Aug. 17, 2021

41 : Quitting Google, Taking a Gap Year & Rediscovering Her Truth with Jessi Shuraleff


Welcome to The Mindful Fire Podcast where we explore living mindfully on the path to financial independence and beyond. I'm your host, Adam Coelho and I'm so glad you're here.

On today's episode of the podcast. I'm joined by my new friend, Jessi Shuraleff.

Jessi spent 13 and a half years at Google leading and coaching sales teams using authenticity value-based selling and storytelling to drive impact in revenue for her customers.

She's worked with brands both big and small across numerous industries, including retail technology, real estate and B2B.

She recently left the corporate world and has taken the leap into solopreneurship as the founder of the podcast and community, This Is My Truth.

Creating building and maintaining relationships is at the core of who she is and authenticity, vulnerability and storytelling have been the cornerstone of her skill set to get where she is today as a leader, podcaster and mom.

 Her personal mission is to create community and connection through the sharing of personal stories, to empower individuals and brands, to step into their own light, reclaim their voice and drive greater impact.

In this conversation, Jessie and I explore her journey over the last 13 and a half years at Google, where she had a ton of success, but ultimately found herself at 6:03 in the morning, brushing her teeth a few years ago and having her husband asked her a question he's asked many times, " Are you happy?". And she had to answer "no".

She realized that she needed to make some changes in her life to reclaim her voice, find her own way, rediscovering herself and what's truly important to her in the process. This moment, what she calls her 6:03 moment, really catalyzed a ton of change for her in her life.

And while she didn't leave Google overnight, it began a process of self discovery that included therapy, coaching, self exploration, and just really untangling a lot of the go go, go culture that she had internalized growing up in this society and building a career within Google, which I can tell you is quite the go go, go type of place.

We explore a lot around this idea of the go go, go culture, where we all are taking on so much. So many projects, parenting, working, taking care of our houses, taking care of our family members, trying to fit all these things into our life and all the while forgetting to take care of ourselves and forgetting to listen to ourselves and asking the question, what do I need right now?

And we both share how the practices of mindfulness and journaling allowed us to build the self-awareness to recognize when we need to slow down, look inward and ask some tough questions about our life and our priorities.

Jessi and I had a really great conversation. I think there's a ton of wisdom here.  I share a lot around how I've been feeling quite burnt out recently and how I noticed that I needed to start doing the self-care things that are so important to find my way back to balance and to showing up in the way that I want to show up for myself, my son, and my wife.

Get in Touch with Jessi Shuraleff

Each Tuesday I release a guided meditation or inspiring interview on the topics of mindfulness and financial independence. Subscribe for future meditations and episodes!

Transcript

[00:00:00] 

Adam Coelho: welcome to The Mindful Fire Podcast where we explore living mindfully on the path to financial independence and beyond. I'm your host, Adam Coelho and I'm so glad you're here. 

On today's episode of the podcast. I'm joined by my new friend, Jessi shuraleff 

Jessi spent 13 and a half years at Google leading and coaching sales teams using authenticity value-based selling and storytelling to drive impact in revenue for her customers.

She's worked with brands both big and small across numerous industries, including retail technology, real estate and B2B.

She recently left the corporate world and has taken the leap into solopreneurship as the founder of the podcast and community, This Is My Truth.

 Creating building and maintaining relationships is at the core of who she is and authenticity, vulnerability and storytelling have been the cornerstone of her skill set to get where she is today as a leader, podcaster and mom. 

 Her personal [00:01:00] mission is to create community and connection through the sharing of personal stories, to empower individuals and brands, to step into their own light, reclaim their voice and drive greater impact. 

In this conversation, Jessie and I explore her journey over the last 13 and a half years at Google, where she had a ton of success, but ultimately found herself at 6:03 in the morning, brushing her teeth a few years ago and having her husband asked her a question he's asked many times, " Are you happy?"

And she had to answer "no". 

She realized that she needed to make some changes in her life to reclaim her voice, find her own way, rediscovering herself and what's truly important to her in the process. 

 This moment, what she calls her 6:03 moment, really catalyzed a ton of change for her in her life. 

And while she didn't leave Google overnight, it began a process of self discovery that included therapy, coaching, self exploration, and just really untangling a lot of the [00:02:00] go go, go culture that she had internalized growing up in this society and building a career within Google, which I can tell you is quite the go go, go type of place. 

We explore a lot around this idea of the go go, go culture, where we all are taking on so much. So many projects, parenting, working, taking care of our houses, taking care of our family members, trying to fit all these things into our life and all the while forgetting to take care of ourselves and forgetting to listen to ourselves and asking the question, what do I need right now?

And we both share how the practices of mindfulness and journaling allowed us to build the self-awareness to recognize when we need to slow down, look inward and ask some tough questions about our life and our priorities.

Jessi and I had a really great conversation . I think there's a ton of wisdom here. I share a lot around how I've been feeling quite burnt out recently and how I noticed that I needed to [00:03:00] start doing the self-care things that are so important to find my way back to balance and to showing up in the way that I want to show up for myself, my son, and my wife.

You can find the full show notes for today's episode, including all of the links, resources and books mentioned in today's episode at mindfulfire.org/41.

 Let's jump into today's episode.

 

Adam Coelho: Jess, welcome to the mindful fire podcast. I'm so glad to have you here, 

Jess Shuralef: Adam. I'm so glad to be here. Thank you for having me. 

Adam Coelho: I'd love to have you start by sharing with the audience a little bit about who you are, your journey and what you're up to in the world. 

Jess Shuralef: Awesome. I am somebody who is constantly learning and growing and trying to be the best version of myself.

And I feel like that sounds really fluffy, but I truly mean that. And if you had asked me this question three years [00:04:00] ago, I would have started with the list of my resume. I would have given you where I was working, my title, which by the way, the company that I was working for, the titles don't compute to anywhere else in the world.

So I don't know why. Say that to people looking back on it. Now I chuckle, but I was really living for my resume and living for what that next step in the corporate ladder was going to be. And just putting one foot in front of another and doing what I was quote unquote supposed to do.

And I had this moment about two and a half years ago at 6:03 in the morning. And I was brushing my teeth with my electric toothbrush and my husband just glanced over at me. And he asked me a question, which he's probably asking me thousands of times, we've been married for nine years together for 13.

And he just asked me simply, are you happy? And for some reason that morning, I blurted out the truth, which was no. [00:05:00] And it scared him. It scared me. And I had a choice in that moment. I could backpedal and make a joke of it. Or I could stick to the truth probably for the first time in my adult life.

And be honest with the fact that even though on the outside, I had everything I'd ever wanted. I had a good job. I had a house living in a city. I had two amazing little humans. I wasn't happy. And the reason why I tell you this story is, it was in that moment. I realized that I had lost my voice.

And so I've spent the last two and a half years reclaiming my voice and rediscovering who I am, not as a mom, not as a partner, not as a Google employee, which is the company that I worked for 13 and a half years, but really who is Jess at the core and working really hard day in and [00:06:00] day out to get there.

And that led me to a lot of ahas and crazy leaps and turns, which I'm sure we can get into if you'd like. But really I am on a mission to create community and connection through sharing stories, because I think that so often we can relate to each other, even if we haven't had the same shared experiences, because at the end of the day, most of us have shared values whether it's, the same feelings, but a different experience.

And so, that's how I answered that question.

Adam Coelho: So you mentioned that you were feeling unhappy because you realized that you had lost your voice. What does that mean to you? 

Jess Shuralef: That's a really good question. So for me losing my voice was a moment where I recognize that. I was no longer speaking up and sharing, my opinion or what I wanted to say.

I was constantly shoving [00:07:00] things down and that was true. Personally less true professionally, like I was known within my leadership teams and circles as someone who is pretty opinionated. But even then when I felt comfortable sharing my opinion, I would still temper it down. And what I realized was that there were lots of moments in my life that I had just never dealt with.

I am very good at compartmentalizing and shoving down my emotions and just, putting one step in front of another and keep going. And it made me really successful in my job and in my life. But it also made me a shell of who I was. And so for me, losing my voice was the recognition that for so many years I was living for other people's definitions and not my own.

And I wanted to break that cycle.

Adam Coelho: Yeah. And it sounds like there was a lot of work you had to do to break that cycle. What did that look like? I'm sure it's ongoing, but what, [00:08:00] what did, and what does that look 

like?

Jess Shuralef: Yeah, it's definitely a journey, going back to that 63 moment, I realized that I had to get help. I went back to seeing a therapist. I found a coach that felt aligned and. I had to really unpack a lot of moments that I just historically hadn't want to deal with.

Part of that was my journey to becoming a mom. We went through and fertility struggles. My oldest daughter was a twin and we lost our son while I was pregnant. in our second trimester. And so I just never dealt with a lot of those issues. And it was in dealing with that and seeking help of other people that I realized what I was really craving was community and being surrounded by like-minded people.

And there was, something really magical as I started to share my story first with myself like I said, I had to come to terms [00:09:00] with a lot of those moments where I'd felt alone and isolated for me first. And as I then started to share. And it was, I share with one person then I'd share with a few other people.

And eventually I started to share at work amongst my leadership team and even amongst my team, because what I realized was we all have no idea what's going on below the surface. And it made me a more empathetic human and leader when I was able to recognize that. And so it's been this constant journey and constant evolution of coming back to myself and saying what do I need, what do I want, what do I need in this moment?

What do I need in this day? Working through a lot of the guilt and shame, society tells us as parents, but specifically as mothers, that we should be putting our children first or a partner first. But the reality is for me to be the best partner, mom, human, I need to put myself first and whether that's waking up a little [00:10:00] earlier and making sure I have time to go for a run or whether that's letting the girls have the day with their dad so that he can spend time with them and they can spend time with them.

And I get some time to have podcasts conversations or do whatever the hell I want. It's just been this evolution of, rediscovering what makes me happy and not feeling guilt or shame and going after that.

Adam Coelho: I love that. I only have one kid and I'm the father in the situation,, if that wasn't clear. But, my wife, does everything and that does everything, but I see the need more easily too. I need some time, I need to do something by myself for a little while or have a day where I go and do something, not very often, but my wife is much less likely to do that because I think there's just a. Everything's on her shoulders kind of feeling. And in a lot of ways, it is, I try to help as much as I can and be a equal partner, but there's a reality that is definitely not 50 [00:11:00] 50. And I think it's easy to get caught up with all of the responsibilities of parenting, of working of all of our busy lives.

And we were talking before we started about just like maintaining a house there's a million tasks that you need to keep track of. And it's easy to just let that run your life instead of actually thinking, what do I want, what am I going to do to take care of myself? 

Jess Shuralef: I think you hit the nail on the head, right?

Sometimes it's easier just to live in that overwhelm because for me it was comfortable. Like it's much more uncomfortable for me to tell my husband a few hours for myself, then it would be to take on all of the responsibilities of moving our family across the country. And all of the tasks that we all take on.

And so in a lot of ways that is my comfort zone, that feeling of overwhelm that feeling of go. And again, I think it's what made me successful in corporate America. [00:12:00] Because the company that I worked for, it, like that's sort of the culture , that I lived in and created.

And I'm someone, who's a goal oriented person. I want to be successful. I want to make an impact. And so it is candidly, a lot easier for me to live in that state of overwhelm than it is to take a pause and to take a break. And so I think it's really important to acknowledge. 

Adam Coelho: Yeah, I think that's a great point.

And, speaking of Google, it is absolutely that culture where it's just like a million things coming at you. Very few of them have anything to do with each other. They're just all new issues every time. And you just gotta keep charging forward, keep treading water, it's tough. And I don't thrive in that type of world.

So I constantly feel like I'm just trying to keep up and not even keeping up, You get used to it, but it's just like, when is it going to slow down? And the answer is no. So I applaud you for putting in 13 and a [00:13:00] half years of service and doing extremely well in that environment. 

Jess Shuralef: It really doesn't. I can say that with certainty. It really doesn't. And so for me, it was a conscious effort to slow down and it made me really uncomfortable. Still does it's still a, feels like uncomfortable for me, I'm getting better at it. But I think that I would be doing, your audience, a disservice by not acknowledging that there are societal and cultural expectations for parents for fathers, for mothers.

And it's sometimes easier to play into those roles than it is to, be an advocate for change.

Adam Coelho: Absolutely. Switching gears a little bit, one of the things you mentioned when you were describing your journey what you're up to is this idea that on the surface you had everything, you had the house, you had the husband, you had the kids, you had the job, you had, all the comforts that one could have.

And I feel very much like I have that as well, but still [00:14:00] you felt unfair filled, and just generally not happy. And I can certainly relate to that. As I said, when we were talking before it's an up and down thing, a week and a half ago, I felt absolutely terrible.

I was like, what am I doing? Totally overwhelmed. Totally burnt out. Like, why am I even doing this? But then there's also a feeling of guilt there, right? Like I have everything that I could want and I'm still not happy. What's wrong with me? I don't know if you relate to that, but I feel like a lot of people feel that way.

And so I'd love to get your thoughts on that. 

Jess Shuralef: I can a hundred percent relate to that. For me, it was a feeling of guilt for feeling like I was unhappy, even though I had everything I'd ever wanted, I fought so hard to become a mother and I had two kids under two, and I frankly didn't like it, like it was a lot.

And, that makes me really uncomfortable as a mom to like, admit that, but it's [00:15:00] true. And so I see. That for me, it wasn't like I woke up one day and I was like, oh, I'm not happy. It was a slow process of recognizing it. My husband would always say one of the things he loved about me was that I was fun and goofy and I wasn't fun and goofy anymore.

Everything was serious and I had lost a sort of the spark I love to read, I love to write, I wasn't doing any of those things and it wasn't like just one day I stopped. It was just this like slow evolution. And I allowed, my professional life to take over.

Like I was successful there. I was able to advance and do well. And. And so I put a lot of stake and that part of my life, because personally, I felt like I was failing. And so if I could control my professional life, it didn't matter if my personal life was failing because I could control something.

And I'm a recovering type, a person I like to have control.[00:16:00] So it was easier to just put all my eggs into the corporate basket. I was traveling, oh gosh. Like at my highest amount of travel, I was traveling every week usually to multiple cities. And it was exhausting.

But yet it was so hard to admit that I wasn't happy because, I would talk to people and they'd be like, but you get free food at Google. And I'm like, but it's still a job and I'm exhausted. And I then come home to these two little humans who I love so much and fought so hard for, but I don't have any energy left for them.

And so I'd be curious if you can relate to that and if your listeners can relate to that because I've talked to numerous people in corporate America since leaving and even when I was in corporate America. And I think a lot of us feel that way. 

Adam Coelho: Yeah, totally. I really do relate to that.

And especially what you were saying about how you were fun and goofy and that you weren't showing up in that way in your life anymore because [00:17:00] the corporate side of things and the seriousness of life and all the things that you had to attend to in your personal life and your work life really started to consume all of that energy.

And I totally relate to that. Like last week when I was absolutely burnt out and just feeling like, I can't even call a place to schedule an oil change. I can't even wash my face before going to bed. I'm just like, tapped out. I got nothing left and I know that it's, that I wasn't doing the things that I love to do.

I wasn't meditating. I, not that I love exercising, but I wasn't doing that either. And I know that would be beneficial to me. I was seeking out dopamine hits by just scrolling through Instagram or Facebook or checking my podcast stats for the 17th million time. Just to see if one more person downloaded the podcast.

So I'd feel good for a moment, and like I just didn't have the energy and all of those things were then contributing to how I was showing up interactions with my son, [00:18:00] with my wife. And even for myself, just complaining constantly. And I was snapping at my son, especially that period between dinner and bedtime, when we have to get him in the bath, it's just an absolute nightmare most nights. And I have no energy, no patients. And I'm supposed to be the mindful one.

I teach mindfulness, I have a podcast about mindfulness and I'm just like losing my mind and just grabbing him and picking him up and putting him in the bath, and he's screaming and I'm screaming and it's like, what is going on here? And then I find myself apologizing to him, like I'm putting him to bed and I'm like, I'm sorry, daddy lost his temper.

It's so much. Yeah. Easy to lose sight of the fact of all the things we're juggling and to just get caught up and let self care just go by the wayside. So definitely relate. That was a long rant on that, 

Jess Shuralef: But I've been there. I've a hundred percent been there.

And I also say I need contrast in order to recognize when things have gone too far. [00:19:00] And so when I left Google after 13 and a half years in January, I decided that I was going to take a leap of faith and leave corporate America spend time with, my.

Two and four year olds now, three and five year olds while they still liked me, hopefully, 

and focus on the podcast and really see if I could make something of it. I've joked and called it my gap year. This is my year to take a pause. Gap years weren't a thing when I graduated high school, maybe they were but they weren't where I grew up. And so I was going for years and I was exhausted and I needed a break.

And I was really fortunate that, we were in a financial position to be able to take a break and I feel really. Lucky and fortunate that I'm able to do this, but there was also, again, a lot of the guilt and the shame and Google habits die hard. I said yes, to a million different things.

Like people were reaching out to me to consult and to do sales things and I said yes, to all of it .Mind you. I [00:20:00] now have no help with the kids. I am with the kids and saying yes to all these things and trying to figure it out. And there was one morning I was up at three in the morning doing some of these website.

I paid someone to do my own website yet here I am doing somebody else's website. And my husband's like, you should have just stayed at Google. Like the stress that you're having. This is ridiculous. You were never working this much. And I had to pause and be like, oh, I've done it again.

 All of those things, exactly what you're saying. All of the self care, all of the work that I've been doing, It just fell to the wayside and I was going, going, going, and I had to really reevaluate and decide, where I wanted to put my energy again. And so I share this because sometimes I think that when I'm talking to people, they're like, oh like you've checked the box, like move on.

And I'm like, there's no check the box. At least not for me. It's a constant daily, if not like hourly struggle with myself of reminding myself of my why? And, taking the small micro actions [00:21:00] that I want to take in order to be successful. And sometimes that means doing shit that I don't want to do.

But if I can do those small things, then it hopefully gives me the space for the things that I do want to do.

Adam Coelho: Yeah. And I'm curious you said remembering your why. What is your why and what are the micro actions that support that? 

Jess Shuralef: So my why this is a good question. So my personal mission is to create community and connection through sharing personal stories. For me, when I started to share my infertility journey with people, so many people told me me too, and it wasn't that they, had also experienced in fertility or the loss of a child.

So some had but not everybody. And that was my aha. That we all have moments where we felt alone or isolated. And so often we're not talking about those moments and. In that I've realized that our super powers as humans is our ability to be curious, our [00:22:00] ability to have empathy or ability to connect with one another.

But so often we're putting up a wall, we're throwing on a mask where we're not sharing those vulnerable moments. And I get that. I completely understand why, but when you're able to take off that mask, even for a minute with yourself or with somebody else, it's such a gift because it's allowing that other person on the receiving end to to do the same.

And so for me, my big, why is to raise two humans maybe more we'll see. My husband's gonna hear this and be like, what the hell? But. It's to raise humans that can have conversations with people who, don't have the same background or beliefs or values as them but really not being an asshole, like half a conversation with somebody and really be curious and understand who they are and be open to [00:23:00] them as a human.

And in order for me to expect that of them, I've got to figure out how I become that person. And it starts with me and being curious about me and then extends beyond me. 

Adam Coelho: Yeah. That's a lost art. Giving a shit about other people. 

Jess Shuralef: Especially right now. And I think it's so important.

And I just realized, I didn't answer your other half of your question, which is, what are the micro-actions I take it's a work in progress. I think that, if you're a listener who has, done any sort of coaching program, every coach has their own spin on in my opinion, the same shit which is have a morning routine, like journal practice mindfulness.

And I think for me, my micro-actions ebb and flow based on where I am in my life. I am concerned less about what I'm doing as long as I'm doing something that feels aligned to me. Journaling has been really helpful for me, especially as I'm like writing out my moments.

Mindfulness has been really helpful for me. [00:24:00] Recently I've been getting really into breathwork and really enjoying that. I just found like this amazing app. And there's this one that's let go of control that I've been doing probably like three times a day.

And really just asking myself several times throughout the day what do you need? Because I never did that when I was in corporate America. It was constantly go, go. I mean, You know what our calendars for like. Especially as a leader, I was in meetings from eight till five 30 back to back, unless I took control of my calendar.

And so I literally had to remind myself, I would put calendar reminders in my phone. Yeah. That would just be like, did you ask yourself like what you need? It seems so ridiculous. Like I'm a 36 year old human who has to remind herself to check in with herself, but I needed that. I still need that reminder sometimes because I'm just so conditioned and I'm having to unlearn like that go, go, go lifestyle of corporate.

Adam Coelho: Yeah, absolutely.[00:25:00] As you were talking about this whole phenomenon of go, go, go take on everything and, try to manage it. All. Is so common. And I was feeling this big time last week. It made me think about how important it is to check in with myself and to. Do things like sit quietly and meditate for a few moments and just to allow the mind to settle. I teach this course search inside yourself at Google. And we talk about our minds are like a snow globe that we're constantly shaking up.

And mindfulness is like setting the snow globe down on the table. So the snow can settle and we can see more clearly what's going on inside. And I really need that, especially when I feel like my mind is just all over the place. And then journaling, which you mentioned as well, is really powerful.

Just to get everything that's in my head out of my head onto paper, I immediately feel lighter from [00:26:00] doing that. And then, I can work with it or I could throw it away either way. It's super helpful. And I've recently started. Book called the artist way. You might want to check it out.

People that have gone on sabbatical or taken time off, like it's apparently the thing to do. And it's all about unlocking your creativity. And one of the things that they talk about doing in the book is doing what's called the morning pages and it's three pages stream of consciousness, journaling.

As soon as you wake up just to get it out of your head onto paper, and I've been doing it for almost a week now and, it's really interesting, because journaling was always something that every time I did it, I was like, I need to be doing this all the time.

But then there was part of me that was like afraid of what I was going to write down. And so I would avoid it. And when I do it, it just feels like. I can lighten my load and get it on paper and I could see it and work with it a little bit more easily. 

Jess Shuralef: I can completely relate to what you were just saying.

[00:27:00] So it's funny. I actually I've done morning pages. That was actually one of the first things one of my coaches had me do and I never actually reread what I write. Because for me, it's just an act of getting it out of my mind or like brain dumping and it's so helpful. And I think it was interesting because as a leader at Google, I had a really hard time with creating emotional, like barriers.

Like I took on a lot of the emotions of my team. There would be times where I'd wake up in the middle of thinking about a team member or thinking about a situation like how I wanted to deal with it. Losing . Very limited seats that I had. And I started to in those moments, like dump it down.

 I didn't think anything of it, I was just trying to like, get it on paper so I wouldn't forget it. And then I would, I realized like I was actually sleeping better and I was like, oh, like connection. There's definitely, for me, at least a way to just to get it out so that it's no longer in my brain space has been immensely helpful.

I want to circle back [00:28:00] if you don't mind me asking you a question, is that okay? 

Adam Coelho: That is 

Jess Shuralef: okay.

 I'm curious, when you started practicing mindfulness for yourself, one of the challenges that I had was. When someone was like, be quiet with yourself. I was like, I don't, no, I'm gonna be quiet with myself.

And like, I'd be quiet and then like 9 million thoughts would race through my head. And for me, what I had to realize with mindfulness was that, it's okay to have thoughts. It's just, how quickly you can catch yourself and like disengage has been how I've been able to wrap my head around it. Again, like the type a person, and he was like I'm failing at this, so I no longer want to do it.

So I'm just curious for you, did you experience something similar? 

Adam Coelho: 100%. Actually when I first started meditating, it was on the Google shuttle from San Francisco to mountain view, but an hour and a half each day, I was like complaining about it to a friend of mine at Google.

And he was like, Hey, give meditation a try. He gave me some recorded audios. And I did it, but very quickly realized I was absolutely terrible at meditation. My mind [00:29:00] was all over the place and was convinced I was doing it wrong. And so I actually just was like, this is not for me. And luckily I eventually ran into him again.

He was like, dude, that's absolutely normal. That's a part of the practice. So I, I gave it another shot and kept going and started to work with those thoughts and realize that it's not about clearing your mind or not having thoughts or pushing thoughts away as people often talk about it.

It's really just bringing awareness to where your attention is in any moment and to your experience in any moment. And it took me a really long time, even just in the last couple of years, I've realized that there's two parts of the definition of mindfulness. There's the awareness that arises from paying attention.

And then there's the second part. With a nonjudgmental attitude, which I think of as having an attitude of openness, curiosity and kindness. And I was so focused on that first part. Notice the mind wander, bring it back, notice it, wandered, bring it [00:30:00] back over and over again, bring it back, which is great.

But without that aspect of self-compassion that kindness and curiosity, it's almost like a militant style like, you know, back at that type a world. The more I could bring that kindness of huh, is that what's, there's that thought again? Okay. Thank you. I'm coming back. That has become so important in my practice.

So absolutely relate to that. A few years ago, I guess it was 2017. I went on a 10 day silent Vipasana meditation retreat, which is not for the faint of heart. It is brutal. 

Jess Shuralef: I thought I'm pretty 

sure. 

Adam Coelho: Yeah. It's not even the silence part. I don't know if that's what your concern would be, but that's one thing, but you're in physical pain because you're sitting still for so long.

You wake up at four 30 in the morning. Ultimately I would do it again, but it's a, it's pretty intense. 

But I mentioned this because I see, I spent [00:31:00] nine days, nine days, days of the 10 day meditation retreat convinced I was doing it wrong, even though I had been meditating for years and yeah. I didn't even realize that these thoughts about doing it right or wrong were just thoughts.

They were no different than wonder what they have for lunch today. And I was so caught up in them that I kept going to the teacher. You could talk if you went to the office hours essentially. And so I would go and I would be like asking the question and I said, I feel like I keep asking you the same question. And he's like, I feel like that too. And so then I realized oh my God, I just got so caught up in this the whole time. And I was like looking for a particular experience anyways, I'm off the rails now, so I will bring it back, but definitely can relate to that.

Jess Shuralef: I actually don't think you're so far as everywhere else though, because what was coming up for me. The, like the notion of a hamster wheel, right? Like you're on the hamster wheel and you're go, go going. And it takes that moment of [00:32:00] pause, that curiosity, to get off. And I think in a lot of ways, and many of us are on hamster wheels, whether we like consciously or unconsciously recognize that.

And it's not a bad thing. I think for me, what I realized was I no longer wanted to be on the hamster wheel. And if I decide to go back on the hamster wheel at some point, it's my decision. But the first time I got on the hamster wheel, it wasn't my decision. I was doing it unconsciously.

And I think for me, this journey that they've been on the last, two and a half, three years has really been about coming home to myself, being curious with me, you know, we're joking that I'm in sales or had been in sales and I was always curious about other people. I still am very much but it was time to look inwards and be curious about myself and what that looked like and creating the life that I needed for me. And being open and to your point, nonjudgmental about what that looks like and [00:33:00] having to some extent, a leap of faith that it's all gonna work out, that I'm taking the right micro-actions that eventually I will get to the spot that I'm in.

Adam Coelho: Yeah, I love that. And I love the mindfulness of asking, how am I doing right now? What do I need? And how can I support myself by giving myself what I need? That, can't be overstated how important that is to do many times a day, right? Because we get so caught up, we just keep charging forward.

We're on that hamster wheel. And so that's really important. 

 Speaking of hamster wheels and getting off hamster wheels I'd love to hear more about this process of leaving Google. I joke that this podcast is becoming the people that have left or are leaving Google podcast.

And I ask these questions because eventually I'm going to leave. Hopefully it's too early retirement. And I've been putting the pieces in place by investing and doing all these things. It sounded like you had been doing that as well. And so you were in a financial [00:34:00] position that you could do that, but what was the process of coming to this point? 

Jess Shuralef: I joined Google right out of college for all intents and purposes, it was like my first real job. And they almost turned it down. This was back in 2006 and my dad was like, you don't turn Google down. And I was like, no, I think I might, I'll never forget. I was like in an elevator or having a conversation.

And he was like, no. And I obviously took his. And said yes to the offer. And took a leap of faith. I grew up in New York. I was living in Boston at the time and I decided to move to Ann Arbor, Michigan to work at Google. I knew nobody in the Midwest nobody in the great state of Michigan.

And it was like, what did I just do? And I share that because I think that's another example of me unconsciously, just doing what I was supposed to do. And it was a good decision. I met my future husband there. He was working at Google at the same time.

I was obviously there for 13 and a half years. If I did not like it, I would not have stayed. Then I [00:35:00] learned a ton, but there was always this part of me that I didn't always listen to and talk to very rarely listened to it, which was. There's gotta be something else. There's something more I felt like there was this like fire inside of me to do something else.

I just didn't know what, like, when I first met my husband, Greg, I always joke that one day I'm going to start my own business and he'd be like, what business? And, every few years I'd have 17 different ideas that were like all over the place and yeah. Would never go anywhere.

But I always, it just felt like there was something more than what I was currently doing. And, by the end I was leading a fairly large team at Google and I loved my team. I loved the coaching and mentorship aspect of it. But unfortunately it was like a small percentage of what my day was given everything else that leaders at Google or just Googlers in general will have on their plate.

And so if I'm really honest, I started to get the itch to leave Google after my second daughter was born and As a Googler yourself, you know, that we like to go through a [00:36:00] lot of reorganizations. And so in the 13 and a half years that I was at Google, I probably have been through 10, like formal reworks.

Adam Coelho: We were affected by the same reorg.

Yes. We were once on the same larger team. And then you got split away and sent off to LCS. Yes. 

Jess Shuralef: And the running joke at Google it's the only constant has changed, which is true. Anyway, so I share all this because I got the itch. my youngest daughter is now three, so I started to get the itch around then, but I was coming back to your reorg.

I was coming back to a new team. I was like, you know what, I'm going to see this out. I'm someone who needs to be challenged. So it felt like a good challenge. And At the same time. This is also around the time when I had my 63 moments. I'm coming back from being on maternity leave.

I have this moment of recognizing that I'm not really happy. I started to make some changes in my life. I start to connect with all of these amazing humans. And I decided to launch my own podcast in March, 2020 as the [00:37:00] pandemic descends upon us. It's a great idea. COVID was a lot, that's probably putting it mildly for a lot of people.

We had a lot of personal things come up for us in the year of 2020. A lot of family illnesses, our nanny was pregnant. So she obviously left as she started her own family. And there was just a lot and I looked at my husband and I was like, this doesn't feel right anymore.

Like we were trying to split, childcare. I had the girls in the morning, he had them in the afternoon. It wasn't sustainable. Like it wasn't going to work. And so we started to have more serious conversations around what it would potentially look like if I decided to leave. The term golden handcuffs a term used in corporate America for companies, giving employees financial incentives to stay.

So in Google's case, it's stuck and it's a real thing. Like golden handcuffs are a legitimate thing. And my husband, when he married [00:38:00] me, I had some debt and he like put me on the right path. So I credit him for all the financial genius in our family.

We started to put those steps in motion and have the conversations and these weren't easy conversations to have, and it wasn't like one conversation we were done. Like we had a really, really tough conversations because my husband also wants to retire early. And me deciding to take a year off put a crimp in his plans, he was like, oh no, I'm gonna have to work a little bit longer.

And I was like, yes, you may have to. And so, it's very long-winded answer. So I apologize. But I share all of this is it wasn't like I woke up one day and I was like, I'm going to quit Google tomorrow. It was a very. Long, sometimes too long, drawn out process and lots of conversations sometimes arguments around what it could look like and making sure that we were putting ourselves in the right situation, both emotionally and also financially, to be able to do so. and I feel really fortunate. I've recognized that the pandemic, [00:39:00] you know, put people in situations that were, not, and they were forced into retirement or unemployment or all of the things, like 2020 was quite the year. 

And so for us 2020 was a year of figuring out what felt aligned.

And for me, that was spending time with my kids and working on my podcast. And then 2021 has been the year of Saying F the handcuffs, partially being golden handcuffs, but really handcuffs or anything that feels restrictive. Any of those, like conscious or subconscious restrictions that I am putting on myself.

What does it mean to be a good mother? What does it mean to be a good partner? What does it mean to be a good employee? All of those different handcuffs and there's, handcuffs can mean anything to anybody, and I'm sure we have our all have our own definition and versions of that.

So this is the year of F the handcuffs and really trying to make changes in our [00:40:00] lives that are going to put us on a path of living our best possible way. 

Adam Coelho: What are some handcuffs that you've identified and that you've thrown off?

Jess Shuralef: So what are the handcuffs that I have identified? There's so many. When I actually decided that my theme for the year, for me it was an, a word, it was really like this theme of after the handcuffs kept coming to me. 

The obvious one is the golden handcuffs of deciding to take a leap from corporate America. But I think even within that, I had in my mind a vision of what my life would be. I'd be a stay at home. Mom. I would do something with the podcast. That would be my job. I would have a business, not sure what that was. And one of the handcuffs has that I've had to throw off is being comfortable with being uncomfortable and not really defining what my life will look like.

So I've been through it's now seven months since leaving Google and I've had to make numerous pivots and changes and pull [00:41:00] backs. We were talking before we hit record that I decided to take a pause on podcasting for the summer because we're spending the summer on Cape Cod on my parent's house.

And I grew up on the beach and I love the ocean. Like I love the beach, it's my happy place. And I have been loving being able to take the girls to the beach every day. And I've been feeling this pull of not putting out podcasts content anymore, but there was.

 Voice in my head saying you can't do that. This is your quote unquote job. Like you left Google and told people, this is what you were going to do. Like that guilt was coming up. And I had to say no, this is what I really want to be doing. And if I lose listeners, I lose listeners, but this is what I'm feeling in the moment.

And I'm not going to let this story of what my quote, unquote job should be, get in the way of enjoying and being present with my kids day in and day out. So those are just some examples. And I'm sure if I like really thought about it, I could come up with like numerous more, but I'd say like the big handcuffs [00:42:00] have been really around like my own judgments and judgments of others around what my life should look like.

Adam Coelho: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. As I mentioned earlier, I totally relate to the podcasting thing, just have to get it out, have to keep going. Can't stop. Can't take a break because then, all that momentum that has been going on the podcast, that's I can't stop looking at all of that.

We'll just stop. And then what, and I can definitely see, if you left Google and this is what you're going to do, I would feel like, oh, this is what I'm doing. I need to do something. There's all these, stories that we have around have to be doing something, and that's kept me from.

Asking for a sabbatical. I've been feeling like I need some extended time off. I've been doing this for almost 11 years and I really need a break, but then it's like, what am I going to do during the break? And it's like, why can't I just relax? What's wrong with [00:43:00] that?

Jess Shuralef: Funny though, so I just posted about this and Instagram, then I'm like taking a break from Patty and it's been interesting to see like the messages that I'm getting. A lot of people have been really supportive and they're like, this is great. I love that you're being like honest about a break and it got me thinking about, my time in corporate America and five years at Google, you get five weeks vacation.

I think they cap you like you start getting at 30 days or whatever, they start sending you the emails saying if you need to take vacation time and I would always get those emails. I would always be getting emails that are like, you're running out of vacation time. Please take a vacation day.

And in the 13 and a half years that I was there, the longest that I ever took on a vacation was 17 days for my honeymoon and that was it. Like I would take a day here and there, but I was never actually taking a break and decompressing.

My husband gets unlimited vacation time. I can tell you, he for sure takes less than two weeks a year. Like we don't take breaks. We don't normalize taking breaks in this country. At least not in the circles I [00:44:00] run in and we need that. I believe I needed one. 

Adam Coelho: We absolutely do. We absolutely do.

And we don't take them. We really don't. I took three weeks off earlier in the year and that was the longest I'd taken in a long time. And I wanted to take more. And just didn't make it happen.

 So let's switch gears now into what I call the mindful fire final for the first question is about the golden handcuffs of leaving Google.

You mentioned that the golden handcuffs in corporate America really are the stock that they give you for staying longer and they keep giving you stock so that it keeps. You there longer and longer, and it always vests over a four year period usually. And I imagine, knowing how much this affects me and how much a part of my take home pay this stock is and also realizing that the second you leave that evaporates forever.

How did you think about [00:45:00] giving that up?

Jess Shuralef: Again? It was a lot of conversations and some arguments and it wasn't easy. I don't want to downplay it and I want to be very clear that I did not wake up one day and it was like, I'm leaving Google tomorrow.

Like it was a conscious decision that took. A lot of conversations with my husband, a lot of conversations with our financial advisor and taking steps to start to diversify our portfolio. With my husband and I both being Googlers at some point, we had a lot of Google stock. And so we started talking to our financial advisor about okay, are we too diversified in Google?

And so what are the steps that we need to be taking to make sure that our portfolio feels correctly diversified so that if one of us wanted to leave or God forbid, something happened to one of us and we were forced to leave, we would not be in a situation where we were so reliant on just one form of financial income for us.

And those [00:46:00] were steps and conversations that we were taking in the background slowly. I also left at the end of the year. And so I did not tell my husband what my equity refresh was supposed to be for 2021. I barely looked at it myself. I actually told my director at the time, I was like, I don't want to see it.

And she was like if you ever want to come back, like I'm going to send it to you. So that it's good for you to have so that you can use it for negotiation. I was like, fair point. I'll take it. And, it was not easy. Like I am not going to sugar coat it, but it was steps that we had been taking to make sure that we were thoughtful about our financial investments.

And also recognizing, and I came to terms with this faster than my husband did that at the end of the day. While we both wanted to retire early. My husband has this dream of retiring by 45 and becoming a butterfly docent, I don't know if this will really happen or not, but also seems like the [00:47:00] weirdest thing, but we'll see.

Adam Coelho: What is that butterfly docent? 

Jess Shuralef: I had to find this out too. Like the people at like the Bronx zoo has a butterfly house. So like the people that like stand in the butterfly house and tell you about the butterfly. 

Adam Coelho: Okay. All right. That's an interesting retirement plan, but I'm all for it.

That is awesome. Pretty hot in the summer, but yeah, 

Jess Shuralef: So many questions for him. And I share this because it was a lot of steps that we had to take and also a realization for me that money wasn't everything. We were really fortunate to live the life that we were living and not have to be so conscious about every dollar in every dollar out.

And that had to change. If we had to be more conscious, we had to be making different choices. We had to really take a look at our financials and figure out like how long we could sustain one of us not working, we even talked about him not going back. And me staying in the workforce, right?

Like we played out all these different [00:48:00] scenarios. And the other thing I will say is I had actually had a good friend of mine, also a Googler say to me when I was like in a downward file since leaving Google and she was like, listen, Yes, it's weird for you not to be making money. Cause that's the other theme that we didn't talk about.

It was really weird, still is really weird for me not to have a paycheck. Like I've been making money, like I've had a job in some form or another, since I was 16 years old, I was really proud. Like one of the labels I was giving myself, like I was proud of the fact that I was able to make the salary and income that I was providing for my family.

So it was definitely like a mind F for me to not make any money. And so she said to me, she was like, think of the Google stock is like your salary for the year. And I was like, that is a good way to think about it. And in some ways it was a bit of like mind games for myself and other ways it was just making sure we surrounded ourselves with, people in our village who.

We're advising us from an financial situation. My husband is [00:49:00] much more of a numbers person than I am. I hate playing into the stereotype of like women and finances. But I'll own it to some extent and really just making sure that we are taking the steps that we needed in order to put ourselves in the financial situation to be able to do this.

Adam Coelho: I think that's super helpful advice. Yeah. Get clear on your finances, be intentional about the decision and money isn't everything. And you can always go back and get a job and sounds like you can probably negotiate the stock that you gave up anyways. If you decide to come back. If Google wants you more than Facebook wants, you they'll do it, but let's not even go down that route.

Neither of them can have you right now check out four more months. Yeah. 

So the second question is what piece of advice would you give to someone early on their path to financial independence? 

Jess Shuralef: Don't make the mistakes I made. I didn't come from a family that was very well off.

My parents worked really hard for the money that they had, but they also had a lot [00:50:00] of debt. And I didn't know that until, I was older and understood what the hell was going on. And so I think that when I got my first job at a college at Google. It was a huge amount of money and I spent it all.

 I didn't think about the future, I was 21 years old. And because this isn't an area that lights me up and it would take so much more energy for me to sit there and fully understand the ins and outs of investing and the stock market. I've gotten a lot better and I understand what's coming in and out of my accounts at any given moment, like I am conscious about what's going on, but I also have taken the steps to partner with financial advisors and ask friends who, have made this, their careers and have conversations around

what are potential options for me? What are smart things to do? What should I be avoiding? What to look into? And it goes back to this for me, like just being really [00:51:00] curious.

Adam Coelho: Makes sense. Yeah. Be curious. Educate yourself. I think that's great advice and don't go into debt if you can avoid it. Okay. 

 The third question is what piece of advice would you give to people getting started with meditation and or mindfulness?

Jess Shuralef: I go back to what we were talking about when we were talking about both of us and in our experiences and it's, there's no one right or wrong way to meditate and to think about mindfulness and If you start and you give up and you start and you give up that's your journey. And that is completely fine.

 I wish someone had told me that in the beginning, like instead of me feeling like I was doing it wrong, I wish someone had just sat me down and said, ultimately what you're trying to achieve is presence and curiosity. And I think I would have been able to wrap my head around it a lot easier and been less, in some ways I was resentful of the process.

Like I'm like, everyone is talking about mindfulness. I, everyone is [00:52:00] telling me like, there's these courses at Google that I'm supposed to be taking but I'm doing it wrong. And the reality is I wasn't doing it wrong. I just had to let go of that notion or that thought that I was doing. 

Adam Coelho: Amazing advice.

Yeah I think so many people have that experience and 

the fourth and final question is how can people connect with you and what you're up to online and how can people find your podcast? 

Jess Shuralef: Awesome. Thank you for asking. You can find me at my website, which is Jessi dot com.

You can find me on Instagram at, this is my truth podcast and my podcast. This is my truth is available on all the major podcast platforms. 

Adam Coelho: Very good. And I will link all of that up in the show notes. Jessi, thank you so much for being here on the podcast today and sharing your truth with us .

Jess Shuralef: Adam.

Thank you. I've had so much fun. I appreciate that. 

Adam Coelho: Thanks so much for joining me on today's episode of The Mindful Fire Podcast. I hope you enjoy this episode with my new friend, Jessi Shuraleff,[00:53:00] the founder and host of the, This Is My Truth Podcast.

 If you got value from today's episode, please hit subscribe wherever you're listening to this podcast, this just lets the providers know you're getting value from the episodes and you want to be here when we produce additional content.

And if you'd like to spread the word about the podcast, please leave a five-star written review on apple podcasts. This helps more people find out about the podcast. 

You can find the full show notes for today's episode, including all of the links, resources and books mentioned in today's episode at mindfulfire.org/41.

 Thanks again. And I'll catch you next time on the mindful fire podcast. 

 

Jessi Shuraleff

Founder & host of This Is My Truth

Jessi Shuraleff spent 13.5 years at Google, effectively leading & coaching sales teams using authenticity, value-based selling & storytelling to drive impact & revenue for her customers. She’s worked with brands both big & small across numerous industries including Retail, Technology, Real Estate & B2B, partnering with brands’ executive suite to build sustainable marketing strategies across brand & performance KPIs. She has recently left the corporate world & has taken the leap into solopreneurship as the founder of the podcast & community, This Is My Truth.

Creating, building, and maintaining relationships is at the core of who she is and authenticity, vulnerability and storytelling have been the cornerstone of her skillset to get her to where she is today as a leader, a podcaster & a mom. Her passion is working with corporate leaders, helping them develop their voice and lean into their superpowers of curiosity, empathy & connection. Her personal mission is to create community & connection through sharing personal stories to empower individuals & brands to step into their own light, reclaim their voice & drive greater impact.