027: Rooted in Truth: Purpose vs Pressure with Jordan Lee Dooley


Do you ever meet someone and just know that they’re the real deal and you immediately dive in to some real talk? Jordan Lee Dooley is one of those girls. If you know her, you know this, and if you don’t, well… you’ll see. This girl lives in a farm house in Indiana with her husband and is the author of Purpose and the creator of the She Podcast. Her mission in life is to show others their purpose and encourage them to live out that purpose.

Being an Honest Example

  • “It’s trendy to use that language. It’s not so tangible to put into practice.”
  • As an achiever (where my type 3 enneagram ladies at?), she wrote an entire book and found that she wasn’t slowing down or celebrating after.
  • “I was living under this chronic pressure to prove.”
  • After having a shower meltdown and panicked phone call to her mother, she decided to show herself some grace and focus on practicing what she preaches. “If I say this publicly, is it being represented 100% privately?”
  • We talk about the balance between not sharing things before you are ready to and not putting on an act of having it all together.

Choosing Boundaries

  • “My ideas create chaos in my life.”
  • She recognizes that she had a broad vision that didn’t bring structure to her life and work. Once she sat down and got clear on that, she found structure and boundaries.
  • “At what point have I made things out of a place of ‘this is expected of me’ rather than from a place of ‘this is truly my heart’s passion’.”
  • She talks about dropping the need to please everybody.
  • Implementable imperfect action… Jordan likes to physically write down what she is working on so she can assess what is actually in line with her mission and purpose. Pressure versus purpose.
  • “I have more space in my life.” She now works with her team to make sure things are restructured according to purpose.
  • “God is good, even when life is not… Rooting myself in that truth helps me make decisions.”
  • Focusing on this truth allows her to detach from circumstance and focus on her purpose in every area of life.

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Jessica Minhas // Photos c/o Kat Harris, TRW // Written by Kitty Williams for The Refined Woman

On this particular Saturday morning at Irving Farm Coffee Roasters, tables are packed with people and covered with coffee and scones, and the line is seemingly endless. I sit against the wall with Jessica Minhas amid a sea of tables for two. The chit chat around us roars loud, so she brings the microphone in close. I lean in, immediately drawn into her story, and don’t lean back until she’s done.

Minhas is the founder of I’ll Go First, which uses storytelling as a way of expanding the access vulnerable populations have to mental health and trauma recovery care. The name comes from the idea of sharing your own story before inviting others to share theirs, something that was difficult for Minhas to do herself.

After the death of her twin sister and grandmother, Minhas was raised by her verbally abusive grandfather.

“The only thing he told me was ‘You’re never going to make it,’” says Minhas. “Looking back I understand that he was coping with his pain, but it made growing up with him difficult,” she reflects, and she spent much of her childhood “feeling ashamed and unloveable.”

In addition to the verbal abuse from her grandfather, she endured repeated sexual assault while at college. This took a toll on her emotionally, and there were times when depression kept her in bed for days.

“I remember thinking, ‘If I make it out of this alive,’” says Minhas before lowering her voice. “I mean if don’t kill myself, if I don’t fall into a depression,” she says. “Then I hope my story can help others know there’s a way out.”

She pauses, “It makes me emotional… you can get through it; you can live a great life.”

Eventually she was able to get professional help, and going to therapy was transformative.

After her grandfather died, she travelled to India to climb to the Everest Base Camp and to try and discover who her Indian family was. Through her travels, her eyes were opened to human trafficking. She returned to India a year later to learn more about human rights with the goal of supporting survivors.

While going through her grandfather’s belongings after his death, she found a photo of her half sister at the hospital in Philadelphia in which she was born. Minhas moved to New York, hoping if her sister was still in Philadelphia, she would be close enough to find her.

Five years later — after a lot research – she found her! After two years, their relationship grew and they decided to travel to Punjab, India, where they had a cousin getting married, so that her sister could meet the family and learn her family story.

During further travels in Cambodia, Minhas was in a small brothel in the slums learning about working with survivors from a sex trafficking survivor organization when she received an e-mail from her friend AnnaLynne McCord asking her to share her story at a local church. She was hesitant, but another friend convinced her that in order for others to share their story and heal, she must do the same.

She felt very vulnerable talking about her own story of abuse and depression for the first time. “As soon as the clapping ended, I was mortified that I had just shared this with an audience of about a thousand people,” says Minhas.

Many people walked up to her afterwards and shared their own personal stories. One man expressed that he had been planning to kill himself that day; however, he saw that this event was happening, and, as a final attempt to change his mind, decided to attend. It had saved his life.

“I was floored,” says Minhas. “There’s something so powerful about sharing our stories.”

This is at the core of I’ll Go First. “Accepting your story is the first thing— and embracing it— and then really committing to the healing work,” she says. “I’ll go first in my own story and really commit to what it’s going to take to get through what I’ve been through.”

She is always thrilled to see survivors of abuse take control of their lives, experience freedom and happiness, and go on to accomplish great things – even becoming lawyers and doctors. “That’s the gift of going first. That’s the gift of redemption,” says Minhas.

She has taken control of her own life. After the years of verbal abuse, she has let it all go. “Learning to rewrite that narrative has been hard, but I think it’s how I’ve changed.”

Adulthood has presented new challenges for her. She was recently diagnosed with Steroid-responsive encephalopathy associated with autoimmune thyroiditis, a rare brain disease that, if left untreated, could lead to early onset Alzheimer’s.

In her work, Minhas is constantly caring for others, but her rare brain disease demands she give the same care to herself. She is happy with the recovery she has had so far, and her doctors are hopeful that remission is in the near future.

It can be difficult to live in the city that never sleeps when your body begs for rest. “Everyone in New York is so driven. It’s easy to get in the fast lane and not pull over for a break,” says Minhas. Just as she teaches, though, she is committed to the work it takes to get better. While New York can be busy and nonstop, Minhas has discovered pockets of calm – citing the Morgan Library as a particular favorite.

New York has also provided her with amazing opportunities to connect with the world. She remembers when she was invited to hear the testimony of a young woman who escaped from ISIS. “I could not believe I got to bear witness to this,” she says.

Moving forward, she is thrilled to be creating an online and mobile platform for I’ll Go First that will support people with their mental health care and trauma recovery care with support from Civic Hall, HackNY, and Re:Coded, a non-profit that provides coding education for Syrian and Iraqi refugees.

Minhas’s narrative has gone through change after change, but it is far from being over, and she is in the process of writing a memoir.

Forty-five minutes after sitting down, Minhas has shared as much of her story as we had the time for, and I’ve forgotten all about the roar around us. She looks to her future with a great deal of hope.

“Hope is audacious; it is the heartbeat of a warrior,” says Minhas.


026: The Silent Hustle to Success with Davie


Davie is Nashville-based performer, producer, writer, and musician—his EP “Black Gospel Vol. 1” is available on iTunes and Spotify. I first met him years ago in LA through mutual friends; it was probably on a dance floor.  I’m sure of it.  We bonded over our shared love of Beyoncé, and the rest is history.

Davie has performed at Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, and Austin City Limits. You’ve probably heard his music on the Wild Turkey commercial with Matthew McConaughey, or on ESPN College Gameday. He’s in the thick of ‘making it’.  His dreams, years of hard work are paying off.  But he’ll be the first to tell you none of this was overnight.  His now is happening because of the silent, unnoticed by man years of laying the groundwork.

You’ve seen his success; today we’re talking about the hustle that got him there.

The Slow Climb

“People see the end result, but they don’t see the silent hustle.”

  • One of Davies first breaks came when he was a dancer and singer on Glee when he first moved to Los Angeles. He landed this opportunity by reaching out to the show’s music director.  You never know what will happen when you put yourself out there.
  • When the show ended, he had new connections that brought him to work on Cee Lo Green’s Christmas album, among other projects. Most recently, this connection enabled him to work with Donald Glover.
  • He continued to send out emails looking for work. “I’ll email anybody. When I was in high school, I emailed P. Diddy. He didn’t email me back.”
  • He recalls numerous shows where the crowds were small, mostly comprising of friends and friends of friends.
  • “Never get so focused on the people above you that you don’t look at your peers.”

What if I Didn’t Put Myself in a Box?

  • After multiple shifts in work and perspective, Davie is happy with where he is right now.
  • When it comes to surrounding yourself with people professionally or romantically, he thinks, “Why would you want to be someone’s maybe? Don’t settle for maybe.”
  • It’s important to surround yourself with those who inspire you. Changing your surroundings will change your outlook on life.
  • Though he has felt pressure to fit into certain styles of song, he notes that one particular song that he didn’t feel super connected to was able to connect to the people who listen to it in a powerful way and it’s beautiful to witness.

On Performing

  • He is inspired by photography and seeing the vision others have for life. He strives to create a vision and connect with others through it.
  • “They individually feel connected to you by having personal moments in your music that you know nothing about. They come to a show and you feel that energy.”
  • He remembers seeing Post Malone performing at Lollapalooza and witnessing him speaking life toward the audience’s experiences.
  • “Hopefully your art can make them feel something.”
  • Davie notes his experience at Beyoncé and Jay Z ‘On the Run Part II Tour’ being “fully and powerfully their black selves,” and seeing people of all races listening and connecting in the audience.

The Heart Behind Black Gospel Vol. 1

“I try to have church for folks who will never step foot in church.”

  • This latest album comes after his mixtape called “Music by Davie,” marking his switch from going by James David to Davie.
  • Davie sees this album as bringing himself back to where he started: church. It reflects a lot of his questioning of his faith.
  • The album came at a time of transition for him in life with his family and also a time of transition for the country with the 2018 election.
  • He recognizes that Heaven Calling is really the heartbeat of the album, with the focus being the realization that one day his parents will die and one day he will die.
  • One line from the song is “I can’t stand getting older while my dreams get younger.”

Looking forward, he is excited to be having a new single coming out next fall. You guys, I got him to sing for you on the podcast! He sings Roll With Me… it is so good. I got chills. You can connect with Davie at his website or on Instagram.

This episode is brought to you by the free PDF guide called “Moving Through Fear.” It is full of resources that I hope will help guide you through rejecting the lies in your life and finding the truth.


Kat Harris

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