I am so excited to be sharing a new blog series with you today. I will be sharing with you inside information on my life, my interests, my career, what I believe in, whats important to me and a whole lot more!!! The lovely Mackenzie Wilson helped curate the idea that you still don’t know a lot about me that I want to share with you. The struggles and triumphs that I have also been through in my life and my career to get where I am today. I will be sharing with you my insights and knowledge on building and empire in television, home design and fashion. It will include even more career related content so that you yourself can come to me for advice, inspiration and ideas on your own business, life, relationship … the list goes on. First up I am sharing with you my life before The Bachelor and how I got to where I am today.
Q: Take us back to life before The Bachelor.
A: Ahh… LBB (Life Before Bachelor) … While from the outside, friends and family saw me as a busy body in a successful restaurant design career, I felt a little worried about my future. I was short on funds and always looking for love.
I worked at Browns Restaurant Group, where I lead the design team but also oversaw project management of new restaurants, general branding, menu development and acted as a personal assistant for the owner. I loved my job, but always felt like I was destined for more, and … I’m not a “corporate person” so I always questioned WHERE that would take me? I had all of these qualifications but I didn’t feel as though I was going in the direction I was ‘supposed to be’ and to be honest I think my work felt the same. They loved my energy & creative contributions, but executing it smoothly and in an organized manner was NOT my strong suit. (think of a tiny little tornado! lol) I never knew ‘what I was really supposed to do’ with my life. I knew I was capable of grand things, but I didn’t know how I would get there. I knew i would one day make a wonderful wife and mother … but didn’t know how to get to that next level… As far as work goes, I really ‘get it now’ and I realize there was no way for me to know, I just had to create it! I kept following my intuition and saying ‘yes’ and figuring out the rest after. There were consequences to that, but I think the pro’s have far out weighed the cons!
Q: After The Bachelorette you must have had tons of opportunities coming your way, I’m sure it was exciting but was it also overwhelming?
A: UMMM it was terrifying and looking back I kick myself for saying no to a lot of them. There was interest for me to be on Dancing with The Stars and I flat out turned it down on the spot. I was worried people would think I went on the show (Bachelor and Bachelorette) for money. I know now that those thoughts were silly. You can have an amazing relationship and an amazing career; for some reason I thought it had to be one or the other and people would judge. And hey, the relationship failed even though I put it first so I should have just seized the opportunities while I could, right?
But not all is lost, one great thing about the way I dealt with things is I really held off until the RIGHT opportunities came my way that were ‘on brand’ for Jillian Harris. I didn’t know what THAT meant back then but now I see, I said ‘Yes’ to all the right things, starting with Extreme Makeover Home Edition and now moving into Love it or List it Vancouver TO this day, even though I am still not a wife or a mother (I am SO excited for that time of my life!!) I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the amazing opportunities I have, but it takes a lot of focus to know what to say ‘Yes’ to … and what to say ‘NO’ to.
Q: Speaking of saying ‘No’, how important is it to your work/life balance now?
A: I’m still not THE best at the word ‘No’ … even TODAY, my day is a complete gong-show because I took on too much. But you know who I REALLY need to say no to more often??? ME… I say YES to myself too much. I need to just chill and be okay with saying no to projects and no to myself. Does my garden really need to happen today? NO. Do I have to do the dishes today? NO. I’m getting better but I still need to work on that!
Q: Let’s talk about building your own personal brand, how did you find and develop it?
A: Ahhh.. that has been most fun for me in the last year or two. For me, it was my fans, friends, followers and family that helped me identify my brand. When people tag you in posts that remind them of you, or have a clear vision of the kind of unique individual you are – THAT is your brand. YOUR personal brand will be the most successful if it mirrors YOU. What was my brand? It was fun, loving, highbrow/lowbrow, achievable, approachable, all about family, outdoors, travel & not taking myself too seriously. It was about an unapologetic love for clothes and throw pillows & a need to create in the kitchen without high maintenance recipes. It was about showing MORE of my real raw side (I really want people to know things about me I haven’t revealed yet!) and not just about the ‘designer’ Jill… but the ENTIRE Jill. So, I kind of developed my brand around that! Juggling social media, connecting with fans, emails, imagery & saving enough energy for my on-screen career isn’t easy, but when it all comes together and I’m well-rested, well-fed and have a personal balance you realize how addicting it can be!
Q: What do you think other women can do to promote themselves and their own personal brand, regardless of the industry they’re in?
A: Have CONFIDENCE and know that you WILL screw up and it’s ok!! Screw ups are (sometimes) free education, when they happen be grateful they happened and learn from them. I also think it’s important to identify WHO YOU ARE and make no apologies or alterations for it. Opinions are like assholes – everyone has one and most of them stink. Lol, thats one of my favourite lines from my Granny. It’s not to say you don’t listen to people, constructive criticism is great… but if an opinion goes against who YOU KNOW YOU ARE … then you need to move on. TRUST your intuition. YOU are NOT perfect and you are unique. That might not jive with 100% of your following but that’s ok!! I’m still learning this and frankly when it comes to social media, it’s scary. People are quick to judge and they do NOT sugarcoat their feelings, and so while I say ‘be who you want to be’, if you make one off-color joke be prepared to get an earful. Take THIS post for example … I STILL to this day do not see the harm in this post, and neither did my friend Dana. We were in AWE of the reactions to this and the thought to take it down crossed my mind several times. It gave me SEVERE anxiety for days, but my decision to keep it up reminded me I can’t be dictated by everyone else’s beliefs or concerns. While I can appreciate being a public figure and being a ‘role model’ I most CERTAINLY will not conform and shape to EVERY SINGLE person’s beliefs about what is right and what is wrong. I will make mistakes, and own them, or I will learn at MY own pace…. it’s hard, but I truly think it’s the right way to go so I don’t become a little robot! LOL ….
Criticism is hard to handle for anyone… just dont let it distract you from your goals and I’m not talking just life goals, or even week goals. Don’t let it distract you from your goal to sip coffee in peace, or answer the phone with joy.
A: What advice do you have for keeping your cool and not damaging your image by sending a heat of the moment post on social media?
Hahah ummm well, I can’t say I’m the best person to answer that question. I get really worked up at people who choose to be negative on social media. I mean if we are talking social topics, politics I get it, if it’s meant to be a debate great, but just your run of the mill Negative Nancy, I really don’t get it. I have fired back many times. The best advice I can give is really try to fire back with love. Sometimes we confuse our hurt with anger, and sometimes we just need to ask ‘nit pickers’ to clarify. I always try to be fair, and bring it back to being positive, TYPICALLY this method is the most powerful. But I’m not going to lie, some people can be just horrible and cruel and in that case, I think you can firmly ask them to leave your platform. Or call them Turkey Tits which I just recently did because someone called me “GROSS & skinny” on facebook. At that time, Turkey Tits just felt right. lol. All I can say, is be careful, because once you fire back and get defensive, you start a war and it WILL be a distraction from your day, which is TOTALLY not worth it. Either delete, respond with love and firmness or block.
Q: Most people don’t like negotiating. What have you learned about putting your foot down and getting what you feel you deserve professionally?
A: I’ve been so lucky to work alongside some of the best negotiators out there, my old boss Scott Morison was a master negotiator and my agent Bill, well he’s just the best. While I’m sure I have much to learn in the negotiating game, I think I’m pretty good at it. The way I look at it is you never know unless you ask and if you truly feel that is your worth, then you MUST ask. Read the book ‘Nice Girls Don’t Get Rich’ it’s one of my favourites. Don’t EVER feel like a bitch or a diva because you’ve set a standard, said no, or fought for what you think you are worth. It’s especially hard for women because of this stigma, but when men do it they are heroes! My dad once told me, “The first person to make the offer is the loser”, so I use that often and let offers come to me and negotiate my way up from that. Always sleep on an offer and really decide the next day if you are happy with it or not (if you have that luxury! LOL).
I would LOVE to hear your comments and opinions on our first career based blog post … what did you think?!?!