20-Something Entrepreneur: Jena Viviano

A few weeks ago, I introduced you to one of my favorite 20-something entrepreneurs, Robyn. Today, I am so excited to introduce you to my friend, Jena Viviano.

Jena runs a blog + career coaching business. She speaks a whole lot of truth about her faith, career advice, entrepreneuring and much more. When I'm around Jena, I always notice that she embodies her last name so well, since viv means live in latin - she's lively and unafraid to live boldly. It's inspiring. 

Below, she shares a little bit about her experience as a slow-cooking, 20-something entrepreneur. She's always refreshing and I hope you enjoy her amazing perspective!

Let's start with an easy one. What is your morning routine? How do you get the day going? Do you snooze? Do you drink coffee?

Oh! This is my favorite. Ever since I was little, I've been such a morning person.  Even on the weekends, you can find me getting up before 8AM.  Typically speaking on a weekday, I'll get up around 6AM and head to the gym or go for a run outside.  I live in NYC along the Hudson River, so especially in the summer months, the runs are gorgeous!

Once I get back from exercising, I'll start brewing some coffee and hop into the shower.  After I get out, like clockwork, I'll pour myself a cup and pour one for my roommate, Brandy.  Before I get ready for work, we both have our quiet times - currently we're reading through the Year of the Bible with SheReadsTruth.  It's been an amazing way to start our day and an activity we do together. I'll also journal for about a half hour before changing and heading out the door for work. Oh and I'll probably eat some breakfast somewhere in there!  I find that if I follow this routine, the rest of my day is setup better and I'm more at peace.  That's the goal - definitely nowhere near perfect.

image via jena's instagram

You write a lot about finding the right career path. It seems like you have it all together when it comes to knowing what you want to do with your life. Has it always been that way?

I wish! Definitely not.  I honestly didn't have any strong desire for any one career path for most of high school and college.  But I think what helped me "get it together" post-college was that I realized very quickly what I didn't like.  I hit a wall with my first job out of school where I was incredibly unhappy with the path I chose.  So, I decided to get incredibly curious about all the different opportunities out there. That curiosity has helped me synthesize my own strengths and how that can align in my job.  I became an expert in Jena Viviano and therefore became an expert in my own career.

Now that you're in the latter half of your 20s (!), if you could, what would you tell yourself at 22? What do you wish you'd known? 

Don't get hung up on that boy. Ha! Just kidding (but actually...). No, I would tell myself that your life is going to be wilder and more blessed than you could ever imagine, so stop trying to control everything. When I was 22, I was so wrapped up in the future and trying to calculate every step - with my career, friendships, relationships. I forgot to actually enjoy the moment. To actually live my life.  I spent too much of my time planning it!  Ultimately, I would tell my 22 year old self that it was all going to be okay - in fact, it's going to be a lot better than I could have ever dreamed. So chill out girlfriend!

image via jena's instagram

What was the most influential book you read in your 20s (so far)?

I have so many books that I love, so it's hard to pick just one! From a professional perspective, the book that really changed the way I looked at work and business is The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. I learned a ton about lifestyle design and passive income and it's been the catalyst to start my own side hustle.  On a personal level, the book that really rocked me was Anything by Jennie Allen.  It completely reframed the way I look at God and how I want to live my life as a Christian.  An absolute must-read!  (And if you've read it and want to talk about it - let's setup a Skype sesh ASAP!)

What's the biggest misconception people may have about you from reading your blog?

I think the biggest misconception people have about me is exactly what you said earlier - that I have it all together! I can assure you that is the farthest from the truth.  Just ask my friends who've known me for years. I still make mistakes as it relates to my career + life. Every. Single. Day. I'm learning just as much as the next person.  I'd like to think of my life as a sequence of bloopers, but I need to do a better job of making sure people don't only see the highlight reel. 

image via jena's instagram

For so many of us, our 20s can be one big comparison trap. How do you keep yourself from constant comparison? The internet makes it so hard! 

As a kid, I loved biographies.  I loved learning what made people successful or unique or celebrated.  There was even a phase when I read every famous person's Wikipedia page because I wanted to know how they achieved their level of success.  My little obsession wasn't just because I thirsted for knowledge - I wanted to know what I had to do to become like someone else. To morph into someone else.  That translated over into very many areas of my life - I compared myself to my friends who were thinner, had boyfriends, cooler jobs and bigger groups of friends.  And you know what? All of that comparison did nothing for me.  It didn't help me attain any more clarity or achieve any higher level of success.  In fact, it did the opposite.  

It wasn't until the past couple years where I started to remind myself daily that God made me unique and that THAT was celebration enough. How cool, right?  He picked me to have brown hair instead of blonde.  A badonk instead of boobs. A feisty personality instead of a sweet-as-pie demeanor.  I was meticulously pieced together by the God of the universe, a reflection of his creativity and imagination.  When you start to look at it through those lens, the comparison starts to fall away and instead you see the beauty in the unique nature of everyone around you - including yourself.    

image via jena's instagram

What do you consider play? And! What are your creative outlets?

I love writing. And singing. And having chats over wine about life with my best girlfriends.  I'm an avid reader and a coffee shop connoisseur.  If I had it my way, ever day would end with a bonfire and deep, meaningful conversation. I guess you could say, that whenever I'm creating, building or dreaming - that's when I'm in my "space of play."