113: Jen Moff | Learning Through The Concept of Unschooling

Jen Moff, Founder of Magical Mindfulness is a retreat leader, world traveler, spiritual philosopher, and artist who serves burned-out women across the globe. Her mission is to inspire others to shake sh*t up so they don’t look back at the end of their lives with regrets, wishing they spent more time happy and having fun. She also co-hosts a podcast with Matt Lovell called Funny Business As Usual, where they sometimes share spicy, always honest, and edge-of-your-seat conversations every Tuesday.

In this episode, Jen talks about how she learned because she had to when she was young through a framework, but eventually learns through circumstance, which made her curious. She explains how we can get into the idea of unschooling ourselves and how it has a place going forward. Jen also gets into why she launched a podcast and your purpose around it. Check it out!

Jen’s Learning Journey and Masterminds


The Mastermind Effect:  03:05

Our ability to learn and have access to people had changed over the last 5 to 10 years. When you and I were younger, we learned from textbooks, teachers, friends, family, parents, co-workers, and just the people around us, but that’s a sliver of what’s possible. How is your learning changed from your early years versus today?

Jen Moff:  03:29

When I was young, I learned because I had to. I learned because it was what society and everybody around me said. This is the path you must learn. You must go to school. You must read these books. You must pass these classes. So there was a framework, and learning was the path. It wasn’t something that was necessarily encouraged for itself and to be enjoyed. To be curious is not part of the school system.

As I’ve gotten older, I started learning because of circumstances. I was around some people that I was surprised by how they viewed me. And it made me curious. They’re telling me that they see me in ways that I’ve never heard anybody describe me. So it just made me start to get curious. That’s where that muscle developed. I just went to town, and I probably lived at a Barnes and Noble or Books a Million at least three times a week, just sitting there using it as a library and soaking up what I could. That was the beginning for me. And then, I used the idea of curiosity to allow myself to look at any experience as something that I could learn from. I don’t even think of failure as failure. I don’t believe that word exists because everything is a learning experience if you choose to have that mindset.

The Mastermind Effect:  04:55

It’s interesting where we feel that we’re forced to have to do something when we really take it in and expand on that and keep that childlike curiosity that we just like we hammer out of us. So I think we’re seeing a shift in that as well.

We continue to have more ways to take in information than ever before. And to me, it’s confusing. We got Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Wikipedia, YouTube University, Google U, and it’s like, what am I here for? So Nick Peterson sits there and says, “What am I here for? Am I in the right place? What do I do next? Are they helping us hone in on that?”

Some people learn from an accountability buddy, a mastermind, a mentor, online courses, and lots of ways to learn through all these different platforms. Who are you currently learning from? And more importantly, how did you connect and reach out to them?

Jen Moff:  06:28

I am currently learning from Stephanie Sinclair. I found her via a colleague of mine that I happen to meet on a mastermind retreat that I went on in the fall of 2019. After getting to this woman, knowing her, liking her, and trusting her, she recommended Stephanie to me. So I found her on Instagram and just started watching how she talked about life and her business. She did not let circumstance control anything. She launched a brand new company in the middle of a pandemic and has seen immense success. So being able to learn from somebody just by observing what they do and how they choose to think and how they choose to act, despite circumstance, is really powerful.

She and I have started to get to know each other. I’ve become a brand ambassador for her new Tea Company that she just launched because I genuinely believe in it. She provides an immense amount of content for free. So I think that there’s a place for the free content, but what do you do to go beyond that? So she’s somebody that I definitely could see myself working with in the future.

The Mastermind Effect:  07:52

You took your time, and someone referred. Sometimes, it’s difficult to refer someone to someone else because you just don’t know how that interaction is—and having that faith that both parties are going to take care of each other. To me, that’s another whole level of anxiety when you put people together. You took the time to get to know her. You entered that person’s world and started learning from them without being directly with them. And now you’re working with her. I think that’s beautiful, and it makes sense. You didn’t rush there, took your time, and learned a bit about the other individual to say, “Is this going to be a fit?”

Jen Moff:  08:33

Yeah, build that relationship. I certainly have made a mistake before in working with people. We could point everywhere because we’ve all made that same mistake of rushing into something or deciding based on what other people tell us we should do. Then we end up working with somebody that isn’t great for us in the long run. It might feel good at the moment.

The Mastermind Effect:  09:03

When you invest in something, the highest investment higher than the stock market and the housing market is yourself.  Great ROI on yourself, and it’s exponential. We’ll get into some of that ROI here.

I feel that a lot of people get stuck, and we don’t know how to see the picture through the frame or the tree through the forest. We’re still in a pandemic in some form or fashion, depending on where you’re at in the world. That’s reality, but to me, it’s causing a reset and how we can accomplish things. Case in point, the person you’re working with, didn’t reset herself, but she was able to accomplish something in times where other people had more difficult times. How have masterminds helped you when you’re looking to get unstuck and reset yourself?

Jen Moff:  10:01

There’s something that I continuously come back to. I started my first one in 2014 or 2015. I’ve run a couple of different ones over the years. I’m currently in one right now, and I’ve been in a number of them as participants.

The value to me is a couple of things—number one, the accountability and connection, especially when we are all remote right now. There’s something about having a regular support system and having access to people through technology that we wouldn’t necessarily come across locally. So I think that’s a real gift. There’s value to be held in that. Masterminds can be incredibly valuable for idea generation. Because at their core, they are about sharing the mind, helping people move forward, getting different perspectives, and getting different ideas. Not everybody is meant to generate ideas; that is not everyone’s gift in this world. If you can be in a mastermind with somebody great at that, that’s a huge gift. Having somebody else there that’s great at holding you accountable for what you said you were going to do, that’s also another gift. So you want a mastermind that’s diverse in its members so that you can reap the maximum benefits of them.

Self-Education and Jen’s Role


The Mastermind Effect:  11:27

That’s one of the things that I’ve found. I call it the Rubik’s Cube, where you can plug and play different things from completely different industries, but it can still pertain to how it can work for you. It’s amazing what the right mastermind with the right people can do. The people there are so important to future success. So it’s what I say in the beginning, like we learn through other people’s experiences, because we can plug and play and how it pertains to us.

Masterminds have been around for a while.  If you think about it, the first one was probably the apostles. And then, from there, Ben Franklin creates this Judo Club or the Leather Apron Club. Then eventually, Napoleon Hill writes a book and solidifies what a mastermind is. Where do you see the parallels between self-education (coaching, masterminds, mentorship) and standardized education (college university) moving forward?

Jen Moff:  12:35

I have a friend who introduced me to the concept of unschooling. This is the idea that takes homeschooling up a notch. Homeschooling is where you’re taking the student out of a public or private school system. You teach them at home, and you have a curriculum. You support them and partner with different family members, and you share responsibilities.

Unschooling is allowing the individual to lead the direction of what is studied based on their interests. I think that notion is foreign for a lot of people. But, still, it’s gaining popularity, because of the movement, like masterminds, coaching, consulting, and independent learning. We’re seeing what can happen when people pursue learning, transformation, and results through the lens of what interests them; so much more can be accomplished. So why wouldn’t we start to integrate that much younger so that it’s not unlearning things and then reprogramming? Let’s start from the get-go and make it easier for all of us.

The Mastermind Effect:  13:51

When you were talking about that, I’ve got a six-year-old, and that reminds me unschooling is like Montessori, at least to me. It’s like, you have all these areas of focus, but you want to go to this. So they hone in on those areas, and then they sprinkle in the other things. But what interests you? What will help you move the needle to be a happier, healthier, more productive person, and what you want to do?

Jen Moff:  14:20

How many people do you know that are doing the things now that they thought of when they were a kid? Unfortunately, not nearly as many, because, as you said in the earlier part, it’s been like drilled out of them; get rid of your childlike innocence, get rid of your curiosity, conform, follow the rules, take the test, learn the things that we want you to learn and go plug into this industrialized system. But now, the time has changed

The Mastermind Effect:  14:43

The education system was built based around a handful of wealthy families, at least in this country that borrowed some overseas. I think it was somewhere in Germany where they create this worker bee type of environment for the school system.

We talked about investing, and one of the things I had mentioned is, “Hey, I’m in the stock market. I’m in the housing market, but the highest investment is really in yourself.” It’s the biggest ROI because you can’t control the housing market and the stock market, but you can control your actions. So when someone chooses to invest in themselves and invest in you, what should they expect when they enter Jen’s reality?

Jen Moff:  15:42

They can expect a couple of things. One, they’re going to see very quickly that I can provide the insight. Something that I hear over and over again is that I have incredible insight. But aside from that, they’re also going to see that I hold them to a standard of what is possible for them. I don’t think that people invest money in themselves to be placated. You didn’t do this for me to hold your hand and allow you to dilly dally or lie to yourself. So there will be some straight-shooting, tough love, but at the same time, it’s all because I can see something that you might not even be able to see yet. And I know how to get you there the fastest way that we can possibly get you there. So if you’re at that level, and you’re ready for it, then that’s exactly what you’re going to get.

Are we going to laugh our asses off the entire time?  Maybe 75% because I’m not like a very professional, polished kind of person. I have a background in theater and performance, and I love improv. So all of that leads to a lot of jokes and comedy when we have calls when we’re in a group, or whatever it may be. I enjoy the experience of seeing people receive transformation through pleasure rather than discomfort. It’s something that is going to be pleasurable for you while you’re getting amazing and rapid results.

The Mastermind Effect:  17:32

From time to time, some of the people surprised themselves and what the outcome is. I’d love for you to share a success story. If you can use names and specific examples, that’s great. If not anonymity, we understand.  Give us a success story of what the outcome was because of the person XYZ worked with you.

Jen Moff:  17:59

I’ll tell you about a colleague who found me in a free Facebook group years ago. Her name is Julie, and she lives in California. So again, we would never have crossed paths if it hadn’t been for this wonderful world of the internet and these tools out there. She reached out to me because of a post that wasn’t very corporate, crystal clear. I don’t pretend to have it all together, and I share my own journey and my road. And she related to that. We started to work together because she had a handful of things she wanted that she was not getting. One of those was she wanted to be in a relationship. She wanted to start her own business. She wanted to be able to manage her mood through achieving those things. We worked together off and on for a number of years and one in one capacity.

At this point, she is in the best relationship of her life. She recently got a new job during COVID and making 35% more than what she’s making. She’s gotten promotions into a role that she thought she would have to go back to school for. We started a business development plan for her, and she realized she didn’t want what she thought she wanted. So we stepped back from that, and we approached very differently. We said if you want to do these things, it doesn’t have to be like this full-blown business because she’s in the accounting realm. If you’re going to do things on the side freelance, then that’s the way we’re going to take it because that’s what works for you. So that’s another piece that she valued. I didn’t try and shoehorn her into what I thought right looked like for her or because she had set this goal like we were nimble. We adapted as she learned things through her own experience. She knew that this maybe wasn’t as aligned for her.

Now, she’s got everything she wanted. We’re not working together because that ultimately is the goal. I’m not here to hold on to you forever. I want to see you thrive, succeed, and achieve all the results that you came to me saying that’s what you wanted. She’s doing amazing. She’s working on a retreat with my company in September to Hawaii, so I can’t wait to see her, catch up and keep doing some more of the work that we’ve been doing.


Defining Success


The Mastermind Effect:  20:29

I appreciate you sharing that with us. You can tell when someone is listening to this content, and they’re like, “Oh, I can see myself in Julie and working with Jen.” I think it helps us get through that noise and say, “Okay, so here’s a real-life example of someone that did this. They’re in the best possible relationship. They were able to succeed or what success is to them through a difficult time.”

Success is an interesting thing. We talk about a lot in the solo shows what success is and what it takes to be successful.  A few of the things we discuss are mentorship, experimentation, partnerships, and willingness to fail. I know you had mentioned there is no failing; it’s learning from it. So we’ll use the word willingness to fail, which is putting yourself out there sometimes. On the flip side, willingness to define success and why so many people don’t define success is because once we’ve actually defined it, we know failure is the opposite. So it’s scary actually to sit there and define success. What do you feel is a key attribute when it comes to being successful?

Jen Moff:  21:39

Happiness. If you’re not happy, if you’re not energized or not excited, that’s an easy litmus test that stuff’s got to change.

The Mastermind Effect:  22:10

You are setting happiness to a number. I have been there done. It’s like, I will feel successful and happy when this number hits this. Then you get to that quicker than what you had set aside. And so you more double that number. And you also shorten the time frame again, and then you hit that even quicker. I love the fact that your definition of success is happiness.

Jen Moff:  22:46

I’ve been there like you said. I’ve been chasing something and trying to fill this never-ending hole. So when you know those things, you can also see them very easily. I have people in my close life that aren’t there yet. They aren’t ready to receive that. But thankfully, you’re listening to this. You are ready to receive that.

The Mastermind Effect:  23:08

Few more questions as we get ready to wrap it up. In times of prosperity, the wins come easier. When the world is winning, we can find wins just easier. But I think ingenuity and creativity come when we feel the squeeze and the world feeling some form of a squeeze. So what’s going to take place over the next 12 months that excites you?

Jen Moff:  23:59

I launched a podcast with a friend of mine about six months ago. This is an idea that I had in the tank for a while. I envisioned it to look, feel and be the certain kind of way that I hadn’t seen yet. But I didn’t know how to make it happen because I’m not interested in learning the editing tech stuff. I also wanted the right people because it’s not just a “me” show. I work well in response to somebody else. So I have gotten the idea again, sometime late summer. I realized instantly that it’s not exactly what I thought. And so I reached out to one of my oldest friends, Matt Lovell, and he was game right from the start when I told him everything about it.

We launched beginning of October. We are a week away from hitting our six-month mark, and I’m super proud of it. We have not done any marketing in any traditional sense. We’ve just been focusing on our guideposts, which are we want to have fun. We want to stretch ourselves creatively, and we want to make entertaining content. So I’ve acted as the creative director. He’s acted as the technical director because he loves that stuff.

We are launching into our second six months. We’re going to focus more on marketing and allow people to benefit from it. It’s unlike anything else that I’ve done. It’s a comedy podcast, and it is not educational in the traditional sense. It’s not motivational. It’s not where we interview people. It’s for the clients that I want to work with. They need more fun in their lives, and they do sneak binge these things. This is going to be a great value for them. I can see where this will go down the road; wanting to have brand partnerships, getting sponsors, and taking this thing to a whole other level. So I’m super stoked about it.

The Mastermind Effect:  26:02

The podcast is called Funny Business As Usual. Check it out and listen to Apple iTunes or whatever podcasting platform. We want to make sure that the people that you attract can easily find you. That’s why we’ve got this podcast and why we’re building the Success Finder platform.  We want to make their path easier, because then we make your path easier.

What is a tip, a tactic, or an actual item that, if anyone listening to this today, implemented over the next 30, 60, or 90 days would see a real impact on their business or personal life?

Jen Moff:  26:51

The first thing that comes to mind is to pause. It is so easy, myself included, to just run on autopilot with whatever’s on your calendar or planner. Schedule a time out every week for you to reflect and to plan. Every Friday, I do this. I have dedicated time on my calendar where I review my week, and I write down all the celebrations that I wanted to acknowledge, the things that I did, and the things that I’m grateful for. And then I look at the week, and I say, “What did I do? What did I not get done? Why didn’t I get those things done? Are they not as big of a priority?” Then I use that information to plan the next week.

I don’t think it’s as valuable to do these like year-long business plans. Things change too much. We’re not robots. So taking things down, slow down, and pause. Give yourself that time every week to reflect, plan, and set intentions on whatever is a priority; your business, relationships, personal life, self-care, or whatever skill you’re trying to build. You will not get there unless you take stock of where you are and where you want to go. And acknowledge the wins while you’re going.

The Mastermind Effect:  28:07

I love that. You got to know what your current GPS location is. If you started across the street and said, I want to go to the grocery store. If the grocery store is really what you want to build in life and you start that GPS location across the street, you’re not going to get there in the most efficient path,

Jen Moff:  28:25

I’ve often used that example. If you don’t know where you’re going and you get in the car, you’re just going to drive around and wasting gas and time and feel like you’re productive. But you are not getting to the place because you have not set the place on the app.

The Mastermind Effect:  28:43

I want to get the most efficient path forward, especially today with the shades on. We have got the Founder of Magical Mindfulness, Jen Moff. Jen, thank you so much for today, and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for both of us and what we’re building towards.

Tweetable Quotes:

“I used the idea of curiosity to allow myself to look at any experience as something that I could learn from. I don’t even think of failure as failure. I don’t believe that word exists, because everything is a learning experience if you choose to have that mindset.” – Jen Moff

“Hey, I’m in the stock market, I’m in the housing market, but the highest investment is really in yourself the biggest ROI because you can’t control the housing market. You can’t control the stock market, but you can control your actions.” – Brandon Straza

“If you’re not happy, if you’re not energized, if you’re not excited; that’s an easy litmus test that stuff’s got to change.” – Jen Moff

Connect with Jen on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. Check out her website https://thejenmoff.com/ and listen to her podcast.

It’s time to Stand Up, Show Up, and Level Up! Download The Success Finder on Apple and Google Play Store.

You can connect with me, Brandon Straza, on LinkedIn, Instagram, or send me an email at brandon@thesuccessfinder.com. I’d love to get in touch and talk more about personal development and how you can move beyond your limits.

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