RTDM: Jessica Schwartz
Tell us about yourself: Where you came from, where you've been and how you're living your dream?
I was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina, but have spent a fair amount of time in Georgia (undergrad and graduate school at the University of Georgia - Go Dawgs!). I’m an introvert, but I have a good (great?) sense of humor (heavy on the sarcasm). I love to travel, read, write, learn about new topics, and exercise (most of the time). I’m a planner, so I’m not very spontaneous, but I’m working on it. I’ve taken most of the personality tests out there, so if you ever want to start a conversation with me that’s a good topic!
How do you define success?
Waking up happy and with a positive mindset. If you’re excited to get up and get your day started, I think you’re successful. It’s going to look different for everyone, but it’s your day!
What did it take to make your dream happen and when did you know you had arrived?
I honestly don’t know that my dream has happened (yet), but I’m content, which I think is an incredible place to be in life. I have a great family and close friends, and a career I enjoy immensely. I get to write, travel, take time to relax...the list could go on. I feel extremely grateful for all of that, and I know how lucky I am.
What are you most proud of? Go ahead, boast a little!
I’m always proud when my writing gets published. Whether it’s digitally or in print, it’s exciting to see a byline with my name on it! Am I allowed two? I’m still really proud of the summer I spent in London interning in the Fashion Department at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
What was your biggest obstacle/fear and what was your turning point?
This is a tough question. I think my biggest obstacle was believing I was meant to do one thing forever. When my career in museums came to an end, I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do. Admittedly, I floundered for about two years - it was tough. After working with a career coach I was able to work through things and come up with a plan for where I wanted to go. Having an unbiased opinion really helped during that time.
What’s the best advice you’d give to a younger you?
Listen to your gut; it’s correct 99% of the time.
How do you stay motivated and purposeful when you feel overwhelmed?
Making a to do list. Sometimes if there’s too much on my brain I’ll make a dump list - I’ll literally write everything down that comes to my mind. That way it’s out of my brain, I can visualize everything, and start to make a plan of action accordingly. Also, a walk around my neighborhood.
Tell us a time when a perceived failure was actually a blessing in disguise or served you in a surprising way.
I think every unexpected turn in my career was a perceived failure. I never intended to work in fundraising, but I now look back on that as time well-spent because I learned a lot and gained valuable skills. When my time in museums came to an end I felt somewhat lost. A goal I’d been working towards for so long was essentially over, so I had to figure out what was next and how to nurture my interest in museums and art outside of a career. Finding ways to incorporate my interests on a daily basis has been a blessing - it’s been fun to learn new skills!
What is your favorite vice/guilty pleasure/strange habit? Come on now, we all have them!
I love salty snacks - I don’t have a huge sweet tooth, but I have to really control myself around potato chips!
What's the smartest investment you’ve made for yourself?
Oh this is a good question. My immediate response is traveling, but I also think hiring a career coach was one of the best decisions I ever made. It was definitely an investment, but I credit the time I spent working with her for where I am now.
What’s MOST important to you right now?
Spending time with my family and friends and traveling in a thoughtful, responsible way.
Share 1-2 books you've given as gifts:
Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking and Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography.
What have you learned to say no to?
Whatever doesn’t align with my “best yes” at any particular time - and it can change depending on where I am in life. I read “The Best Yes” by Lysa TerKeurst a few years ago and it really changed my perspective on saying yes to everything or feeling bad about saying no. If I say yes to something I’m not really into, it doesn’t serve me or others well.
What's something most people would never guess about you?
I’d split my time between London and Charlotte if it was possible. I love both cities equally!
Who is a Risk Taker Dream Maker that's inspired you?
Riley Goodman - graphic designer for Proverbs 31 Ministries and does freelance work!