We had the good fortune of connecting with Jackie Zoeller and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jackie, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
To me, balance is akin with peace. We recently welcomed our 4th child to the world in 2020. Finding “balance” between being self-employed, being a mom to 4 kids under 7, being a wife, and then trying to take care of basic things like sleep, exercise, and regular practices to keep myself centered like relaxing or prayer and even having friends has been intense. Prior to having kids I didn’t even really know there was such a need for a balance, it was organic and intuitive. I’d work however long I needed and then there was just time for anything else. I love working, and love making art …but over the years having a family has turned into my number one priority so to me, balance is complicated. I’ve not figured out how to happily sleep less or make days longer. Today, it seems like the best path to my personal balance is being intentional to understanding myself more, listening to when I’m not doing okay and making adjustments from there. I set some hard boundaries like no working on Sunday and then make small shifts. I’m learning that it’s not okay to sacrifice my family or sleep for the sake of a work project. Having a keen understanding of what’s important to me and working to work smarter not necessarily turn things down or make myself miserable.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve been a photographer for over 10 years and have always specialized in people and sought after some form of authenticity and creativity. As an artist, my nature is very right-brained. When stepping out of college it was my dream to be some sort of a painter or ceramicist but even those mediums were too loose for me. The way I make art needs a frame around it, some forced structure to give it strength and a camera did that for me. I am very surprised to be where I am today. No one in high school would have voted me “most likely to be in charge of things” and I now am spearheading a rapidly growing headshot company; not most people’s idea of “art” when it comes to photography. In growing as a human, growing in my identity …losing some ego and insecurities, and just being grateful that anyone is willing to give me money to be creative. I am really proud that I have grown and not given up. If I had to apply to have the job I have today, I’m sure no one would have hired me or picked me to be in this position. I am very underqualified to be where I am right now and I am here because I kept going and was able to get some really great help along the way. I thought that it would be the accolades and publishings that made me most proud and “successful” but it’s turns out that those are ephemeral. I have learned, and continue to learn that there is more joy in overcoming challenges and doing work that I’m proud of; things that I never thought I could do.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would insist that they show up thirsty, then: Huckleberry, Blue Sparrow, Crema, Whole Foods cake aisle, and MCA. As soon as they ask about Colorado skiing or hiking I would happily defer to my husband.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am sure that I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of my business advisor Brad, with Cultivate Advisors. Anyone can watch a video or read a how-to-business book and then do it all on their own, and I did for a long time, but I learned to seek help and experienced advice which allowed me to really play to my strengths. I’ve owned my own business for over 10 years and have experienced significant growth over the past two because of being open to growing and getting support in areas where I don’t thrive.
Images by Jackie Zoeller, Denver Headshot Co.