BY JUDY CARMACK BROSS
This is the second of our All In A Day’s Work series. We welcome your suggestions of people whose work mirrors a life ambition.
To get where you really want to be in this life, it all starts with loving you, first and foremost. ‘Take care of you’ is my mantra.
A powerful new podcast and a regenerative blog bring home Jen Wille’s message of self-care and self-love. At age 13, Jen was taken away from her family. As a foster child growing up in several homes, Jen learned early on that it was up to her to create the life she wanted. This early determination led her to a career as an in-demand life coach with clients who relish their time with her.
“In my early twenties, I was filled with energizing optimism and faith in my future. I went to college and graduated with a degree in elementary education. I lived abroad for a year in Spain and was in a stable, loving relationship with my high school sweetheart.
“But a negative whisper began to emerge within me, and it sounded like every critical voice I ever encountered in my years of foster care. It kept getting louder and louder. Finally, after receiving help in several ways, my inner dreamer began to re-emerge. I recalled the early advice of Julia Kennedy, whom I met when I was very young in the foster care system and who taught me to follow my heart. I took a huge leap of faith and traded a career I liked for one I love.”
Jen wakes daily with the same question: What am I needing today, love? In her journal she often lists three intention words to be thinking of throughout the day to help keep her grounded. She is soon up playing with her new puppy, Migo, a Portuguese water spaniel who is nothing but a warm and loving reminder of a good day ahead.
As she works with clients throughout the day, she addresses their obstacles, such as fear and self doubt, which might stand in the way of living their passions to the highest degree.
One of the most important aspects of her role is teaching people to push past fear.
“Fear often stops us in our tracks. What if today is the day you decide to stop letting fear lead you? Here’s how to push past it:
-Create a mantra or affirmation, such as ‘I take chances because I am worthy of knowing the reward.’ The next time you hear fear talking to you, come equipped to talk back (kindly, of course).
-Ask yourself, ‘What will my life be like if I keep listening to fear?’ Admit that you want to go places—with fear, you stay exactly where you are.
-Remind yourself that every single person starts somewhere, including you. The key word is ‘start’!”
Jen is a proponent of the “grown-up gal time-out.”
“To avoid burnout, watch for these signals as you struggle to get just one more thing done: you are cranky, tired, are on auto-pilot, and always prioritizing work before your friends, family and you. You might have a constant headache because you can’t remember the last time you took a sip of water, or you haven’t given yourself the gift of time in ages. These are cues, my friend, that is it time for a break.”
To Jen, being a good listener is essential.
What I am learning through my work is that people just want a safe space to unravel, to reveal what scares them, and to share what gets in their way. Simply meeting people right where they are, with no effort to try to fix or change their situation, is the most supportive thing we can do. I have found this in talking with friends, as well. I call this holding space. When we hold space for others, it is important to notice their vulnerability as a sign of their trust in us. If you want to try holding space for someone you care about who comes to you upset, or in distress, here’s what to do:
-Remember that this moment is about them.
-Offer a comforting ear and really listen. Hear their pains. Whatever is coming up through their physical state or words, just simply notice.
-When they are completely done speaking, say things like, ‘You are more loved than you know’ or say nothing at all.
-Finally, ask how you can help. Sometimes we say, ‘Let me know what you need. We can do better than that. More often than not, the safe space you provide for your friend will be the very thing they want and need most from you.”
Jen uses social media—whether through Instagram; her podcast, First + Foremost; or her blog—to reach people who want tools for self-care and self-growth. Her podcast is all about helping you take the very best care of you, first and foremost. From solo episodes with Jen to chats with special guests, she uncovers the daily habits and routines that lead to peaceful daily rhythms, so that you, too, can implement them right away.
To connect with Jen, you can find her on Instagram @jenwille or visit her website, jenwille.com.