Heavy, Tired, Motivated, Inspired

Heavy, Tired, Motivated, Inspired

I’ve been struggling with what to say for more than a week now; I’ve written blogs and trashed them. I’ve been feeling sad, a bit hopeless and withdrawn. I truly believe that black lives matter, and I want to be an ally – but I’m bumbling around and I’m not sure how to do it effectively. I’m wondering if it makes a difference if I say the same things that have already been said…

It’s easy for me to show up for my clients as a coach; I know what to do, feel competent and can help folks find solutions to their problems. What’s harder is for me to show up as a human being and communicate on a deep level when I feel powerless or like don’t have any value to add. I certainly don’t have any solutions for the enormous problems surrounding our society’s failure to uphold its agreements with all its people, especially Black and Brown people. (Trevor Noah and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar both said it better than I can.)

So I’ve been watching what’s happening; sometimes thinking about things and sometimes grieving; and checking on friends and clients. Some folks are feeling heartbroken, others are angry. One summed it up by saying “it’s hard being Black in America right now.” And, surprisingly, I’m also hearing that some people feel excited and inspired, believing in the possibility of real change.

I saw the same thing last week in my New Memphis Institute Embark online workshop when I asked people how they were feeling. At the beginning, they used words like “heavy” and “tired.” After talking about service-based leadership and how they might empower others as well as identifying their core values (what’s most important to them), they reported feeling “supported,” “thoughtful” and “motivated.” Me, too.

When I’m not isolated, I hear perspectives that are more hopeful than my own.

And here is the lesson for me (there is always one in every difficult situation): I need to show up. I need to listen. I need to use the one voice I have, if only to let people know that I see them and I care. I don’t have to comment on everything, but when it’s important, I have to come out of isolation and say the things that feel scary and vulnerable to me.

The thing that finally pushed me to post this imperfect blog was George Floyd’s daughter’s joy when she said “Daddy changed the world.” Gianna, he changed me, too, and so did you. Thank you for being a light in the darkness.

Thank you all for being a light, whether you are just hanging on, taking the small actions you can, or out protesting. We all make a difference in our own way. Keep showing up – and please keep showing yourself and others a little extra grace right now. We all need it.

Much love to you all.

p.s. As always, your comments are welcome on this post at https://www.facebook.com/jenfrankcoaching. You can also reach out to me at jen@jenfrankcoaching.com if you need someone to listen. ❤

Read More

Self-Care and Priorities During COVID 19

Self-Care and Priorities During COVID 19

I’ve been following the leadership experts on what to do in these uncertain times. I love that their wisdom has coalesced around three things: taking care of ourselves, taking care of others, and focusing on our priorities.

To take care of myself I’m doing online yoga with my regular teacher; staying in touch with friends and family via phone, Zoom and Marco Polo; and reading and listening to audio-books. In addition, I only look at the news once a day in the afternoon, since I know that too much news makes me nervous!

To take care of others, I continue to see clients full-time on the phone and Zoom. Having that normalcy takes care of me, too. I also check on friends, which takes care of them and me, and I ask a few folks if I can get them things when I go to the store. (The beauty of being of service is that the giver gets something, too – good feelings!)

As for focusing on priorities, the experts tell us to not look too far into the future, as all that uncertainty will amp up our anxiety. Instead, focus on important stuff that needs to get done; note what is in your control to do; and do that. The focus and action help to bring your anxiety down. “Important stuff” includes self-care and checking in on loved ones as well as planning work tasks for the week and making progress on an important project.

And while you are doing all that, please show yourself and others some grace. Everyone’s experience is different: people have different stressors, are experiencing different levels of change, and reacting with different levels of anxiety. We all need a little extra understanding right now.

I also have to show myself grace. Remember I said I was reading a lot right now and listening to audiobooks? Well, that’s all fictional books, unfortunately. I’ve had to let go of the desire to improve and develop myself during this safer-at-home period.

As we transition into the next phase of COVID 19, we will have to deal with yet more change. If you keep these tips in mind, they will work for whatever is next. So keep asking: how can you take care of yourself; how can you help take care of others; and what are your most important priorities (that you can take action on)? Do that, and you’ll come out of this crisis healthy, with strong relationships, and with your important priorities in great shape!

Take care!!

p.s. Your comments are most welcome on this post at https://www.facebook.com/jenfrankcoaching

Read More

Online Career Coaching Group forming now…

Online Career Coaching Group forming now…

If you are looking to develop yourself and position your career during these uncertain economic times, one of my small career coaching groups may be for you!

I normally run these groups for 5 or 6 participants in-person in Memphis, but I’m taking them online via Zoom. Now while you’re “safer at home” in Memphis or beyond, you can participate, too. All the information and stuff you’ll get (e.g., a strong grasp of your strengths and how to talk about them, an updated resume that effectively tells your story, a personalized decision-making filter for your career, etc) can be found here: https://jenfrankcoaching.com/career-group/

Usually the group is a cost savings of 40% compared to working with me one-on-one. But I’m discounting the program further (60%) – and even further still if you just got laid-off or furloughed.

If you’re interested, take a look at the website and send me an email at jen@jenfrankcoaching.com. We’ll schedule a call to see if this is a good fit for you and what discounts apply. I appreciate you passing this along to anyone you think might be interested. Thanks!

Take care and stay safe!!

Read More

Finding Your New Normal in Uncertain Times

Finding Your New Normal in Uncertain Times

Beginning yesterday, I’m working entirely from home. I’m used to working at home as well as with clients on the phone and Zoom, so this isn’t all new for me. I’m also an introvert and homebody, so that’s comfortable, too. What I didn’t expect was my desire to not work at all, to not accomplish a thing, and to be unmotivated and just want to sit around and read or watch TV!

Scream therapy may not help, but humor might!

I think that’s partly caused by the anxiety that comes with the uncertainty of our current situation: globally, as a nation, as a community, and in our own homes and lives. I know it makes me want to hibernate and take a break. Right now, the best I can do is to keep my appointments, do the things that need to be done, and then be gentle with myself and my inability to tackle any big work or home projects.

Some of my clients and friends are doing some cool things to deal with staying home and the feelings of isolation, boredom, lack of motivation, and anxiousness that come with that.

One friend posted on Facebook: ” Working from home Day 3. I’m still waking up at the same time, showering, putting on eyebrows, brushing my teeth, and wearing perfume to go to the living room. Carry on.”

A client reported that she and several of her colleagues have started the practice of being in a Zoom “meeting,” but they are working independently. It allows them to feel less alone, have a little ambient noise, and to periodically chat or joke with one another. This is something my client plans to practice when working remotely even after this crisis passes.

One great way to boost your mood is to
do something nice for someone else!

Another young client is challenging herself to check in on friends with phone calls, rather than texts. She also takes walks, and on her next one she plans to stop at the grocery store, see what produce is available, and look up a recipe for those ingredients on the spot. It’s a way for her to both stretch herself and learn while taking care of herself.

I’ve also found some practical advice in these articles. Perhaps something stands out to you?

https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/19/health/coronavirus-cabin-fever-definition-quarantine-wellness/index.html

https://forge.medium.com/100-ways-to-not-freak-the-fuck-out-during-isolation-7dd980584d8b (Sorry about the explicit language!)

I encourage you to experiment with some new behaviors to see what takes best care of you. And please share those practices with others! I’d love to hear what’s working for you, so I can use and share your ideas, too. You are most welcome to share your ideas here: https://www.facebook.com/jenfrankcoaching

Take care and be well!

Read More

Your Word of the Year

Your Word of the Year

I’m not much for New Year’s resolutions (in fact, by now many folks’ resolutions have failed), but I do like to choose a word of the year. When you have your word, it helps you to make choices and let go of stuff that isn’t going to get you more of what you want – or how you want to feel.

To figure out your word for the year (no, it’s not too late!), just sit quietly, close your eyes, and let your mind drift. Let positive words float through your mind. One of them should feel extra good to you. That’s your word. Simple, right?

When I did this at the turn of the year, some of the words that came up for me were courage, trust, adventure, self-care, gratitude, openness, generosity… But when “acceptance” drifted by, I knew from the tingle it was my word for 2020!

So when I don’t like my circumstances, I will remind myself to practice acceptance and notice that I’m still ok. And when good things come my way like interesting projects, compliments and sweet surprises, I will accept those, too, reminding myself that I am deserving of goodness.

And when I have choices to make this year, I will make the ones that move me towards acceptance. Because that’s where the peace and relaxation is – and all the other good feels. Bonus: acceptance is a judgment-free zone!

Once you have your word, sit with it. What feelings come up for you? How will you get more of that for yourself in your everyday life?

Best wishes for 2020 and finding your word of the year!

p.s. I originally posted this blog on New Year’s Eve (the emails failed to send though – a few technical difficulties!). Some folks posted their words on Facebook: adapt, perseverance, present, gratitude, and mindfulness. If you want to share your word, please do here: https://www.facebook.com/jenfrankcoaching

Read More