Jamie Butler is a natural born Medium and media personality who has been working internationally for the past 25 years. She is the author of With Love and Light: A True Story About an Uncommon Gift as well as the founder of The Center for Love and Light in Atlanta, GA and co-founder of the nonprofit learning environment: The Love & Light Institute. Most recently, Jamie launched The Lighter Side Network, a TV platform devoted to wholeness living. With uplifting, educational, healing and topical content, the ad-free, member-supported network inspires viewers to unlock their fullest potential and lead their best lives. Jamie is deeply passionate about community and entrepreneurship and enjoys teaching people of all ages about the infinite possibilities for healing, joy, and success available to each of us when wholeness living is incorporated into our daily lives.
Shantel: Hi, Jamie, welcome to the Imagine More Podcast.
Jamie: Hello, thank you for having me.
Shantel: Yes. We are so excited to learn more about your company, or multiple companies, and how you got started, but if you could kick things off with a little bit more about your entrepreneurial path, that would be amazing.
Jamie: Wow, that is a nice broad question right there. How did you do that?
| DISCOVERING WHO YOU ARE |
Jamie: I think my story is a little interesting, just being who I am and what I do as a profession. I am a medium. I have always had the ability to see energy and to see spirits and hear voices, and I think most of the time, people end up shutting that down, being told that they're a little crazy and not really using it. For me, it was necessary. It was such a big part of me, that when I got into discovering who I am and what I wanted to be when grew up that there really wasn't a job position. Can you imagine? Nothing at the university that says, "Oh, if you see dead people, please take these courses, and you're going to be an undergrad in ghost hunting or whatever it is," and I got a little lost. There wasn't a path already made for me. I had to take this if it doesn't exist, build it kind of approach. Through that, it was a big struggle at the beginning being an entrepreneurial woman in a spiritual field, because back then, which is now 27 years that I've been doing this, it was more of the feeling in the social environment that if you did this kind of work, you did it for free. You don't charge for this. This is a social service. You can do this. It's so easy for you. You don't need to charge. I was kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place. I wanted a career. I needed to support myself, and I felt like I was going into this Clark Kent, kind of Superman dichotomy of a life. During the day, I put on my glasses. I do a normal nine to five job. At night, I put on this cape and I do what I really want to do, which is use my intuition, just come out wholeheartedly. It started to be very apparent that I needed to learn all the parts of really what a business is, but most importantly, holding my own integrity into it, and that took a long time.
Shantel: Yeah. Well, and if you don't mind, I mean, I'm very interested in your career, and just learning a little bit more about that before we dive deep into the entrepreneurial side, but how did your family respond? Is it something that runs in your family? Is that even a thing?
Jamie: That is a thing.
Jamie: It is. It actually runs on my father's side of the family. His mother and grandmother had it. His sister has it. It, like it's some kind of disease or something.
Jamie: I'm the only granddaughter, and I ended up with the ability. My children, they'll have it. I have a boy and a girl. My family, growing up, my mother was very much like, "Huh, that's your imagination. You need to pack that thing up. You are getting older," whereas my father was like, "Oh, that's really interesting. What are you going to do with that?" I had his support when I was growing up, and realizing that I had, of course, two choices. Isn't that how every great story begins?
Jamie: You have two choices. Say yes or no. Take the red pill, the blue pill, and I had called my father, and I said, "If you've seen that movie Sybil, I think you know what I'm going through. I'm losing my mind. I feel like I have multiple people in it that aren't me, and I'm seeing things, and knowing things that other people haven't shown me or told me, so I need to go into the hospital." I remember my father kind of giggling at me. He was like, "Well, before you decide to do that, why don't you call nana," his mother, "and see what she says about that?" That's when I discovered at the age of 18, 19 ... Oh, yeah, I was about 21, that, guess what, it runs in the family, and I wasn't a weirdo, and that my grandmother, my nana begged me, "Why don't you be the first person in this family to really get a hold of it? Why don't you use it to help other people?" Of course, that was exciting. I thought that I was just going to live with these heightened sensations, and manage it all the time, but she was the first person to put it in my head, "Hey, why not for other people?"
Shantel: I love that you shared that story about it presenting a challenge. I think that is oftentimes a lot of people's journey of they see an opportunity, or they're presented a challenge, and they have the solution, and they run with it, which is really exciting.
Jamie: It is exciting. I watched other entrepreneurs who are highly sensitive people, the big old HSPs, or the very empathic, very intuitive and sensitive people, and I find that we have to run with a different set of tools than the average put your head down, work hard, no pain no gain, numb kind of leadership.
Shantel: Yeah, that's interesting. It's neat that the quality is there's so much overlap in the empathy, and I love the word, the intuition that you've been using, and how you translated that into your company. Do you have a team and a staff that helps bring all these new companies to life? I know you're an author and you traveled around the world. Do you have a good foundation and team to help with some of that?
Jamie: I do, now. I didn't so much before, so it was kind of, as anybody starting their own dream, you wear many hats to make it work. Now, I have a wonderful assistant that does all my scheduling, and maintains compassion with our Luminaires. Our Luminaires is what we call people who shine light, and those are the people in our community who are looking for readings or classes or so forth. I have a social media and event director, who really helps me pull everything together. In my other company, The Lighter Side Network, which is a videocast and stepping into audiocasting, I have Jessie Granger who does all our producing. What's nice, my first words out of my mouth when I go to interview with an employee, anybody who is out there who is running their own company, you'd come across a time where you're like, "Oh, gosh, I have to be a boss," and I've got to talk to people like I know what I'm doing, even though I feel like I'm still doggy paddling in the middle of an ocean and having a good time, grand, but not really knowing how to be the boss. I think the first words out of my mouth were, "I'm going to be your boss," like I'm introducing myself.
| BEING THE BOSS |
Jamie: I'm going to be your boss, but the way that I work is like equals. I want to hear from you when you're happy and when you're uncomfortable. I want you to speak up if you need anything from me, because though I might be highly sensitive and intuitive, I'm not a great telepathic person. I can't read your mind, so I rely on you to communicate with me. I create space, so my employees can come and talk to me. I think, at the beginning, when they find out what kind of talents I have, it's a little awkward. Granted, I will confess, in the middle of straight on business meetings, I glance to the side and I'll see some kind of energy who is giving me a heads up or two cents of what really is going on. I can definitely observe if you're lying or if you're uncomfortable, and I understand it. That's difficult to be around all the time.
Jamie: You can ask my husband about that one.
Shantel: Do you have to be in the same room as other people? Is that the riki piece of your talents?
Shantel: Reiki, okay, sorry. I'm learning.
Jamie: Yeah, that is a hands-on healing technique.
Jamie: It is a way to use energy, or they don't really use it, but exist in a different way with energy. No, I do not need you or whomever I am trying to connect with to be in the same room.
Shantel: Wow. Well, I will have to talk offline about what type of energy I have. Well, and that's kind of weaves into my next question. Does everyone just want you to share whatever you're thinking and seeing and feeling the minute they meet you, or do you find that some people are a little bit more closed off to those thoughts?
Jamie: Again, the two paths that you can take.
Jamie: I do feel that when people are comfortable speaking up, they are like, "Hi, Jamie. It's nice to meet you. What do you see? What's going on? Am I going to get a boyfriend?" It makes me chuckle, because, of course, I would want to know those things too. I'm like, "If you speak up and ask, most likely, I'm going to answer you, but if you're not going to speak up and ask, I'm not going to come to you and just hand you the information." For me, it requires a show of ownership that it shows, you show up. You speak up, and I think, "They're going to own it when I give them information. That's great."
Shantel: Yeah. Yeah. I imagine that to be receptive to the information that you'd like to share, someone has to be willing to receive it.
Shantel: I'm thinking a lot of things right now. I'm excited to continue chatting.
Jamie: That's so much fun. I do get permission to people around me. I'm like, "Listen, if I say something you don't want me to share, just give me the stop it right now look," because sometimes I'm not aware that I'm switching gear, because it's so much a part of how I communicate and how I gather information. I don't just gather information from what I see you doing, and from what I hear you saying. I gather information from what your energy is shining, how it looks, from what spirit is saying, conveying, and what I'm emotionally feeling, my empathy. Then I just put it into language, and I carry on. Sometimes it's too much, and I have to really be aware of that, especially in the position of being the boss. That's a line sometimes. It's hard to keep clear.
Shantel: I'm interested to learn more about when you spoke with your grandmother. What were the first few ... You have this challenge. You started to really get excited about it. What were the first steps informing what you wanted that business to be? Was it you always knew, okay, I'm going to talk to people, or did the book come first? What did that path look like?
Jamie: Fascinating question, I like that, because I didn't see it as a business right away. I just wanted to find other people like me. Even though I was raised in a religion, I was raised Baptist, there were more times I got uninvited to church than invited to church, because as a little kid, I was very vocal. In the middle of church, I'd say, "That's not right. That's not right. That's not right." They'd walk me out of church.
Shantel: I can just imagine your mom, like, "What are you doing?"
Jamie: Oh, my God. I love her to bits, but I know she had had it with me. I wanted people who are like-minded, and I couldn't find it. Then when I ended up moving to the Bible Belt, I moved here in Atlanta to close up shop. I wasn't going to do this stuff anymore, because I couldn't find those people. I felt very alone. I got into massage therapy, and I said, "This is great. I'm going to do massage therapy, get into PT, and heal people. Help them heal." Then people started recognizing again, "Oh, you know stuff. You see stuff." I thought, "Well, I'm going to look for that community again," and I found that there was this competition. I think competition could be really healthy, but in this case, showing up like a newbie, and they're like, "Oh, well, all right little girl, you need to prove it. Prove that you're psychic. Prove that you can do these things. Prove you're a medium, prove, prove, prove." It was like, "Okay, I don't mind the testing, but you didn't even get to know me." Every community I stepped into, it was a dog and pony show, jumping through hoops, and proving that I could do what I could do, granted at the time I was a little bit younger, and I looked even younger than what I was. We imagined people with intuitive skills to be old and wise, maybe gray hair, maybe at least one little wart or strange piece of hair in their face, like something. I had none of it. I got really exhausted and used some foul language, and said, "I'm going to get an office." It took me years to find an office that would even take me. You think being an author and submitting your book proposal, and hearing a "No, thank you, not at this time," publisher, housing just turning you down every turn, I was just trying to look for an office that I was going to pay someone for. They'd say, "Ma'am, we're sorry. This is not a viable business." One time, I got the deal. I went to go in to see it again and sign the contracts. By that time, they had researched me and found out what I did, and they told me they don't accept my kind, my kind.
Jamie: Oh, okay. Great. It wasn't until about 11 years ago that I actually found an office. I came to Zonolite Road with Tucker Mott Agency, and they looked at me, and they researched me, and they go, "We would love to have you here." It was the most phenomenal yes I had ever heard. It kind of healed all of the nos that threw behind it. It was only 700 square feet, but I was so proud of every inch. I cleaned everything. I laid new tile. I decorated. From that moment on, I decided that whomever walks through that door, I'm going to practice inclusion and equity. I'm not going to say, "Oh, you say you're clairvoyant. Prove it to me." I'm not going to put people through the ringer. I'm not going to put people through the ringer. I'm going to go ahead and give them the trust straight from the beginning, because it's what I wanted, and I'm going to see where it goes. I've been in the same building 11 years. I'm now in a 3,000 square foot office from 700, collaborating with four other women entrepreneurs. We have a great event space. We host people worldwide that come in and talk from books to mediation, to healing, to lectures. It's just a hub that I always dreamed of. It's nondenominational. We offer low-cost programming from anybody. We really wanted to be on everybody's level, because after creating the business, of course, you have to look at how to market that thing. How do you get your word out there, because it's just you, and every business starts with one person, or two, if you're partnering up. I heard this one person say to me, "Well, what is your market?" I said, "Well, people." They go, "Ma'am, that's not specific enough. You have to tell them what your market is." I was like, "Well, that's not fair. People, that's my market, people. If you want, I'm going to throw in animals with it too.” I got really upset, and they're probably thinking, "Oh, my God, this young blonde head girl. Geez, she's so difficult to work with." I couldn't understand why they wanted to narrow me down into middle-aged white women seeking spiritual guidance. That's what they see a spiritual movement, and in the states, in the market research, that's what it shows. I thought, "Well, there is something right there. That's something, to me, that sounds broken." I have got to take it and get it to kids who are highly intuitive that are struggling at school. I have got to get it to teenagers, who are having breakdowns because they're extremely empathic, but they don't know how to verbalize it. I got to get it to middle class, higher class. I've got to get it to our African-American culture, or Latino culture. There just wasn't a bleed over in that world. Now, when I come out into the classes here at the Center for Love and Light, we have all ages. We have all different races, and it just doesn't even dawn on me anymore when somebody is like, "Well, so what's your market?" I was like, "If you're asking, you're it."
Shantel: Yeah. Well, and it sounds like the Center for Love and Light is such an organic ... You have an office space, and then, organically, it continued to grow over the years, and gained more momentum. Is there anything that you felt was a pivot point of "Okay, I'm here and I'm staying" that solidified that this is a thing that you really wanted to kickstart?
| ENJOYING THE MEANS |
Jamie: I don't think that there is any physical marker that I could tell, but I would say, the big turning mark, for me, is that I became proud of my work. All of a sudden, it didn't seem like I was working to a means. I was enjoying the means. I got what I've been looking for, so I enjoy it a lot better. I noticed that when I enjoy my work, it grows roots faster and stronger than when I'm working at it.
Shantel: Yeah. Absolutely. Not to go back to the nos and the challenges of starting that, but did you feel that it's just a very competitive environment, and that's why some of those initial organizations challenged your abilities and your talents, or that's just the nature of your industry?
Jamie: Please tell me that's not the nature of my industry anymore.
Shantel: No. No. No. I mean, I just wonder, if people, they want to know so bad, and so it ... Yeah, I don't know.
Jamie: You're right though. I think you hit the nail in the head. That was the nature of the industry. These people in the '70s in Atlanta had gotten together and spearheaded some of the spiritual centers that you still find today, even Aquarius Magazine was born from it. I think they had to fight so hard to get what they had that inviting other people into it might've shaken their foundation a little bit. Even though spiritual and intuitive people talk about unity and wholeness, they still hold on to a very protective and survival mode when it comes to business and work and success. That's the stuff that I enjoy just slowly taking out of them or helping them see. We're starting a big program here collectively called The 21 Days of Wholeness that we're putting into businesses, medium to small businesses, and hopefully launching into hospitals. What we do is we come in and we talk to you about your intuition as the boss. I think that is the number one tool that everybody has is your good instinct. I scientifically talk to you about what a good instinct really is and why it works, because most of us don't think that there's really any science behind it. It's luck. I'm totally going to call BS on that. There's a lot of science behind, and how it works in running your company, and then how does language support it. We look at supportive language, such as nonviolent communication, or compassionate communication, and then we get into team building, and saying to your employees, "What if self-care was at your workspace, what would that be like?" To me, that's wholeness. You can take care of yourself when you're also at work. How would it change your approach to get your work done? We've seen really great returns on this. Now, we're putting it finally into a program and getting it out there for Atlanta.
Shantel: Well, I would love to link to that in the show notes. I mean, that sounds so interesting. Have you done things similar to lunch-and-learns, so bite-sized pieces of that programming, or is it over a period of a few weeks or months?
Jamie: Right. For us right now, it's over a period of months.
Jamie: We do have individual classes that show up here on our calendar. We're starting meeting of the mind. This is our second month doing it in January of this year. We collect people who are entrepreneurs, and we basically say, "Guess what, we're entrepreneurs too. What are you up to? How can we support you, and how can you support us?" It's networking, but in the way where we get needs met, and we definitely look at our emotional needs first before we look at our business needs, and that allows us to see people as people, equity, inclusion. It's not "Well, she's prettier than I am, so I don't want to put her in front of me. I mean, she'll get all the attention, right?" None of this kind of competition, it's training people to see family in others, really.
Shantel: I love that.
Jamie: So far, it's going really well.
Shantel: Well, that sounds like a great community of just like-minded people, which is wonderful. Because these talents are so much a part of you, how do you balance personal and business life now that they're so closely intertwined?
Jamie: They are closely intertwined. It's like I live, breathe, eat it, all wrapped up in my passion. I think the way that I find balance between the two is checking in with my emotions, and not just how I'm feeling, am I tired, am I overwhelmed, but checking in with my emotional quality. That helps me identify if I'm lacking in one area or yearning for more, whether it's physical, mental, emotion, or spiritual, and then I can start changing my gears. Somebody who is empathic and highly sensitive, all of these things, clairvoyant, clairaudience, whatever your natural ability is, it's hard to fit into a schedule on a daily routine. You know how people say you have to get your life together in a day?
| DEFINE YOUR SCHEDULE |
Jamie: You get up. You wake up. You decide what you're going to do. You do it. You put it away, and you go home. You have dinner with the family. You visit with family, and then you rest. It has this bell curve, these tall peaks every single day. For people with natural sensitivities, this is really rough. You're asking us to rev up every single day. A part of my keeping balance is I take one day, and I stretch it over one week. My work schedule, I love mornings. Give me a morning all day long. I love it, the coffee. I love my energy. I love watching my kids smile or the phone rings. All of this, it's fantastic. I do the bulk of my readings, which are one-on-one counseling, where I need a lot of attention, focus, and energy, I do those on Monday and Tuesday. My mornings are stretched between Monday and Tuesday. My afternoon energy begins Wednesday, Thursday. My late afternoon is Friday, energy. Then my evening is Saturday and Sunday. Now I have this one big bell curve, this one big peak over a week, and I'm not burning myself out every day. Now, it did, I will say, it did take me a while to train the people around me that this is how I was going to work. I'm not going to return your email on Monday and Tuesday, sorry. I'm not great on the computer on Monday and Tuesday. I'm great with people, because that's how I am in the morning. I like to eat lunch, and then get into my email. Guess what? Thursday, Friday, I'm going to knock it out of the park when it comes to emails. At the bottom of the signature, sometimes I'll write, "I return emails Thursday and Friday." I start training the people around me to learn my schedule, and all of a sudden, they're fine with it. If I don't tell them what I'm doing, my gosh, they expect me and everybody else to behave with an instant reward program. I sent you that email. Did you get that? Can you respond to that right away?
Shantel: Right. Yeah, I mean, it's all about setting those expectations, and it seems like you've been really intentional about just you're defining your schedule, and you're going to tell people about it, so that they understand when they can expect to hear from you or talk to. I think that's great. Good advice on the balance. Thank you.
Jamie: You're welcome.
Shantel: Jamie, I only have two more questions for you. The first is ... Actually, maybe three more. The first would be is there anything you wish you knew? Now that you're an entrepreneur, anything that you wish you knew when you first got started?
Jamie: I think if I'm glazing through that, I wish I knew if ... If I had to start over again, I think I would've built community a lot earlier. I'm 27 years into this journey with four companies. I didn't branch out until about 24 years into it, where I realized my whole entire career was based on one-on-one. I had fantastic relationships one-on-one all over the world, but I didn't have communities to draw on. It was like I realized I had been fish in a beautiful tank, and there's a whole big world out there. I often coached my students that if they're going into a profession or in a business that relies on one-on-one attention that they also add a percentage of community building, whether it's classes, collecting the information, maintaining touch with them, like newsletters, news blasts, giving them something to look forward to, because there comes a time where you need to expand, or you want to expand, and rely on community. All of a sudden, I didn't have it. Even though I had thousands and thousands of people I had worked with, I didn't have a community. That's one thing I wish somebody would just lean over and whisper it in my ear, "Hey, psst, start collecting that information."
Shantel: That's great advice. I mean, I think it can become very lonely or be very lonely sometimes on these challenging days. I think that's wonderful advice. Then what's next on the horizon for you?
Jamie: Are you old enough to know Pinky and the Brain?
Shantel: I have heard of Pinky and the Brain, yes.
Jamie: They have it back on Hulu now, it's so much fun, where the Brain says, he's a little mouse, and every day, what is he up to? He's going to take over the world. If you're asking me, I guess I want to take over the world.
Jamie: I want to keep spreading out the intro, the basic understanding of intuition, and showing people that it is a natural sense. We are six-sensed people, not five-sensed people. I'm doing that mostly now through The Lighter Side Network, where we gave five incredible shows that focus on wholeness living, which says, "Hey, we include intuition in everything that we do." and expand it into audio podcasting, so people feel like they have a community no matter where they are.
Shantel: I love that. Well, we will definitely link both of those into the show notes. Jamie, how can people get in touch with you if they're interested in learning more?
Jamie: They can meditate me and find me in their dreams. That's too woo woo. You can simply get online. You can find my personal company at jamiebutlermedium.com. If you are a binge watcher, and just love getting news, and educational, and uplifting information, you can head over to thelightersidenetwork.com. Of course, you can find me also on Facebook and YouTube, Jamie Butler Medium, and on Instagram.
Shantel: Great. Well, thank you Jamie. We really appreciate you being on the Imagine More Podcast.
Jamie: Thank you so much. I really enjoy it, and I want to give a shout out to you for giving us entrepreneurs a platform to share our tidbits of passion and information, because it is so important. We don't get this in classrooms. This is life experience that you're plucking out and leaving the fruit on a tree for us to enjoy. I'm really grateful for it.
Shantel: Well, thank you. You just made my day. I appreciate that.
Jamie: You're welcome. You're very welcome.