Ep 90: Jen Hope on Self-kindness as a Leadership Superpower

On this episode of Communicate for Good, Erica and her guest, Jen Hope, discuss the importance of self kindness and mental health and how self worth and self acceptance show up in personal and professional spaces. They also discuss an important element of self awareness, listening, and how that is the starting point of acknowledging what we’re saying and how we’re behaving and how that’s impacting and affecting others. They also address three common core leadership habits that limit effective communication (controlling, protecting and complying) and the impact those can have on one’s ability to lead and provide a healthy and productive space for team growth.

Resources Referenced:

Kristin Neff on Self-Compassion: https://self-compassion.org/the-three-elements-of-self-compassion-2/ 

The Secret Life of Self Talk by Erica Barnhart: https://claxon-communication.com/podcast/ep-51-the-secret-life-of-self-talk/ 

DISC Assessment: https://www.discprofile.com/what-is-disc 

360 Survey: https://www.profilesincorporated.com/assessment/checkpoint-360/ 

About Jen:

Jen Hope is an executive and leadership coach for startup leaders. With a background as the Vice President of Marketing for multiple high-growth startup companies, Jen understands the complexity of startup leadership. She leverages data and evidence-based tools that accelerate growth and scale individual and collective leadership.

A self-kindness and mental health advocate, Jen is passionate about creating safe spaces for women and non-neurotypical leaders in startup and corporate leadership. Clients will tell you that Jen provides systems and habits that improve life and leadership. They love the sharp insights, structure, compassion, and accountability that come from Jen’s coaching process. Jen’s client list includes Tenable, Oracle, Altana.ai, TomboyX, DocuSign, Relayr, BlueJacketeer, and Uplevel. When Jen’s not working, you can find her cooing over dogs, running the hills of the PNW, and singing all the songs that play in her local grocery store and CVS.

Connect with Jen: 

Website: www.heyjenhope.com

Email: jenniferhopekellum@gmail.com  

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/heyjenhope


Connect with Erica:

Website: https://claxon-communication.com/ 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ericabarnhart/ 

Email: info@claxon-communication.com  

Book Time With Erica: https://bit.ly/ChatWithErica


This is a transcript of Erica Barnhart on the Marketing for Good podcast. You can listen to the episode here and listen to more episodes on Apple Podcasts, or wherever you enjoy listening to podcasts. Enjoy!


work, hope, leaders, leadership, experience, talk, listening, mental health, kindness, negativity bias, listeners, curious, mental health advocate, passive, clients, communication

Welcome to the Communicate for Good podcast where leaders on a mission to make the world a better place come to talk and learn about how communication language and words can help increase awareness, revenue and impact. With less stress and more joy. I’m your host Erica Mills Barnhart and I’m so excited. You’re here with me. Let’s dive right in.

Erica: Welcome, welcome to the Communicate for Good podcast. I’m Erica Barnhart your host. It is a bright, beautiful, sunshiny day here in Seattle. For those of you in other parts of the country, you may be wondering why I’m mentioning that. For us in Seattle is because it’s a watershed moment and I am excited to be joined on this brigh,t beautiful sunshiny day by Jen Hope. I’m going to tell you a little bit about Jen, and then, as always, I’ll invite you, Jen, to give kind of the color commentary of how did all of these things version of your bio. In a nutshell, Jen is an executive and leadership coach for startup leaders. She has a background as VP of Marketing for multiple high growth companies, and that is what gives her the knowledge and expertise to understand the complexity of startup leadership. She likes data and evidence-based tools, a woman after my own heart, that accelerate growth and scal, both in terms of individual and collective leadership. Jen is a self kindness and mental health advocate. She is passionate about creating safe spaces for women and non-neurotypical leaders in startup and corporate leadership. Jen provides systems and habits and improves life and leadership, and I love that because I think sometimes we try to separate the two, which would be lovely if we could, but life isn’t tidy in that way so I appreciate you just being like we’re doing all the things the two L’s Life and Leadership. Her clients love the sharp insights, structure, compassion, and accountability that come from her coaching process. She has clients that include Tenable, Oracle, Altan.ai, TOMBOY X, DocuSign, Relayr, Blue Jacketeer, and Uplevel. When she’s not working, you can find her cooing over her dogs, she just did doggy management before we got rolling here, running in the hills of the Pacific Northwest. There are many, many, many hills, and singing all the songs that play in her local grocery store and CVS. Welcome to the show, Jen Hope.

Jen: Thank you so much, thank you so much. So many of those things are making me giggle to myself over here in all of their reality.

Erica: Yes, yes. Fair, fair. I always think it’s interesting to ask folks, What drew you to marketing? How did you end up doing all these really amazing things? And then I want to get right into the self kindness and mental health advocate and how you bring that into your work, but why marketing?

Jen: I started working in marketing while I was in college, and there was a early, early organization that I worked for that did what became now what we call like Google Ads paid search before Google existed. Very much dating myself on that, but someone out there in the world may hear this and no commission junction, which was a place where we used to trade users for pennies to get them to travel websites, and booking the very early days of travel online with clients like like Fairmont and some of those properties that were looking to get folks to their websites in the early, early days of the internet. That’s where we started and it was fascinating to me and the way that we were building businesses. I quickly, and with a little bit of push from my dad who told me that I would never be satisfied with the salary that I would make in psychology. Thumbs up, thumbs down dad, but look where I ended back up so kind of perfect. Then went went into the world of marketing and really got passionate about about business and how businesses grow and how they scale and so here we are.

Erica: You were in house for some period of time. But now you are independent. How long have you been on your own?

Jen: A decade, so 10 years this year, and I was in both the agency world and then in house as a VP of Marketing for 16-17 years.

Erica: Congratulations on making it to a decade!

Jen: Thank you! Yeah, big deal. I know I’m at 19 years.

Erica: It’s not for the faint of heart. I think it takes a special person to like, keep thinking this is fun.

Jen: This is definitely the longest role I’ve ever had, right? 10 years in the same job is bananas. To me. I think my tenure was about four and a half five before that. So now 10 years, a decade.

Erica: I am curious if this is true for you, and this is mainly for listeners who are independent or dip their toe. I think the reason that it’s been sustainable for me is because yes, it is one title, it’s a fun title, it is one sort of organizational container but it’s allowed me to do a lot of different things. When you’re your own boss, you can be like, Well, that sounds like a great idea, let’s create the word of fire, let’s do that. It allows for a lot of creativity, which, you know, offset some of the tougher things about being independent.

Jen: For sure, I love that. I love that I can add new education, I love that I can add products and services, I love that I can partner with organizations that I think are well aligned and bring that that newness and the new skills, and I have a love of learning anyway, so bringing that and adding that to what I get to bring to other organizations to clients, that just that’s the, the perfect world.

Erica: So let’s talk a bit about your self kindness and mental health advocate. How did that enter your orbit?

Jen: Two parts. One, I had and have my own journey with mental health. I’ve experienced anxiety and depression since I was a very young person, and grew up in the 80s and 90s, where that wasn’t a topic that was in many homes, it wasn’t a topic in books, it wasn’t a topic in the professional world, it wasn’t something that we thought anywhere. It was really super quiet and quite shameful. When I started to understand more about what it looks like to have mental health, I had a very deep passionate urge to blow the blow the roof off that a little bit and talk about it because particularly as a young person, because suffering, is that the right word, in pain, alone. I felt that was some of the worst was the worst of it night where where this was happening and didn’t have that experience to go through with others. That’s a that’s in no way saying that my parents didn’t do what they could with what they had, right or the the system that was around me, I think was doing the very best that it could with what it had at the time. I think we can do better. A really pivotal point for me in my own mental health journey, and I see this time and time again with others in professional and professional and personal growth, where when we can start to shift our narrative about that internal conversation, things really change. It’s the combination of the two, it’s why there’s both in my bio, right where where we can be kind to ourselves about the fact that there is suffering then things really start to change. That moment, both for me and to many folks that I’ve worked with, I’ve seen start a whole evolution of waking up day to day and saying there’s nothing wrong with me. I am, as I am, I am great as I am, I am okay as I am, I am wonderful as I am, I am doing my very, very best, even if it’s not my best human moment, and I can do better. That whole shift changed my life quite honestly. It totally changed my life and change everything for the positive where I could look at any of my faults, many of my faults and see them as doing the best that I can in the moment. Even if I know I can do better.

Erica: I’m curious to the extent that you’re willing to share, was there a person or who introduced you to this idea of being like, just so kind to yourself?

Jen: Yeah, I’ll tell you, it was so uncomfortable. I had a therapist at the time, who would share with me that when she would be extremely kind to me, I would shut her down. I would be so grossed out by it. Like, don’t be sweet. Don’t be tender. I don’t want any part of this. I really think it was a bunch of like a backfire kind of thing, where when someone was really tender to me, I didn’t really know what to do with it and I had to learn a lot from her modeling. She gave me a great example at one point about how she would wake up in the morning, and I still to this day kind of skeptical about this, she would throw her arms around herself in the morning and say, good morning, honey, I hope you have a wonderful day today, I just love you so much. I mean, the sounded bananas in my mind. I was like What are you even talking about hair lady? The truth of the matter is that practice and seeing it in action and being able to use it on difficult days in difficult moments, with my own kid, with my partner, with my clients with the people around me, it creates a baseline that really changed everything for me, so I have to give up give it to her.

Erica: You have to come up with your own way that feels authentic and comfortable. A self hug may not be someone’s listeners jam, but if you’re research inclined, Kristin Neff’s work around self compassion is so profound and so powerful. It’s very evidence base and mirror work. Again, it’s whatever your words are – look at you, tough day, but you’re here and you’re doing this. Whatever the narrative is, what would you say? It sounds so cliche but really, what would you say to your best friend and then say it to yourself. At the beginning of our conversation, I glibly joked about how people want to keep leadership separate from life, and so when I work with leaders of I’m seeing this behavior, which you talked about, maybe not quite as extreme as at the beginning, but this deflection of kindness, deflection of witnessing things that they ought to be proud of. We’re going to talk about self worth and self esteem and how that plays into and shows up in professional spaces because it does. I have a episode that was called The Secret Life of Self Talk, where we go into this because we think of communication in terms of the words that others hear but so much of it is going on in our head all the time and so it shows up whether we want it to or not. One of the things that you were interested in, and that it sounds like you work with leaders on, is listening more. I’m curious, actually, for me, there is an initial stage of listening to yourself and what you’re saying. And then I’m guessing that you were speaking more broadly, but I’m curious if you if we might segway and have you speak to that? And then speak more broadly about why is listening, especially now, such an important leadership skill?

Jen: Yeah, listening is a really critical element of self awareness. Right? They’re really like hand in hand, and I’m sure you talk about this, but that starting point where listening is about what we’re saying and how we’re behaving and how that’s impacting and affecting others. This is one of those areas where I really have folks think about some of the assessment tools to get a sense, because we live in the jar, right? The labels on the outside, I’m not a fan of labels, but for the metaphor perspective, we’re in the jar, the labels on the outside, it’s really hard to read what others are experiencing. And so being, as you mentioned earlier, being like a bit of a data nerd, I go to, hey, let’s gather some information, and also to speak a bit to my background, it’s a bit of like market research. Go and gather like, Hey, what is this brand, and then go get some information from our customers. Hey, there’s a tool called DISC that’ll tell us how people experience our behavior, that’s listening, I use a tool called a 360, a leadership circle 360, where we go and gather information and use their sound bites, right? We get qualitative, we get quantitative information, more listening. We’re building that model for ourselves internally that says, here’s what others are experiencing and then building that internal narrative as well that says, hey, this experience on the outside may be what it is and I have the internal skills to cope with all of the potentially triggering feelings that come with, I’ve gathered this feedback, right? We kind of do this two-fold world where, hey, I can I can manage myself, I can have the compassion, I can have the kindness, I can have that experience, I can have the emotion regulation tools, to say I can go gather information, listen to people’s feedback about me and then I can go gather some qualitative and quantitative information and sit with that and do a bit of a market study from that’s step one for building self-awareness.

Erica: Have you ever had clients where they just they weren’t in a culture, because it’s that’s quite a vulnerable place to push yourself? Right. Like, what do you think of me? So I feel like there has to be a culture to support that level of vulnerability, and I’m curious if you also notice that and or if you’ve had an instance where somebody was like, hard pass not gonna do it, because it’ll be used against me, because I heard that.

Jen: Yeah, for sure. Absolutely, and I have other folks where things are very private folks come to me outside of their organization. Quite often, I find that some of the folks that will be willing to go deepest with me are seeking coaching outside of their experience so they can find that that level of trust. As far as the 360, or any of that information, using a tool like this is behavior data, and I get it does not look like self awareness or listening one-on-one. We start there, and we collect the information and we can look at it in a neutral way. This is how I do what I do and folks feel less personal. When we get to the 360, I think that’s where folks start to say, the Big Gulp or the like kicking it down the road can happen sometimes. I could give folks a tiny bit of peek behind the curtain on that, it is never as painful as folks think it might be. This is where that negativity bias shows up, and if I could tell folks like, you know, quite honestly, people are often blown away by how wonderful people think they are. It is vulnerable and I will say there are environments where I wouldn’t recommend it, certainly. However, to add on, we do have the option to go survey folks that you don’t work with today, so if today’s today’s environment is not necessarily the one that says, hey, this is going to be the most supportive for my future self, then let’s connect with peers or folks who worked for you or managers from years past where you know those folks really were invested in the work that you’re doing and would be willing to give you the candid, caring version of the feedback that you really want.

Erica: Yeah. I teach at the University of Washington, and so we get student evaluations, I taught for 16 years, so I’m not new to the student eval experience, but every single time, I t’s like clockwork, and the negativity bias is so fierce, so I have a practice now that I do in advance of reading them to try to neutralize that. What I ended up doing, and I know I am not alone in this because I’ve had chats with colleagues, you scan it, and there can be like, 12 I really love this class, and I always I love my students because they always offer future years might benefit from so actionable things, but what am I going to focus on? I’m going to focus on the one person who said something negative. I did a webinar and there’s literally a dozen of positive comments but where do I go? The very one at the bottom that said she uses a lot of filler statements and was critiquing my communication style and then said it undermined my credibility as a communication expert. I was like, I consider that to be approachable. It’s hilarious what my mind went right to this one comment and then I had to do my little practice, which I didn’t do in advance of opening the spreadsheet, that’s on me, but I’m like, I’m not for everybody. I’m pistachio. I’m not the vanilla ice cream. I am pistachio. Maybe you don’t like pistachio? You know, gonna bless and release you, but negativity bias is real, you know? I think yeah, as leaders and listeners think about maybe opening themselves up to more of this, like, what, what’s on the outside of the jar, just being aware of it, and going back to your commitment to self kindness, have a little chat with yourself ongoing.

Jen: I think biggest thing too, is that when you think about that feedback? One of the things that I sometimes think about is that if I don’t know, it is affecting me. Even if I don’t know, it’s still having an effect, there’s still impact, and to some degree, tell me. Again, I get to decide I’m not for everyone, so that feedback, right? I’m the kind of person where I might drop a little F bomb into a conversation when I feel like the person could handle it. Right. That may not be for everyone, right, and that’s okay. I consider that’s part of my real, that’s the part to me that makes it approachable in a specific moment in a private conversation, right? I think what we find is we can get closer with a handful of people, right? We can connect with a certain number of people and it’s not going to be 100%. I’m with you though, I have the same thing. I have a business that’s run on feedback from customers, reviews, social media recommendations. It’s it is a bit of like, we sit and wonder like, oh my gosh, I’m what am I on the verge of it really is a risk in being a business owner and independent. We all have a vulnerability to this feedback. It’s particularly social media and so many other things, parts of the world that we live in right now. It’s very, it really is a part of the professional experience. And I get it, I go through it too, right. We all do to some degree.

Erica: Yeah. Yep, we all do. We’re gonna switch gears a little bit. We’re gonna stick with leadership and communication, but you have three common core leadership habits that limit effective communication, and I’m curious what they are. What are these three habits?

Jen: Controlling, protecting and complying. Okay, what does it mean? What does it mean? Right? Controlling, I think we know what that feels like. If I could give somebody an example of holding on to a rope and doing everything we can to keep that rope in our grip. That is controlling and that can look like lots of different things in our environment. It can look like kind of a distant nature, right? It can look like a critical way that we work with others that can look like drive and ambition on overdrive, right? It’s a bit of a bit of a way that we can keep ourselves safe by being in control of all the balls that are in the air, right? I think folks who know this, they know it well.

Erica: I feel like we need to air quote, you know, “keep control of all the balls in the air,” because good luck!

Jen: Yeah. Do you remember that early, early Wii Nintendo game, where you were trying to cover the holes on a dam that was breaking? I have my arms and my legs stretching out every way like octopus arms right now. It’s that every single hole on the dam breaking and what we’re trying to do with control and inevitably not going to happen, right? There’s going to be a tiny leak, that’s the control. That is when we’ve got like a bit of that protecting. That’s where we’re playing way back from a distance, I am going to appear aloof, folks are going to not really know where I stand on a given topic. This is this just a little bit more of like, I’m going to play from behind a wall. I might throw shots over but it’s it’s not going to be clear to folks like what my authentic opinion is, I’m not going to use it. It may feel a little bit like what’s going on with the integrity there. Do they walk their walk? Do they talk their talk, that kind of vibe. Then we have complying, this is pleasing. This is doing everything that we can to make the situation feel smooth, regardless of how it impacts us and at its very core. Yeah, and it’s passive, which you know, there’s a bunch of data that suggests that passive is is the the trait that really gets most in the way of our leadership effectiveness. That right, interesting, right?

Erica: That is where my mind went is, because we’re just talking about listening, I think sometimes listing can look like being passive. I’m cure curious how how leaders can hold those two things. Maybe it’s naming it which I’m a massive fan of saying I’m hearing you I’m listening, I’m creating space for this. I don’t know. I’m curious what you would suggest on that.

Jen: I think passive suggests that we don’t own the power that we have. Less like passive listening versus that active listening. I totally agree with you that those can look like I’m pausing with information. I think the suggestion would be our passivity actually gets in the way of us achieving results. Where we don’t do what we can to be visionary, to be strategic to take those steps forward because we’re really over here. Sometimes, I don’t know if you’ve seen this, where we are managing people’s feelings and passivity and complying as much as we are managing tasks, as much as we are managing people, business lines, and managing the future of the work and resources and being more concerned.

Erica: Maybe this is what you mean. I’ve worked with some people pleasers in my day and I think that they have a working hypothesis that if I’m passive then I am smoothing things over and therefore I’m managing people’s feelings, emotions, really. When in fact, that’s not the case. It’s kind of it’s an erroneous assumption, because I do think as a leader that you are in charge of your own little orbit of emotions, right? You’re responsible to people but not for them. I think that’s a really important distinction, but you are responsible to them, so it’s, back to this notion that leadership is separate from life. It’s sort of like emotion separate from workplace environment. There’s the famous line by the neuroscientists that says we’re feeling beings that think not thinking beings that feel, and so I think it’s an interesting kind of hypothesis. I get it, and I would say a lot of people pleasers are conflict avoidant, so there’s a piece of owning to your you know, what you were saying Jen, like, with leadership, oftentimes, you’re gonna need to learn how to navigate conflict, and emotions and all the messiness of, of all of that.

Jen: There’s an element of this to where there is a great radical candor quadrant, right? That whole area where we have that manipulative insincerity. This is that piece too where you’re saying, being responsible to folks, we think in some ways that being responsible to folks is not making them upset, not making sure that everything is pleasant, and is that giving folks a sense of where they stand? Are we doing folks a favor in that way? The data suggests that we’re not and that actually the most ineffective style is for folks to not know where they stand, and what that does to not just their current experience and even their future career experiences where we’re limiting folks because they’re not aware of their performance or, where they might be experiencing gaps that we could help them and support them through some of these areas of fine tuning.

Erica: You know, the thing that’s interesting about that is being from the Northwest, right? if anyone would like to learn how to be passive aggressive, we are here for you, right? I would say it’s a very Northwest thing and here’s this leader who wants to bring out the best in their team, who cares. I mean, the people I’ve worked with are purpose driven, humans and leaders that care deeply about the work and their team. Here they are being pleasant as a way, but actually, what you’re saying is, I don’t trust myself with you and I don’t trust that you’re gonna be able to manage, you’re gonna be able to handle it, whatever it may be in the moment, when in fact, you feel the opposite about your team, right? You want them to be capable but you sort of rob them of the opportunity to continually strengthen those muscles, when pleasant is the pervading five. Yeah, you have another juxtaposition. I thought that the passive and listening and sort of how to navigate that, but you, you talked about reactive versus creative? I had not thought about those as versus.

Jen: Yeah, so one being reactive, so our reactive tendencies, those being the skills that we lean on or the ways that we behave or the tendencies that we have as leaders, and they are ways that are depleting. They are ways that we behave that while we think they’re going to get us to a destination, they can often really work against what we really intend them to do, right? I think about drive and ambition a bit in this way where we can have really high drive and sometimes drive also comes with a bit of like a superhero cape where we thinkwe’re going to do it all because we’re the best person for every job. While that that drive certainly gets us far, in many, many ways, it’s not always the most collaborative, it’s not always the most team building, it’s not always the way that gets us to, I think where a lot of folks want to be, which is that selfless leader who can build a team that goes with them and that goes beyond what they’re capable of and so being the selfless leader and some of these more relational skills. Such as being the creatives. To your point, the juxtaposition of something like control, right? We have to go so far from controlling to be somebody who’s really relational and really collaborative. If we’re so used to putting on that superhero cape on our own and doing it all ourselves and being the right person for every job, wow, what a way for us to go to to have us be that relational leader who can offer to play who could create caring and connection abd who can build something that’s so opposite to maybe what what comes as like that baseline more reactive thing that got us maybe real far in our early career, and we would like to transform to an our full leadership capability.

Erica: But that’s a trustful for leaders, right, because you many, many high achievers who have been rewarded for reactivity or proactive responsiveness but churning and burning, and just like you bet I can get that grant out the door, but then our subconscious mind has been trained to say that the reason you’re safe is because you do so much. I say this with great love and affection, because I have walked this path and then decided that a different path might be more spacious and lovely. You know, walking the same path, but noticing the lovely things along the way. There is I just, you know, want to name for some listeners who may just be like intrigued by this, and I just want to say hi to your subconscious that’s going to be like, Oh, no, we’re not doing that. No, that is going to backfire. But you don’t know until you try it and the transition is for most very uncomfortable, very uncomfortable. I was listening to oh, gosh, I forget her name, but she just wrote a book called Needy, which I’m kind of obsessed with this idea, right? It’s like, we’re not trained, especially women. I know you work with a lot of women leaders as I do. We’re not trained really to being able to identify and state what you need and being needy, but we conflate those, right. This book is dedicated to be able to identify and state what you need and she made this comment that your self care needs to be proportionate to your ambition. I want to come full circle back to this idea of self kindness and self compassion and just hear your your comments on that idea of self care being proportionate to ambition.

Jen: This is one of those areas where I’ve been part of the research that I have a lot of my coaching based on one of the areas that we talk about often is composure and balance. This is where I think self care is not the light, fluffy version but truly being able to be in a place where we experience the balance of not the tight rope version of balance, right, the part where like, we get in a tight rope, we fall back off, we get back on, this wasn’t perfect, I’m gonna do it anyway, and really have a way of setting boundaries that are an everyday reflection of self care. For those folks, when you’re talking about those folks with ambition, I think about like, split on the gas pedal. Mm hmm. Right, that like, you know, put on the gas of like a Lamborghini engine bicycle brakes. It’s when we’re in that position that if we’re going to run with the Lamborghini engine, what does our maintenance look like? Yeah, right.

Erica: It’s different than my 2004 MDX that has 200,000 miles on it!

Jen: What does that look like? If that’s what you want to be? Highperformance? If you want to be in this role, where we’re achieving at that level, then then how are we going to provide maintenance? How are we going to provide all the inputs in to continue to do that at that level? I have a client story where I worked with an individual, like, I think probably you as well, who really data oriented, and used like a habit tracker, right? Like, I have like 55 things that I’d like to do every day to make life perfect and hit all of my goals. In our work together, one of the things that we started to figure out is that it wasn’t that we needed to check every box in the habit tracker to make it all okay. It was what are we going to do when we don’t hit the numbers that we hope to achieve on the habit tracker? Or what if we put the habit tracker away and really tune into what’s happening in life? How do I feel? What’s stressing me out at the moment? Is the habit tracker causing the more depletion? Is it more reactive and perfection based than it is things that are adding to how I feel, and when I don’t hit the thing, whatever it is, if I didn’t meditate, and I didn’t, x, x, y, y, y all the things then am I beating myself up? And am I coming down on myself?

Erica: Especially if it’s daily? That’s that’s tough, you know? Yeah, thanks for having me, you know, a longer time horizon, like in a given week in a given month in a given year, what are the the things that I am beating myself up on.

Jen: If I want to feel better than what is actually helping me feel better, and really identifying that, because if it’s one or two things then let’s lean in and let’s have that be the thing that we attempt to do our best to check off the list every day, right? Let’s really find the things that are meaningful and impactful. If the real checkmark is I want to spend time with my family, then let’s put our phone down and focus on what’s really important which is none of these things that we’re talking about anyway, which I think for a lot of folks is really what we end up talking about at different times. I have all these big goals and one of the biggest is I want to be with people I care about or I’d like to shut down my laptop.

Erica: Yeah, I have two teenagers and it’s such a thing, the screen ager and over there. I try to be mindful like they’re on their phones but then they’re talking about what they’re looking at on their phone, and so it’s it is a different dynamic but I think intergenerationally just in general like closing that up, putting the phone away probably a good move. It’s funny as I get older that if I want to stay as active as I’d like to be, which is pretty darn active, my body has served me well but my knees are like we’re not going to be doing all those things. We’re especially not Erica, if you don’t do your PT. I just have to continually remind myself like this is an act of self love. Things like meal prep, I like do meal planning and meal prep because for me that’s love in being able to open my fridge and that me and my family have a whole docket a great food. There’s a past version where that was like I got to check off the box like, you know, this daily habit tracker thing. Now I literally opened and say, golly, that’s loving. Look at that. Look at all that healthy, yummy food fabulous. It is the action but I think in equal measure, to being really attentive to the mindset or the come from energy of the action so that you can get this sense of like, is that really filling my cup? Or do I just feel like I have to put that in my cup but I don’t actually want that in my cup. The thing about physical therapy is one of those areas where it’s still, it’s to your point micro action, that we’re like, how can this be doing anything? I totally get what people think that about meditation. I just have to sit here and breathe, this isn’t doing anything. How’s this gonna help my problems? That’s where my little resistance mind was like PT, that’s not hard, you’re just making me breath or I have to put my legs either. And I have to like, put my legs in a weird angle. And it’s uncomfortable. And I feel a dork.

Jen: Yes, no, same, same, same, same. That’s to your point, is such a version of self care and it’s not super immediate. There’s not a gratification.

Erica: The other day, I live on a hill and I catch the bus to the bottom of the hill. I had been on a good streak with my PT and so I’m running downhill but if I don’t do PT my knee is gonna be talking to me. I was running down the hill because it felt great and thought this is why we do PT. This feels good. It reinforced that it’s worth it. I’m sure that there are a couple of people who were like what is happening with the lady who was trekking down the hill talking to herself. It wasn’t my best love but I felt it was important to acknowledge this is why I do it because if I don’t, it’s grim.

Jen: I love that. I love that. I have the same. I have a PT who legitimately high fived me when my calf leg got to normal. She’s like, you don’t have the tightest calves I’ve ever seen, and that was a huge celebration for me.

Erica: I’m hive fiving you, Jen! again. Thank you. Thank you, Erica. I needed that today.

Jen: Thank you. Thank you, Erica. I needed that today!

Erica: Jen, anything else that you want to share with listeners that we haven’t covered yet?

Jen: If there is a thing that you can do for yourself to take care of your mental health, and it hasn’t made it to the top of your list this week, yet, try and put it on your calendar somewhere. It’s Mental Health Month. Let’s do that. Let’s do that. Let’s have this be the start of the way that you put that on your calendar, because what gets on our calendar from what I’ve seen gets done so let’s try to do that for ourselves. And if you haven’t done this, no biggie. No biggie. You can start or either way you’re doing your best. I know that to be true.

Erica: Even even if it’s you know what’s available to you is putting your hand on your heart and take one deep breath that can be a jumpstart to self care. Jen, thank you so much for taking time to share all your insights and wisdom with listeners and for doing the good work that you’re doing. I appreciate you saying no more shame around mental health. That’s an act of courage still to this day, so I really appreciate you for that. Listeners, you heard you heard Jen say it and I’m gonna double down, if there isn’t something on your calendar, a way to prioritize your mental health, let’s see what you might be able to rustle up this week because you deserve it. I that’s all we have for this episode, so I will part ways by saying Do Good Be Well and I will see you next time.

Jen: Thank you for listening to the Communicate for Good podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, I would so appreciate it. If you would write here right now go rate and review the podcast. Your review will help even more purpose driven leaders, teams and organizations. Learn how to use words to change the world. To find more ways that communication can help you increase awareness, revenue and impact. Head on over to www.claxon-communication.com.

Do you communicate as effectively as you think?


Do you communicate as effectively as you think?