Jules Schroeder, founder of CreateU, discovered her purpose after a near-death experience she had after a wakeboarding accident in the summer of 2015. A seasoned entrepreneur with a handful of businesses under-her-belt (having started in her teens and now just in her 20s), Jules tells us about the unusual birth of her company.
“We had a conversation. It said that I had more work to do in the world and asked me if I wanted to do it. I said that I only wanted to do it if my body worked,” she said.
Jules recounted that in December of 2013 she was skiing 26 mountains in four countries within 30 days alongside her then-business partner and boyfriend. Together with a third partner, they ran a successful publishing company.
Two weeks after returning from the trip, she found out that the third business partner had embezzled $200,000 and overnight, she was that much in debt. Soon thereafter, the company went under and she also ended the relationship with her boyfriend. She said that over the course of eight months, she lost everything that was important to her: savings, relationship and the business.
During some time off to reconnect with herself after those losses, she went to do one of her favorite things: wakeboarding. An hour after she caught the edge of the wake, she began to feel tingly and then numb. The next thing she remembers is being in-and-out of consciousness in the hospital while getting an MRI.
What came next she vividly remembers: “A white figure came towards me with a black shadow council of six. I wasn’t scared. It was beautiful, peaceful, the most love I have ever been present to.” They asked her what she previously stated about being up to do more work in the world and her agreeing if she was in good physical shape. She was then “zapped back into her body” and felt her neck heal.
“Something happened to me in that hospital room that I can’t explain. Who I was before and who I am now are different. The things that used to matter now don’t.”
Within two weeks, things started to connect in her mind about the issues that exist in our higher education system like rising college tuition, $1.2 trillion in student loan debt, four out of five students graduating without jobs and 70 percent of workers feeling unhappy and under prepared.
She realized she needed to help people monetize the things they love by creating “a one-year online education program that focuses on learning the specific skills you need through classes, mentors and experience, to create the career and lifestyle you want.” Things continued to effortlessly unfold before her to make each step work.
Sometimes it takes things like an accident to wake us up to what we are designed to create and for Jules, that’s CreateU. She says she no longer has a fear of death because she feels like she is using her life well to offer this service and positively disrupt the higher education system. And now she’s helping others to use their lives to do what they feel is their purpose. My hope is that Jules’ extreme story can serve as inspiration to you to tune into your purpose with your business. Here are a few tips to consider from Jules’ story:
1. If things aren’t working out in your current business (like a partner embezzles more than the company can withstand), don’t hold on if it doesn’t make sense. Take the steps you need to close your doors, not hold onto anger or resentment, and begin to move forward.
2. Take time to reconnect with who you are and what your gifts are. Is the business you’re operating tapping into that?
3. It doesn’t require an embezzlement or a near-death experience for you to get direction. Be open to ideas and types of businesses or industries which may never before have crossed your mind. “Go with the current,” as Jules did. When things are coming together with ease, that’s typically a good sign to proceed. Create spaces for stillness so you can identify these ideas and movements of the current.
This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com.