This post was originally published at Billion Success
Jasmine Chen is Founder and CEO of LIFE Intelligence, a science-backed problem-solving app for complete self, career and relationship development. A Princeton and Harvard Business School graduate, Chen had followed a traditional finance path, previously at hedge fund Marcato Capital, global private equity firm the Carlyle Group, and Mergers & Acquisitions investment banking at Merrill Lynch. She realized that type-A professionals like herself needed a practical, efficient, and private approach to mental, career, and relationship health. This led her to developing LIFE Intelligence, a powerful all-in-one tool putting research rigor into your decisions, goals, and conflicts.
Whether frustrated with a colleague or fighting with a significant other, mental, emotional, and social ruts affect performance. LIFE Intelligence aims to help you solve the root cause of these stressors with a practical set of management skills. So you can manage stress and anxiety, improve work productivity, and build lasting relationships. This app can be used in two ways.
First, if you have an immediate problem to solve, don’t let a bad mood or mistake derail your day. LIFE’s immediate coaching and therapy snippets help you address everything from embarrassment to envy.
Second, if you are interested in developing your mental horsepower to become a better leader or partner, we send you daily snippets of reading and reflection, progressing you through hundreds of curated studies on these 9 core competencies:
Work, love, and LIFE are inextricably intertwined. However, most resources only address one silo, missing important parts of the full picture and solution. That’s why LIFE covers it all.
For context on just how much is covered in LIFE, meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) principles comprise less than 1% of our content and are free-forever features. Our goal is to provide you with the science behind therapy, leadership coaching, and relationship counseling, all in a self-guided, private, and efficient program. We also cite all studies for those most scrutinizing.
After Princeton, Harvard Business School, and years of financial investing, I was working at a hedge fund. At the time, my job was to scan the world of information to find nuggets of wisdom that could give us an edge on our investments. But I wondered: why didn’t I have that kind of deep analysis and introspection for my one best investment: me?
I looked for a product that could help me get to that level of rigor, but all the wellness products I found seemed fluffy and shallow for my type-A personality. I wanted something well-researched, efficient, and practical. I knew from writing a thesis in healthcare that there were decades of psychology studies that never got consumed by the general public. Most people never have time to scour dense academic articles. I thought: maybe I have a unique ability to find, dissect, and distill those studies in the same way I did for stocks.
So, I quit my high-paying job to research and write the comprehensive program that I wish I’d been given over two Ivy League degrees. Today, LIFE Intelligence encompasses hundreds of topics about your personal and professional development, into a thoughtful 9-step journey to self-awareness.
I originally was driven to start LIFE by the heartbreaking news of school shootings and suicides skyrocketing across America. I was frustrated to hear from college administrators that they were “tearing their hair out” trying to solve student mental health yet couldn’t even agree on simple definitions. They told me I “had a tiger by the tail” with the idea for LIFE. So, I pushed forward to create a comprehensive social-emotional learning (SEL) curriculum for them in record time.
I was thrilled when we tested LIFE with college and graduate students to rave reviews. They said it helped with their academic achievement, leadership skills, communication skills, anger, anxiety, and relationships. But, when I went back to those same educators, I was quickly disappointed by how slow schools were to act despite knowing they had huge mental health problems on their hands. After getting inbounds from companies and individuals, we decided to pivot into serving them first.
Making this pivot was ultimately a blessing. We’ve found that the best users are those consumers who already have some level of self-awareness to want to improve further. Instead of waiting for administrators to get on board, we’re now able to reach people immediately.
Today, LIFE Intelligence is an easy download on the app store. We are rolling out Android very soon. After that, we’ll be serving companies who can use LIFE Intelligence as an all-in-one employee wellness and development resource. For some companies, we fit into their employee assistance programs as a more accessible, affordable, private form of self-help or self-therapy. For others, we fit into their leadership development programs as a comprehensive set of content that’s easy to use on-the-go. We help them train on everything from conflict resolution and soft skills to decision-making and project management skills. Whatever the need, our 3-in-1 therapy, coaching, and relationship counseling content saves employers duplicative cost. Our extensive content library also saves HR leaders significant time (a recent research study from ATD showed that done in-house, each piece of content takes on average 70+ hours to create).
While admittedly biased, I highly recommend that every founder use LIFE Intelligence to manage the daily ups and downs of startup LIFE. The app packs the punch of 10 books and journals in one! I also keep a paper journal – the Daily Stoic – which provides a prompt for every day of the year. I’ve already gone through multiple copies. Finally, one of the best (and most classic) books on cognitive training is called Learned Optimism, by psychologist Martin Seligman.
I’m grateful that I get to use my own product daily to stay sane, happy, and focused as a solo founder. Whether uncertain about the future or rejected after a lost sale, I can open the app and use its many coping, communication, and problem-solving exercises. Or, I re-read and re-write responses to the 9 missions. For example, I regularly reflect on values and goals in Mission 3, anticipate regrets in Mission 4, or work through decisions in Mission 5.
Don’t start a business to get rich, and don’t start a business because you think it’ll be fun. Rather, start a business because you know the world would be worse off if you didn’t. Start a business because you feel impelled to do so. Starting a business is a privilege, and I think, a duty for those who have the means and abilities to do so.
“Both mental health & great managers start with self management.” This is actually a tagline I developed for LIFE. I coined this quote because I really think it encapsulates what is currently wrong with the way we view mental health. Often, people don’t feel comfortable talking about mental health at work. Instead, they use the blanket term “stress management.” However, the word “stress” fails to capture the nuances of all the emotions and issues that affect our work performance: boredom, contempt, envy, embarrassment, conflicts, breakups, bad decisions… The list goes on. Stress is such a small sliver of the whole picture. Similarly, management skills training doesn’t usually include mental health education. But, why shouldn’t it? Being an effective leader encompasses so many aspects of mental and emotional agility.
When we first tested LIFE for leadership skills, we assigned users to use just Mission 9, on Leadership. However, users surprised us by choosing to go back and complete Missions 1-8 as well. As one wrote, “You can’t fully grasp leadership without all of Missions 1-8.”
That’s why LIFE is a total self-management app. We believe both mental health and management skills need to start at the same root: managing your own emotions, goals, decisions, behaviors, relationships, and conflicts. Only then can you effectively manage others.