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It Takes Courage

I will not be broken

It takes courage to trust yourself.

It takes courage to invest in yourself.

It takes courage to bet on yourself.

It takes courage to love yourself.

That’s what I’ve done. Really my whole life, with every invitation and opportunity that I’ve been given. Having the courage to re-assess, re-boot, and reimagine is a superpower and gift we’ve all been given during this unprecedented pandemic.

In many ways, it’s similar to the Mercury Retrograde—an orbital phenomenon—we experienced from Sunday, February 16 – Monday, March 10 in which the planet looked like it was moving backward across our night sky. 

What’s more, during this time, I also discovered that I was born during a Mercury retrograde, which is when I spoke what follows into existence. It’s only now on the other side of Mercury stationing direct that I felt ready to share—first, to a team for which I am part, and now you.

Simply put, the process of liberation is not linear, it’s very much cyclical. 

Liberation is a Praxis of Persistence.

As I engage in the work of leading for equity and inclusion, I find myself disrupting White Dominant Culture Practices as a commitment to each group and organization for which I show up. In making these commitments first to myself and then to the organizations I serve, I am acknowledging that clarity comes from time and space to reflect to both hold up the mirror—looking in—while looking out the window.

Since education is the context in which I live and work, I knew deep in my bones going into this K-12 school year that I needed to be held by a circle of coaches. That said, I went into the school year with a book coach, a leadership coach, a writing/narrative coach, and a co-parenting therapist along with a slew of badass mamas/women friends on speed dial with a few good men, who stand by my side. I share all of this to acknowledge that…

It takes courage to ask for help.

My ability to ask for help is a testament to the two-year cycle of radical upheaval as it relates to relationships I have been swirling in since the summer of 2018. Relationships in every form and fashion have changed or shifted. 

Every. 

Single. 

One. 

Even so, it feels like a gift—to be clear on the current reality of where these relationships are and how these relationships may grow. 

It takes courage to believe in what’s possible.

Community is everything to me.  And with community, comes change, growth, and transformation. And so, I invite you to consider: 

  • What change would you make if you had the courage to say the unsaid thing?
  • What data—the information, feelings, and themes coming up in your life—do you dream to be true?
  • What does courage look and feel like to you?

These are the Qs that have been bubbling up inside and asking me to practice what courage looks and feels like in everyday life.  While it feels both challenging and messy right now, it also feels like an offering. An offering to show up at work as your authentic and wholehearted self. Not hiding the parts of you that society has socialized out as not “good” or “professional.” By doing so, I am experiencing a personal alignment of love, integrity, and liberation. Holding strong to my leadership mantra:

I can and will say the unsaid thing every time.

Mama J’s 2019-20 Leadership Mantra

Alignment (noun):  position of agreement or alliance.

This is the act of alignment—being so fiercely devoted to your stance, your values, and your framework of leadership that the only option is alignment. 

From where I stand today, it’s clear for both individuals and our interpersonal relationships within the institutions we live, work, and lead that Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) work is about inclusion and creating inclusive cultures. 

It’s choosing the option (or decision) that does not perpetuate the system. It’s time to shift this narrative of following the status quo and build inclusive cultures that allow space to be our wholehearted authentic selves.

It takes courage to show up to liberate us all. 

It’s true that we’re not free until all of us are free.

There’s much truth to this adage that I don’t want to be free by myself.

I will continue a practice of Fierce Devotion as I focus this month is alignment.

It takes courage to align your personal and professional lives 💕

In lovelution…

I hope you’ll join me to reflect on the following prompts:

  • What change would you make if you had the courage to say the unsaid thing?
  • What data—the information, feelings, and themes coming up in your life—do you dream to be true?
  • What does courage look and feel like to you?

Let’s do this! 💕I’d love to know what rose up for you in holding up the mirror and looking inside, so please share a thought or insight in the comments or drop Mama J a line at hello@mamajlove.com 💌

Join Mama J in Co-Creating Inclusive Cultures

Jillian “Mama J” is creating inclusive cultures with @inclusology. The company I have joined as COO. We are currently in our seed round to get to product launch. Please go to Inclusology’s iFundWomen Campaign to support our campaign and see what cool rewards we are offering our supporters!

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