and I love listing down goals I have for myself. Like Jess, I have stumbled upon future letters to myself, and have been amazed by how much has come true in my life.


“In your letters to your future self,” I asked her, “what have you accomplished?”

“It’s pretty crazy. I’ve consistently, year over year, accomplished about 80% of what I write in the letters. Some things will change and not come true as my own priorities shift. But things like start and thrive in a healthy relationship, run a marathon, hit six figures in revenue, and be a kinder person have all come true. Now, I am focusing more on service, rather than external metrics of success in my letters and I’m finding even more fulfillment and joy than with past more physical goals.”

She strongly believes in serving. I believe it’s the main factor to her success, and she confirms when asked: “From personal experience, what is key to success in business?”

“I think the key to success in business is having integrity, doing something to serve others by tapping into your biggest strengths, and having the courage to just keep going.” Genuine service has not only worked for her for fourteen years, but “I’ve also seen it work for my clients and entrepreneur friends as well.”

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  • Reply Jess Lively April 24, 2013 at 2:29 am

    Thank you so much for interviewing me and having me on your blog. : )

    • Reply Jen.C April 24, 2013 at 9:36 am

      My pleasure! Thank you as well! 🙂

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