Jesse Gros became a life coach to help people avoid the frustrations that nearly crushed him. As a psychology major, Jesse says he felt “tortured” by the anxiety of what to do with his life, and the pressure of the paths so strictly ingrained in the world of academia. Much to his parents chagrin, his first job out of college was in a factory, doing manual labor. Subsequent jobs include a three stint as a tour guide in Mexico, and over 3 years as a therapist, working with Autistic children.
Yet every job, no matter how rewarding or adventurous, left Jesse unfulfilled and constantly seeking the next step, renewing the anxiety he felt during college.
These feelings prompted Jesse to take a life-changing trip to India, which lasted less than a year, but changed his entire life. Upon returning, Jesse became aware of how many people felt like he did, frustrated and anxious, and decided then to make his life’s mission helping those wayward souls find comfort in whatever path they’ve chosen.
For Jesse, life is not a series of pre-ordained paths but rather something every person must find peace with individually. Although not a reckless man, Jess attempts to inspire action in his clients. With logic reminiscent of a Greek philosopher, he says, “any time you’re not making a decision, you are in fact making a very profound decision to do nothing.” It is never too late to recognize an opportunity for increased fulfillment, but taking those opportunities requires a proactive approach.
What should I do with my life? You get so overwhelmed that you freeze up. At least a lot of the people I talk to.
That was my thing, I just kept trying different things and failed beautifully. Sometimes succeeded. It works.
So at 22 years old, where were you going to go in your career?
Basically I got out of school. I was a psychology major. I wasn’t real clear about how I would use it, but I knew I liked psychology. I wanted to be some kind of coach of motivational speaker.
There’s so much anxiety around what you’re going to do. But it’s not ‘What should I do with my life?’ It’s ‘What am should I do next?’ It’s the only way to calm down those nerves. Because you start looking so far ahead. And that works great if you’re going to be a doctor or a lawyer. If you know you want to get on a path that will take x number of years, awesome. But if you’re not sure, I would say to focus on what’s the next, tiny little baby steps. It might even be a volunteer position. Or a part-time internship. It’s not really going to be that you’ll go out and slam the first job you want.
I always try to tell people that it’s the tiny little baby steps that make a difference. Looking too far down the road on that level, I feel like it freaks people out. At least it did for me. Because you think you have so much life. And at some certain age you think that’s what you’ll be doing for the next forty years of my life? Maybe you do, but most people at our age don’t.
Everyone knows someone who doesn’t like what they do, or wants to make a change.
Why are you passionate about being a life coach?
I was so tortured with the question of ‘What should I do with my life?’ I changed my major like, eight times while in college. You have all these external influences, parents, friends, tv. The process was so painful for me that once I started figuring out what to do, I just thought if I could share my experience with people, that would bring me joy.
If there’s something you do really well, there’ nothing more fun than sharing that with other people.
I try to get my clients to do a spontaneous outgrowth of what they enjoy doing.
Z: I got a question. When you’re talking about the next step. How does a person ensure that the next step is something they will be doing as a career? How does anything you have to do to ensure that you’re not just taking steps and steps and steps and not going in any type of common direction. It’s just like you’re moving around and before you know it, you’re…
Fifty and you’ve had 400 jobs.
Right. It’s like you’re a hundred feet wide, one foot deep. You’ve got all this experience, and none of it is specialized so you can’t help anyone or yourself. They’re just experiences.
There’s no guarantee. There’s absolutely no guarantee at all, it’s just a decision. At some point you’ve tried enough different things that you’ll have enough information to make a decision, stick with it, and do what it takes to progress within that one line.
But you’re right. There’s absolutely no guarantee. And someone could say that there’s nothing wrong with that. I’ve met people traveling who have had fifty jobs in their lifetime and they’re happy. They’ve lived all over the world. They might not make a million a year or own a lot properties, but they’re very happy doing what they do and trying different things. It just depends on what’s right for you.
I would say, especially when you’re young, just jump. Anytime you spend overanalyzing things, you’re just wasting time. You’re killing time. Anytime you’re not making a decision, you are making the decision. Which is to do nothing.
When you’re young, as long you keep you’re expenditures low, and live below your means, try anything. You never know who you’ll meet and how it will evolve. You meet enough people who have really interesting careers, and usually when you talk to them, it’s like they’re all over the place until they met that person or had that experience. They kind of had that aha moment and then they stuck and rolled with it.
I would have told myself to relax at 22. And to try more things, earlier. When it really doesn’t matter, and you don’t have anyone dependent on you, and you don’t have mortgages or debts or anything overwhelming, I wish, or I should say go back, I wish it would have taken me less to time to realize to really take risks. And really just jump out there and followed my whim and follwed my heart rather than overanalyzing it all and thinking about what it will do for me thirty years down the road.
Because you can’t predict that anyway.