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She’s wearing a solid gold necklace, bright red lips. A black dress with a neckline that says “I’m here” without being unprofessional. Enough to keep them wondering.

Her makeup is done to perfection. It took her years to master this, she never much liked it to begin with.  Her face was naturally beautiful, she didn’t need much.

She walks in the door of her hi-rise apartment, put her keys on the side table, hangs up her bag.  She walks into the kitchen and grabs a glass from the cabinet.  No need to reach too much with the heels she’s in. They are Louboutins, she always wanted a pair. She now has six.

She takes one square ice cube from the fridge and goes to her whiskey cabinet.  She pours just enough to take the edge off. It was a stressful but successful day. $200 million in transactions. Deal closed.

She walks into her living room.  It is modern and minimalist. She looks out her floor to ceiling windows, overlooking the city.  She always loved this view, the view of the sun-setting over the city she grew up in.  She can see every place.  She can see the house she grew up in, she can see the first restaurant she worked in.  It’s changed now.  She can see the place she worked where she was unappreciated.

She can see the place she worked, where she was supported and put her in this position she is in today, right now– The place overlooking it all.

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When employers ask me where I see myself in the future, this is where I see myself. How do you put that in one sentence?

Burn Out

A dear friend sent me the following article:

And it hit home.

When I was in college, I decided that going to school and having three jobs was a norm.  Then it became three jobs, trying to start a company, and having a social life.  My time was meticulously scheduled, so of course, sleep and mundane tasks suffered.  This went on for about 2-3 years, in which it became normal for me to have almost no free time.

When I went down to having one job, I had no idea what to do with my time off. “What do people do when they aren’t working?” That was literally what I thought and I took pride in it.

Instead of “hustle” being a part of who I am, it became the only thing that I was. Business was the only thing that anyone could really talk to me about. It was the only thing I brought up, it was the focus of all conversation.

Luckily, in this last year, I learned a significant lesson. I met people much wiser than me and all I wanted to talk about was business and how we could work together.  They looked at me and said, “Enough about business, what is Jenna like?”

When they asked me who Jenna was, I froze. I had no idea what to say. How do I finesse this? Ummm I like working. I had nothing else. No hobbies, no interesting stories (unless it surrounded my company.)

And I realized that people work with other people. People trust you and buy from you because of who you are as a person. People enjoy life with you because of who you are as a person. And I realized, in that moment, I had completely lost my identity.

I was thinking of things that were Jenna-like. I like to read memoirs, I love the beach, and I love acting. And I realized it had been years since I had actually finished reading a book, stuck my toes in the sand, or thought about getting on a stage. In fact, my events were spoken word events, and I never spoke into the mic.

I had come to a burnout.  No longer interested in what I was doing, completely detached, and living became mundane. I felt like I was leaping for things that I used to want, but no longer served me. I had to find new hobbies, and discover new things that I liked. And also learned to chill out, live in the moment, and enjoy life a little.

Ambition and tenacity are most certainly heavy personality traits of mine, but there are others that deserve the spotlight as well.

I have been working on that recently, and I am so much happier. Realizing that it’s ok to watch Netflix with my boyfriend for hours after an 40 hour work week. That’s not lazy at all, that’s being happy and living the special moments in life.

Enjoy the special moments and soak them up.

 

Out with the Old, In with the New

Lately, I have felt old habits and feelings come back with a vengeance.

Old feelings and habits that I thought I had broken.

It all feels so familiar and unsettling.  It is unsettling mostly because you often think these feelings and thoughts have gone away.  But I am starting to realize that they are weeds in a beautiful garden, and if you don’t spend the time to find them, and tend to the garden, it will soon become overgrown, and so hard to manage.

What is wonderful, though, it that I am starting to recognize my own behavior. I am realizing what it going wrong.

And I am now reaching into my toolbox, pulling the weeds, and tending to the garden.

 

 

 

 

What Do You Value?

A friend told me the other day, that they wished they had the approval of a parent.

They wished that the parent validated who they are, and said “ I am proud of you”

I asked them to look at it from another perspective.

What are the parents’ values?

What is something that they would be proud of?

Are they someone that you would want to be like?

Is that who you want to be?

When you are little, you only have the scope of your direct environment. Your parents, parents friends, the village that raises the child.

As you get older your village expands, everything does. It’s grows and shifts and changes.

Your value, your opinions, who you want to be.

It all shifts.

You learn to emulate the traits you admire, and stay away from the undesirable.

When seeking approval, it’s important to also see what they would be approving of.

Do they approve of generosity, honesty, and kindness?

Or do they approve of selfishness, being misleading or indifference?

What traits are they proud of?

If you do not admire their values, you may want to be cautious if you hear the words “I am proud of you.”

What traits are they proud of?

You may be becoming less of who you are, and more of what you are trying so hard to stay away from.

Redefining Growth

It’s my 26th birthday today.

So much can change in a year. I never believed people when they said that, but I do now more than ever.

Last year I was in a completely different headspace. I was constantly thinking about where I was supposed to be, and often spent so much time racing towards the future that I would forgot to stop and enjoy where I was.

25 was an extremely transformative year for me, in the best way possible. I decided to stop racing, and just enjoy life for a moment. And I couldn’t be happier that I did so.

Without the racing, you really begin to fine tune what is around you. You are able to really see what friendships and relationships are good for you, and which ones are not.

I learned how to say no, and truly create boundaries that have kept me from engaging in toxic environments.

I stopped thinking about where I should be, and became really grateful for the roses that were blossoming before me.

I took risks that people thought were foolish.

I knew they were right for me, and I couldn’t be happier in my decisions. I am now surrounded by amazing people, that continue to help me grow in the most amazing way.

I can’t wait to see what next year will bring ❤️

Two Bins

Like a snake shedding its skin.

Going through all of my clothes, my old college papers, down to my diary entries from 6th grade.

I even came across a written rant that stated ” I am 15 and perfectly capable.”

Lets all laugh together.

It was something I have put off for years, and after finally doing it, I understand why.

Going through everything, causes you to relive memories of a time before, a different version of you. The different clothes you used to wear, the different things you used to like, and a different way of thinking.

And surprisingly, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. It was relieving.

I was able to take a storage unit full of memories, and fit what was most important into two plastics bins.

And I couldn’t be happier.

Ocean

Someone once asked me, to describe a peaceful scene, where calm existed, my happy place.

I said the ocean.

“But why? The ocean is so uncertain, the tides are unpredictable, storms come and create huge waves.  It is anything but calm.”

I disagreed.

It may take hours or days, but it will always go back to a peaceful state.

It is the ocean that creates the raging waves, the strong undercurrent.  The storm is just an outside source, and the waves are the oceans way of being, since the beginning of time.

That is the most calming thing about it. How the ocean rages and storms, and how it both hurts and heals.  While it is stormy in one place, it is calm in another. And in the midst of all that, it is still the same.  There will always be calm, there will always be glistening from the sun, and there will always be the same calming, lapping waves.