Casey J. Cornelius (00:03):
Hey everyone, and welcome to the latest episode of the ForCollegeForLife podcast. My name is Casey Cornelius. I am the founder of ForCollegeForLife, and I am also the host of this podcast, which means I get the opportunity to interview the people who make us who we are, the speakers and consultants, and writers, and all the people that make us America’s leading college speaking agency. Over the last few weeks, it’s been a real pleasure to also introduce you to some of our newest speakers, the newest voices to our roster. And today I have the opportunity to interview one of those voices, one of the people who make us who we are. So let, let me tell you a little bit about her first and then go ahead and bring her to the mic and, and we’ll spend a little time talking about all the great stuff that she does.
So, Jessi Beyer is an award nominated international speaker and the number one bestselling author of How to Heal Practical Guide to Nine Integrative Therapies That Can Help Release Trauma. That’s a title, we’re gonna get into that one a little bit. Jessi was named The 2020 Young Entrepreneur to Watch by Idea Mensch. Jessi has been featured in over 160 media outlets, probably more even since I’m, I’m reading this, including Thrive Global Refinery 29 and Elite Daily. She’s spoken to thousands of people around the world through groups like Penn State University Leader, cast now, and the Institute on Violence Abuse and Traumas International Summit. Jessi holds a master’s degree in clinical that’s not clinical. Let me try that one more time. Jessi holds a master’s degree in critical psychology and human services from Prescott College and outside of her professional life. This is a fun fact. She is a canine search and rescue handler with her dog Phoebe. So, without any further ado, let me go ahead and bring to the bike. None other than Jessi Beyer. Jesse, I made a little mistake on your intro. I think, you know, like supplanted one word for another, but what an impressive bio.
Jessi Beyer (02:06):
Thank you. Thank you. And you are by far not the first person to have done that. I, I have to very much enunciate it when I’m saying it to people. Critical psychologies, cuz everyone just hears clinical,
Casey J. Cornelius (02:17):
So, okay. So hold on just a sec before we get into like, the plan for today. Let’s do this. Can you explain what critical psychology is?
Jessi Beyer (02:26):
Absolutely. So it’s basically an analysis of the ways in which mainstream and traditional psychology has excluded and marginalized different populations. So, my degree looked a lot at the ways in which psychology, and that includes everything from clinical psychology to neuropsychology to personality and intelligence psychology. So not just, you know, mental illness, but everything related to humans. How that field has marginalized people of color, LGBTQ individuals, people with disabilities, and really broke down the ways in which white, upper middle class male individuals have formed a field that theoretically explains all of humanity. So it was a very, very fun degree to get to dig into some of those pieces and, and have my mind open to the fact that, wow, this this field that is supposed to encompass everyone is actually quite exclusionary.
Casey J. Cornelius (03:22):
I can imagine that I’m not the only one who, what we’re like 13 seconds into this recording ha has learned something new. I, I did not know that there was a academic field of study that looked at not only psychology, but also the evolution of psychology and the, the gaps and flaws that have been created with its evolution over time.
Jessi Beyer (03:45):
Yeah, it was, it was really fascinating. I, I have an undergraduate degree in psych as well, so I went into this master’s program decently confident that I understood psychology, at least from a, a broad level. And my mind was just blown over and over and I finished the degree being like, oh my gosh, how do no one know about this? How are we not talking about this and fixing this and diving into this more? So, I highly recommend that field for anyone who’s at all interested in psychology or human services,
Casey J. Cornelius (04:13):
Which by the way, for our students who are listening to this podcast, that should be the way that you feel about your program of study. Like, oh my goodness, like, I never knew. Like, you should have that type of enthusiasm and you could hear it coming through. So, yeah, just, just one word. Sparks that question. I, I wanna talk about probably the, the part of your bio that jumps off the page the most, Jessi, and probably the one that, that our listeners are, are most wowed by, I would imagine so best selling author. So the book is How to Heal. Can you talk a little bit about the, that message, the evolution of it and the, I guess the inspiration?
Jessi Beyer (04:51):
Definitely. So we can absolutely go back and dive into more of my personal story, which is very much underpinning my entire career, including my authorship. But what really happened with that book is I thought that it was kind of talk therapy or bust, you know, in terms of healing from trauma, healing from any type of mental health struggle. You either went to talk therapy or you got no professional help. That’s what I thought. And then in my undergrad degree, I took a random course cuz I needed another credit for nature-based therapies. And my mind was just open to the fact that there are more ways to heal with professional help than just talk therapy. So I started learning more about these different types of integrative therapies, including things like dance movement therapy, which is what my undergrad capstone thesis paper was on animal assisted therapies like equine assisted therapy and canine assisted therapy, trauma sensitive yoga, E M D R, mindfulness and meditation, all of these different ways of healing that people didn’t necessarily know about, that I didn’t know about.
And as I started digging into some of the case studies and the published research and then interviewing some professionals who are experts in these fields, I was like, oh my gosh, I, I have to tell people about this with my personal story. After my experience with trauma and mental illness, I went to one day of talk therapy and I was so incredibly uncomfortable with it that I literally ran out of the building. And I never went back. So my whole healing journey was done essentially by myself. I didn’t have any type of therapy or professional support, which I believe made that journey so much longer, so much more complicated, and with so many more ups and downs. So when I found out about these other methods, I was like, oh my goodness, how many people are in the boat that I was, where they think I can either go to talk therapy or I get nothing, and maybe they tried talk therapy and they didn’t like it, or it didn’t work, or maybe they’re too uncomfortable with talk therapy to even go in the first place.
And so I was like, I have to share this. So I started putting the book together and, and working through the manuscript, and I got to speak to so many incredible therapists, so many trauma survivors, and really just put together this guide that at least from my opinion, is a very approachable way of understanding trauma healing. I wrote it for the trauma survivor and for the loved one of a trauma survivor, not for the professional, not for the academic. So it’s not gonna read like a textbook, it’s gonna read like mm-hmm. <Affirmative> a letter from your best friend where you are taken by the hand and shown all of these options. My role is not to tell you, oh, you have this particular type of trauma and therefore you need this type of therapy. My my job is just to give you the menu. And maybe you didn’t even know that some of these items were on the menu, but now you do, and now you have a big, a bigger and better chance of finding a path to healing that’s gonna work for you and your unique situation.
Casey J. Cornelius (07:36):
You know, Jesse, I’m, I’m, a lot of things come to mind this, this conversation. The one is the idea of traditional talk therapy, right? So please correct me if I’m under understanding this, this inaccurately, but it is the, the stereotypical, you know person sitting in a chair or someone sitting in another chair laying on a couch or whatever it might be, and, and, and sort of a, a free flowing conversation of, of ideas and and so forth that has been the norm for psychological therapy for generations. Is is that, is that an accurate way of saying it?
Jessi Beyer (08:15):
Yes, and it still is. So within talk therapy, there are different types including cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, prolonged exposure. There’s lots of different types of talk therapy, but in general, yes, it involves you sitting with a therapist and using verbal communication in order to work through a problem. And to this day, that is what the American Psychological Association recommends as the primary treatments for a lot of different types of mental health disorders, including PTs D
Casey J. Cornelius (08:43):
Hmm. Gotcha. Okay. And, and I, I guess, I guess the one thing, and maybe it’s it’s post pandemic collectively, but you know, I’m thinking over last five to 10 years or so forth, I think even the acknowledgements of trauma has become more normalized. I mean, there’s, there seemed to be at some point in time, a a tipping point where the, there might have been like clear examples of trauma, but then other people sort of judging whether or not a certain experience is traumatic enough to, to to hit the, the spectrum of, of needs of assistance and so forth. It seems that things are much more inclusive now as it relates to experiences over the, the course of one’s life being recognized as traumatic. Would, would you say that that’s true as well?
Jessi Beyer (09:38):
I, I would say that to an extent, and I think there’s some pros and cons on both sides of that. So just to dive into that a little bit deeper, if you read the D DSM right now, the most recent version of the dsm, which is the pretty much Bible of mental illness diagnoses for clinical practitioners, there is a very strict set of criteria that defines an event that qualifies for a diagnosis of P T S D. And I’m gonna, I’m, I’m paraphrasing here, but it’s along the lines of you have to experience a threat to your life or a threat to someone’s life, or a threat or st extent of sexual harm. So there’s a very, and that’s kinda broad, I guess, but there’s, there’s a type of event that qualifies and there’s a type of event that doesn’t, right. And to your point, in recent years, a lot more expansion has happened with people being understanding of the fact that different people are gonna consider different events traumatic, and just because it doesn’t necessarily meet the diagnostic criteria for P T S D doesn’t mean that a person isn’t going to have ongoing clinical problems arising from that event that they had.
So in that way, yes, it’s definitely gotten broader from a community perspective, not necessarily from a diagnostic criteria perspective, but unfortunately what’s happened with that is trauma and triggered are kind of two keywords that, in my opinion and in the opinion of a lot of other people in the psychological space are becoming a little bit overused. Hmm. Sometimes people are using the word triggered to describe, oh, I’m uncomfortable with this situation. Oh, I don’t like this situation. I feel stressed by this situation. And all of those are completely valid experiences. There’s, there’s nothing wrong or shameful about feeling uncomfortable. They’re stressed by a situation, but that is very different from, triggered from having a trauma reaction to a situation. And so what happens is, yes, we’re getting much more awareness, much more acceptance of trauma and things like that, but then it starts getting used maybe a little bit too much, and then we still have those people that are not understanding and accepting of trauma and trauma reactions that are like, oh, you’re just triggered by everything. Trauma isn’t actually real, you’re just being ridiculous. And then we go right back to the place of people not being accepting of trauma. So it’s this weird cycle that happens and I think we’re at right now is a much better place than we’ve been in the past in terms of acceptance and understanding of trauma and triggers and things like that. But I also think we need a little bit of a distinction between a traumatic event and a triggering reaction versus, I’m uncomfortable, I’m stressed, I don’t like this situation.
Casey J. Cornelius (12:10):
Gotcha. So the, the distinction being a true triggering, triggering experience versus cognitive discomfort.
Jessi Beyer (12:19):
Yeah, I think that’s a good way to put it.
Casey J. Cornelius (12:20):
Okay. Excellent. Well, listen folks, if, if you’re not yet familiar with Jessi, please take a second if you haven’t already forcollegeforlife.com/jessi, J E S S I, no E at the end of it, J e s s it, it probably leads us into one of your signature programs, Jessi. Maybe you can talk a little bit about the evolution of this as well. So, so you have a program called, with the Best of Intentions, how to safely and successfully support someone who’s struggling with mental health. Can you talk a little bit about the origin of that and then also what, what problem you’re trying to solve there?
Jessi Beyer (12:55):
Definitely. So this goes back into kind of my personal story that underpins my career, my book, different things like that. When I was in high school, I really struggled with my mental health. I mean, we’re talking everything from depression, anxiety, disordered eating, and body dysmorphia, self-harm, suicidal ideation, kind of the whole gamut there. And I was also in a relationship with someone who was really struggling with his mental health. And when he opened up to me about everything that he was going through, I felt so special and so important, and I took his care as my life’s mission. So I was gonna do anything that I possibly could in order to keep him happy and therefore keep him alive. And that meant I was lying to people like friends, counselors, our parents. I was giving him my time, my energy, my body, everything that I possibly could again in this quest to keep him happy and therefore alive.
And this relationship, unfortunately ended with his suicide attempt and my calling the police to prevent that from happening. And that was a, a very difficult night. Lots going on there, a lot of high emotions, a lot of stress, a lot of trauma, things like that. But what I learned after that scenario was that I did pretty much everything incorrectly when I was trying to support him, as well as dealing with my own mental health challenges. And I know how much I got hurt by that situation. I know how much he got hurt by that situation because I had no boundaries, because I wasn’t doing the right things. And I know that there are a lot of other kids, whether that’s high school kids or college students, or even just, you know, anyone in the population who is in that position of supporting someone who’s struggling.
And so I wanted to put together a presentation, especially for young people like college students and high school students, where I could sit them down and say, okay, here’s what to do. Here’s what not to say, you know, you might have the best of intentions like my presentation title, but actually this is kind of how these things can be interpreted when you say them. And then here’s what to do, here’s how to support them, here’s how to hold the space. And then the third part that I think is really important that is overlooked in a lot of like mental health first aid trainings, is how do you take care of yourself? How do you set boundaries? How do you make sure that you are supported? How do you make sure that you are not getting trampled over in the process of supporting someone else? So just to kind of sum it up, this presentation was really born from all of the mistakes that I made and how much I got hurt in that process, and trying to make sure that no one else finds themself in that position of supporting someone else, but having no idea how to do it and getting hurt in the process.
Casey J. Cornelius (15:29):
You know, I’m, as I’m listening to you, I’m, I’m thinking about the way we, I guess it kind of goes back to a theme from before as well, the way that we teach people to be supportive of others, right? L look out for your friends, look out for your teammates or your sisters or your brothers when, when it seems like they’re struggling have meaningful conversations and dialogues with them. But, but as you say, we don’t do very much to equip them on how to manage that weight as well, right?
Jessi Beyer (16:06):
Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, it’s really interesting. It’s exactly like you said, both support them when they’re struggling and you’re like, okay, but like, how do I do that? And we never, we never follow that up with anything.
Casey J. Cornelius (16:19):
And then, and then I guess the, the ripple of that is, let’s say you do support that person that you care about love, you know, and in the best way that you can. There’s never really a, now what do you do for yourself to manage and negotiate what you just experienced too?
Jessi Beyer (16:38):
Casey J. Cornelius (16:39):
So if, if someone’s listening to this and they’ve heard all the be there for your friends, your teammates, that all, all that message, like, is there a, is there a big idea that you would share that that maybe can help them listening to this right now?
Jessi Beyer (16:53):
Definitely. So the big idea, or one of the big ideas that I talk about in my presentation that is kind of the, the blanket answer for this is a concept called holding this space. And some people have heard it, some people are a little bit familiar with it, but not a lot of people know exactly what it means. And it’s an interesting concept. I’m gonna get into it in just a second, but a lot of people are like, okay, great, what do I say? What do I do? What are the right words? What’s, you know, how do I touch them on the shoulder and the right way that conveys that I care? And they want all these really nitty gritty things of actions and words. And what I try to get into people’s head is that none of that matters as much as you think it does.
The way in which you show up and the way in which you interact with them matters so much more than anything you could possibly say, or any magic thing that you could possibly do. And so that’s what it means really to hold the space, is to show up in a way and create a space in which this person who’s struggling can come in any emotional state, and they’re not gonna be judged, they’re not gonna be shamed, they’re not gonna be criticized, and they’re not gonna be fixed. And so people are like, okay, great, well, well what do I do? And I’m like, you don’t have to do anything. You don’t have to say anything. You don’t have to do the magic touch on the shoulder in a certain way. You have to be a space in which this person can show up. And that is so hard for, for people to get through their heads, especially people who are problem solvers, cuz they’re like, but I know they need these things.
Why can’t I give them those things? And for the most part, when people are coming to you in a state of emotional distress, they’re not necessarily looking for the solution. And maybe the solution that you think is gonna work for them isn’t gonna work for them because their situation is different, their personality is different, their experience is different. And so maybe you, you do show up with that solution and then it’ll kinda falls apart, right? Because that solution is, isn’t the right one that they’re looking for. And so it is really truly difficult in its simplicity because all you are doing, which when I say all I mean, is a huge supportive thing that you can do. But all you’re doing is being there for that person. And sometimes that means silence, and sometimes that means stillness. And those things are so much more powerful than you could possibly imagine for someone. You don’t have to have the magic words or the magic actions, you just have to be able to validate what they’re going through and be able to carry whatever it is that they bring to you in that moment so that they don’t have to hold that weight by themselves.
Casey J. Cornelius (19:26):
You, you said something in that answer that really struck me, even wrote it down. You, you shouldn’t, the goal shouldn’t be to try to fix someone. And I, I think we’ve, you know, most of us have probably found ourselves in that position where it’s like, I, not only do I want to help this person through this experience or, or through this this tough time, but I wanna, I wanna fix what’s causing it. I, I wanna, I wanna fix the root of, of the problem. And I think I heard you say that that’s not really the priority as much as just simply being there.
Jessi Beyer (20:04):
Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, you’re absolutely right. And that is so difficult for so many people, myself included. I’m a huge fixer. If someone comes to me with a problem and I think I have a solution, it is really, really hard for me to not share it and to just be quiet and listen and validate and do all those things that I just talked about, because I think I’m right and I, I know it’s gonna make it better if they can just listen to what I’m saying and do what I’m telling them to do. And there’s a couple things that are wrong with that. One of which is that when you’re struggling with your mental health, oftentimes you feel very out of control. You feel that life is happening to you or that your emotions and thoughts are happening to you. You’re just kind of being tossed about in the sea.
You’re not in control of your life. And so for me, as the support system to come in and say, no, no, no, no, I got this. This is what you need. This is the answer. Just do what I’m telling you. Hopefully not in those exact words, right? Right, right. But there’s that energy behind it. Yet again, they’re not in control. Someone else is telling them what to do. Someone else is telling them what they need. And there is a huge amount of empowerment that can be found from deciding those things for yourself. Even if it seems like when you’re struggling, all you want is just, God, someone tell me what to do so I don’t have to struggle like this anymore. For you to be able to say, oh, I actually know what I need right now and I actually know what I want. And maybe it took a while and a lot of silence and a lot of space held for me to come to that answer.
But I chose that. I chose that solution. And like I said, there’s a ton of empowerment in that. There’s kind of this analogy that I like to give which is thinking about a boulder. And if you think of mental illness as a boulder, the person who’s struggling with mental illness right now, they’re carrying that boulder all by themselves. It is really, really heavy. It is painful, it is exhausting, and they’re doing it all by themselves. When people come in to support them, it can be so, so tempting to say, all right, person, give me the boulder. I got it. I’m gonna carry it for you for a little bit. Totally. Got it. You take a break, I got the boulder. And in reality, that’s, that’s not what needs to happen because of everything I already talked about. Instead, if you can come in and say, Hey, let me wrap another strap around this boulder, I’ll carry that strap.
You carry your strap, and now that load is a little bit lighter. Your job is not to carry the boulder for them or fix all of their problems for them. Your role is to carry it with them and allow them to be helped by you, but not completely fixed by you. And sometimes that just makes it make a little more sense for people understanding that distinction. But it’s really, really important. Again, your job is not to come in, push them outta the way, carry the weight for them, and tell them what to do. Your job is to be there with them and in support of them not taking control over them.
Casey J. Cornelius (22:52):
I suspect a lot of folks who are listening to this podcast right now are, are, are clapping, snapping giving some amens what, what whatever it might be is, you know, maybe they’re hearing your voice, Jessi, for the first time folks, if, if you’d like to learn more about Jessi again forcollegeforlife.com/jessi, so we’ve been sort of outward facing other focused in our conversation thus far. But you have another program that I think the, the title in and of itself probably is going to jump off the page to a lot of folks. And that is how to design a life. You don’t hate passion and purpose and authenticity. So give me the cliff notes that, boy, that’s an old reference. Give, give me the, the, the quick version of how to design a life that you don’t hate.
Jessi Beyer (23:41):
I love it. And I love the Cliff notes reference too. Whenever I’d go to the, and they’d have the like actual Cliff notes books, I’d be all over it. But anyway, for that presentation, when I started kind of getting into entrepreneurship, there was so much about mindset and manifestation and know your why and plan your life and vision boards and all of this stuff. And I was like, like I found the, the holy grail. This is what I need to do. And I got so into that that I kind of actually lost myself because everyone was telling me, this is what you need to do, this is how you’re gonna design your dream life, know all these things, make this vision board, and I would forget what I actually wanted and get lost in kind of the, the magic of it, I suppose. And I know there’s a lot of people out there who are very much into that, very much into the magic and the manifestation, and I love that for them.
But for me, I was very much kind of an end still, who am I kidding? Very much a logical person. And I wanted steps and I wanted a bit of science behind it. And so I kind of took all of that, right? Like all of that manifestation and mindset and vision boards and stuff like that and put it into a very step-by-step presentation. We’re figuring out what you actually want. And so that’s really what we go through in that presentation is we go through the what, the why and the how. So the first part, what do you want? Everyone knows smart goals. Everyone has probably sat through at least one goal setting workshop and they teach you how to achieve the goals that you set, but they don’t really tell you how to figure out what you actually want in the first place besides giving you a couple minutes to write down the goals that you want that you should just automatically know.
And so I have a little system for, for going a little bit deeper and digging behind those automatic thoughts to figure out what it is you, you really do want. And then we look at why. So why do you want that? What is your motivation for getting that? And how do we harness that in a way that’s gonna carry you through some of those ups and downs in difficult times? Then the final is the how, and this is not necessarily the how of achieving the goal, but the how of staying focused on the goal. Some people have probably heard of shiny object syndrome where, you know, this goal gets a little bit challenging, we hit a roadblock, and then something magical new over here opens up and we’re so excited about that. And so now we’re off chasing that thing and then that gets a little bit difficult and then, oh my gosh, look at this thing over here.
And then we’re over here and we never actually give ourselves enough time to focus on the thing that we wanted in the first place. We’re kind of bouncing around from shiny object to shiny object. So the final piece of that, in essence is kind of creating a vision board, but there is much more logic and and science a little bit behind that to turn it into really an attention focusing tool using the what and the why from the previous steps, that you’re not just bouncing from shiny object to shiny object, you’re really staying focused on what you know you want and using your why as motivation to help you get there.
Casey J. Cornelius (26:39):
What do you say to folks who don’t know how to, to set down one of their, their whats right? So maybe this was something that they identified as a goal six months ago or six years ago or whatever it might be, and, and they, they don’t know how to un untie themselves from that from that trajectory.
Jessi Beyer (26:57):
Yeah. You mean in terms of like people that need to pivot and try something else?
Casey J. Cornelius (27:01):
Yeah, or, you know, I I, I see a lot of times I’m, I’m thinking of like the student leader and, and the one who has 26 titles listed on their, their email signature, you know, president of this and vice president of this, all these other kind of things. If, if you were to not you specifically, but if one were to suggest to them, Hey, maybe you should drop the eighth organization on the list so that you have more time to focus on, on other things like your wellbeing or the relationship or whatever it might be, they might look at you as if it was an impossible suggestion. So what would you say to someone who feels like they, they can’t let go of something that they once identified as a goal?
Jessi Beyer (27:47):
Mm, I love that. So my first question to that person would be in a, a very non-judgmental way, what are you getting out of that thing? What is that eighth or ninth or 26th organization giving you? How is that bringing you closer to your goals? And the first answer is probably gonna be, oh, well, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, looks good on the resume, blah, blah, blah. Like some kind of defense, right? To why they need that, right? Right. And then just going a little bit deeper and saying, okay, well if you do have that on the resume, you know, how is that gonna help you walk me through it? And getting them just to slow down a little bit and think about is this thing or how is this thing really helping me? Now, maybe for example, they are studying political science, they want a career in politics and they’re the president of the campus Democrats club, or I don’t, I don’t even know they’re the, the president of some political organization on campus.
And they can tell me, oh, because I’m involved in this organization, I get the chance to meet this person and this person gave me this internship that I need for my degree that allowed me to get a job in this office. Right? Like they have some sort of game plan for how that’s gonna work, and maybe the game plan is gonna change. Maybe it’s not gonna work out exactly as they think, but they’re able to articulate, oh, because I’m involved in this thing, it’s gonna help me reach this result that is tied to the goal that I have, then great, perfect. Keep it by all means. But if they’re that same student, the political science student that is really involved in the campus zoological organization, right? Right. and they’re like, well, I mean, animals are cool and, and sometimes politics are about animals and <laugh> and you know, there, there’s not a lot there.
Then that’s an opportunity to say, Hey, I’m all for hobbies. I think hobbies are phenomenal. I’m a big fan of the campus zoological organization, but maybe right now this isn’t contributing to your goals as much as you think. And just putting that seed of thought in their brain. And if I get them to say it, this is kind of getting into like more communication strategies. But if I can get them to say that and reach that conclusion themselves by the questions that I ask, that is even better. But my point is, if they can get to that point where they’re like, Ooh, this isn’t actually contributing as much as I think, then that’s an opportunity to start that discussion of maybe we need to focus more on your health right now instead of the campus zoological organization. The other thing is that I wanna know what they will lose by dropping that organization.
Because if they’re holding onto something really tight, whether it is an activity or an organization or even a relationship or an identity or a class, or really anything, if they’re holding onto something, maybe it’s not because they think it’s gonna get them to their goal, but they’re afraid of what it’s gonna mean if they no longer have it. So maybe they’ve been told their whole life, you don’t quit anything. If you sign up for something, you finish it, it doesn’t matter if you like it or not, you honor that commitment. And if you don’t, you’re a quitter, you’re a failure, you’re a terrible person. Maybe that’s the message they got growing up. And so maybe they hate the campus zoological organization, maybe they know it’s getting them nowhere closer to their goals, but they believe to their core that if they drop that they’re a failure. And so if we can get to the root of that and help them acknowledge, oh, that’s why I care about this so much, that gives an opportunity to kind of dissect that and then make a conscious choice instead of being led by all of these subconscious, but very valid fears and threats and things like that.
Casey J. Cornelius (31:15):
I just have a feeling that there’s someone listening right now on a, on a treadmill or in a car or plane or train or whatever it might be, who’s like, yes, yes, this is the answer. And I, if you’re feeling that way and you wanna learn more about Jessi again forcollegeforlife.com/jessi, Jessi, you’re talking about animals. I gotta ask about a really important animal. Can you tell us about Phoebe?
Jessi Beyer (31:41):
I I can. She is laying here right next to me right now, <laugh>. So I got Phoebe actually when I was in college my senior year. It was, it was quite interesting, actually. This is maybe more information than you wanted, but at the very beginning of my senior year of college my boyfriend at the time, his parents picked up this little gray kitten from a library parking lot, and they already had a cat, and that would probably eat, said small kitten. And they were like, Jessie, can you just keep it until we find an owner for it? And I’m like, sure, why not? So we took it to the vet. There wasn’t a microchip we looked for, you know, we put up posters, Facebook groups, all the things. And so that’s kind of how I ended up with my cat at the beginning of my senior year.
And then th so she was, I don’t know, probably six months old at the time, and then three weeks later I got Phoebe, who was 12 weeks old at the time. So I was like raising these two children, animals my senior year of college, and it was just a complete, in the best possible way. But anyway yes, Phoebe is my dog. She is a Brittany which is a brown and white bird dog, if you’ve seen a Springer spaniel, it’s very similar to that. And she is my best friend. We do pretty much everything together. We’re training for search and rescue for trailing, which looks kind of similar to what you see some police dogs do, but with some differences that are probably beyond the scope of this podcast. But yeah, we are, we are taking over the world together, and she is absolutely the best part of my life.
Casey J. Cornelius (33:09):
I I knew that we had to work that into the conversation. I mean, so when someone says that they’re involved in canine Search and rescue, you know, you at least have to ask the question, right?
Jessi Beyer (33:20):
Casey J. Cornelius (33:22):
That’s awesome. Well, speaking of some more personal questions, can we get you outta here on some five rapid fire questions, get to know you hard hitting questions. You ready for those?
Jessi Beyer (33:32):
So, ready? Hit me with them.
Casey J. Cornelius (33:34):
Okay, here we go. So let’s imagine for a second that you have an entire day to binge watch anything. What do you choose?
Jessi Beyer (33:43):
So it’s gonna be probably one of two. It’s either gonna be Supernatural or Arrow. And I’ve watched both of those at least twice through all of them, <laugh>, so they’re nothing new. But they’re oddly enough because they’re kind of dark and violent my comfort shows. So yeah,
Casey J. Cornelius (34:05):
We can spend another podcast alone, just on, on that answer, I think. But okay, those are the two. Okay. Yep. Jesse, what is the most used app on your phone?
Jessi Beyer (34:15):
Either my calendar app or Kindle? I, I read a lot, so that’s definitely a popular one. And then my calendar app, I would completely lose my mind and forget half of the things that I’m supposed to do if it was not on my calendar.
Casey J. Cornelius (34:28):
You know, I think you’re the first person who’s referenced the calendar app, and, and I agree completely. Yeah, I, I think, so I’m kind of going back through my, my mental Rolodex here. Like some people have, have talked about like the Notes app and stuff like that, but the calendar app, it’s, it’s essential. Like, it’s, it’s, it’s essential.
Jessi Beyer (34:47):
It totally is. I mean, 50 50, I wouldn’t have shown up for this interview if my calendar <laugh>
Casey J. Cornelius (34:53):
Now we’re pulling back the curtain a little too far now. <Laugh>. All right, Jessie, here we go. Who would you most like to have dinner with?
Jessi Beyer (35:01):
So, I am a huge fan of Sophia Bush. She is an actor, she is a political activist, an all around phenomenal human being. She hosts, I think it’s over now, a great podcast called Work In Progress. And there’s just something about her, I mean, I love her work as an actor, but there’s something about the way she communicates that I feel like we could just go miles deep into both of us in a conversation. I, I would absolutely love to meet her.
Casey J. Cornelius (35:28):
Okay, excellent. All. So what do you do to wind down, like end of the day it’s been busy, it’s been hectic, what, whatever it might be, do you have any sort of rituals or things that you do each day that signal now’s the time to relax? What do you do to wind down?
Jessi Beyer (35:45):
For me, like I mentioned, the Kindle app is a huge part of my life, but it really is reading. And even if, you know, for example, last summer I was a hider for an overnight search and rescue seminar. So we were up all night doing trailing through downtown Bellingham at night. It was so amazing. Hold
Casey J. Cornelius (36:04):
On, hold on, hold on, hold on. Let’s, let’s not skip past this cuz nobody knows what you just said. You were a fair enough, a hider.
Jessi Beyer (36:11):
Yes. So I was the person that the dogs were looking for.
Casey J. Cornelius (36:16):
Okay. All right. For, for some of us that would be like massive fear inducing experience, but, but they have to train, right? This is, this is the way they train.
Jessi Beyer (36:26):
Yeah. Oh my gosh. I know that some people are not dog people, but hiding is, it’s one of the best, it’s so much fun because the dogs love their job and so they’ll come, you know, flying around a corner and they’ll see you hiding behind a bush and their eyes, they just light up. And some of them are, are very enthusiastic, and so they like crawl into your lap and you’re getting kisses and you, you get to play with them or feed them treats, and it’s just, it is so much fun. So I, I adore hiding for dogs.
Casey J. Cornelius (36:55):
Okay. <laugh>, I’m, I’m trying to envision if, if that collection of words have ever been put together in a sentence before. <Laugh> I adore hiding. Ok. I’ll tell
Jessi Beyer (37:06):
You for sure. It has been, most people in search and rescue in canine search and rescue, they, they enjoy hiding too. So I’m not totally crazy, I promise.
Casey J. Cornelius (37:14):
No, no, no, no. I, and, and I’m not, not suggesting that. So, okay. So it’s the end of the day had a long day, you, you would go to the Kindle App, that is your wind down method.
Jessi Beyer (37:22):
Yeah. And my point of bringing up that seminar was, even though I was completely exhausted, like I could barely keep my eyes open. I still read a chapter before I went to sleep. Like, there’s just something about reading a chapter and then putting the phone away and having it be dark and going to sleep. That really kind of tells me, okay, we’re done the day, even if we’re already tired and had a long day and things like that.
Casey J. Cornelius (37:43):
Well, this is, this is gonna be part B. So I know a lot of people also get semi addicted to, to the streak. Right? So you have the, the streak of days that you read on Kendall or o other sorts of apps. Do you have one of those as well?
Jessi Beyer (37:55):
I don’t can you set a streak on Kindle? I don’t even know.
Casey J. Cornelius (38:00):
Yeah, apparently that’s a thing where it’s like, I have read every day for 42 days, or I have read every day for 60 days. Like, and, and if it’s missed I, I talked to someone one time who they realized at like 12:05 AM that they had missed their day and they lost, like, I, I don’t wanna say maybe like a hundred days or something like that streak of days that you, that you read in a row and they were just, they were just mortified by it.
Jessi Beyer (38:26):
Oh, wow. Yeah, no, I mean, great. But no, that’s not something for me.
Casey J. Cornelius (38:31):
<Laugh>. Alright, last question. And this interesting, I, I have a feeling that there’s going to be a story to this. So, so here we go, Jessi, how can listeners best connect with you?
Jessi Beyer (38:43):
Yes. This question. So <laugh>, I very much, okay, well, the short answer is I’m on Instagram at ItsJessiBeyer. Gimme a follow, send me a dm, send me a dog picture, all of the things. The story behind that is I have a very love, hate, mostly hate relationship with social media. I found myself for a while getting really sucked in, into comparison and competitiveness with other people on social media, kind of an addiction of like having to check in with what certain people were doing on social media. And also kind of like I mentioned earlier, this feeling of losing my own voice because I was ingesting so many voices of other people, and it was kind of like, I didn’t even know what I thought about something anymore. I only knew what other people thought, and then I, they became my thoughts because I just saw them so much on social media.
And so I decided for a little bit. I was like, I’m just taking a break. Mm-Hmm. Like, I don’t feel like I’m getting anything good out of social media. I don’t feel like I’m benefiting from it. I mean, yes, I’ve had phenomenal conversations with students after presentations, and I love those and value those so much, but just kind of the day to day on social media, I really didn’t feel like I was benefiting. In fact, I, I felt like I was actually being harmed by it. So I was like, I am just taking a break. I’m stepping away. And I did so for a couple months and it felt so good just to not have that input anymore. And then obviously some conversations with some people cough, Casey Cough <laugh> were like, so, you know, you’re kind of running a business and social media is kind of important. And so I’m like, oh, fine. So I’m occasionally on social media, but if you send me a dm, wanna have a conversation, whether it is something lighthearted like a dog picture or something more serious, like you want some advice or you wanna talk through a situation related to mental health, please feel free to do so. I’m more than happy to have those conversations.
Casey J. Cornelius (40:39):
I, I wa I wanna say this, and I know we’re recording and I know this is, you know, going, going to go out to the universe and everything like that. Okay. First of all I don’t disagree with you. And in, in some ways, I sometimes close my eyes and think to myself, what if, you know, we didn’t, we didn’t have to put it out there. But the truth is, people want to know you and they want to know what you think. And, you know, my guess is we’ve been having this conversation for, I don’t know, 45 minutes or whatever. It’s like people are like, ah, I wanna know more about Jesse and I’m gonna go follow her right now. And that’s one of the, the biggest challenges to this line of work is that you know, sometimes people want to chat even, even after we’re off stage. So I, I admire you, I admire you for recognizing your boundaries and knowing, look, this is where I’m comfortable and this is where I’m not comfortable, and this is how much time and this is I, I, I certainly admire it.
Jessi Beyer (41:36):
Thank you. And to your point, if you as a listener are like, Hey, I really wanna know more about Jessi, social media can definitely help. But oftentimes you’re getting five or 10 seconds in a reel, or you’re getting one post and a caption. What I would encourage you to do, if you really do want more of my story and more of my input on my website, I have a list of all the places that I’ve been featured, all the different media outlets go through and listen to some other podcast interviews or some other written interviews that I’ve done. Those are a lot more in-depth. And instead of just getting the five or 10 seconds on social media, you’re gonna get 30, 45, 60 minutes of conversation and backstory and things like that. So if, if that’s your goal, if you, for whatever reason do wanna dive more into my story I would recommend doing some, some kind of media listens. Cause I feel like that might give you a better understanding of me and my background and things like that.
Casey J. Cornelius (42:26):
And listen, if you’ve made it this far in the podcast, you will recognize when you listen to those other interviews. And so obviously they’re not as good as this one, but they probably, no, I’m just teasing. I’m just, just having a good time with it. Folks, thank you so much for for giving us some of your time. It’s such a pleasure getting to introduce you to our, our newest voices. And my hunch is, if you’ve made it this far, the podcast, there’s been at least one moment in this interview where you’re like, wow, th this is really cool. I want to know more about Jesse. I wanna know more about her programs. I, I, I want to consider bringing her to our campus or, or organizational events. Again, invite you to please go to forcollegeforlife.com/jessi and obviously I have to do the thing where I ask you to do the thing with podcasts that you’re supposed to do and like, and share and subscribe and review. But also, also also, please let us know the conversations that you would like us to have in the future. For example, never got to conversate today with Jesse about our mutual affinity for martial arts and Brazilian juujitsu. Yeah, right. We didn’t even bring it up, but maybe on the next podcast. Anyway, I guess that that’s a teaser to say, one. Jessi, thank you for joining and two, until next time, everyone be well.