JESS RATCLIFFE

HELPING MISSION-DRIVEN LEADERS CREATE IMPACT

I help mission-driven leaders become the person they dream of being, so that they can create the impact they dream of having. As a coach to startup leaders and teams, I’m often one of the few people my clients truly open up to. My coaching enables my clients to: become the person who turns their world-changing vision into reality, spot a way forward when they feel all is lost and find self-belief when they’re swimming in doubt, to trust their inner knowing when most would not.

my formative years were full of adventure

As a child I loved playing outside, climbing trees and building things. My Dad and I would build skate ramps and go-karts. I remember being fascinated with how we could take an idea and turn it into reality. It felt like I grew up with this knowing that I would be an entrepreneur and so I was over the moon when I had the idea for my first business – GaBoom, a video game swapping website – when I was 15.

After years of false starts, I started that business “for real” when I was 19. On my first day of University, I remember declaring to my parents that “this isn’t for me” and that I was going to start GaBoom again, with the secret dream of dropping out to run the business full-time. Within a year of making that declaration, my dream came true.

As I reflect back, it feels like each chapter of my life is marked by a leap of faith, from starting GaBoom and leaving University, to moving on from GaBoom years later to join Mind Candy and then moving to San Francisco with a then small startup, called Big Health. However, the greatest leap of faith for me happened in 2017.

A year earlier, on a Christmas trip home from San Francisco, a phone call completely changed my life. In minutes, I went from feeling like the healthiest I had ever been to a ticking time bomb when I was diagnosed with a life-threatening and ultra-rare blood disease called PNH.

In the blur that followed, I remember a distinct moment when I believed I was going to die, that that was it, the end. In that moment, I remember the weight of fear that I was about to die having barely scraped the surface of my potential.

That moment and that feeling changed everything. It woke me up to how fragile life is and ignited a fire in me to do everything in my power to step into my full potential and create a life that lights me up.

Following that moment, I felt called to discover what was truly possible if I followed my inner knowing, which at the time was telling me that my wake up call had been for a reason and that there was more than “this”. So in 2017, I left my product role in San Francisco to follow that inkling and I’m so grateful I did.

Facing my mortality has been one of the greatest difficulties and gifts of my life so far. On the one hand, I’ll forever be grateful that the experience of believing I was going to die gave me a new perspective on life and possibility. While on the other, it can feel like I’m walking a tightrope between my diagnosis being a blessing or a curse.

we are capable of so much more than we know and there is a universe of untapped potential

It can be mind-boggling to sit with the fact that I have a life-threatening blood disease. That this is something I’ll have forever. It’s created a new me, in so many ways.

Now that I feel out of the darkness that surrounded my initial diagnosis, it feels like my life-long mission is to harness my experience for good – to see it as a blessing, a superpower and a gift that I can share with others.

My diagnosis has taught me – and continues to teach me – so many powerful lessons. It’s taught me that time is our most precious gift. It’s the one thing we spend and never get back. As much as that made sense to me before, it hadn’t landed as strongly. I knew it but I wasn’t living into it.

It’s taught me that we are capable of so much more than we know and there is a universe of untapped potential waiting to be unleashed within us. 

It’s taught me that when we follow our inner knowing – those seeds of ideas and inspiration – and trust ourselves, life unfolds beautifully and our wildest dreams can become possible, even when they feel so out of reach at the time.

After leaving my product role in San Francisco to embark on creating the life I want, I found myself with the exciting and terrifying opportunity to rebuild myself and proactively become the person I’ve always wanted to be. 

One of the skills that has been essential in (re)building myself and helping those I work with build the people they dream of being is my product mindset. 

With a decade of turning ideas into reality behind me, I started applying a product mindset to my personal development and have since helped hundreds of people do the same, through my one-on-one and team coaching.

When we apply a product mindset to building ourselves, our limiting beliefs become assumptions to test, our ideas become prototypes and our actions become experiments. There is no success or failure – there is only learning and curiosity. The gathering of data to fuel our iteration and growth.

This is an object that I find both motivates me and acts as a powerful reminder. A gift I received from my parents after my diagnosis. It’s a necklace with a personal engraving that signifies possibility and purpose. The words engraved serve as a daily reminder of how powerful we truly are and the mission I’m on. There’s a quote that speaks to me so powerfully. It captures the spirit of all my growth and learnings on this part of my journey. It’s how I now choose to show up in the world and make an impact. 

So be kind to yourself, slow down and become conscious about how you show up and live your life – it’s beautiful on the other side, I promise. 

Connect with Jess in the following ways:
Website: jessratcliffe.com
Email: [email protected]
Instagram: @theideascoach
Podcast: theideascoach.com/podcast

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