Are you looking for inspiration to pursue your passions and live your best life? Look no further than JJ Vilijoen’s incredible story of faith and courage.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with JJ Vilijoen, a woman of many talents and interests who has grown up tasting God’s goodness through His faithfulness in all areas of life.
She immigrated to America at just 8 years old with her family following a call from the Lord. Ever since, she’s been navigating life between two countries and spent 20 successful years in the corporate world before retiring to pursue her many passions. JJ is a true inspiration to anyone looking to make a change and live a more fulfilling life.
In this interview, JJ shares her insights on unlocking meaning in your career, overcoming fear, and finding the courage to take a leap of faith. So if you’re looking for motivation to pursue your dreams and unlock your full potential, read on!
David: Today, we have a very special guest with us. I’m excited to introduce you all to JJ Vilijoen, who will be sharing her incredible story of faith, courage, and resilience with us. JJ, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey?
JJ: Of course, thank you for having me. I immigrated to America when I was just 8 years old and have since navigated the life between both countries. I spent 20 successful years in the corporate world before retiring to pursue my many passions, including motivational speaking, music, ministry, and life coaching. My story is one of faith and courage, and I hope it inspires others to live their best lives.
David: That’s amazing, JJ. I’d love to know more about your journey into corporate finance. Can you tell us about that?
JJ: Sure. Math was never my strong point in school, and I actually had to get a tutor to help me through it. So, when people find out that I ended up in finance, they often ask how that happened. The truth is, I didn’t really have a plan. I studied business management and entrepreneurship, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I got a part-time job as a bank teller when I came to the States, and things just took off from there. It was really my work ethic that got me where I am today.
David: That’s really inspiring. How did you unlock meaning during your 20 years in the corporate world?
JJ: Looking back, I realize that having a relationship with the Lord and being sensitive to His guidance was the key to unlocking meaning during those years. It took me two years of wrestling with God to finally take the leap of faith and step into a new season of life. What I learned was that it’s just a decision and some discipline to say yes to God’s plan, no matter how uncomfortable it is. Obedience isn’t easy, but it’s necessary to receive God's favor.
David: I’m sure leaving a successful career of 20 years behind was not an easy decision. Can you tell us about that experience?
JJ: It was definitely a difficult decision to make, but I’ve always been someone who is willing to take risks. I had to learn to let go of my fear and embrace the unknown. It’s kind of like skydiving. You have to let go of what you know and take that leap of faith, even if you’re scared. Obedience is not a mental thing; it’s an action. It’s an immediate, implicit act of obedience to what God is saying. Faith only operates in the present moment, so if we’re going to be obedient, it has to be now.
That’s really powerful. David, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this as well. You’ve traveled all over the world, what has been your experience with taking risks?
David: Well, I’ve burned several ships in my life. I had the crazy idea to pursue a Ph.D. while working in the corporate world, and I wasn’t sure if it was my own idea or something from a higher power. Despite my doubts, I found the perfect project and opportunity that was filled with miracles. Three years ago, I made the decision to leave the corporate world and move to Cambodia, which was extremely scary. I was leaving my comfort zone, salary, and position, and I was afraid of losing the meaning and significance I had in my corporate life.
JJ: We talk about the one percenters in the world, and it takes a certain caliber of a person to take that jump.
“Every dream begins with a dreamer.” — JJ Viljoen
JJ has overcome adversity and pursued her passions with a relentless determination, and her story inspires others to do the same. Her experience in the corporate world taught her the importance of having a relationship with God and being obedient to His plan.
Her leap of faith to pursue her passions has taught her to embrace the unknown and take risks. JJ’s story is a reminder that it’s never too late to pursue your dreams and live your best life.
Whether it’s in our personal or professional lives, the willingness to let go of fear and embrace the unknown can lead to incredible opportunities and experiences. So, I encourage you to take a leap of faith, do it scared, and trust that your actions will be rewarded.
Start small and build up your courage over time. You never know where the journey might take you.