In the journey of Becoming Mama J, I made the decision to name, frame, and claim 4 Truths that lay the foundation for how I lead the work I do in the world.
While I could easily tell you a beautiful story of how each one came to be, I’ll save that for the book I am writing: Lovelution: How to Be the Leader of Your Own Liberation (current working title). For now, I will share that each of these Truths has risen to my consciousness after years of deep inquiry work based not only on my own personal and leadership development, yet my day-to-day lived experience as a Black queer mama, as well. When I think about how I show up every damn day as the leader of my own life, these are the 4 Truths I know to be true:
- Intersectionality. The place in which our various identities cross and join together representing our wholehearted, authentic selves. Wholeness is not simply parsing out the various aspects of our identity and self. It’s the complexity of “the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group,” resulting in overlapping and interdependent systems of oppression (Kimberlé Crenshaw). This Truth is not only one I hold in my work yet also experience as a Black queer mamapreneur.
2. Using data as a tool to learn, evaluate, and show impact. Data tells a story. A story full of nuance and complexity, especially when taking an equity stance to disaggregate the data by key demographic factors such as race/ethnicity, years at the organization, and program/team. By doing so, elevating the voices at the margins with a dance between the quantitative results (e.g.survey questions) and qualitative results (e.g. 1:1 interviews or focus groups). Plus, let us not forget that our feelings are data points too.
This is why when I first work with a client, I ask the question: What’s your data dream? In other words, what’s your dream for how data can enhance and/or increase your productivity and outcomes? By culling for data dreams, it allows for the space to think outside of the box about how having access to multiple forms of data gets an organization closer to not only increasing both engagement and job performance, as well as provides insight into building a culture of inclusion and belonging
3. Using love and intentionality to lead (…or what I refer to as Love Leadership). Leading with the core value of love in a manner that is both deliberate and purposeful. The journey of leading with love began with a focus on doing work that lights me up and has evolved to pouring my love in all that I do. This can feel, and IS, risky. The result, thus far, a deep sense of belonging and inclusion to show up every day as my authentic, wholehearted self.
4. Taking bite-sized + deliberate action EVERY damn day! Or what I often refer to as Intentional Justice™. This is how we create Justice in our lives because the arc of social justice is long as both King and Obama referenced, which is why I believe it’s possible with a purposeful mindset, clear intentions, and actions every damn day.
These 4 Truths are an extension of what I value. They are what I know to be true when I walk into a room, sit at a table, or start a conversation with someone I’ve never met before. In sharing them publicly, I can keep taking action towards my intention to use this space to show and reflect on how I use the 4 Truths in my everyday life so that I can both inspire and activate YOU to take your own bite-sized and deliberate action EVERY damn day!
What Truths do YOU hold close to your heart?Mama J
Or do you feel like you have no Truths?
If this is the first time you’ve been asked to think and name what you know to be true for you, then I invite you to do so by following Mama J’s 3 bite-sized and deliberate actions to discover your own Truths.
Discovery Your Own Truths + Create Intentional Justice™ in Your Life
1. Inside Work: the internal self-awareness work that requires holding up the mirror to own and unlearn what’s reflected back
- Take 5 minutes to reflect and write to the prompts below.
- What Truths do you hold close to your heart?
- In other words, what do you know to be true for YOU?
Intentional Justice™ Tip: Trust what comes top of mind and then allow it to grow…Mama J
2. Outside Work: sharing your self-awareness musings and learnings in dialogue with another trusted individual by using this knowledge to ripple outward
- Phone a friend and share 1 Truth you uncovered for yourself by taking bite-sized and deliberate action to hold up the mirror.
3. Accountability: taking responsibility to take action outside of yourself and in the world
- Option A: Send a text to a friend to acknowledge the 10 minutes of bite-sized and deliberate action you have taken to create Justice in your life.
- Option B: Share this post with a friend or colleague inviting them to explore their Truths with encouragement to share during their self-discovery.
You can always take more time with any of these steps. This is simply the baseline commitment to creating Justice in your life. Once you take your bite-sized and deliberate action, I’d love it if you looped back to share any thoughts or reflections in the comments below. I also invite you to reach out to me directly at jillian @ mamajlove dot com