You will never feel bad about choosing love!
As a part of my series about “Big Ideas That Might Change The World In The Next Few Years” I had the pleasure of interviewing Jess Hoeper.
Jess is an author, social worker and reflective coach. Jess owns her own business Ray of HOPE, where she works with human service leaders and provides reflective coaching. She has developed a framework for her coaching method called the reflective coaching path, where she works to enhance self-awareness and helps leaders know them selves so well that they feel comfortable leading from the guiding trinity of mind, body, and soul. Jess’s professional passion is working with child welfare leaders. When Jess is not working, she is raising five kids with her husband on their family farm in Minnesota.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you please tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I was led to social work through a means of various paths; many rejections, many successes and a lot of love in connecting with others!
Can you please share with us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
Probably not the most interesting due to the confidential nature of social work, but certainly an interesting one! I began my career prior to becoming a mom and I became a mom during my career. I have now become a mom 5x over. I remember starting in the field of child welfare before becoming a parent and I had expectations that there was a “perfect” way to parent. Obviously as any parent knows, there is no “perfect” or “expert”. But it was so interesting to observe how my own thinking and expectations shifted when I too became a parent.
Which principles or philosophies have guided your life? Your career?
The principles and philosophies that have guided my whole life so far include 1. Ability to see people…deeper than the surface. 2. Finding the meaningful moments in what could otherwise appear meaningless. And now as an adult and parent my guiding principles/philosophies also includes 1. Uncondition your love for people, because all people are worthy of love and 2. Do everything with the intention considered and choose the intention that makes your highest self proud!
Ok thank you for that. Let’s now move to the main focus of our interview. Can you tell us about your “Big Idea That Might Change The World”?
My “BIG IDEA THAT MIGHT CHANGE THE WORLD” is, Lets uncondition our love for each other.
The biggest “wondering why” for me has been around the conditions of love. We say unconditional love, but do we really mean unconditional? What does unconditional even mean? By definition unconditional is absolute, without conditions, limitations, reservation or qualifications. And if we do mean unconditional when talking about love, then why do we put so many conditions on love. The conditions of “I love you, but first…. what is your religion?, what is your political view?, are you parent?, do you choose not to be a parent?, are you grandparent?, what job do you have?, where do you live?, do you run?, etc.” You can see how this list could go on and on. We all condition our love for each other. But why?
If someone is different than us, do we love them less? Yes, sometimes. Why? Well, the honest answer is likely because of the conditions we put on love! Can our conditions be changed? YES! First, we have to see them to change them. Self+awareness is the first building block of emotional intelligence. The best tool I know to build our own self-awareness is self-reflection. Let’s carve out time to spend with ourselves so we can deeply get to know ourselves and our functioning conditions on love. When in self+reflection ask yourself “what conditions do I put on love?” When we get to deeply know ourselves, lets agree to break down the barriers of our own conditions. If we deeply value each other as unique, then we value differences. We all need to get out of our own way and uncondition our love for each other. Then we can share ourselves whole heartedly with each other…….no conditions!
How do you think this will change the world?
If we truly become self+aware of the conditions we place on our love for others, then and only then can we choose to uncondition our love for others. Imagine if we could see people far past the conditions of our love, we would have a much higher likelihood of reaching a state of peace.
Yes, the main drawback, is to love unconditionally while all others are still loving with conditions, your heart will get hurt. But when we bravely walk into the world of leading the way, we get scuffed up sometimes, it doesn’t mean it is not worth the effort, it just means that it might not feel amazing for your heart all the time!
Was there a “tipping point” that led you to this idea? Can you tell us that story?
Yes I know the exact tipping point, but let me tell you there have been many illuminating moments of how deeply our conditions around love wound us all, but the tipping point was when I was working in child welfare and I had a family that I was working with that I cared for very very deeply, we spent a significant amount of time together and I got to see each family member uniquely grow and flourish, I was able to see the love grow amongst them, but for me as the professional I was not suppose to share in the love, that could be seen as unethical to “love your client”….but I did love them, I loved everyone of them very much. I realized my passion for being with people in the hard moments of life caused me to open my heart wide open with them and I would in turn love them, but my professional role conditioned my showing of that love through words. WTF! If human services, child welfare specifically, is not to be built on ability to love and build strong meaningful relationships with the families served then I would ask, what should it be built on? We have so many harmful conditions on love because we get the definition of love so tangled into something perverse instead of truly love!
What do you need to lead this idea to widespread adoption?
A Tedtalk opportunity on this topic! And of course, for those brave souls that see their conditions on love to step up and help change them. If you find yourself unable to love somebody because you don’t share all of the same views, then we are doing love wrong! So, let’s try to do love right and uncondition it whenever possible!
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why.
Five things I wish someone told me before I started my path to unconditional love….
5. The people you expect to love you without conditions, will first get very conditioned in their love of you, this is about them and not you. The mirror is hard to hang.
4. You will never feel bad about choosing love!
3. We bear the burdens of our conditions, not the other, it is our job to see our own conditions before we judge another’s.
2. If you consider your love for your children and how unconditional at its core that love is, this concept is much easier to grasp!
1. You will start feeling deep love for the otherwise seen as unlovable, this is very hard to talk with others about because we have such a justice-based society, and we feel owed the same justice that is actually only owed direct victims.
Can you share with our readers what you think are the most important “success habits” or “success mindsets”?
The most important success habit is to check yourself often when it comes to the success you are seeking, and ask yourself, did you define for yourself what success is or are you operating within someone elses definition of success? If you find yourself amidst someone else’s definition please do the world a favor and define it for yourself. Our success is collective, when you are successful, I am successful, and when I am successful, you are successful. We are not in competition we are in connection!
Some very well-known VCs read this column. If you had 60 seconds to make a pitch to a VC, what would you say? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
I did have to honestly just google “what is a VC”, of which there are an upward 120+ options for what VC stands for, so here is hoping I get this right.
- If this pitch is for VC= Vatican City, the current Pope I am certain would not disagree with my idea of unconditioning love for each other.
- If this pitch is for VC= Vanessa Carlton, the singer, lets collaborate on a song about unconditioning love for each other, I am a terrible singer but I certainly enjoy writing!
- If this pitch is for VC= Vancouver Canucks (hockey), you could very much help the idea of unconditioning love go ABROAD, play an entire game where you can’t use violence and just have to love each other no matter the team you are on, just play for fun in an effort to support unconditional love, even if just for a moment.
- If this pitch is for VC=Violent Crime, this seems too counterintuitive to pitch, lets just do away with the need for this VC please and thank you!
- If this pitch is for VC= Vassar College, I would say, lets make an entire course available online and in-person called “Self+awareness of your conditions on love” in an effort to help people identify their conditions and choose which they are capable of unconditioning and support doing just that!
- And lastly if this pitch is for a VC=venture capitalist, which it seems would be the most likely VC, then I would say let’s partner on a project that would give voice to this idea of unconditioning love on a grander scale, so many more people consider the idea, you come with the money and I’ll come with the passion to think, write and speak.
- And to all other VC’s that I did not pitch to I apologize, and would still welcome a conversation about love, no matter what VC you are, I will not condition my love for you because of what is behind your V or your C!
How can our readers follow you on social media?
I use Instagram @reflective_coaching or LinkedIn: Jessica Hoeper. My website is www.rayofhopereflectivecoaching.com
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.
And thank you for allowing me time to discuss my idea that could change the world!