Finding Rest, Again.

If I am going to be honest, this blog should not be titled finding rest, but should be really titled ‘Learning how to Rest – for the first time.’

That is raw and vulnerable, but the truth of the matter is this has always been a hard concept for me to wrap my mind around. Over the past five years, I have been on a journey of dissecting what ‘rest’ looks like for me and understanding why I struggle with it so much. It is not that I do not like naps or enjoying a day off, but I internally feel guilty if I do not have a productive, “check off the list” kind of day. This has been a process of breaking this mental barrier of mine.

So, like I said, it has been a journey and as I have reflected and continue to become more self-aware of my tendencies, I have found that this is deeply rooted from and started at a very young age.

I will paint you a quick picture.
As a six-year-old, my favorite store was the container store. In fact, I got more excited about a new container then the actual doll that would be going inside of it. I started playing soccer at 5, piano at 8, flute at 10 and of course joined the student council in 4th grade, which soon led to me being student council president and senior class president throughout high school. I was involved with club volleyball and played every sport you can imagine. I also was in marching band, media club, prom queen, voted most likely to succeed and the list goes on. This followed me into college, where I joined honor societies and extra curriculars and in every way stretched myself to continue to achieve more. Now, part of this was to build a resume – I will admit, but a large percentage of the time, I thoroughly wanted and chose to be involved in all that I could stretch myself to do. From a younger age, I wanted the gold star and as I got older, I started asking myself the harder questions of why and is this worth my time?

I will admit, I am an over achiever and I happily accept that title, but in the last decade I have been trying to retrain my brain and reevaluate time and how it is spent. The last 3 years have been a journey as I have been finishing up my doctorate, building Imani Collective and growing my family. I am proud of where I am, but I am even more proud of how far I have come.

Many of you will look at my life and say ‘WHOAH – superwoman, you do too much.’ For me, you have to understand that I am high capacity person, I always have been and always will be. It is how the Lord built me, but in this new season, I am trying to take that capacity that I hold and place it in other areas like rest.

What does that look like?

I am actually not quite sure, but what I am excited about is the intentionality I am giving towards it. In about 10 days, I should be expecting my third child and in 2 days, I am for the first time taking a maternity leave. I will say with my second kiddo, Sophie – I at least wrote up a maternity plan for my team, but did not adhere to it at all and with Jadon (firstborn), resting was non-existent. I can still recall me holding a meeting at my house with my country director 5 days after giving birth. She thought I was crazy and still does, I just thought I was being supermom and keeping track to what Jenny always does best and that is ‘DO.’

Now as I look back… she was right. I was absolutely crazy.

With all that to say, I am excited for this new chapter, new intentions, new balance and new priorities. I am excited to give back to myself and learn a new way of thinking. This next step is not going to be easy and in fact, will probably be really hard for me, but I am not giving up on this. I have spent thirty years just going as fast as I can, as hard as I can and not really evaluating or more so, internalizing how I am being intentional with resting not just physically, but also my soul.

This is a time to soul search, be connected to myself on a deeper level and wipe away all those years of guilt for taking time for naps. It is time for me to realize that I am worth more. #shesworthmore

It is finally time for guilt free naps, endless books to be read, and long conversations over coffee to get lost in without a clock dictating my every move.

I am also excited to be sharing this process with you. I will blog when I can (but not setting expectations on myself) and I will show up raw for you on my social handles. I hope that as I dissect this next chapter of my life, that you are encouraged and can apply anything I am learning to your personal journey.

 

Also, if you have any advice, books, practices that I should try that will help with resting and being still, please send my way.

From the recovering workaholic, learning to rest for the first time in her life,

Leading and Listening through Adaptive Challenges

I recently read a book, The Practice of Adaptive Leadership, that described adaptive challenges as “gaps generated by bold aspirations amid challenging realities”.

Let me break this down.

Bold
showing a willingness to take risks; confident and courageous.

Aspiration
a hope or ambition of achieving something

Challenging
testing one’s abilities; demanding.

Realities
a thing that is actually experienced or seen, especially when this is unpleasant.

So basically, adaptive challenges is the willingness to be courageous, hopeful and carryout ambition in achieving something even when the circumstances around you are completely unpleasant, uncomfortable and unprecedented.

Adaptive challenges are times where leadership is tested to be innovative, creative, and develop solutions that others are not. These are moments and gaps where a few individuals show up and shine because they do not allow the pressures to tear them a part, but they allow their leadership to confront the dilemma and adapt. Leadership does not come from the top down, but it is diffused in every level and we need to be ready to show up in times like today for both our professional and personal lives. It takes both the macro and micro changes to create ripples that overall make genuine progress.

In regard to today and adaptability in leadership, the biggest challenge is not actually the pandemic itself, but it is you. It is having the ability to identify what truly makes your heart beat and the pains that you believe are worth addressing and pursuing solutions for.

As individuals (who I consider all leaders in one capacity or another) this is a time that we need to adaptable more than ever. We also need to start to listen to what is going on around us. This is more than our agenda; this is something we are experiencing together, and we need to start listening. We have to understand people, and go beyond our own struggles, but hear and comprehend what others are enduring as well.

We need to step out, have courage and grab a hold of the greater purpose we were all made for. Even as we are distanced, let us start to be more present, more intentional and continue to adapt daily.

Let us create a new narrative of what is today and stop wishing for what was.
Let us pivot and continue to create even through hardship.
Let us grow in our tenacity and our willingness to do good even in the frustrating moments. Let us push through negativity and find the sunshine.
More so, let us be there for each other.

This time will pass. This season will be part of memories in years to come. Through all of it though, when we reflect back – my hope is that we see a time where we grew closer to our purpose and showed up even when it was hard.

From your fellow friend who is always here to listen,