Who is behind this?
“I AM? I AM. I AM!”
Jake Pearce, Founder
A personal overview
I’m Jake. Since it’s me writing this, I hope you don’t mind me using the first person, it’s a bit odd writing about yourself as a “they!”. I’m 55 and now live near Chichester in the UK. I’m an only child. I was brought up in the UK, my Mum was a teacher and my Dad, who I didn’t meet until a little later was a talented creative director in advertising. Mum had very humble beginnings and that always made me appreciate things. I was lucky enough to go to a private school and then to Oxford University where I read Human Sciences and got an M.A. Human Sciences covers psychology, semiotics, genetics, and anthropology. It was all about understanding people and that’s been a lifelong obsession. More than that it gave me the lifelong ability to see any problem from multiple perspectives. I believe firmly if you do that, you can see more solutions than by just looking at the problem one way.
Personally I love surfing and Djing playing trance music. I’ve surfed all over the world, it’s just a totally magic feeling, it makes me feel part of something much bigger and at the same time tiny and insignificant! People tell me I’m kind, original, mischievous and creative. I suspect they are being nice!
When I was 29 I moved to New Zealand and worked in Australia and Asia. While I was there I set up my own businesses which I’ll describe a bit below. In 2016 I returned from New Zealand to the UK to be closer to my folks as they got older.
What’s the story of uuness?
Around 2003, I was working with a leading author on her brand, she was struggling with her next book and I had a genuine epiphany, I said “you are a human being not a human doing.” Now I didn’t come up with that phrase, I’d heard it somewhere, but I realised that the trend towards personal branding was a bit superficial, it was a bit false. You can present yourself in a certain way to the world, but it might not be who you really are.
So I asked a simple question – is there a way to find your life purpose? After all, we can send people into space, we have computers that learn, surely there was a company that specialised in life purpose? The self-help industry kind of did it, but they didn’t specialise in it, it was part of a swag bag of stuff. And while people like Anthony Robbins did “date with destiny” I couldn’t see that there was a process without committing to a very expensive set of days in the USA. In addition, the process didn’t seem to have all the disciplines I knew were needed – it needs psychology, semiotics, behaviouralist and personal futurism. There didn’t seem an empirical process to find life purpose. I was very surprised.
I started helping people find their life purpose, I didn’t charge for it, I was helping friends of friends and acquaintances, I just loved it, time flew and I realised that this was my thing. I seemed to have a natural gift for it. But was the world ready for it? I wasn’t sure. I thought I should go to New York ,in 2003 to test the ideas. American culture is traditionally more open to therapy and self learning than other Western countries. I had huge support from TEC/Vistage in New York (a CEO training organisation) but I returned to New Zealand disappointed. I realised my idea was ahead of time, it wasn’t going to scale and it certainly wasn’t going to give me a living. I was bitterly disappointed. But I continued to do the work via word of mouth, I started getting paid for it and that experience gave me the experience to develop the uuness system. I’ve worked with about hundred people to find their on purpose. Once you’ve done it with that many people you see that patterns and you know your tools work.
Around 2010, the idea that organisations should know their purpose started becoming more mainstream. A book called “Firms of Endearment” showed organisations with purpose performed better financially. People started taking notice and the idea of “purpose” started to surface commercially. Simon Sinek’s TED talk also helped hugely – he basically said if people know the “why” of a brand it’s much more powerful then the what or how. Apple’s success was attributed to having a strong why. In addition, the idea that companies should have a positive social agenda started to move from a nice to have to a necessary to have. The stage was starting to be set.
What’s the story of uuness?
In 2013 Sir Ken Robinson published a book called “Finding Your Element”. It’s a great book which tells a lot of stories about how people find their “thing”. His TED talk about schools and creativity is the most watched TED talk ever. About this time I noticed that other books started to be published about “finding your why”. Some of them drew from a religious context but some weren’t. But there still wasn’t a company that specialised in finding life purpose.
However, there were more and more academics who started publishing about purpose. Purpose science by around 2013 was becoming a “thing”. My personal intuition about it’s value was starting to be proven by large scale pieces of empirical world.
By the mid 2010’s I felt that the world was moving into a space where the idea of finding life purpose was moving, albeit slowly, into the mainstream. Certainly in 2003, the idea would have been seen as very self-indulgent. Particularly in my home country, the UK, which has a more cynical, “just get on with it” attitude; the idea of finding life purpose in 2003 would have been met with derision.
It’s 2022 now. My hope and ambition is to move uuness from a cottage industry into something that’s “normal”, even, an expectation, a “must do.” Empirically, given how much purpose helps health and well-being, it should be the third leg on the wellness stool…we know about food and exercise being great for well-being but purpose? No, it’s still a way off but it’s coming. I’ve been doing uuness via word of mouth for many years and now is it’s time. I’m currently training other people in the uuness system. It’s quite hard to find the people with quite a rare mixture of skills to deliver uuness but they are out there.
So, in supporting uuness, you aren’t just helping yourself, you are supporting a movement. A movement which wants to see everyone in the world find their purpose more quickly, more accurately and more easily. Imagine a world filled with people on purpose. Imagine what sort of power human kind would have if we were all doing the think we were born for!
As John Lennon said “you may call me a dreamer, but I’m not the only one”. Thanks for reading this, if you want to get involved do get in touch, we’re very open to sharing the financial benefit of referrals.
Professional skills and journey
I’ve always been into understanding people – it’s very hard to predict how they behave. At first I was in Market Research. I found it a bit frustrating because you don’t really do anything other than provide data. You don’t really, unless you are lucky, create any change in the world. I’ve always been arty and into science. I was very lucky in that I went to work for Europe’s first innovation agency – I loved this as it required creativity (creating new concepts) and science (would these ideas work?) The agency was called Added Value and was based in the UK but soon become global. I was a young Director there.
When I moved to New Zealand in 1998 I worked in advertising as what’s called a “planner”. Essentially, you have to understand the market, understand the brand and work out how to communicate it. I was head of strategy/planning for an ad agency, the position was pan-Asian. I became a bit frustrated with it over time, because, often, an organisation’s purpose fights the brand. How often have you seen an ad, only to be frustrated with how an organisation behaves? If you’ve ever used a large telcos, you’ll know what I mean! I realised that an organisation’s purpose needed to be distilled properly in order for ads to be real.
So while I was frustrated with the job, it gave me an interest about purpose. At that time talking about an organisation’s purpose really didn’t have any currency. And certainly not from an ad agency “just make the ads and shut up” was the kind of long-handed moniker this line of thinking was given. So I set up an innovation agency which I sold. After that I went into property and financial trading, waiting to see if uuness would have currency.
This background gave me the skills to apply psychology, (how would people respond to a new idea?) semiotics,(what’s the best presentation of the idea?) behaviouralist (how will people really behave?) and futurism/scenario planning (where is the market going?). Using these disciplines in real life was the start of my passion about purpose.