In Art Of Coaching Podcast

What do index cards, rap names, and velvet pants have in common? I’ll let Jessica Hagy tell you. If that’s not enough of a reason to listen, join us as we learn how our guest uses visual storytelling and humor to make complex topics accessible.

Today we cover:

  • Finding patterns within seemingly disparate topics

  • “Serial killer walls” and other great ways to find connection / build relationships

  • How trashy tv can help your creativity

  • Why tinkering is an essential and marketable skill

  • “Sniglet” and other words that don’t exist but should…

Jessica is an artist and writer best known for her Webby Award-winning blog, “Indexed”.  Her work has been described as “deceptively simple,” “undeniably brilliant,” and “our favorite reason for the Internet to exist.” She’s the author of How to Be Interesting and The Art of War Visualized, among others. As a storyteller, she uses humor and simple visuals to explain and make even the most complex concepts immediately accessible and relevant. Her cartoons have appeared in the New York Times, a blog for Smithsonian, an online column for Forbes and many other major outlets.

Connect with Jessica:

Via her website:

Via her (world famous) visual blog:

Via Twitter: @jessicahagy

Via her TEDx Talk:

You can also check out our other offerings below:

Join Our Coalition Mentoring Program here

Follow me on social media:

Via Instagram: @coach_BrettB

Via Twitter: @coach_BrettB

Subscribe to my YouTube channel here

Learn More About My Courses, Clinics, and Live Events At:


Jessica Hagy  0:00  

I really want to do work that people, need to know. Like, I learned that and that part is not enough to just do work that is creatively satisfying to me. It has to be work that other people get and say, Oh, wow. And it’s not, it’s not showing off anymore. It’s not like, I can prove that I’m really clever. And I can get hired to be clever other places. It’s more like, How can my cleverness make somebody else get something and feel better and like work around a problem. And kind of getting at that bigger meaning a word really means like talking to other people and being in workplaces and figuring out like what other industries I can go and demonstrate, which are pretty much all of them, but then proving it, it’s going to be fun.


Brett Bartholomew  0:55  

Welcome to the Art of coaching podcast, a show aimed at getting to the core of what it takes to change attitudes, behaviors and outcomes in the weight room, boardroom classroom, and everywhere in between. I’m your host, Brett Bartholomew, I’m a performance coach, keynote speaker, and the author of the book conscious coaching. But most importantly, I’m a lifelong student interested in all aspects of human behavior, and communication. I want to thank you for joining me. And now let’s dive into today’s episode.


Hey, how are you? It’s so nice to have you back for another episode of the podcast. I can’t wait to dive in today with our guests. Jessica Hagy. Now, at art of coaching, we’re all about communication and communication can be difficult enough from a verbal and nonverbal standpoint. But when we talk about pictorial representations of things, graphs, charts, Data Statistics, it can get even more muddy. And the thing is, there are special people like Jessica Hagy out there in the world that can take those things. And in a very deceptively simple way. draw connections between them using humor, using the facts at hand. And using just creative genius. There’s no other way to say to make these seemingly disparate ideas more well connected and easier to understand, and I don’t care who you are, that is a very unique talent. If you need to influence a CEO, and administrator, a head Sport Coach, your superior your subordinates anything like that. Being able to make things that look charming, and deceptively simple, is one of the most effective ways that you can get them on your side. So Jessica is an artist and writer best known for her Webby Award winning blog indexed and she literally takes these complex ideas and puts them on index cards. And you’re going to hear more about how that started in a bit. 


And what’s crazy about that is and when we say Webby Award winning, that may not mean much to you, I know I had to research it. But the New York Times literally describes it as the internet’s highest honor. It is presented by an International Academy of digital arts and sciences of more than 2000 people. And these people are subject matter experts. And they determine some of the most useful stuff out there on the internet, which I think we can all agree the Internet has become kind of a cesspool, for quite some time. So somebody like Jessica taking it upon herself to provide such value is incredible. And she is also the author of How to Be interesting, The Art of War visualize a personal favorite of mine, my book conscious coaching very much followed the Art of War kind of idea of know yourself, know thy enemy. And she took one of the most timeless pieces of work and visualized it in 2015 amongst her other books, and they’ve been translated into a dozen languages. Now, the best way you can describe what she does is visual storytelling. It’s something we’re passionate about because it is a form of communication that’s going to be more and more relevant as we continue to go into the depths of the digital age. And she is just somebody that is so humble, so charming, so brilliant, that, I had wanted to have her on for a while and she was gracious enough to respond to my invitation. So without further ado, all of us at art of coaching are proud to bring you Jessica Hagy get ready to laugh and get ready to be informed on a completely different level than you have on any other episode. Here we go.


Guys, welcome back to another episode of The Art of coaching Podcast. I’m here with somebody that I’ve been a fan of for a long time, Jessica Hagy. Jessica, thanks for joining me today.


Jessica Hagy  4:28  

Thank you so much for having me on. 


Brett Bartholomew  4:29  

Yeah, and thanks for improvising guys a little behind the scenes we, like many people during the pandemic sometimes run into technical issues, and it’s our first time in over 114 episodes on Zoom. We’ve had an issue connecting there and Jessica and I are still getting to know one another. So it’s always fun slash harrowing as a host when you have to go through two to three different mediums to connect. So Jessica has been nice enough to jump on via the phone and just improvise and 


Jessica it seems like as I go through your career and we talked a lot about it on the intro of it But, but improvising and being able to adapt to complexity and chaos is something you’re pretty good at has going with the flow always came naturally to you, or,  have you always kind of been this laid back persona or  do you have some type a tendencies that it’s taken some time to work that out?


Jessica Hagy  5:17  

I definitely think that I was always oriented to just sort of, do what I had to do. And I’ve never really had a stable career situation. So honestly, to think that I had another option would be preposterous. Like, as if I didn’t have to change around all the time. Because I just saw working in creative industries, like it’s constantly changing and evolving and places shut down and people move jobs and you just can’t get to company ever.


Brett Bartholomew  5:45  

Yeah, no. And I’ve enjoyed doing research on you selfishly, because,  one, if there’s one thing I want to bring on this episode with you, at least I feel like some of the podcasts you’ve been on in the past. I’m like, wow, she is very cool under pressure, because a lot of them just seemed like the, hey, let’s pepper Jessica with as many questions as possible without having a conversation. So I hope if nothing else, I might ask you some goofy and weird questions here and there, just have fun. But I hope if nothing else, it’s a little bit more relaxed in your previous episodes.


Jessica Hagy  6:18  

I you know, I didn’t really think that I got super super peppered. But honestly, the most pressure I’ve ever had was when I was doing a book tour, and a bunch of people just came in off the street. And we’re just like, weirdly, like, confused about where they were. And they thought I was somebody else. And somehow, like all the questions, right? So I was really proud of that.


Brett Bartholomew  6:38  

But there’s a reason for that. Just listening to you, you’re very thoughtful about the way you interact. And I love you said in one piece of research that I was doing, you talk about how you feel like you’re very wordy. And we live in a time where everybody almost wants to praise just succinctness, right, say, less is more, but sometimes being wordy, in my opinion, can be a good thing, because it kind of helps you just weed through the madness of your own thoughts. And then you take a mathematical look at words to kind of be somebody that’s really visualize language for somebody in our audience, and we have a wide range. But when you think of just visualizing language, visualizing your thoughts, how did that come about? For you? Aside from the copywriting and stuff that you did, where did you finally learn like, Hmm, this is something that I could really hone in on and get my message across more clearly.


Jessica Hagy  7:28  

Yeah, so I’ve always been a really sort of a linguistically curious person, for lack of a better phrase. And if you’ve ever done sentence diagramming, say, and like second to seventh grade, you can see that at every sentence has a visual structure. And the more I played with drawing things, the more I realized that those visual structures can echo mathematical structures. And that’s sort of how I built a visual grammar around charts that help sentences visually. And that, I mean, if nobody’s seen what I do, that sounds like, Okay, this woman is weird. But yeah, if you take a sentence diagram, you know that the crux of the sentence is always on the flatline in the middle. And you can work out from there and expand on what the sentence means and all of those things, and the tighter you get your vocabulary, the more you can fit into two or three words.


Brett Bartholomew  8:22  

Yeah, and I think that will make sense to a lot of our audience. And I’ll have links to everything that you’ve done in the show notes, because a lot of, my bass was sports performance industry. And we have to take data. And I remember and it has to make sense to folks. And I remember you talking about in an episode that I listened to of yours, that even after you worked for gulyas, as a contractor for JPMorgan Chase, and Victoria’s Secret, you still went and got your MBA, and when you were taking notes, and feel free to correct any of this, when you were taking notes, you just realized a lot of these are graphs, I kind of want to make these complex things a little bit more simple. That’s something my audience definitely resonates.. did that really help your learning of some of these complex subjects? What about it spoke to you just the goofiness of it? Was it the pictorial representation? What from somebody that myself can look at graphs sometimes and be tremendously confused? How did you mash this kind of left and right brain thinking for it to be so cohesive?


Jessica Hagy  9:23  

I really do think that I am just a very, I need to know things and find out more things. And I just collect advanced degrees because that’s my new hobby, I suppose. We’re getting into the idea of everything that can be said in a sentence can also be said in the graph. And I didn’t really realize I was just sort of taking like, jotting notes in that way. And I realized that it had a lot more punch to it when it was drawn in graph as opposed to just written in a sentence. And when I started blogging this stuff, like a billion years ago in internet time it it just kind of worked And it’s one of those things that there is a value in one and one equals three, when you take a sentence and you make it visually useful, and it’s more memorable, and it just kind of sticks in your brain a little bit more. 


Brett Bartholomew  10:12  

Yeah, no, it’s definitely 


Jessica Hagy  10:12  

It was one of those accidental findings. And you just got to run with those, if you’re painting or sketching, and sometimes you make a spill or a mess. And it’s beautiful. That’s the best thing you can do all day, like sometimes just accidentally find something where it’s like,


Brett Bartholomew  10:29  

yeah, I think a beautiful mess is a really good way to put that. And you don’t know this, because again, we’re getting to know each other. But you were a tremendous help. To me one time when I had an intern that was, you know, very much in his own mind, brilliant in terms of just mathematical language, science data, what have you, but really struggled with connecting with a lot of the athletes that we were working with. And he admitted this, he just said, I don’t feel like I’m interesting. It’s hard to find common points with athletes, I always just find myself wanting to educate them or inform. And I gave him your book, it was the first time I was ever introduced to your work, it was how to be more interesting. And I thought it was such a quaint, charming, coffee table like book. But in it, you draw such tremendous connections between things. And I said, Listen, every day, read a page or two of this and think about dissecting,  reverse engineering, the idea that’s expressed, and then I want you to use that as a conversation point with this individual. And that’s what I wanted to ask you, of course, your index cards and the way you draw makes sense in your own mind. When do you find that you’re skilled in interpersonal, basic, everyday interpersonal situations as well? Are you somebody that would be described as an introvert? Do you not really connect with people? Well, when just having discussions? And do you do better just visually? Or have you always kind of excelled in both aspects of that?


Jessica Hagy  11:51  

No, I have always been very, very introverted, I think, and connecting with other people is always sort of, I have to listen for like, what side of their velcro I can attach to. And even when I was dating my husband, there was a article like the one of the very original articles about introversion, before it became like such a term that everybody knew it was caring for your introvert. And I just sent that over to him like, Okay, this is an important bit of information that you might want to have. And I think to once people know, like, oh, yeah, this person is a lot like this, or this person is a lot like that. They get each other, right. So being introverted in one way is kind of useful, because I have to be like, the ultimate eavesdropper, like people watcher to sort of figure out what to do. And on the other side is sort of, yeah, this is me, and you don’t have to do a lot to like, keep me occupied. I’ll just, I’m fine up in my office doing my thing for days on it.


Brett Bartholomew  12:51  

Yeah, I can appreciate that. I remember one thing, if I recall correctly, you said you were at an airport one time and you just pulled out your laptop. And you started writing down ideas? Because you mentioned that you’re an eavesdropper, well, I’m a huge people watcher, right, I love it. And I’ve always wanted to just for the fun of it, create a book. So maybe we need to collaborate on this as we get to know each other more. Something of just, life at the airport and doing funny little things about the person, the people you observe, and their quirks and their tendencies. When you create, it can be really hard. I know for a lot of members of our audience, and many of them have advanced degrees themselves. But a lot of them have a lot of self doubt. Right. I think we’re all familiar with some level of imposter phenomenon or syndrome. 


Jessica Hagy  13:36  

Oh, yeah. 


Brett Bartholomew  13:37  

Did that ever creep up much in your career? And how do you combat that?


Jessica Hagy  13:41  

Oh, all day every day? Yeah, I’m one I, draw things on the internet. And therefore I’m gonna get some feedback. And they’re for every, this is awesome. Thank you for doing this. You get like five emails of HOW DARE YOU and this is terrible. I can’t believe anyone ever called you. And I, think you kind of get I don’t know, just numb to all of it after a while and your inner sort of, what am I doing? Am I any good at this? What is happening voice kind of has to take over? So kind of knowing, what that is, but every day, I just sort of sketch things out. And I’m like, Is this any good at all? Like, am I crazy? What have I done now? Like, this is weird. And I think if I can make myself giggle, then I’ve done something, something useful. And that’s the only real voice I can use.


Brett Bartholomew  14:31  

That’s a good heuristic. I mean, I like that. I mean, humor is definitely the shortest distance between two people. You also, in a previous interview, use one of my favorite words of all time you were talking about. And this ties into what I just asked you based on, you’re getting feedback from the internet. You said that one really positive thing about the internet and you use Twitter in particular is it kind of showcases wide diaspora of a community you have right people that are from all different places. So how has that helped As you get better feedback to inform your work as well, I mean, even the haters, that you know that sit here and say remember, it’s all feedback, right? So how do you kind of leverage that in turn shit into sugar?


Jessica Hagy  15:10  

Well, clearly, again, if you can see a theme in any of it, that’s real, but if it’s just sort of a one off, ignore the one off and like, look for the theme. So if everyone’s saying like, you know what, you use too much purple, maybe you do, like 20, people are telling you that, maybe you consider it and, or if people are like, you’re, you’re doing this weird, or you’re doing this wrong, or I really like this, keep doing the good stuff. And really pay attention to the themes that you hear. And I think that’s sort of honed a lot of what I do, because I oscillate between kind of deep and dark topics, and really goofy little pun type objects. And I keep it all in the mix, because that’s just how I am. But knowing, what people really what resonates with people is, it’s good to know, because then I can make any point that I really want to get across it better. And there’s sort of an idea of, the more truthful truth, which is just because I have an opinion about something, doesn’t mean that that opinion, is the truth that there’s a better truth of the fact. So if I can say that in a way that other people were like, oh, yeah, I guess that’s, that’s a bigger truth, like refining what I want to say to make it more relevant. 


Brett Bartholomew  16:24  

Yeah. And I think 


Jessica Hagy  16:25  

I just went around in a big circle.


Brett Bartholomew  16:26  

No, no, that makes sense. I mean, because a lot of it comes down to, and I relate to you on this into, you had mentioned self comparisons, it’s all these pieces of feedback, or just stockpiling ammo, you know, it allows you to get an idea of, okay, this work that didn’t work. It’s a real time experiment. And really, I think, if I hear you correctly, and I’ve followed your previous work is where you lose is if you let somebody’s feedback completely take over and you start following their plan instead of your own. And I think that resonated with me, because as I transitioned industries from being just somebody that worked in sports performance, to now leadership and communication, I mean, just guide people all over saying, No, you should do this, or you should open your own facility, and you should do this. And I said, I know, I have a following in this space. But now I’m going into another space, because they’re interrelated, they have to deal with people. And I know you have an agent. And I know that you continue to grow in, in a lot of different ways. But how do you still manage to block out all these? Like, what’s your filter for when somebody gives you a suggestion? And maybe it’s your agent? Maybe it’s your audience? Maybe it’s other things? If you should write this, you should do that? How do you honor your audience without letting them dictate where you should go all the time?


Jessica Hagy  17:39  

You know what, I don’t get a lot of you should I get a lot of you did it wrong. So or? Well, not, not that directly. But that sense of this, I don’t know what this is, or I don’t know what to work with it. And I always have to put myself in the lens of, I’m writing for audiences. And it’s all about what the audience gets, like, there was, I might have talked about this before, and I don’t want to, like double up on it. But there’s the most shared bloodstained things are what kind of Harry Potter house are you? Or what brand of cheese, are you? And it’s all about? What are you? Yeah, and it’s all about people and like, what they see in their stuff. And if my work is not focused enough around a benefit for other people, then it’s not a stick. And that’s where I always have to come down to like the difference between like art and commerce, and they can absolutely intersect, but they always have to talk to the audience first, it can’t just be like, there’s this feeling like other people like, Yeah, I do that too. What? Okay. 


Brett Bartholomew  18:42  

Yeah, no, 


Jessica Hagy  18:43  

really sort of focusing on why is this? Why is this marketable, usable, resonating? Is, the one thing I have to lose, like, turning ideas into something people actually want is my editorial.


Brett Bartholomew  19:00  

And a lot of that comes from not just knowing yourself really well, but but knowing your audience, and I think something that our audience will appreciate, because they’ve asked this question a lot. I love your take on it. I’d love for you to expand on it. But we get a lot of questions of you know, should I define a niche and we hear this all the time, right? And you can almost think that finding a niche can be overrated advice. Because Are you going to be a specialist? Are you going to be a generalist? Can you be a generalist specialist and we can make it complex and overly complicated at times. But for you, it seems like that you followed something that you loved that made sense to you, you owned that and then that became your niche, but it didn’t seem to me that you set out to make that your niche right away. Am I correct in that assertion? Or if not, can you kind of elaborate on that story?


Jessica Hagy  19:48  

That was a really good summation of my non strategy strategy, like tweak as I go system. Yes. I think finding like okay, if this works for me, how can I make it work better for other people? seems to just be like, Okay, that’s how you find an audience. Because if you go after an audience that you don’t understand, or if you’re an advertising, you get a persona and you’re like, I have never met this person, this doesn’t seem right, this feels like an Excel spreadsheet, this doesn’t feel like a human being, if you can make it human being like, think about an actual person in a room that you’re talking to, that makes it so much more powerful than share the demographic stats of my target audience.


Brett Bartholomew  20:29  

Yeah, and I think but that can be tough for people, when they combine, you know, the combination of imposter phenomenon and then their audience, we can tend to let data override our thinking sometimes. And again, it goes back to why, your work is so special, you’re able to draw, relationships between seemingly complex ideas, I have to ask you this, though, you’ve drawn a lot of relationships, and I’m putting you on the spot totally. Is there one idea that it kind of in haunt is a dramatic word, but you know, go with me that you still are looking to draw that index card for that graph that relationship, and you just haven’t found it yet. And it’s like this elusive, you’re like, I’m gonna make this work. And it’s always running in the back of your mind. Does that question make sense what I’m asking here?


Jessica Hagy  21:14  

Yes, sir. And I actually have that document open on my desktop right now. It is how to structure luck. And for serendipity,


Brett Bartholomew  21:24  

oh, how to structure luck and  for serendipity.


Jessica Hagy  21:29  

Yeah, I’ve been messing with and like reading up on I downloaded all of these, like PhD dissertations on how humans think about luck. And what is luck? And is it internal? or external? And How is it perceived? And can you be a lucky person with nothing? Or can you be absolutely wealthy and feel like, the world is against you and these how people think about what luck is, and how you can manifest the left, like thinking about it as something you can do? Is like a huge structural thing. So I have like 12 12 details of luck. And it’s, like, 100 page thing at this point, it’s been just my fiddle document for a very long time.


Brett Bartholomew  22:15  

I like that term, a fiddle document. I think that that’s, it definitely is interesting, because the hustle people in today’s culture would say, oh, no, that’s preparation meets opportunity, you know, but I also think there’s one you had something on your blog indexed, the shrug of doom, and I love this one, because I think a little bit of luck comes from, people have to have some imagination, right. And in this one, you guys gotta check it out. Again, it’ll be in the show notes. But you have the triumph of misery. And you have a big circle there. And you have another circle, kind of like a Venn diagram of the failure of imagination. And then in the middle is this is just the way things are. And I think that that can get a lot of people right now, where they just feel like, Oh, it’s a pandemic, this is just my luck. It’s this and that. It’s how much of what you think we experience as hardship, or a block and an opportunity, or a failure to take advantage of a situation comes from that lack of lateral thinking, or the failure to imagine as you said, like, how much of it really, do you think that ties into luck and being able to overcome these things?


Jessica Hagy  23:20  

I think yeah, I think that is that’s a pivotal bit of it is being able to see like, beyond your tunnel vision of this is my situation now. And that was the one thing when I was in advertising that really was, stunning to me. It’s like, okay, you are a creative organization. And all you do all day is make things and your title is creative. And yet, you can’t see beyond your job description of how you can be creative in other ways. And that always just, dawned on me because like, you think like, oh, well, maybe you do this on the side, or that on the side or something or you have some other creative outlets, and rarely rarely was that true? And from like, my first day out of college, I was just, what is happening? So weird?


Brett Bartholomew  24:05  

Yeah, well, I want to ask you this as a devil’s advocate. So that’s been a big debate in the field I originally started in sports performance is if you had a quote unquote, side, hustle or thing on the side, you were looked at as not very committed, right? It’s a very traditionalist field that is, rah, rah, we’re not in it for the money. We’re serving based leaders, but then at the same time, you’d see a lot of people in the coaching industry, burnout, because that stuff’s well and good in their early 20s and even late 20s But the minute they have more than a crock pot to take care of, they can’t keep up with bills and so we had and coaching right I’m sure you know, many professions like this coaching is not alone. But, what would happen is they almost kind of looking at self promotion or charging for your time or your service as a bad thing. And I just felt like that always, from somebody that used to feel like that because I believed in the dogma but then realized no like these side projects make me better at my main job. Do you have any take on that? Or do you have experience working in industries like that as well?


Jessica Hagy  25:07  

Yeah, when you said, I do it for the passion of it, I’m not in it for the money. That is the most exploitive way to set up any industry possible. Because all that’s gonna do is work people to death, and never let them actually function as a career. It’s just gonna burn people out. And I hate that I hate that so much.


Brett Bartholomew  25:29  

Yeah. And I have two I just feel like, you know, because what you’re right, it takes people that maybe had a hobby, that became a passion, that then they kind of identified as their purpose, and then you’re right it exploits them. But where do you think the onus is on the creator or the person being exploded,  exploited, not exploded? That would be a different graph entirely. Doing both for passion and


Jessica Hagy  25:52  

It’s the same sort of emotional feeling? 


Brett Bartholomew  25:54  

Sorry, go ahead.


Jessica Hagy  25:55  

 exploited and exploded? It’s the same sort of theory? Yeah. 


Brett Bartholomew  25:59  

Yeah. I’m glad you’re a fellow weirdo. I appreciate that. But where do you think the onus is because like, on my end, just give you an example. I don’t want to leave you in left field with a question. I would say guys, like, you can’t expect other people don’t value you or your work until you do but then so many people don’t well, I don’t know what to charge. And it’s a basic understanding of economics, but not everybody has that understanding. So for you, well, what is guided you in saying, I’m proud of my work. I have a lot of fun doing it, but I’m not scared to charge for it. And this is where I stand. Could you talk to us a little bit about that?


Jessica Hagy  26:36  

Yeah, I get a lot of inquiry, like, Hey, can you do Hey, can you do and the first response is always, hey, it’s great to meet you. I would love to talk more about this. What’s your budget? And if they don’t reply, then I’m like, I saved myself. So much misery. 


Brett Bartholomew  26:49  

Yeah, creating a barrier there. Right. 


Jessica Hagy  26:53  

Yeah, I think that’s my main boundary token in two ways. They keep you from hurting yourself, and they hope they keep others from taking advantage of you and just kind of knowing it’s one of those like key negotiating strategies, like what is the line, I will not call for this my absolute. I do it for this. And that last, and once you have one of those, it’s just really free,


Brett Bartholomew  27:13  

and didn’t help at all. When you got an agent, I mean, to some of our audience that might even seem like, out of reach or nebulous for them. I know, I’ve been told after my book, hey, you should get an agent when I’m like, Oh, my God, like, How do I even find that? And how do I find somebody that’s not, going to just like, try to take me for, everything. And what have you Was that a process? And if you’re not comfortable sharing, you don’t have to, but was that a process that was kind of harrowing to you at first? Was it a natural, organic kind of relationship? What was that like having an agent or an advocate and finding that person? 


Jessica Hagy  27:47  

Yeah. Well, with literary agents, they’re all about books. And there’s still like, the whole zone of everything else you do, is informed by that relationship, but not really tended by it. So it’s not like I have one person that runs everything I do. A lot of my personal contracts and things like that. I just, I run myself. But knowing just being will say, Well, my book agent will do this, they’re kind of people are a little more willing to take me seriously. Because again, like I need all of the backup and stats and things I can get be taken seriously, because I drop things on index cards, kind of a silly job. But yeah, having learning about how those contracts, get shaken out, helps me shake out other contracts. And even if it’s just oh, I need this bit of lingo and this bit of lingo, I’m not comfortable with this, I would ask somebody else feel like, it’s been really educational in aspects of my work that aren’t,


Brett Bartholomew  28:50  

ya know, I can appreciate that. I remember the first time we sent somebody when I opened my own business, about five years ago, a contract and they said, Whoa, getting kind of formal, aren’t we? And I said, Well, what do you mean? And they said, well, we just never got a contract for this kind of engagement, or what have you. And I just said, Well, we’re just trying to do things in a professional manner. And that concept of turning pro or when you do start taking contracts and your work a little bit more seriously, like you said, it can be daunting or unique at first, because you have to learn a lot. But at the end of the day, it leads you to higher level work, right? People that take your work more seriously, higher levels of commitment. Is there a time in the past where you are all in on a project? Right? Somebody asked you and of course I’m not asking for names or anything like that, but somebody you were all in but it became very clear that the way they valued the project wasn’t the same. And if so, like, what did you take away from that? A time where you felt like, Man, I always am giving more than I feel like I’m getting back from this or I’m having trouble finding people that are equally committed. Can you talk about that a little bit?


Jessica Hagy  29:54  

Yeah, I think I mean, I think that happens a lot, but it usually seems to stem from People have different expectations. And when the expectations are just assumed, they’re completely divergent. And that doesn’t work at all, when you just start getting to work, if you’re doing something, you’re like, I’m going to change the whole goddamn world. And the other people are like, I’m going to make 12 bucks, and it’s that those two dimensions are not going to fit together. So if you’re working with somebody who’s like, this is just my day job, I really couldn’t care less. And you’re just all in, that’s gonna hurt you, and it’s gonna annoy them. And you’re gonna hate that person. And but if you can just talk about like, well, what are we doing here? If it really is just I’m just gonna make $12, I’m not going to change the whole world will take a whole day off your shoulders, and you can put your energy toward the actual world changing stuff. But you’ve got to know what you’re seriously getting into with people you’re getting into it with.


Brett Bartholomew  30:51  

Yeah, and I think that’s another good point of something that when you’re really passionate about something, and you don’t have those expectations lined up, that can lead to a lot of burnout in your career. Because you might, if you don’t have that clarity, like you said, you’re working with a lot of people that end up being not you, actually. But you could end up working with a lot of people that are, yeah, I want to make 12 bucks, where you actually do want to change the world, or at least some small little corner of it, right? Like, at least you’re and it’s a really easy way to learn, lead to burnout. I know at a time where I felt like I was putting out so much content things that, I didn’t want other people to go through certain things that I had to go through the hard way. But then it just led to more and more people wanting free advice. And as much as I hate to say it, that free advice started wearing me out and I became cynical then I became just kind of almost angry, because I’d look at my wife. And I’d say, no matter how much I try to help people just want information they don’t even want to seem to do anything with it does anything like that ever nagged at you? I mean, again, you seem like such a easygoing person, but does this concept of just expectations of free and now and microwave advice has that ever erode a little bit of you as a creator?


Jessica Hagy  32:04  

It really irks me, when people are like, well, I’m going to do this amazing thing. And it’s going to be so fantastic. And wonderful. We’re going to go on a world tour, I’m black. And I can do to draw it. And I’m like, what’s your budget? And they’re like, but I want you to be part of something. And you’re like, oh, and then you have to be like, I want no part of your like, amazing, thing, because you don’t have a budget. That’s one of those things that people like what is happening, like, you can’t and I get annoyed with that. And it happens a lot. And it’s just one of those things. Like everyone thinks like that whole like, Well, you’re in it for the passion. And you’re like, if I put all my passion into whatever weird projects people throw at me, constantly, I would make a lot of weird stuff for other people. And


Brett Bartholomew  32:55  

yeah, no, that makes perfect sense. And I think that, you know, it just goes into people don’t take it seriously. And I call it the weaponization of guilt. That’s what happens when they say, oh, you should be in it for the right. You should be in it for the right reasons, or that you don’t know the differences are going to make and or my favorite one, this could get you some great exposure. And you’re like,


Jessica Hagy  33:19  

Bark and can, no,


Brett Bartholomew  33:21  

I need that on indexed, right. I need like something about the weaponization of guilt and trying to have people you know, that take advantage and just Grivas, these little things down the throats of people that actually want to do meaningful work. You know, it’s, it’s absolutely crazy for me. When you think about how your ability to think laterally, you’ve talked about themes. We’ve talked about pattern recognition? How have you trained that? And I know, for some people, it really does tend to come naturally. I mean, to a degree, and I’m sure there’s some of that with you. And it’s a little bit of both, but like, how do you continue to strengthen your ability to see patterns between seemingly disparate things? I know you read fiction, and I think that that’s awesome. I mean, do you think that people just need to explore and play more? What are your thoughts on that?


Jessica Hagy  34:15  

Yeah, I think don’t censor your input on what you read and what you study, like, some people are like, I only read the economist, and I am extremely professional in what I do. And I would never watch trashy television. And like trashy television is just like, the new Greek choir, there’s so much out there. And I think putting in all sorts of inputs. And yeah, training it a little bit. Sure. But just being able to say, You know what, there is a parallel between this Kardashians episode and this episode of The Price Is Right. And what Bloomberg said about Bangladesh in drought, like these are all intimately related. And if I just sit and think about it, I will forge some weird neuron in my brain that will come in handy 20 years later


Brett Bartholomew  35:00  

Now, That’s a perfect example. And the Bangladeshian drought is something to be aware of, as is the Godzilla dust cloud, right? Don’t you love that we live in a world where the Godzilla dust cloud,


Jessica Hagy  35:11  

Fire tornado?


Brett Bartholomew  35:11  

fire tornadoes, Godzilla, dust clouds, everything. The reason 


Jessica Hagy  35:18  



Brett Bartholomew  35:19  

What’d you say, 


Jessica Hagy  35:20  



Brett Bartholomew  35:20  

Plagues murder Hornets.


Jessica Hagy  35:23  

I mean, the thing is, though, is if you read all of the news, there’s always something absolutely horrible happening with every single minute, in every single place in the world. And you can get really bogged down in the dark corners horribleness of that, or you can just be like, You know what, this dark winter horribleness can probably inform something good, and something that can be made out of all of it. And just knowing that interconnectedness to like, because I think right now, people are just getting like doldrums of what the news is. Because it’s dark, like we are in fantastically, different times. And it’s dark news.


Brett Bartholomew  35:58  

Yeah, I mean, even look, at the time we’re recording this, the stock market is edging back up towards, new highs, pre pandemic and everything like that. And, and people are just boggled by this, right? They’re like, why don’t know, like, I’m out of the market. I’m not doing this. And it’s like, we’re in a time now where the world rebounds in a lot of fantastic ways. But if you’re not careful about what you put in your brain, it’s just going to take you down further. And, it leads me into something I wanted to ask you about. We run these leadership and communication workshops that are heavily improv based. Yeah, one thing we struggle with, and this is why I think you’re so well suited to kind of elaborate on this is, improv is all about constraints. Jessica, it’s like, what can you do with this and that, right? And so we’ll tell somebody will get them in a group and we say, Hey, guys, it’s real simple. And I’m giving you an example of a game. We collectively and let’s say there’s five of us have to play as a news team. And we are reporting on something and we’ll ask somebody for a noun and let’s say they said pterodactyls. And we said, great, what are they doing? What are these pterodactyls doing? Just give me any kind of like verb. Are they darling? What are they doing? 


Jessica Hagy  37:08  

They are robbing 


Brett Bartholomew  37:09  

the’re robbing, right? So we have pterodactyls robbing? And where are they robbing? Where in the world? Are they at Bloomingdale’s? Are they in India? Where are they,


Jessica Hagy  37:17  

they’re in the back of the dry cleaner around the corner from my house. 


Brett Bartholomew  37:21  

There you go. pterodactyls are robbing a dry cleaner around the corner from your house. So we’ll give them that premise. And we’ll tell people like everybody kind of has to do it in either a one word story format, right? Or they have to build off in some way what their partner gives them. But inevitably, as we do this, there’s one or two people in the workshop that are like, Why don’t get what something like this has to do with real life. And we try to make the point that’s the response I’d like to have, right? Like what you just did, we tried to make the point that like sometimes life gives you seemingly irrelevant information. But like you still have to, do something with it, you have to act in synchrony, you have to be able to adapt it and the robbing pterodactyls are no different than any other piece of information we may not that isn’t relevant. The thing I want to ask you is what do you think separates people that understand the true purpose of something like that, or even this what you think are silly connections that you draw on your index cards? And people that see the bigger picture? Right? What do you think is the block between people that just feel like they take things too literally, and they don’t see the bigger picture? What are they missing in their life? Are they missing diverse work experiences? Or is it something they didn’t get enough Nursery Rhymes as a child? What do you think that is? And I know this is very vast, I’m not asking you to psychoanalyze. I’m just saying your take on that thing.


Jessica Hagy  38:42  

I would, okay. So again, this is a really specific bit of feedback for that mindset is to read Richard Feynman six easy pieces, where he basically summarizes all of physics in like a really short, easy to read book that just sort of blows your mind 


Brett Bartholomew  38:58  

Love this. Six easy pieces. 


Jessica Hagy  39:01  

So yeah, it’s fantastic. And you basically just get the idea that everything is electric, and everything is working. I wonder how this isn’t well made of tiny molecules in this one tiny molecule can change all of this. And a nuclear reaction starts with something so small, you can’t even see it. And that just having that book, rolling around in the back of your head, will really make you realize, one my problems are small, and two I am small. And the world is huge and awesome and really interesting.


Brett Bartholomew  39:28  

Yeah, I love that. That’s very much like when you think of screenwriting, right three act structure or a five act structure of like the components of story, and I very much look at your work. Everything you do, tells a story one individually as those index cards, right, but to the bigger picture of hey, there’s connections, there’s all kinds of fun, whimsical, Goofy, like you said, sometimes deep and dark connections between things. And ultimately, that’s life, and so is that kind of how you think about some things now do you Think about them in six easy pieces metaphorically so to say like, or how do you break down? What’s the first step? When you get met with a really complex idea that you want to break down? How do you look at it,


Jessica Hagy  40:12  

I always sort of look for the vocabulary words that works best for the big words, the big topics. And it’s not always the most obvious word, it could be something a little bit oblique, or a little bit strange. But finding one or two words that wrap around the subject, and then working with those words, to wrap further. Like, I can do a lot with actual words, like those are my concrete building blocks. And from there, I can kind of think through other topics. So sometimes, like if you and a random stranger have like maybe one thing in common, that is a huge, huge thing upon which you can build entire world. And just finding those good words can go so far.


Brett Bartholomew  40:57  

I Like that, can we do an example of that? Do you mind? 


Jessica Hagy  41:00  

Yeah, go for it. 


Brett Bartholomew  41:01  

All right. So, I’m gonna give you a pretty basic word, I won’t give you diaspora although I do love that word there, Scott. that’s what made me fall in love with your work even more. We’re gonna start simple. What we focus on in art of coaching is communication. Not and not trust falls and, hey, look him in the eye and tell him you care, Billy, but like, truly the science of what it takes to be a more effective communicator. And believe it or not, there’s some people that we have to sell on the fact that like, that’s a really important intangible or skill. That like, oddly enough, what kind of like, you know, I know you have a three year old son, is he three still at the time of this recording? Or Is he older now? He is seven now? Only seven. Wow. Okay. Wow. So yeah, my previous research,


Jessica Hagy  41:44  

kind of a flat circle. In pandemic time has been for a while. 


Brett Bartholomew  41:48  

There you go. Okay, so you’re like, and I got no, I gotta remember where I was going. Because I just got embarrassed that I got bad. I did bad research there. But the point being, go ahead. Communication. Yeah, no communication. Right. And we try to get people to understand that like, really, like, there’s such a science to this in terms of getting people to do what they need to do, you’ve got to get on the same page. So let’s just use the word communication, because that can be broad and a big idea. And there’s so many things break that down for me.


Jessica Hagy  42:18  

Okay, so I’m gonna start with just communication, just sort of like doing one of those like serial killer walls, where you connect all your ideas with a red string and then like, lose your mind. So you’re gonna, I’m gonna have like, static and eye contact, and friction, and intimacy and formality, and just all the words that go around communication and thinking, which one of those is how I’m going to relate to this person. And they’re giving me like, resistance to the idea of communication. They’re not communicating with me the way they think they are, but they’re giving me something else. And everything that you’re communicating to other people sit on that crazy, serial killer wall with like, all the little nitty gritty details, and finding the one string from you to the other person is how your serial killer was going to help you get your next.


Brett Bartholomew  43:05  

I really liked that  Hey, either or, serial killer wall. I think what I should have done is I should have challenged Moore’s I should have said, let’s find the connection between communication, and Wayne Brady, and then just giving you that let you run with it, and see where you got. But no, I think that’s a great idea of your and I think a little bit of that is I recognize a weakness of myself, I would try to break down because I’ll present a lot I know you do a lot of presentations all over the world as well. Well, neither of us do a ton right now. But when you do presentations, you’re trying to tell something complex in I don’t know, 15 30 45 minutes. And what never worked for me was basic outlining. And I always felt like man, I’m kind of dumb, like, because the basic outline would end up being like 32 pages because I go into some rabbit holes. And then one thing I started doing is just taking post it notes and thematically. Right, I’d say like alright, here are some key themes I want to cover, what are ideas, and then I’d stick those post it notes with the subcategories or sub themes under that. And I could move it around on my table. And because it was tangible. Jessica, it helped me a lot more than just an outline. So is your serial killer wall an example of a quirky way that you organize things within your environment? Or what is something that if somebody saw you do, they’re like, What is this? Is this woman? Okay, is it okay, but it really works for you. 


Jessica Hagy  44:29  

Yeah, so my desk is a total mess. I’ve got a lot of weird watercolors and inks and stamps, and some cortisone 10 that expired in 2017 that’s going up, and just all sorts of stuff and random bits of glass that I find on the beach and stuff. And you never know what kind of stuff is going to be useful. Like even if it’s just picking it up and throwing it around in your hands. That’s going to trigger some sort of a thought, but really outlining things and Thinking about, what am I supposed to say to these people? It only started most helpful for me if I can be like, Who are these people? And why are they here? And what am I doing here? Like, am I here for Comic Relief? Am I here to actually illustrate a topic? what’s, what’s my role? And what do they, what they need from me? And how can I do that in the most fun, non obnoxious way, slightly obnoxious way that I can.


Brett Bartholomew  45:24  

Slow? And ultimately, that’s what I want to know about you, as you’ve talked about, who are these people? What do they want from me? Jessica Who are you? And what do you what do you want? How about that for a deep, deep thoughts?


Jessica Hagy  45:38  

Yeah, I felt like so cool. I wish that was still around. Yeah, what do I want is I really want to do work that people need? No, like, I’ve learned that. And that’s just not enough to just do work that is creatively satisfying. To me, it has to be work that other people get and say, Oh, wow. And it’s not showing off anymore. It’s not, I can prove that I’m really clever. And I can get hired to be clever other places. It’s more like, How can my cleverness make somebody else get something and feel better, and like work around a problem they have. And kind of getting it. That bigger meaning at work really means like, talking to other people, and being in workplaces and figuring out like, what other industries I can go and illustrate in which are pretty much all of them, but then proving it, it’s gonna be fun. Yeah, that’s a pandemic. And I was like, like a cure and all that. But you know, what?


Brett Bartholomew  46:35  

I do know, and I think that that willingness to evolve is fascinating, because again, and I mentioned it in the intro, for our audience, you originally working as a copywriter and advertising, especially when you and you were doing that when you first started your blog, indexed, correct. And then like, knowing that you worked with everything from, and I thought this was, there’s so many things I want to ask you in context of these three things, but we won’t have time. But knowing that you’ve written for banks, lawyers and lingerie companies, we still find this time that even during the pandemic, there are people that we see out there, that, they’re in this position, or they work for this organization, and the organization looks good on their resume, right? It could be a professional sports team, it could be a big bank, it could be anything. And certain people get scared to leave, because they feel like they’re really, if they’re honest with themselves, their credibility is kind of attached to that organization. Maybe they spent a long time trying to get there. But , now, I mean, the world is going to change, I mean, even sports as we know, it, is going to be different. And the field of research and what we look at within research and all these things. When was the time where you really knew, like, Alright, I gotta get out of what I’m doing. And I’ve got to follow this because you were a part of companies that went under several times, correct?


Jessica Hagy  47:55  

Oh, yeah. Yeah. A lot of agencies I worked at I was the Typhoid Mary, that agencies in Columbus, Ohio for several years. But so the worst one was the JPMorgan Chase and their subprime lending stuff. And the simple math of it was just cool. 


Brett Bartholomew  48:15  

Yeah. Yeah. Wasn’t sustainable


Jessica Hagy  48:17  

No, and it was taking advantage of people who didn’t realize what they were signing. And it wasn’t. Every time, I had a good headline that would sell like, 1000 more mortgages. I’d do 1000 more people. And I couldn’t do that. And that, and then I went, I mean, I made the moral decision to go to Victoria’s Secret, which is hostile and terrible, in its own way but I mean, I had to get away from the bank. And the company and the people who worked at the bank, were just like, to start a business. And this is what we’re doing and didn’t see that it was really people. And that was hard. That was the hardest because people like your job. Yeah, but like, no.


Brett Bartholomew  49:03  

Well, it lends insight into the idea that, sometimes what we perceive to be certainty or security again, oh, that’s a good job. That’s a big organization. Oh, that’s a noteworthy client, you know, whatever. Sometimes those can be the most illusory. You know, like, because we think it’s a security blanket or a way that we can achieve stability or credibility, but it’s really just a trap sometimes, isn’t it?


Jessica Hagy  49:25  

Yeah. And another thing I like working with various brands, like people who’ve been inside a company for forever, will be like, Don’t you believe in our brand? And like, No, we’re making it up. As we go every day. It’s not a real thing. Like, you’ve got to believe in something that’s not literally made up out of whole cloth and Photoshop. You’ve got to believe in something dirtier.


Brett Bartholomew  49:50  

So within that, what do you think is something people seem to be chasing or really into today that is made out of like you said that this kind of just tablecloth it’s not sturdy, do you think there’s something that we’re gonna look back on? And again, this is forecasting, have fun with it right, like 510 20 years and be like, Oh my God, how did we not see that we’re totally chasing the wrong thing with that?


Jessica Hagy  50:14  

I think Okay, so my kid is super into Minecraft right now. And any opportunity to go onto YouTube and look up his favorite like Minecraft influencers is understand what is happening. This is there’s an entire economy around this. Yeah, and these kids, these kids love this. And this is so ephemeral and high paced and crazy. And it’s just like, sugar crap. And thinking like, what are we building industries around?


Brett Bartholomew  50:43  

That’s a that’s a


Jessica Hagy  50:45  

Weird femoral Crazy. 


Brett Bartholomew  50:48  

Sugar crack is first of all, that’s the first time I’ve ever heard that term. That’s my new LLC. Or it might be my rap name after this. What’s your rap name? By the way, if you got a rap name, I need to know this. If you got a rap name today, and you don’t get to choose, like you’re a serious rapper Jessica Hagy. I mean, it’s a headline now right? You’ve gone from indexed. Now you’re serious rapper what’s your name


Jessica Hagy  51:12  

it’s got to have something about a possum.


Brett Bartholomew  51:14  

A possum?


Jessica Hagy  51:15  

Yes, I will just I when I don’t know what to say. We’ll just play it in. And it’ll be like half of a joke.


Brett Bartholomew  51:23  

That works No, but you’re right, like building something that’s non ephemeral, like the the sugar crack. And,  for us, like we always believe that’s communication. Like, no matter where AI goes, technology goes at the end of the day, people are going to need somebody that has interpersonal skills and intangibles. If I was in Illustrator, that would be my superhero movie instead of the Incredibles. I’d have the intangibles. Right. And like the kid would be really good at making people feel, like they’ve been heard. And the dad would be an excellent, communicator and another way and the mom would be something else. But like, these are the things we don’t invest in enough. What skill do you think is going to be one of the most marketable in a good way? Right? Not an ephemeral way? What do you think is a skill that some people should really be doubling down on right now that you think is time tested? It’s the Lindy effect, it’s gonna, it’s gonna be around forever, but people maybe overlook it or ignore it.


Jessica Hagy  52:18  

I think anymore. tinkering, is probably your best bet. if you can take something apart and rebuild it. And it doesn’t have to be a mechanical thing. It can be an idea or a relationship or anything. But really knowing how things work. So people are like, learn to code and then like, that’s just one form of how things are assembled. But like, How’s your health put together? How’s this tree work? Like, Why is this family relationship like this and like, actually tinkering with the stuff that we interact with all the time? I think that has implications for everything. Because once you know how something works, you can rebuild it better.


Brett Bartholomew  52:56  

Yeah, no, I agree with that. tinkering can definitely be and we’re relatively new parents, I have an eight month old. And there’s a lot of different things that I mean, gosh, we tinker with all kinds of stuff, because we can’t get whether it’s a handyman. I am not that person, right? I’m not Bob Vila. I’m not just gonna be like, Oh, it’s Sunday, let me go build stuff. But we can’t get some help that we normally could, because of the pandemic and people won’t come to houses or what have you. And I think in the past, tinkering always freaked me out because I was super type A and I’m like, if I don’t hang this picture, right, there’s gonna be a hole in the wall and I knew I could patch it, but I don’t want to have to. But then when you just realize like, it’s okay to break things. Sometimes it’s okay. To fail. And again, that’s another thing I love about improv is like, it’s a safe place to fail and experiment. But we’ve lost that art haven’t we?


Jessica Hagy  53:45  

are half the time the failure is the most hilarious bit like when my favorite SNL pieces are when they all cry, and they’re just like, I can’t hold it anymore. And that’s those are like the most fun to watch.


Brett Bartholomew  53:56  

You might be one of the only people and I’m glad to hear it. My wife and I are avid SNL fans and all we ever hear is people say, Why don’t watch it anymore. It’s not as good since the days with whether it’s Dan Ackroyd or Chris Farley or, you know, what have you but like, you know, it’s Saturday Night Live is a staple in this household is comedy always been something that you’ve been drawn to.


Jessica Hagy  54:18  

Yeah, I think that like, the one thing that really there was just like, I can do that. When I was like, seven was the series of books called Nicolas. Have you ever heard of these? very niche. Okay, so it was like a series of these little like cartoon books that were sold in like Spencer. Like, this is a visor for going well, now I felt like perverted like that. Yeah, it used to be like, good weird like farside esque things. And niglet was basically a book apart main news for words that don’t exist, but should


Brett Bartholomew  54:58  

I like that


Jessica Hagy  54:59  

and it would have Yeah, and it was it would have like, word for silly things like the crispy on the edges. Your toothpaste tube has its own word and the feeling you get when you walk into a room and forgot why you went there how to word and it was basically like, what do you think about? Oh yeah, there’s a German word for that. It’s like, no, there’s a linguist for that is just obnoxious and weird. And totally dad jokes half the time and leaving, like this little kid is just like, and I don’t know why. I don’t know why sneakers are like, my thing, but that’s what I’m gonna do.


Brett Bartholomew  55:35  

That’s phenomenal. So is there a word that you had came up with that you really feel like should be a word? But isn’t


Jessica Hagy  55:42  

your I probably just stumble over words and put them together yesterday use the last of the letter and I was like, Hey, can you grab me a block or brick or a wall? Or? That that’s a stick of butter? That’s what butter is? Yeah, just thinking like, what if there was a Couric of butter? Oh, yeah, the fairs are closed, and they’re not carving faces out of it now.


Brett Bartholomew  56:04  

Yeah, if there is a brick of butter, it’s at Costco. You can buy cheese that weighs as much as a Fiat at Costco. And so I’m sure they have a brick of butter. I always like to go to websites to see if that’s a thing. Like, if you didn’t have my full attention, and I never do this when I’m interviewing anyone, especially you. I go to brick a You know, because I want to see if that’s the beauty. Somebody’s thought of that. There’s definitely Oh, yeah, there’s definitely a bread and There’s got to be,


Jessica Hagy  56:32  

yeah. And there’s got to be. That’s the thing, though, if you put any word with any other words, there’s probably something built up around it already. It’s advanced somewhere.


Brett Bartholomew  56:41  

Yeah, no, 100%. Right. Well, we want to honor your time. So we’re gonna get into a little bit of a fun lightning round here. And one of the things we haven’t really came up with the title of we kind of go back and forth. We’ve called this devil’s advocate. We’ve called it hot and cold. We’ve called it something else. We called it a lot of things. But here’s the gist. I’m gonna give you a quote right now. It’s, I’ll give you an idea of where the quotes from or what have you, and you need to make an argument or just talk about, like, why you think that quote is correct. And then I need you to flip it. I need you to talk about why it’s also not correct, right. It’s kind of like gray area, right? We’ve gotten away from the gray area in life. Everybody wants to be very black and white, and they’re thinking, so just something to have fun with. You know, nobody’s gonna You shouldn’t get any hate mail from it or anything like that. Are you willing to play? 


Jessica Hagy  57:30  

Yeah, I’m cool with hate mail


Brett Bartholomew  57:32  

Okay, cool with hate mail. Yeah, that. I feel like you have a really humorous way to deflect those things. All right. Here’s the quote and it’s come from a book that you’ve recommended in the past the Goldfinch, right. In the Goldfinch, there is a quote that says, sometimes, it’s about playing a poorhand, well, sometimes, it’s about playing a poor hand. Well, now you choose which one you want to do first, whether you agree with it, and why and whether you disagree with it, and why but you’re gonna do both. 


Jessica Hagy  58:03  

Okay, so this is this quote, actually have like a reference for my late grandmother had this like embroidered and ending in her bathroom. Like, a world level fridge player, and she was always about like, yeah, you can do something with everything. And it all depends on what other people have do. And a hand of cards is a relational object, it’s not something that’s just up to you. And it’s not something that only reflects you, it’s something that your partner can play off to, especially with stretch, and if your partner has a stronger hands, and your weaker hand might be leverageable as the round. On the other hand, we can talk about how that quote is just complete bullshit because of absolute structural inequality and and you know what, the poor hands should not be dealt at all. And we should be dealing with that first and foremost, before we make people who got the short end of the stick, feel like they have to do extra work just to get to the table.


Brett Bartholomew  58:56  

Beautiful, very well done and improvising on the spot very well that you’re getting a golf clap. All right, here’s another one. It’s called break the block. Inevitably, no matter how much of us like are we believed to be subject matter experts in something or no matter how fluid a skill comes? We all get blocks, right? Whether it’s writer’s block creator block, parenting blocks, whatever that is, I need to know the oddest thing. In the eye of the beholder, of course, that you do to kind of get out of a creative block, like what’s something that you’ve done in the past that like really works for you, but somebody else might be like, Oh, Lord, le Is there anything goofy that helps you break the block?


Jessica Hagy  59:37  

Well, I mean, one of my really weird habits is that I walk very, very long distances every day. And I think if I don’t do that, I start to get oily and I can’t think straight. So I think what do I have today? About like 6.7 miles and if I don’t get another like three or four, by the end of the day, I won’t be organized. And I know that that people here that are like, we’re really strange. And that’s messed up and like, how long does that take you? And I’m like, go straight hours, but I leave it like five in the morning. So it’s fine. And that is really like the one thing I figured out that keeps me sane, like, especially now, when kids are underfoot, and nobody can go anywhere, and I still wander around, and I jot notes on my phone, and I keep myself from going completely nuts.


Brett Bartholomew  1:00:28  

I can appreciate that. I’m also an avid walker. I mean, there’s people that well we live in this world of intensity, right? And there’s a lot of people that think that just because I train athletes, like everything I do workout wise has to be super intense. And it’s like, no, because I channeled that intensity into other areas of my life. And you know, you’re a parent, right? When all of a sudden now you’re doing your own venture and you have a parent, there’s little things that you can only budget so much of that emotional energy and that focus to I do have to ask though, did your son still like doughnuts? I remember hearing the story about when he was three. You guys would go get a donut everyday because he was a picky eater Does he still love donuts?


Jessica Hagy  1:01:03  

He is less of a donut. We still haven’t gotten him to eat cake or ice cream or frosting. So the plain cake donut is still our go to like treat trans I don’t know what what his deal is, like bland things and bland things only. So he’s very glum. But yeah, he’s not so much into the donuts, but he is into walking with me. Because when we do go for long walks, just him and I, he has my complete attention and he can just talk and be like so I’m gonna talk to you about this. I’m gonna talk to you about this man and talk to you about this. And like, how is this small person holding so many words inside?


Brett Bartholomew  1:01:41  

Yes, sir. Sir, where are you coming up with these things? Where’s this generator You’re doing awesome. Alright, two more easy ones. You’ve talked about how you can go down deep dark rabbit holes sometimes I like the term dark I don’t think we’ve talked about the dark side of things enough I think we tend to have a society that looks at those things as curses or, weaknesses and things we’ve got to get rid of. But you know, you can not everybody needs to be the hero of their own story. They’ve got to embrace their inner villain sometimes as well. What is your favorite villain in any movie or book and allow you to use an antihero as well? A villain is too strong for you. 


Jessica Hagy  1:02:19  

Willy Wonka? No hesitation 


Brett Bartholomew  1:02:21  

unpack that.


Jessica Hagy  1:02:22  

He killded Children are sports this  man is amazing. Like he’s just a weird character.


Brett Bartholomew  1:02:29  

Yeah, I mean that in the Family Guy rendition of Willy Wonka is also great where they just kick him in the shins. The balloon buzz,


Jessica Hagy  1:02:37  

flame. Somehow this beloved character, he murders people. He gets away with it. He manipulates people with terrible advertising. He’s a bio and bio individual and like all the rules, all fours if you’ve ever read his like short stories, ghoulishly good, you can kind of see how Willy Wonka pops out of there.


Brett Bartholomew  1:02:57  

So he’s so twisted, though. Why is it your favorite? Are you I mean, I know you’re twisted, but you know, unpack this more?


Jessica Hagy  1:03:03  

Well, so he, basically, he’s an idiot. He does whatever he wants. He has access to everything to possibly enjoy, like, all of the like, delicious things and the wealth and the time and the power and just hearts around in his bizarre little world. And he gets away with everything for reasons that are never mentioned in the book. And like, the police never come after Wonka


Brett Bartholomew  1:03:28  

never and they’re definitely on their payroll. 


Jessica Hagy  1:03:32  

No. Yeah, you think about this guy. How is He just like living in the middle of London like enslaving and murdering and like, loving it, click. And you think about all the people that get away with like, lots of little things every day. Can you kind of think like, yeah, I could do a  little evil Wonka right now. Like, kill somebody in that, like, capture Oompa Loompa  or anything, but just like having fun with the character


Brett Bartholomew  1:03:57  

I love it again, that goes into creativity and where you’re going to take it and all those things. And you’re right, he hides in plain sight. He’s definitely dubious and devious. And nobody cares, because 


Jessica Hagy  1:04:12  

he wears velvet pants, 


Brett Bartholomew  1:04:13  

who wears velvet pants. But we couldn’t get that off.


Jessica Hagy  1:04:19  

I mean, in fourth grade, I just didn’t really want to complete with his mustache.


Brett Bartholomew  1:04:23  

I mean, Prince could pull the principal off the Wonka. 


Jessica Hagy  1:04:26  

he has A little Wonka in him don’t you think.


Brett Bartholomew  1:04:28  

 Yeah, I mean, well, he had rest in peace Prince But yeah, there’s any little bit of wonky in all of us. You know, we’re all. So all right. Here’s another one. A time where you sent an email a text or I know you’d like Twitter, a tweet, maybe to the wrong person by accident and your heart jumped into your chest. Right? Is there a time where you’re like, Oh, God, and I know you’re pretty like, you’re awesome about just saying what you think and you’re very thoughtful about it. And that carries over into your professionalism and the way you work but surely and this can even be a bad dream. So if you’re like, Well, I’ve never done that. I have my stuff too. I’m too together for that. Talk to me about something you’ve done. Okay, tell me, I need to hear it.


Jessica Hagy  1:05:09  

So it was, it was a few years ago, but I use the word dazzling out in a card. And I didn’t know that that was negative or ableist. At all. I didn’t know that it was a cool word use for someone who had any sort of like a static condition at all. I just thought it was right thing, and I didn’t know it all. And somebody’s like, no, it’s like, messages means like, that is really a shitty thing to say like, that’s not cool. And I was like, Oh, my God, like a quick google and I’m like, January, I shouldn’t have done that. I still feel like, oh, cheese, like, how  would I do that? But like, thank goodness, somebody was like, Hey, Jess, like, I know, you’re not a terrible person. But that’s a terrible word.


Brett Bartholomew  1:05:51  

Oh, that’s a great. That’s a really good example. Yeah, cuz that can be I mean, you would had no idea and the intention was good behind it. And, that’s gonna happen sometimes. All right, I peppered


Jessica Hagy  1:06:03  

like, linguistic bubbles, too. And you’re just like, Wait, what is that? Oh, god, yeah, like, even the time like growing up in Akron, Ohio, in the 80s. Like, so many things were said that are just like, not okay. To be like, in your 30s. And still learning those. It’s like, wow, we have so many different levels of communication


Brett Bartholomew  1:06:25  

as well. And it is tricky, because like, there’s other times we’re using the Oh, like, if you use the, because you can be overly literal with words, like one thing that kept me from putting work out for a long time and not doing a blog is like, my background is one that’s, you know, it’s a very science based field. And so when you wrote, every single thing had to be, you know, cited. I mean, if I literally said, communication is important to quality of life and career success, right? Like, I would have to cite that if I said that, you know, an athlete getting faster can enhance his on the field performance, I’d have to cite that. And so it was always rooted in my brain, I almost couldn’t write or speak informally. But then what was frustrating is sometimes like, you’re around people that are too literal with their words, and they just don’t get to the damn point, and so you realize, right, so if I think I’m being correct, in that I’m citing everything, I’m using the literal definition, but that can backfire. And then being too lacks with our words can backfire. Where you draw this line of what is actual social intelligence, or intelligence in general? I’m like, I think it’s just the ability to read between the lines what you think,


Jessica Hagy  1:07:34  

yeah, I think as communication evolves, and we all learn, like, who is extremely online? And what does extremely online sound like? And what does this publication sound like? And what does this publication sound like? And how do people who read those publications communicate? Really kind of again, it all comes back to like, who’s your audience? Like? I’m not talking to, like, Club Kids in London who have their own, like, cockney rhyming playing for all the bands that I don’t know, like, I can’t communicate with them. I don’t know that lingo I don’t. And knowing just like, I know how to speak to my people and my crew of people and that sort of age group, while keeping my ear to the ground for other things is like the only way to go like, I can’t stay in a bubble. But I can’t pretend like my bubble doesn’t have a whole lot of people I can talk to, if that makes sense.


Brett Bartholomew  1:08:25  

Yeah. 100% 100%? Well, listen, I want you to know that our community will always be happy to support you, I know you reached I reached out to you as a stranger. And you know, you were so kind enough to come on and share your time with us. And so anything you need inside or outside of your bubble. We’re definitely happy. And within that, how can we give back to you, Jessica? I’m going to share all this stuff in the show notes. You’ve been super gracious with your time, even the technical difficulties, but how can we get back to you? Where can we go to support your work? And anything that you have coming up that you’d like to let us know about?


Jessica Hagy  1:09:03  

Gosh, I would say one is like, by all my books, like, handful of cases, whatever works for you. Yes, that is always helpful. And the other thing is, I do a lot of in person sort of recording of other people’s conversations, and just listening in and then drawing in graphic form, the things they say, and that as, one of the things that I do, permission wise, is something that I’m always looking to do more of, and especially now that everyone’s on Zoom, and there aren’t all these great conferences going on. That is something that I can still do and have that fun week behind for people. So if anyone’s looking to enhance their online conference situation, let me know and I will illustrate it


Brett Bartholomew  1:09:46  

very fascinating. I like that idea. That’s a unique that’s definitely a unique way and so what’s the best way to to get a hold of you then as a contact through your website? Is it finding you on Twitter? What do you prefer as a communication medium?


Jessica Hagy  1:09:59  

My website It has all my full contact but if you Google me I have I keep all of my emails live so anything you find we’ll get back to you so Twitter works really well. Instagram I’m not on as much I’ve been told that I should although the shirts, whatever and I say Twitter or my website


Brett Bartholomew  1:10:22  

beautiful and like I said guys, we will make sure and put that in the show notes and make sure if you’re listening to download the reflection sheets you guys get from each of these episodes and Jessica again I can’t thank you enough huge supporter, huge fan of your work. Rest assured I’m gonna try to find ways that we can collaborate and also know that when all this madness ends, anytime you want to come to one of our communication and improv workshops, you have complimentary access anywhere you want, anytime you want. We just love to have somebody that has fun with things thinks deeply about things and and wants to interact with engaging people that also just love experimenting. We’d love to have you around. 


Jessica Hagy  1:11:02  

Awesome. Thank you so much. 


Brett Bartholomew  1:11:03  

Absolutely, guys, until next time, this is the art of coaching podcast. We’ll talk to you soon.

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