In our fast-paced world, many of us struggle with self-trust and tapping into our inner intuition. It’s tough to achieve personal and professional success when these crucial qualities aren’t quite working as they should. But hold on – there’s hope! 

In this exciting episode of the HAPPINESS SQUAD Podcast, we’ve got a solution for you. Our guest, Jesse Janelle, is a real pro when it comes to personal development. With her impressive track record as the founder and CEO of Gemini Leadership and the brains behind the Soul Session method, Jesse’s got the expertise we all need.

Jesse is an ICF certified transformational coach, and her TEDx talk on the power of self-trust is in the top 2 percent most viewed talks of all time. Her mission is to help mystic-minded millennials reach new realms of possibilities for their lives.

In the conversation, Ashish Kothari and Jesse explore how to boost your self-trust and give you practical tips to kick your intuition into high gear. They also explore the power of tarot-based leadership coaching, and how leaders can not only level up their own self-development but also help others do the same.

Things you will learn in this episode:

Don’t miss out on this chance to supercharge your life! Join the conversation and let’s unlock the secrets to self-trust and intuition that can transform your world.



Hardwired for Happiness :


Ashish Kothari:

Hey Happiness Squad, it's great to have you with me on this Happiness Squad podcast where we host guests who are industry leaders and experts helping organizations and individuals make flourishing their competitive edge.

In today's podcast, we will explore practical ways to deepen your self-trust and tap into that intuition and inner voice we all have to increase your flourishing and leadership effectiveness.

Meet Jesse Janelle. Jesse is the founder and CEO of Gemini Leadership and creator of the Soul Session method. She's an ICF certified transformational coach, and her TEDx talk on the power of self-trust is in the top 2 percent most viewed talks of all time. Her mission is to help mystic-minded millennials reach new realms of possibilities for their lives.

In this session, we discuss a powerful model she uses to help individuals assess their self-trust and practical ways to amplify their hidden intuition. Stay till the end, where we discuss how leaders can not only help themselves but also help others invest in their self-development journeys. Join me as I welcome Jesse to the Happiness Squad.

Welcome, Jesse. It's so lovely to have you on our Happiness Squad podcast.

Jesse Janelle:

Thanks for having me.

Ashish Kothari:

So my friend, we always start with this first question: what is happiness, and how has your definition of happiness changed from when you were younger to now?

Jesse Janelle:

My definition of happiness is freedom. When I was younger, and I think this is true for most children, there is an element of freedom that's just part of your existence. There's so much you don't need to worry about yet. There are all these societal expectations and stories that haven't been put upon you yet. And for me, as an adult now, happiness is getting closer to that space of feeling free.

Ashish Kothari:

Beautiful. I love that. It's breaking free from all these fears and expectations, like truly being able to live in light with your values and what you know for yourself to be true.

Absolutely, which is so much of your beautiful work in this conversation. I was so intrigued, Jesse, when you reached out because your website says it, right? A little bit of Hogwarts, a little bit of Harvard.

And so for our listeners, Jesse has a unique approach towards coaching and leadership development, which combines the power of tarot cards, intuition, with real science-based coaching work to help individuals with personal and professional growth.

So I'm curious, tell me a little bit about the story around how you came to create this method.

Jesse Janelle:

Absolutely. It's a long story, but I'll shorten it for your listeners. My personal development journey began when I was 11 years old. I experienced a trauma at school that broke my relationship between my thoughts, my intuition, and my body, what I would call my “felt sense”. For a long time, those two areas were completely disconnected for me, and I spent several decades trying to rebuild that connection.

Earlier in my career, I took a very academic approach to this work. I majored in psychology, studied positive psychology, and interned at the Institute of Coaching at Harvard during its founding years, helping them work on their evidence-based coaching research library.

As I progressed in my career, I got certified as a coach at the New Field Network, started practicing, and had been certified as a yoga teacher for a long time. I started rebuilding the connection between my mind and body and began doing more spiritual work, like bringing in tarot cards for my own practices.

My clients started picking up on it, noticing the cards behind me or asking about my practices, and I shared it with them. It was never intentional to start a tarot-based coaching practice, but I began incorporating it lightly into my work with clients and realized how powerful it was.

A colleague once asked me about presence, a topic I often coach and speak on. She asked, "But how do you do it? Your presence, what's the actual thing you do everyday that makes you able to show up like this?" It was a striking question, and I realized it's my daily tarot practice. That's the tangible thing I could teach someone else that would make a huge difference in their lives. So, I started revolving my whole business and all the work I do around tarot-based coaching.

Ashish Kothari:

That's amazing. I want to understand how that works, but it's a beautiful notion of what you're saying.

At Happiness Squad, we focus on the idea that we can know things cognitively, but until we do them, we don't get the benefits. And if we do them consistently, we become them, and that’s what people experience.

People experience a different you, not what you're saying, but what you're emanating. When someone asks, "How do you do it?" It's not your logic.

So tell us about how tarot cards can serve as tools for self-discovery and decision-making, especially in the professional world we inhabit.

Jesse Janelle:

Yes, I love that you called it out specifically as a tool because that's how I frame it as well. For me, it's a tool of something called metaphor coaching. There are many ways to do metaphor coaching, but it's about bringing a third party into the energy of a coaching relationship.

Sometimes you can do metaphor coaching with a box of trinkets. It's any type of tool that helps the client externalize the issue or perspective outside of the conversation.

I bring tarot cards not as a tool of divination or fortune telling, but as a new energy, a third party being brought into that container that can spark new perspectives and reflection.

What I've found is that it takes the coaching conversation deeper, much faster. What might normally take several sessions to get down to the heart of the issue happens in 10 or 15 minutes.

Ashish Kothari:

So bring it to life for me. What would that look like? When you say bring a third person in or externalize, what does that actually mean?

Jesse Janelle:

In a normal coaching conversation, I would usually start off with, "What do you want coaching on today?" The client would describe what's been going on.

In a conversation without Tarot, I'd be asking questions like, "Why is that important to you?" or "Tell me more about that," to really focus the conversation.

In a tarot-based coaching session, I bring my cards and the first question I pose with the cards is, "What do we need to know about?" After the client explains what they want coaching on, I pull a card and show them. It usually helps them narrow in on the topic.

I explain simply what the card typically means and invite the client to interpret what it means to them. They look at the rich imagery of the card, interpret their own definition, and then we explore that direction further.

Ashish Kothari:

Is it important that you pick a card or they pick a card from the tarot?

Jesse Janelle:

Most of my coaching is virtual, so I pick the card and show it to them. Even when working with someone in person, I'm usually holding the cards and showing them as we go.

Ashish Kothari:

I see. So give me an example of how a specific tarot card coaching session facilitated a really transformative moment for them in their work life.

Jesse Janelle:

I'll give you an example that comes to mind, highlighting the differences between working with Tarot and traditional leadership coaching.

I had a client who owns her own business and was really hung up on the idea of rest. She was always doing, always busy, and couldn't figure out why she couldn't slow down, even though she thought rest was very important to her, but she just couldn't seem to do it.

So we were working on that together, and one of the cards pulled was the Seven of Swords. This card, for me, means somebody is lying to themselves. In a typical coaching conversation without tarot, it would be a strong move for a coach to say, "You might be lying to yourself." that would be more aggressive.

But in this conversation, when I pulled that card, I could invite in that idea and say, "This card typically means there might be something you're hiding or lying to yourself about. How does that resonate with you? Does that land?" It was a lighter way to invite that type of conversation. She realized she was lying to herself about her definition of success and resting and not achieving meant she was not successful.

We then explored redefining her definition of success to focus on peace and joy instead of making a certain amount of money or having a certain caliber of client. That's an example of where, in a normal coaching conversation, it would have taken us a while to get there, but with pulling a particular card, we were able to externalize things. The card said it, not me.

Ashish Kothari:

Did you choose the card on purpose, or was it random? It could have been another card, which would have taken the inquiry a different way.

Jesse Janelle:

Correct, it's totally random. I shuffle them before every conversation. To do this type of work doesn't require any particular spiritual belief, but it does require openness to the idea that there's an energy in the conversation, and a certain card is coming up for a reason.

There's a bit of curiosity, a touch of magic to it, even though it doesn't involve believing in anything specific. The cards aren't telling your fortune, but there needs to be some belief and openness to the idea that we pulled this card for a reason.

Ashish Kothari:

It seems Jesse, which I really like, is when I'm doing leadership work with clients in large groups, we use imagery. We use cards and say, "Describe a bit of your current situation and pick a card that describes the future," and we do a debrief.

So, with tarot and imagery, you're using a different part. You're inviting a different line of inquiry that might break the logical pattern of thinking and trying to get in deeper through a different lens, sometimes something that might be invisible to ourselves.

Jesse Janelle:

Absolutely. The power of it is that someone sees whatever they want to see in the imagery. It's not about knowing the definitions of the cards or having worked with tarot before.

When I give a little insight, like what this card typically means, I always preface that it's more important what the client sees in the card or what it means to them than whatever I might be sharing about a possible definition.

It's just the client reflecting on what they see in the context of the rest of the conversation, allowing shifts to happen more quickly than with typical coaching questioning.

Ashish Kothari:

Jesse, have you used this in a corporate setting with a leadership team or an intact team working on an issue?

Jesse Janelle:

I haven't used tarot with teams. When I come in for leadership development work, I'm talking about intuition and self-trust typically in a workshop environment. The cards, right now, I've just been doing one-on-one.

Ashish Kothari:

Got it. So let's switch to self-trust. I listened to your talk, Panic to Presence, and your journey from fear to self-trust, and it was beautiful. To all our listeners, if you haven't, please search for it. You will be moved and you’ll learn quite a bit.

So share a little bit, give us the cliff notes version of that TED talk for our listeners so they can then go listen to the full part of it, and how you talk about self-trust.

Jesse Janelle:

I spoke about this earlier in our conversation. I experienced a trauma at school when I was 11 that broke my self-trust. I describe that in the TED Talk and what happened, how I started putting the pieces back together, rebuilding that self-trust.

At the Newfield Network, they talk about reliability, competency, and sincerity as the three elements of trust. I apply that same framework to self-trust. Reliability: do you keep promises to yourself? Competency: do you believe in yourself? This idea of self-confidence or self-efficacy: do I believe that I can do it? And the part I focus on the most in the TED Talk is sincerity, and talking about: Am I really being who I truly am in the world?

Because of the trauma I experienced, I had a strong mask up in the world. I talk about how exhausting it is to keep that mask up and to hide who you really are from the world. And I take people on an exploration of: who you were before the world told you who you should be? And getting back to that sense of who you really are, how much energy you can save by doing that, and how much more capacity you have access to not only for your own well-being and happiness but in relationship to others and how they experience you, and what that allows you to do and be in the world.

Ashish Kothari:

Isn't that amazing? This is something so present with many people. Almost everybody, when they're growing up, will go through a core wounding that leads us to armor up. We armor up because we are afraid of letting the hurt in, but we also prevent our love and goodness from reaching out. We limit others' goodness from reaching us. Once you armor up, very little starts to get in. How does one, once realizing there is a loss in self-trust, go about building that back?

Jesse Janelle:

Any practice that begins to connect you with your intuition is a great place to start. I'll give you some specific examples. Different introspection practices that you can do on your own, like journaling or yoga. I teach about a tarot self-practice that you can do on your own.

Anything that starts to get you in touch with yourself more. This is a process because at first, it might feel like you're pretending, as you don't know that person yet. You've forgotten who you really are.

It's like building a new relationship. It takes time to explore and get to know that person. Any introspection practice that allows you to be in conversation with yourself can help you get to know yourself again.

Building self-trust over time happens when the voice of your intuition slowly becomes louder than the voice of your inner critic. It starts by being able to distinguish between the voice of your inner critic and the voice of your intuition, which is a very big and difficult first step. Is this my anxiety, or is this that little guidance system, that voice of love, that's always here, helping to make life easier for me? Distinguishing these two voices is a huge first step.

Once you can tell the difference, you build more trust the more you start to listen to the voice of your intuition and practice what it's guiding you to do. Get reinforcement from the universe that this is the right path. The more it gets reinforced, the louder it becomes, making it much easier to trust and follow.

Ashish Kothari:

Beautiful. So it's truly about trusting that voice from within. The inner critic is loud in many people, but the reason it's so loud is that we've silenced the other voice, the voice of the helper, the cheerleader within, that intuition. We have to connect and really cultivate that.

I love what you said about journaling around it if you can't immediately trust it. This notion, which I use a lot with my clients in coaching and in the REWIRE program, is to ask, "How would someone else, or the lover in me, or the logical operator in me, say it?"

At Newfield, we spent a lot of time looking for counter evidence against what we hear from the critic, which might be supported by what the inner helper or guide is telling us. So, you're saying to our listeners, to start building trust and bringing out your intuition, start first with an introspection practice, anything that turns you inwards, and then second, start to bring it out slowly, in less risk to higher risk situations until it gets strong enough.

Jesse Janelle:

Right, because you're building trust. The more you can try something out and have it reinforced, the stronger that trust will be, and it will be easier to just go with it when you hear it and not question it or look for counter evidence anymore. It's going to feel like, "I've done this a hundred times, and that voice is always right." Just allow that to flow.

Ashish Kothari:

That's a good idea too. So keep track, right? Keep track of when that voice came through because oftentimes that is such a big confidence booster.

Jesse Janelle:

When you combine an introspection practice with a body practice, like yoga, walking, or exercising, it helps you test what you're hearing in your physical body. In workshops, I often discuss the difference between the inner critic and the voice of love or intuition.

A common question is how to distinguish between anxiety and intuition. I advise people to go to their body. The feeling of love, the voice of intuition, feels expansive, opening, and warm. Being practiced in connecting to your body, whether through exercise or yoga, helps you distinguish between intuition and inner critic by testing it in your physical body.

The inner critic or fear feels constricting, diminishing, and can make you feel shaky or cold. It feels physically different to sit with something guided by your intuition than by your inner critic.

Ashish Kothari:

So, the recommendation is to connect more to the body, as many of us move through the world as just heads with no body awareness. It's about noticing how one feels different from the other. Body sensations can act as a compass to determine if it's anxiety or intuition.

If it's anxiety, maybe breathing can help let that fight-flight response calm down. Then, take on a different body disposition, a more open one, and see what voice comes up for you. If you can't access it, go there.

Notice what is coming up in your body so you can use it as a guide and create it. This notion is powerful and beautiful. So, talk to me about how connecting deeply and starting to trust themselves and their intuition again contributes to flourishing and happiness for them.

Jesse Janelle:

Yeah, there are a few different components. One is you become a more effective decision maker. Most of us spend a lot of time deliberating decisions, and when you have strong self-trust and are practiced at being able to hear the voice of your intuition, it not only improves decision-making but also speeds it up. You can trust that voice, spend less time in indecision, and after making the decision, you don't spend as long questioning whether it was the right one. That's one practical element.

Ashish Kothari:

Faster and more effective decision-making.

Jesse Janelle:

Right, especially in workplaces. It makes you a more effective decision maker.

It also brings a certain presence, allowing you to access a type of presence, meaning how other people receive you. We talked about this earlier, but the way someone feels you or what they get from being with you, like a calming presence, is all about how someone else receives your energy. That is your presence.

When you build self-trust and the voice of the inner critic gets quieter, you're able to relate to people better. People feel a certain presence from you. There's a resonance that can happen. You hear people better, and they hear you hearing them. They can feel you feeling them.

That's the type of energetic connection that can be created when you're sitting in self-trust or living in self-trust because you show up in the world more authentically. And you save a lot of energy when you show up more authentically, as we talked about masking earlier, which is incredibly draining.

Ashish Kothari:

The weight of that armor that people carry, pretending.

Jesse Janelle:

Pretending and not even realizing you're doing it, you're wasting all that energy. When it can come down and that armor can come off, a weight literally is lifted off of you, and that energy can be utilized in ways that are more productive, useful, and in alignment with your values. It can be directed towards intentionally making your life better and living the type of life you want to live.

Ashish Kothari:

It's beautiful. So, friends, just to recap, if you truly build and regain this trust in yourself and your intuition, you are able to access and make much faster and more effective decisions. You're able to reduce the drain that comes from carrying this massive weight of armor around you.

You're able to connect more deeply with others, feel them, and they feel you. You're letting your goodness reach them and their goodness reach you. You can come across as a lot more authentic. Your presence is more confident, too, because you're not doubting yourself.

When you doubt yourself, others can feel that doubt in what you're saying. So, once you reduce that inner critic voice and stand confident in your intuition, people will feel it. There'll be higher resonance, higher connection, higher love. And all of that results in not only you flourishing, but everybody around you feeling confident, present, seen, and guided more effectively. Hence, the need to really build this competency.

Now I'm curious, Jessie, have you seen, do men versus women, you know, is there a lack of self-trust more in one versus the other?

Jesse Janelle:

When I have a client one-on-one, I don't notice a difference. However, when I'm guiding a workshop, my observation is that it's a little more difficult for men to put down the mask. I don't know if the armor is stronger or if there's more societal expectation, but it takes a little more work to get through. But in terms of once we're through there, the access to the intuition, or even what that intuition is guiding, I don't notice a difference.

Ashish Kothari:

It's interesting, and I wanted to share this with you, which is why I asked the question. In my work, I find the topic of intuition fascinating, especially regarding masculine versus feminine energies. Those with more feminine energies, whether women or men, are more intuitive by nature but also have higher levels of self-doubt. It's like having more of something but also a higher level of tampering it down. So, outwardly, it might appear the same, but if you lose that, how much more can we cultivate? That's why I was asking, as you've done a lot of work in this space. It starts to make sense to me, and I was wondering why it's not more apparent. This notion could explain that.

So, let's talk a bit about your work beyond tarot-based self-trust and helping people increase their self-trust and presence. You're a successful leadership coach, working with teams and work cultures. We are in an interesting period with a lot of employee disengagement, broken trust in systems and organizations, layoffs in big companies, high burnout, and stress. What strategies are you seeing leading companies deploy, or what are you advising them to do to turn back this tide? Flourishing, for me, is about performance, and we need people to execute. If people are disengaged, stressed out, and not trusting their companies, productivity is minimal. We've got to figure out a way to help companies do more and win that trust back. What are some ways you are seeing companies do it, or what are you advising them to do?

Jesse Janelle:

That's a great question. One thing I advise, and a phrase I live by in my work, is that personal development is inseparable from professional growth. The companies getting this right are those with a willingness and openness to invest in personal development for their employees. More individualized development is key.

Often, companies focus on skill-based programs for leadership development, like how to have difficult conversations or feedback conversations. These are technical skills someone can learn, but when you give people space and invest in their personal development, such as in self-development leadership journeys, it becomes contagious in organizations.

People come back from these self-development journeys, where they've been given the spaciousness and guidance to explore things like wounds from childhood, their way of being in the world, their presence, authenticity, and intuition. They return to their organization with a different presence, able to relate to people better. Their teams feel seen and heard.

Even if a teammate didn't experience the same journey, they experience that person's presence, which invites them to let down their mask a bit and show up more authentically. They bring emotions into work and their full self because they're being received by someone who has the capacity to receive them, having been given the opportunity to do this type of work. The biggest difference maker is companies putting their professional and leadership development dollars towards self-development work.

Ashish Kothari:

Beautiful. And what are some innovative ways in which people can do self-development?

Jesse Janelle:

There are a lot of different ways that companies can invest in self-development. They could do so individually for their employees by getting them a leadership coach who's able to help them explore this. They can also invest in group self-development journeys like we do at Mobius.

I work at Mobius Executive Leadership as well as having my own practice. Mobius focuses on self-development journeys and leadership development, leading from self. Contracting a company like Mobius that has been doing this for years and knows how to facilitate this, bringing that little bit of magic, that Hogwarts meets Harvard, into corporate spaces, is one way.

Ashish Kothari:

Yeah, and part of it is creating space. The work that I'm doing and the start of Happiness Squad and my whole shift away from driving more profits for companies to focusing on helping people live their best lives started from one of those self-development weeks I did with Mobius and McKinsey. It was a powerful program.

Friends, you can look at Google and search within yourself, search inside yourself journeys. Wilderness trails are another wonderful place to give people the opportunity, even as whole teams, to step away and rediscover themselves, truly discover who they really are. So powerful.

Jesse, thank you. So for our listeners who are more intrigued about tarot-based coaching and truly learning to trust their intuition, where can they start? Where can they find you? And what additional resources would you recommend?

Jesse Janelle:

Thank you. The best place to go if you're interested in this topic and want to explore it more deeply is That's one of my websites where I have a free 45 minute master class that dives into this topic a lot more deeply than we were able to do today in this conversation. But it's the actual how to conduct a seven minute tarot practice that you can do as a self coaching practice at home in seven minutes to become a more effective decision maker.

It's one of those introspection practices that we talked about. That's a way to kind of, begin to dip your toe in this water and begin conversation with yourself. So if you'd like to learn how to do that on your own, you can go to seven minute tarot. com and I'll walk you through it.

Ashish Kothari:

This was amazing. Thank you, Jesse. I can't wait to try one of these seven-minute tarot sessions myself. I want to introduce that to folks who go through the REWIRE program at Happiness Squad, which is all about truly rewiring our brains away from fear and towards happiness.

Self-trust and intuition can be a big part of it. In fact, the center of our nine practices is self-awareness, awareness of who you really are. So thank you for adding another tool to the toolbox that our listeners and those participating in REWIRE programs can use. I wish you an amazing day. Thank you for sharing your great insights with us.

Jesse Janelle:

Thanks so much for having me.

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