Facing uncertainty can be challenging – being a business owner facing uncertainty is tougher.
Red Direction helps you [fast track and] grow your business – authentically, pragmatically, and resiliently.
Starting the conversation:
You choose what your days look like, so give yourself grace when something new makes you question your business plan flow.
Host: Jess Dewell
Guest: Jenn Olson
This is Uncharted, a series of candid conversations about facing uncertainty. When we are called upon to be courageous the strength of our leadership is tested. Red Direction has developed a library of resources to help you stay aligned and in particular to develop your True North. Now, here’s Jess.
Jess Dewell 0:31
Welcome to the first Uncharted. Tonight, I am talking with Jen Olson, who is the founder and CEO of Divi LP solutions, which is a business and leadership accelerator. It helps people boldly and unapologetically make more money, increase their influence and get massive results. All the while making change, huge change in the world. Jen, I’m really glad you could join me tonight for the first maiden voyage of program it is what business is. And that’s actually it’s more than what businesses it’s really what leadership is. And one of the things that I’ve been thinking about is how our leadership shows up in these hard times. And for anybody who can see the video here, I’m going to totally fess up. Right before we started, I was crying.
I had a hard day. It was crazy. I needed a little bit of a break. So what did I decide to do? I went to take a walk. But there was so much tension outside that I came home more stressed than when I left. And then it was all downhill from there. Because what do you do when you’re really stressed and you need to get unstressed but all there is is more stress.
Jenn Olson 1:39
This one, we said it before, but I want to say it again. Thanks for being courageous and vulnerable. Cheers, fryers because a lot of guts to do that in, in the boardroom, right, like partners or on a podcast, so congratulations on being courageous.
Jess Dewell 2:00
Thank you. A little tear goes a long way. I’ve been thinking a lot about what this Uncharted is in this swirly mess. And of course everybody’s thinking about the swirly mess we’re in now, but really, we face little ones and big ones every single day. And I think what we’re really into right now is this concept of these new rhythms. Have you faced any of that?
Jenn Olson 2:22
It looks really different for different people. You know, some folks are doing underground. Some people are hyper performing.
Jenn Olson 2:31
Some people are pretending to hyper perform and then like completely disintegrating when nobody’s watching.
Jenn Olson 2:40
And some people are so in the in between space of No, I think it’s okay or is it okay, I’m not really sure.
Jenn Olson 2:47
But everything in between, and, you know, whether that’s leaders or moms or dads or you know, caregivers, like all sorts of people are in that whole range frankly and
Jenn Olson 3:00
No, I think we need to give each other a lot of permission right now and a lot of grace to just show up and be because none of us have been here before.
Jess Dewell 3:07
And in everything is kind of bumping up against each other. I’ll tell you, I’ll be completely honest. After all this stuff started happening here in Boulder, Colorado. What ended up happening for me was I’m like, Oh, I’m home. And I was like, I really hate being home. And then I had to go off grid and I had to indulge, and I played my favorite game for three days straight.
Jess Dewell 3:28
And it was funny, because when I started, I’m like, Oh, I’m really gonna do this. And about two hours later, I’m like, I’m really gonna do this. Today, days in Ryan noticed was really surprising. I don’t know if I was hiding it. Or he was just totally doing his own thing in our house where we’re all staying right now. But he was like, Oh, you’re playing the game? Oh, I don’t I’m not sure I like that, Jess. And I’m like, I don’t think I do either. But this is where I’m at. So here we go. Yeah. But the good news is, you know it passed because I was willing to be with it. Be really with that emotion of whatever that emotion was. I can’t even tell you the emotion. I just knew I needed to do something that apparently was brainless. And that took up my time and didn’t allow me to really grasp what else was going on for just a few minutes so I could get my bearings. It was almost my way of getting bearings. So for everybody who’s not here, I’m sure it happened similar for you. We had no warning. And it was it was within a period of like two hours stuff started escalate from the first thing to the time school clothes done.
Jenn Olson 4:36
So for us that really started with the notification that the schools were closing down on Thursday night after they had been school day, right. So Friday, no school anymore. So it was just done. Like there’s no gravy. They couldn’t say goodbye to their friends.
Jess Dewell 4:50
Right? They couldn’t get their stuff.
Jess Dewell 4:54
I mean, yeah, exactly. And we’re like, well, what are we do, right?
Jenn Olson 5:00
That’s right. What? What is it that the parents are supposed to do in this time? So, I don’t know what you were doing. But um, my kids went on spring break a whole week early, because, you know, why not? So they did you know, they were then the crazy kids land. And, and I was like a crazy person, hopefully my glides through the shutting down process of their companies. So there’s a great just juxtaposition happening in that moment.
Jess Dewell 5:29
This is how mine went, Oh, well, they canceled everything that related to afterschool activities, which includes Girl Scouts, and I’m a girl scout leader. And so I’m like, okay, that’s weird. So I have a Girl Scout leader meeting. This is Thursday morning. I have a Girl Scout leader meeting and I’m going to go ahead and go, because that’s just, I’m the president of the service unit. So okay, we’ll do that. We have this. We have this meeting for people show up. Usually we have like 25. And so we have this great dinner and all of this is what you were describing is going down
Jess Dewell 6:00
While we’re having dinner, so nobody’s talking about Girl Scouts, we’re not even. I am. We’re all like, what’s happening? Do we need to leave? Now? How do we get the checks when we went someplace we could have dinner, we’re in the middle of men. And it was super fast. And everybody’s had a situation like that before, where you go into a massage, or you stop to take a run, or you shut down to have dinner with yourself or your family or to just have some focus time during the day at work. And you come back and everything is blown up around you everything. And so I it sounds like, you know, I want to know how you how you showed up to this, everything blowing up,
Jenn Olson 6:43
like for good or bad throughout my career I’ve known as I’m known as this person who has been unflappable, right? And early in my career. That meant that I had a really good suit of armor that was pretty tight, you know, and I just internalized the crap out of stuff. Really is how that worked out, which really was not so healthy as you
Jess Dewell 7:05
bear up the other end where I cry now
Jenn Olson 7:13
I had that as well, right.
Jenn Olson 7:16
involuntary tears. Yeah. So now I can I can say that I actually can ground really quickly for you know and be really present immediately and I do so to try to hold the room down. And so I was doing a lot of heavy breathing, you know, like
Jess Dewell 7:41
no like you just when more like focused attention breathing, not exercise breathing.
Jenn Olson 7:50
And actually what was quite beautiful when the places I was at who I’ve been working with their leadership team, one of their leaders requires wested to do a centering exercise and meditation before we had the meeting, which was beautiful. Because you could feel the energy of chaos and panic. And then as people then focus in the meditation for you know, it only took like two to three minutes. But you know, the energy just fell beautifully to a more palpable calm, and then we were able to, you know, be a lot more present in the meeting. So, like, there it is, in real time, like a moment that you were hoping for. That was beautiful.
Jess Dewell 8:36
You had to have help set that up somewhat on your own specifically because you had already started to indicated that you’re breathing, you’re breathing, being conscious of the type of breath that you’re having. And that’s pretty amazing. You know, I’m thinking about that. And there was a point in time I was that way, but that was totally against my nature, Jen. My major well, and so when all this went down, I was like, it really can’t be this bad, we can’t we, I was totally going to be closed to the whole thing, that it was really this bad and that I was going to be forced to do something along with a whole bunch of other people that I didn’t want to do, because that’s just anti who I am, I don’t get to be forced to do anything, let me show you. And I also ended up doing a lot of breathing. And, and really, I even though all that had happened, and schools here had shut down, there was a retreat that I really wanted to go to. And, you know, and and for the safety of my family, I was like, Well, I have to talk to my husband about this. And we have to make not only am I doing this for myself, and of course it’s going to make me a better person and show up in my business better. But I have to think about the fact we’re all in the same house now, all the time. And so we had to come up with some sort of a go forward of how do we end interact with this outside world? And how much do we want to interact with that outside world? And what does our rhythm look like? And the more I thought about that, the more I thought about it to like, focus time in our day in our office. Many of us practice that right. Once a week, I go into this thing called the president retreat, and it’s four hours long and I shut out the whole rest of the world and all I do is assess the business, dream about the business and evaluate what’s going on. And I use a SWOT, what are our strengths? What are our opportunities? What are our weaknesses, what are our threats? And I’m looking at all of those to see what what direction that were pointed. And that’s all we’ve done just on a slightly bigger scale with being at home right now. And everybody being at home, and no, it does change how we work at home. Don’t get me wrong about that. Four hours is really hard to find to myself on a regular day, let alone on a day when my whole family is in the same place that I am, yeah, right. But at the same point in time, it’s like, well, I already have a precedent for this in my workflow. And I’ll bet you do. And I’ll bet our listeners do too. How do we get that focused time, that dedicated time? And can we use that as an anchor? In a time of chaos to go, Okay, I still can focus, even if it’s just for a little bit, so that I don’t lose it. Don’t lose that focus.
Jenn Olson 11:29
Yeah, I feel pretty fortunate and you know, as an entrepreneur, having not as long as you but I’ve been on at five years and that was something that I learned pretty early on that if I didn’t have a schedule, if I wasn’t getting dressed, getting like really ready like shower clothes of something besides pajamas. If If I wasn’t showing up to the office, then I wasn’t nearly as productive as I could have been. And so I’ve structured my days. A lot. look just like I do the office, right? You know, I’m in between a nine, I work, I then take a lunch break. Now what’s awesome is I get to walk in my neighborhood in the sun, which is amazing. And then I’m here. So five. That being said, I’m trying to share a lot of folks who’ve never done it, who have, you know, toddlers in their space, folks who just have dogs and like, you know, and partners and parents in their space, I’m seeing lots of people use their decks in a beautiful way into an office environment for zoom calls. Um, and I think, you know, the most The best part of it is really trying to figure out for each of us, like, what do we want our day to look like? And how can we carve out time, without any judgement of what it looks like? If you can get away from that, right, some of us are going to be a lot more productive at 10 o’clock at night because the kids are down And some of us are going to be productive at six to 8am. Because that’s what works for our bio rhythm. And, you know, that’s when the house is quiet.
Jess Dewell 13:09
It could also be when the kids are on online school. Right? Right, for those that happens for that’s not going to happen for our family. But I mean, honestly, I want to throw that in there. Because Yeah, we’re talking about What are biorhythms? What are realities of the commitments that we have? And how do we use those to our advantage?
Jenn Olson 13:31
And like, how can we be really gentle with ourselves, right, because every single person I’ve talked to we’ve, we’ve talked about spouses in the environment, we’ve talked about parents in the environment. Um, we, you know, for most of us, we haven’t actually been home that long in terms of the stay at home.
Jenn Olson 13:50
But the cracks in the veneer happening already around. I don’t know how I’m gonna make it um, with with just being around my family. This and None of us before, right?
Jess Dewell 14:03
Does that speak to our priorities and our values? those cracks in the veneer? We think we think we’ve set values. But really, this is a chance to look at them a little closer, because I know this is the best thing that has happened to me, Carter, my son is after you know, it’s been almost two weeks now, there’s a calm about him that had not existed before. And we’re a cocoon again, right from that, like when he was three, and now he’s almost nine. And so recognizing that what we value is eating together is being together is to have activities together, both planned and impromptu. And how does that look when we’re at home so we don’t have to commute anywhere, anywhere. We technically have less distractions because nobody’s walking into our office but technically we have more because the people who haven’t seen us in a long time? Want to see us more because we’re here. I mean, it’s an interesting, there’s this this. I’m going to just call it out. It’s a love hate relationship, whether our whether we’re values are aligned or not. There’s still this period where we have to go through that love hate relationship and figure out how to love it all.
Jenn Olson 15:19
Yeah, absolutely. And how do we do self care when people are all in our space, right? And we’re trying to figure out what our days look like whether it’s family day or work day, right? Like we were joking about a joke with you and I joked with like several older people like did we did we schedule our pee pee breaks between the zoom meetings that we have going constantly right
Jess Dewell 15:40
Not me. Now, I was like, Oh, I don’t have to go anywhere. Oh, I forgot I actually planned going to the bathroom before meetings, but that was in the drive time.
Jenn Olson 15:57
How close you get up to folks as you’re eating Fuck Yeah, right there.
Jess Dewell 16:01
And then there’s beautiful things that happen to. So here I am. And I’ve had a, I’ve had a heavy, heavy work week this week, in working with companies that are in the middle of transition, like what you were talking about the making sure that my team is okay. And that everything is going on, because we’ve always been remote. But that while that helps us work, the way that this is hitting different people in different parts of the country, and you know, somebody on our team is in Europe, I mean, even in Europe. And so, how that is impacting everybody, and what that looks like in their own individual cities. It takes it’s a big burden. And I worry as a leader, that I’m not giving it enough time, or I’m not checking in with them enough. And how do I how do I make it so that it’s not the focus of everything, but how do I get it off of people’s chests. So if we paused for a minute before we jumped into a meeting, because like the meditation which I love We may do that at our next meeting because it’s a fantastic opportunity to, to really settle in and just be with each other across space, even though we’re not in the same space. And there’s something to be said, People discount the space between us. And it doesn’t matter if it’s right right here. Like we’re sitting at the table in my office over there, or here where you and I are across a computer, and we’re actually physically not that far from each other. We get together and have dinner.
Jenn Olson 17:31
Hopefuly again soon. point again soon.
Jess Dewell 17:37
Yeah, I know. Fingers crossed. You know, you’re gonna be the first person I call when I get out of here, right?
Jenn Olson 17:42
Okay, I’m up. I’m up for that. I say
Jess Dewell 17:44
I say that as an extrovert. If that was not a clear sign that I’m an extrovert.e here at Red direction can only fund programming with the financial help of our supporter listeners to learn more about the additional benefits and value supportively Receive, go to red direction calm. Now, back to chess.
Jess Dewell 18:06
Okay, there are two really hard parts for me, Jen. And maybe I don’t know if you can relate or if it’s different for you. The first part is I am incredibly extroverted. And this as much as it allows connection, I’m also tactile, and I like to hug people. And I like to touch people on the shoulder, and I like to see their eyes and I like to be in physical proximity with people. I’m that extroverted. That was the first thing I was gonna say. And the second thing is, I’m an incredible empath, and I’m learning how much of an empath I am not just empathic, like I’m sensing the energy around. And that’s also turning out to be even across the screen that’s actually turning out to be sometimes a hindrance. And so I get to look at myself and go, Okay, well, this is a part of who I am. And how do I want to relate to it? Do I wanna, if I don’t relate to it, I’m going to end up doing If I don’t relate to it, it’s gonna knock me down and kick my butt. If I don’t relate to it, I lose my true self. And the actions that I take are now out of alignment with what is important to me. And I think that’s the hardest part in this because everybody’s crazy. And I’ve got to stay sane not only for me and my family, but for me and my staff. For me in my larger community when it’s out there.
Jenn Olson 19:33
I feel a little guilty honestly, because I do not feel very impacted by having to stay home very much. I can be extroverted but I also really love my downtime. I live in the middle of a country area where there’s lots of space. And so it’s, it is not that different from me. I’m not going into clients. I’m I’m kind of like It actually I get to spend a lot of time with my family. I’m on zoom a lot with clients. And like you, I am a big empath as well. And I think a couple things on that. I can’t say enough about self care, and owning where we are in the moment for us. Because I don’t know about you just but I see a lot of leaders who are trying to like, figure out how to show up for others right now, in a lot of different ways. You know, one of my clients is doing food distribution for all of their families. So they are out and about and, you know, being in contact with everybody and then yeah, I mean, there’s just a lot of different things. So, the self care and also owning how we’re feeling in the moment and having a safe place to drop that big old load off, I think is important. for ourselves, and especially for those of us who feel really deeply. Without that self care, we’re kind of screwed. Really, we really are. And you’re right, you can totally feel it through a screen. And everyone’s really like energetically heightened right now. They’re like big sounding boards. And if you give them a little bit of encouragement, the panic comes up really quickly for a lot of people.
Jess Dewell 21:29
Yeah. And we’re in a place where we’re in a community and a society that prizes, ideas and collaboration. More, and I shouldn’t say more. On one hand, we we prize that and on the other hand, we prize results and leaders within an organization that really have to own our own personal leadership. We’re in a place that has never existed before. I mean, it’s always been a tough place and we’ve always had to maybe move between the two but In this place what I hear you saying, and extrapolating on that, is that that place of Come on put on your own mask first. And then or you know, and then help other people is more true than ever, ever before the organization’s
Jenn Olson 22:17
I’m seeing most successfully deal with this are the folks that had a really solid leadership team, they may or may not have a great leader at the top. But they had a solid leadership team that as this stuff started happening and crumbling, everybody started working together and having conversations around the table about how to show up and how are they serving and all the different components of the business. And so the intellectual capital was the people sitting around the table talking about how to handle the crisis, not just one person. Everybody had to show up as their own leader in that moment, but the best one so far that I’m seeing and I don’t know if you’re seeing the same For those who have that luxury of the team, and that it’s a good team, that’s important that it’s a good team. There, they seem to be weathering it much faster and much more cohesively than other folks.
Jess Dewell 23:13
And let’s define good team. A good team is going to be where everybody understands the role that they’re in, understands what they’re responsible for. And one of those roles is the person that owns the culture of the company, the person that owns the vision of the company, and that person has to be I mean, it’s almost like a sea of geese. They’ve got to be the point of the VI of all the geese flying. Oh, as the team is gonna, they’re all spending energy and going in every different direction. And there’s there’s no organization. So, yes, the luxury of a good team. Yes, the importance of that collaboration to get to results yet, in the end, somebody’s got to say do it. Somebody’s got to say so how does this look? Somebody has to say Well, if we were in our office, it might look like this. But what does it look like now? And how do we do it now? And asking for the accountability that would existed in an office and bringing it into a different kind of space amidst all of the other priorities and distractions and the new rhythms, which takes time? I mean, I’ll be honest, I think I’m one of the people that takes the longest time if you ask any of the advisors have read direction, when I when we decide to make a change, like months later, they’re like, Are we there yet? I’m like, Oh, yeah, look, this is exactly where we’re at.
Jess Dewell 24:35
And here’s why. For me, it’s not like I can just, I can’t just cut and run if I’ve been on a path. And you might be similar to this. And you might be different to this if I’ve been on a path. And I’ve made commitments. And the turns out that that path needs to adjust and make a change. I’m not going to undo my commitments because I still can provide value and deliver What needs to be delivered, I can have our team do the same. And then as those things are coming to an end, not only have we had a chance to think about something else before taking a turn and making an adjustment, but we’re able to seamlessly continue to fill as we’re going forward, what needs to happen in this new way? So it’s almost like having a baby all the time, where you know, you’re going to have a baby but you got to wait nine months now I don’t have to wait nine months. But I do, but I do have to make I have to wait more than nine days.
Jenn Olson 25:35
Jess Dewell 25:36
There’s an in between in there. And Andrew here would be my my one big takeaway for everybody today is what is that time for change for you where you’re really solid in yourself, you know what’s coming, you know what has to change and you know what is and really being able to move and however fast or slow that is doesn’t necessarily apply to the size and there’s no expectation, and I’m going to come back to the self care piece of grace that you were talking about, Jen, we have to give ourselves grace to allow the integrity of our companies to exist as well, because they’re an unnamed being that we have to take care of, and foster and honor all the time. And with no voice, sometimes it takes a little longer.
Jenn Olson 26:23
Absolutely. Well said, right. And sometimes that is even longer than nine months, right? Sometimes it can be change, right can be really long. And there’s nothing wrong with that. And I say, I think grace for ourselves as leaders, grace for those who are working with us, right, especially in this climate, right? There may be toddlers and dogs and all sorts of things in the background, as people are showing up in their best self to do the work, right. I’m a client of mine, their best phone call was actually one where it was like, some one dog in the background went off and then no Everybody’s dogs went off, they had a mute everybody because it was a total dog chaos moment.
Jess Dewell 27:09
Their own zoom too today.
Jenn Olson 27:14
And the staff said, hands down, it was like the best meeting ever for them.
Jenn Olson 27:21
But those exert, right? They just are. And I think like we can roll with that and we can still really be productive in our companies and make sure that we’re headed in the right direction for what we need to accomplish and have the flexibility, right, because I don’t think any of us know where it’s going. There’s a lot of different companies planning for a lot of different timelines. And it’s not in the next six weeks either.
Jess Dewell 27:49
So I know this is this is the biggest marathon that so many people have been running together in the form of business and leadership and business to this point, this concept of Uncharted I want to know from you, Jen, what has been the most unexpected thing? And it doesn’t have to be just right now, right? I mean, I guess we’re in a weird, chaotic swirly time. But what is that what is the most unexpected thing that you have done or faced in, you know, in your career,
Jenn Olson 28:23
I was the head of an organization. It was complicated structure, it was a foundation that was part of a larger group. Um, and there was kind of a, like an unrest happening with one board against the other. And I kind of got caught in the middle of it. And there was a lot of duplicity and a lot of just really hurtful things that happened. People just really behaving poorly and trying to take one organization down to the benefit of the other and then, you know,
Jenn Olson 29:01
And that was in a in an organization. It was, I don’t know about an animal theme in the last 30
Jess Dewell 29:10
It’s okay, that’s what’s showing up today we’re in.
Jenn Olson 29:17
But it wasn’t an organization that was like, these folks were vendor specialists, they help they help animals in the most beautiful way and acts. So frankly, shitty, in a lot of different ways. That probably was like,
Jenn Olson 29:35
you know, I think all of us have more stories to be perfectly honest. Um,
Jess Dewell 29:40
yeah. So I don’t know that that was the lowest But well, it was one of knowing that that was one of them. That was really toughen and messy. You know, what did you do? I mean, how did you navigate it?
Jenn Olson 29:53
So I left one bad work situation to go into this one and the end Have the previous one really just follows right? Like I attracted it. Isn’t that amazing? unknowingly at the time,
Jess Dewell 30:08
ssame ituation, different scenario. Yeah,
Jenn Olson 30:11
yeah. And, you know, I was really on an infancy infancy path and my personal development. So I wouldn’t have had any knowledge of that at the time. So I was doing my best. Absolutely. And boy, did it show me like what you can attract when you’re not mindful. So I think personally, that was a catalyst of me starting to think, Hey, you need to do way better for yourself because this stuff is bullshit, frankly. And it’s it’s time to think about how to keep yourself healthy because this isn’t okay. You know, I should have my best but it came at a really high personal class and was lost my marriage. I wasn’t showing up for my kids. The benefit of all that was, you know, I also realized that at some point, I won’t have my own business. So that was the beginning of that, which was something I had never considered before. And really, it was because I just like, I wanted to see leaders who were doing better, who knew how to be better, because my experience was so rough for so many years around really poor leadership.
Jenn Olson 31:27
And unfortunately, I just got taken down with it.
Jess Dewell 31:31
What was the biggest thing that you learned that helped you with your own personal leadership from that time?
Jenn Olson 31:39
So I grew up in a family business, I was surrounded by men, it was like put up, shut up, no emotions, you know, like the old story. So I was really, really good at hiding a lot of things and there was a lot of layers of armor to that. So I think the biggest Turning Point For me was
Jenn Olson 32:03
not like you but similar to the experience you had at the beginning of this call.
Jess Dewell 32:10
You mean I following up going My face is all red? And I’m blotchy because I didn’t have enough time to finish crying. Yeah, yeah.
Jenn Olson 32:19
My body at some point said no more. And that was my response to everything and I had no control over it whatsoever. So from going from a hyper control individual to like, a mess all the time. That was super vulnerable, and I just had to learn how to sit in it, because that was the best path forward.
Jess Dewell 32:44
we cannot, and I’ll just put it down, hands down right now. We cannot move forward or make any change until we’re willing to sit in it until we are willing to feel whatever that feeling is. For some of us, it’ll be fear. For me. It’s It’s acceptance or a good enoughness. For others, it’s going to be you know, it could be just sadness. It could be. Here’s the story I’ve been telling myself. What I hear you saying is something showed up and said no more for you.
Jenn Olson 33:18
That’s right. I it was a it was certainly a force moment, right. And I would say the second thing at the time is that I found I found out how to be in my body differently to manage stress differently, which came through a meditation practice. But when I could actually be in my body in a healthy way, instead of really blocking out everything, it really shifted, how I could show up, it shifted how I was managing emotions, and it allowed me like authentically to own my space, and to be able to take tackle things that were happening for me in a much different way. So that to me was really pivotable pivotal in terms of really just showing up as a leader. And, and the the outside of that was, it really heightened, you know, the buzzwords it really heightened my presence and my physical presence and my ability to be present. But that was the external parts of it. You know, the other was, you know, I was able to self regulate, in a way I never had and ground in a way I never had.
Jess Dewell 34:32
I hear you. I hear you. What was the so with that being the takeaway, so I’m curious about like, you know, we were talking about something’s not being as long as pregnancy but something’s being a lot longer pregnancy says we will have children I think we can use that as an example nine months. How long on that scale was this, this revelations, the sitting in it? The decision to go Okay, I have this thing. That’s new. How am I going to show up and relate to it? And what’s next? How long did all of that take?
Jenn Olson 35:06
Like, I feel like I master one layer and the universe is like, cool. So let’s see if you can do that with something bigger.
Jenn Olson 35:16
So I left that job. And I was I would say, I was really close to a breakdown at that point. And that was like the pivotal moment. I was in practice doing that stuff really solidly for a year and a year in my family had a, like a horrible car accident, like a rollover at 80 miles an hour with every member of our family in the car. So my husband was pretty badly hurt. Um, so like, I got to find out like, could I do it? Could I really, like live the moments that I had been training for, right? Because there’s very few Few things in life that except maybe now.
Jess Dewell 36:05
Well, you got a point. Yep.
Jenn Olson 36:10
There are moments right there moments we trained for right? This, this too was one of them that really show you whether or not you have it or not. And I would say so that was a year in. And I didn’t have all of it. But I certainly had enough that I was able to keep above water and in in in a good frame with it. And I’ve been practicing ever since for sure.
Jess Dewell 36:34
There’s always you know, it’s always a practice. I can appreciate the word practice. And I love it because just because we know it and we can move on. Sure that’s that’s true. Yet every situation is enough different even if it has similarities, that we’re being we’re being we’re being tested. We’re being we’re reinforcing. We are Supporting, we are growing or not, can you imagine the more painful path had you resisted? Instead of deciding to do
Jenn Olson 37:11
I think all of us have places in our life where we resist and then places where we have more patience for the practice and allowance, right? So from the places that I’m still resisting, or what I think my resistance look like, it feels very much like a chase, like I’m chasing answers, you know, or I’m chasing solutions, instead of like, really accepting some of the internal wisdom and then taking other data points and coming up with something else. So I you know, I think we’ve all done that in different areas, right, I think you are not alone.
Jess Dewell 37:55
You are not alone. And earlier, you know, in the program you mentioned about It’s only been now here here in Boulder County. Now you’re not in Boulder County. Right, your next tough. You’re in weld County. So we’ll just go with Colorado, Colorado in general, because there were enough counties that said, Hey, we’re not happy with this. We’re going to make some change. So the whole state said, these are still going to be some restrictions. Well, we had exposure in our house to Cova 19. Right before school was cancelled. And I went to this retreat that had people internationally and local people, even though it was not a large number of people. We still had that as well, and somebody had sneezy cold theories stuff happening. And even though we were practicing distancing, then right we have this thing where we’ve been in our house Well, before Colorado said you got to be inside. We’ve been inside. So in some respects, I feel a couple steps ahead. Which is why I think my fake it I was like, oh, look what showed up for me, right? I got forced into this thing that I have no control over and how am I going to react to it? And at first I was like, whatever. That’s just what I do. And secondly was, wow, this is real. Now what third was, I got to figure out how I’m going to show up to this. And I’m just not. So I’m going to check out. And fourth was, you know, this is pretty awesome. And here’s what it shows, I had to go through the first three steps to get to pretty awesome. And if the first three steps were how we show up in those cracks in our fake aid, right, and I know you describe that in, in your previous scenario, too. There were there were cracks in your fake aid, or the facade that you had or the mask that you were wearing. And because it wasn’t as brisk and as decisive. It took a little longer. I’m going to show up, which by the way, I have those in my past too. And I’m thinking about everybody right now who can’t even think about what they’ve learned from their past and bring it to the table and say, Look how much stronger I am in this situation, because of what I came through that we just have to own those things. What is our process going to be to get to the acceptance of Wow. And I’m going to still use the word awesome. This is awesome. And what does that mean and how is awesome? It’s not what we wanted. Nobody likes to not be around the people they work with. Nobody knows how they’re valued. When they’re not going through and showing up in the roles that have been given to them. Nobody knows that. But guess what, that’s what a leader does every single day. They’re in the role of this thing called leader. And they have leadership that they want you to that you choose to follow. If you’re in that follower role. Yet at the same point in time, the person that the V of the GIS if I’m going to keep the thing, right, GIS allows us to have a way to know To know internally what direction they’re going, we don’t have that. It’s up to us to build it just like what you were saying and your story. You built it, you became aware of it, you practiced it. And then when a situation showed up, that was crazy, unexpected and horrible. How did you show up to it? And you were like, Hey, I can do this.
Jenn Olson 41:24
Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, I think a couple tools. You mentioned one of them, like for all of us, whether it’s us as individuals or leaders of an organization, right, I think you’d asked how I in that moment, how you go through that, as the head of an organization. I don’t know about you, but I have my mission and values all over the place. And then every single meeting, I am doing right, as long as three
Jess Dewell 41:55
years for the organization or both. Both Yeah. I always have I don’t have a MIT mission written out. But I have my values that show up everywhere. And I have my overall purpose. Maybe that’s my mission.
Jenn Olson 42:08
I was gonna say, purpose is interchangeable person. Yeah, for personal purpose. You know, I don’t know about you, but with the organizations I’ve worked with, that was the first thing I’m like, Okay, so here’s the mission. Here’s the value. So given that, and yes, we had these strategic objectives that we decided to pull out before we knew that there is this, you know, massive change in the market. But given our mission and values, how do we want to show up for our customers, for our clients for whoever, right?
Jess Dewell 42:38
Exactly. And by the way, anytime, it doesn’t have to be a time like this for the whole world. It could be a time like this within your world. It is okay to be able to go back and say, you know, that strategic plan. It’s very clear, it’s not going to work for us and we’re going to go through fire To get there, when we can see that there might be a path that we can get there without that. So what what is what is the most important for us? What is the most impactful for us? And for some organizations, what is the most profitable for us? And can the leadership team set not only bring their values to the table but set their own ego aside and hold the mission and the values of the organization to determine that path? That is where the real unknown actually is.
Jenn Olson 43:33
I appreciate you said for some organizations profit, but I would argue as somebody who’s worked in a lot of nonprofits, that I think everybody actually should be looking at profit, cheers because, you know, if we want to make real impact in the world, whether as a socially driven social profit or socially innovative business, for as a corporate traditional business or as a nonprofit business, you can only get wider and bigger impact through profits. Because it is the tool that helps leverage for you.
Jess Dewell 44:14
I love that you said that. I just know that there are people that listen to our show that are like, I don’t care if I make a profit, I can break even and I’m happy. And I’m doing the work that I need to do. And there are other people who are really working hard, and they have a ton of cash. And they have they’re trying to figure out, do we keep the cash? Do we do something with the cash? And I’m like that those are all great questions. And the people who are like we’re doing our best work and we’re breaking even I have questions for them. So are you really doing your best work? What more could you do and what would that take? Because I think not profit, whether it’s breaking even or not in a business of any kind. We’re in a comfortable chair. If we’re not thinking about our bottom line and that is our first clue to the fact that when we’re faced with some sort of uncertainty, that we’re going to have these little cracks, and we’re going to work harder to hide the cracks and the mask and the facades that we’ve put up than it is to actually be able to show up fully,
Jenn Olson 45:15
not to call out people, but I will, because that’s who I am. And in a loving, kind way, I meet a lot of folks who are entrepreneurs and small business owners that you know, they are there in service and God loves them, they come from a very heart driven place and I am all for them, it is going to take a different kind of leader to really tackle all of the problems This world is gonna face for our generation for my kids generation, like whether we like it or not money is an engine that makes it go and no more money, the more you can do you want to know something? Yeah. are several years of my business.
Jess Dewell 45:54
Were like that. Yeah. Because, and there were there were things there were cracks myself. solder on them. I couldn’t face them. Right. So I mean, I mean, they show up everywhere where we have talked about so many different things that I know. Whoever’s listening in at this point is like, ah, they had at least one bug pucker through this entire thing. Oh, that’s me. Oh, really? Oh, oh, maybe I don’t have to think about that yet. Well, just look at your comfortable chairs would be my comment. just recognize them. Because until we’re ready, right until until we’re ready, we’re not gonna so we’re either we’re either playing or we’re not playing we’re showing up or we’re pretending to show up. And then the not playing and the pretending. I think take away the most from what we’re trying to accomplish. Because we all have a reason to contribute here. We all have something bigger than us that we’re a part of whether it’s our own business, whether it’s you know, we join somebody else and then they’re in a business for the greater good. Probably Not for profit or nonprofit, I should say net. Let me be very specific on that. Yeah. Hmm. totally true. All right. So out of all the stuff that we’ve talked about, you know, I know, I’m curious. Is there anything that’s like standing out to you or something that is bubbling up that hasn’t been said that should be said right now,
Jenn Olson 47:23
this is all about how we live in discomfort and what are built up resilience as leaders and as people is towards that discomfort, whatever that is, whether it’s around our business, or how we’re showing up in our own vulnerability, or, you know, times of crisis or times when it is perfectly normal. We’re in our safety net. It really is about how are we sitting in that discomfort? What is our resilience to it? And how are we taking care of ourselves so that we can come out the other side, you heard it here,
Jess Dewell 47:53
this is Uncharted, and all of the things that we talked about, while we went into a lot of different places. While we covered a lot of different ground, we went pretty deep. And there are connections between each of the places we went and the depth that we reached. So as you’ve listened, my request of you, and my challenge to you, is to find one crack in your facade, just from this conversation of where in a past life in a past situation, or what you’re facing right now is a crack and honor the crack and look at it, and treat it like you would a pimple. For goodness sake, just come on, you got to own it, it’s gonna take its course, you can do all kinds of things. You’re going to have the red spot on your face for a certain period of time or your neck or wherever. All I know is there’s there’s a journey through it, and be with the journey through it. In the end, it is all how we show up because when it’s Uncharted, that’s when we are truly tested. And that’s when you know how much your effort is helping you show up right now. Now,
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