Nationally recognized motivational speaker, mental health advocate and author, Jordan Corcoran, founder of Listen, Lucy, is a Mercyhurst College graduate with a story to share. During her freshman year, she was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder. After going through a difficult struggle with coming to terms and learning to cope, Jordan created an outlet where people can openly and candidly share their own personal challenges and struggles- an outlet where she can also use her lived experiences to end the stigma surrounding mental health.
Now Jordan’s time is spent touring around the country speaking to college, high school and middle school students about her story and the importance of acceptance – of others and of yourself. She is the author of Listen Lucy Volume 1 and Write It Out, and Little Lucy and the Little Butterflies, has been featured on Today.com and UpWorthy for her self-love campaigns and was a keynote speaker at NAMI and other mental health organizations. Her mission is simple: she wants to create a less judgmental and more accepting world.
Where did the idea for Listen, Lucy come from?
After years of resisting help for my mental health, struggling physically and emotionally, and barely keeping my head above water, I finally went to therapy. In therapy, I learned who I was, why I am the way I am and the truth behind mental illness. It was such an eye-opening, life-saving experience for me. Up until that point, I thought people struggling with mental illness were weak, unpredictable, unstable and unable to live a normal life. I was really embarrassed to be struggling with these issues and to be labeled as someone with a mental illness. During therapy and through my healing and coping, I learned so many different, important things about mental health and how truly common it is for people to battle the same issues I was battling. I wanted to create an organization that educated people, brought them together, let them know they are not alone and let them know it was OK to ask for help.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Right now, my day is hectic. I have a beautiful little boy who is a toddler that just recently learned about running and he keeps me on high alert and on my toes every minute I am with him. I work at a specialized learning school in Pittsburgh part-time in their Workforce Development Program and I am rebuilding Listen, Lucy after the pandemic clobbered so much of what I have built. It all feels extremely hectic but I secretly love the chaos.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I love this question. This may sound a bit silly, but I know when an idea is right for Listen, Lucy because I feel it in my gut. Something clicks inside of me when the idea starts to form and I know it is worth pursuing. After my gut check, I start to look at my network and find who I know that has experience or connections to help educate me on the topic. I reach out to those people, take them to coffee or lunch, and pick their brains if they are willing. I gather all of the information I can and then I start to formulate a plan. I reach out to my team and let them know where I am and ask for input. I take my time and make sure every detail is in place so that when I bring this idea to life, it wows people. If running a business has taught me anything about execution, it is that patience is key and never rush a launch. Take your time and do it right
What’s one trend that excites you?
I love Instagram Lives. I love to watch them and host them. I think it is such an amazing way to instantly connect, engage and converse with your followers.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Lists. Lists. Lists. I make so many lists to keep myself on track. Also, this might again seem silly, but I have certain artists I listen to when I do certain things. For example, I listen to Amy Winehouse when I write. She keeps me calm, clear-minded and focus.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Calm down. Have patience. Trust yourself. Confidence is so cool. Stop asking yourself, “Why do I think I am special enough to do this?” It is a lame question and is holding you back.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Stale Cheese Curls are the only way to eat Cheese Curls.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Ask for help.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Accepting rejection quickly. I have spent years being rejected or ignored when trying to get into schools. Keeping my head down, powering through and doing my best to not let the rejection get to me is how I grew my business. Eventually people started to say yes and then those people told other people to say yes. I didn’t give up. Be vulnerable, be tenacious and be confident. It takes time.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
This made me laugh out loud. I have had so many “failures” that I truly don’t know how to pick one. I try not to look at them as failures, but lessons. One of the biggest failures was not having a contract to protect myself with a local mental health organization. I did a ton of work for them and went above and beyond what they asked me to do. They decided not to pay me. It was happening only a few weeks before I was about to give birth and I advocated for myself as long and as hard as I could, but eventually I had to let it go. I have a really strong contract now so I never have to deal with that again. It was awful. I could tell you about 10 more lessons I have learned from but I think it would take up the entire article.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
When I was in college, I did a group project where we had to design a business from start to launch. We created “Nature’s Greetings” a greeting card company that had seeds in the paper of the cards. You planted the cards after you received them and then had a beautiful plant to keep. I always thought that was the best idea and sort of wish we pursued it in real life.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Donation to a cause very near to my heart.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I think my answer here is kind of lame– but Google. Google Docs, sheets, slides. It is where I live and how I stay organized. I also use PayPal for all of my invoices and have for years. Love it.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed. It covers so many topics and there are incredibly real, raw, and beautiful messages in each passage. There is something for everyone. It is a true gift.
What is your favorite quote?
“The ugliest part of your story will be the most powerful part of your testimony.”
- Patience is the name of the game.
- Ask for help from people that know more than you.
- Take your time on your launch. Do it right.
- Believe in yourself.
- Get a contract.
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.