Patrice Tanaka, Founder & Chief Joy Officer of Joyful Planet LLC, interviews people who are actively living their purpose and contributing to a more joyful planet. This interview spotlights Ken Jacobs, founder of Jacobs Communications Consulting and Jacobs Executive Consulting.
PT: Ken, you are one of my favorite people on the planet. And, what I love and admire about you is how you’ve followed your passion and purpose from being a successful PR executive to what you’re doing now. Can you share your life’s purpose with us? I define a life’s purpose as one that leverages your greatest talent and passion in service of people and planet.
KJ: Thanks, and back at you! I’ve learned that my life’s purpose is to help executives and managers, who are primarily in the communications business, empower them to become more effective, insightful, inspired and inspiring leaders, to achieve breakthrough results, and to meet and surpass their career, organizational and personal goals.
PT: Do you think that your career and success in the PR field prepared and/or predisposed you to be doing what you’re doing now?
KJ: There’s definitely a link between the skills I employed in my career in PR agency management and leadership, and the skills I employ in my consulting, training and coaching businesses. All four fields require many of the same building blocks:
- Cheering: In the agency world it’s about being the cheerleader-in-chief, to both clients and team members. In my current practice, it’s about focusing these two skills on all my clients. And it’s particularly important in my executive coaching practice.
- Empathetic Listening: Successful PR agency executives must be empathetic, and employ active listening. One cannot succeed as a consultant or coach unless one comes to these skills naturally.
- Focusing on the Client: While in the agency business, forging partnerships with clients was critical. In some ways, I think this is even more important in my current role. Every ounce of my being is spent on empowering my clients to exceed their goals. There is nothing else: No team, no management, no worries about profitability.
PT: How, when and why did you discover your life’s purpose? Was there a triggering incident?
KJ: I started by writing a vision statement for my life that lead to the creation of Jacobs Communications Consulting, which helps communications agencies grow and manage business, improve client service and relationships, and enhance team performance, communications and leadership skills. I did this, and continue to do this, via consulting, training and coaching. After a few years I realized I very much enjoyed the consulting and was getting repeat assignments, that I loved the training, and that coaching felt like A CALLING. So I went for training at the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC) and was certified by iPEC as a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) and by the International Coach Federation (ICF) as an Associate Certified Coach.
PT: How do you live this purpose in your personal and professional life?
KJ: It’s very simple: I believe that being an executive coach is the very personification of my life’s purpose. In addition, since my focus on my consulting and training is now even more about helping my clients empower themselves to surpass their goals, I believe I’ve become a more effective consultant and trainer. As a result, my work in those areas is expanding, and has become even more fulfilling.
An added benefit is that my knowing I’m living my life purpose, I really don’t have to “sell” in speaking with prospective clients. I give them a sense of my approach, and if they connect with it–BOOM, they become a client! And if they don’t, they’re meant to work with someone else, and that’s fine.
In all this, I must give props to iPEC, which requires its trainees to go through a tremendous amount of coaching and self-coaching, and to Karen Sullivan, a gifted iPEC coach and teacher, who helped me understand that when we remove the roadblocks to our success and satisfaction, both personal and career, and stop accepting BS in our lives, we achieve much greater fulfillment
PT: What is the result of knowing and actively living your life’s purpose?
KJ: A life of contentment. I’m so much happier now than a decade ago, and incredibly happier than 15 years ago. Really it’s beyond my wildest dreams. And I know that I’ll be even more content, happier and more successful in 2016 than I was in 2015!
PT: What is your greatest dream and vision for the life purpose you have chosen?
KJ: It’s simple: To stay on the path and do more of what I’m doing, to help many more leaders, agency personnel and agencies, and to know that this will help me live a life of abundance. And to always be grateful for having figured out my life purpose!
PT: What do you think you would be doing now if you hadn’t determined and then actively begun to live your purpose?
KJ: Oh, I probably would have worked a few more agency jobs, and done “OK,” but absent a life purpose, I would just be going through the paces. And I probably would be miserable!
PT: How important is it for people to discover their life’s purpose?
KJ: Other than having one’s health, and the support of loved ones, family, and friends, it’s the most important thing anyone can do.