I have been thinking about doing a “Lessons Learned from Jenny Blake post throughout this year but then I decided not to because I haven’t been following Jenny as closely in 2020 as I have in the past. But, lately she has been popping into my mind a lot. So I decided to reconsider my decision and go ahead with an episode about another one of my favorite teachers: Jenny Blake. She is an author, international speaker, podcaster and a solopreneur.
Something about her Message
I can’t remember the first time I encountered Jenny but I’m pretty sure it was love at first read. And it’s so interesting because I must have found her through her blog or her book called Life after College. But, I was not her target market when I found her.. I was deep into an advanced version of my career, not really life after college- I wasn’t the typical recent college grad that she was writing to – but I guess it’s so true what they say “when the student is ready the teacher appears” Something about her message must’ve resonated with me because I got on her mailing list. Once I started getting Jenny’s emails that’s when I fell in love.
Whenever I saw her name in my inbox I immediately clicked to read what she had to say. She always gives great insight, clever and interesting recommendations and helpful tips. In the hopes you’ll love her message as much as I do, I give you 10 reasons why I love Jenny Blake (in no particular order.)
Her Genuine Enthusiasm
If you listen to Jenny’s podcast or read any of her writing you will probably notice what I noticed, her genuine enthusiasm and kindness. It is infectious. When I hear how she asks questions and I hear her talk about things that she has learned and things that she loves and teachers who she follows I get drawn in and I want more of it.
She’s interested in so many different topics and is always trying new things. I’ve followed along over the years and I’ve seen her reinvent herself in so many ways from a yoga enthusiast to a meditation app creator to an online conference host to a theology student among so many other things. She’s a great example to me of how to follow a hero’s journey along a winding and twisting path, being open to whatever curiosity offers.
When I think about Jenny, I think she embodies delight and organization. So it’s no surprise that Jenny has said that her business is all about love and systems. I love that. I am a big fan of systems. If I can put something in a spreadsheet I will. And I love how organized Jenny is. But it’s not in a cold way. She’s not systematic like a robot. She really cares that people get what they need if they do things from their heart – that they understand where she’s coming from. It’s beautiful.
Like I mentioned, as soon as I got on her newsletter email list, I quickly realized that it was full of gold. Every single email that I got from her I opened and found something interesting, or helpful, or inspiring, or a new tool that I could fall in love with. Once she described that she was still using her old iPhone 5 SE (I think, or maybe I’m misremembering it because that’s what I have) and she described how her battery life was not what it once was and so she had bought herself a lipstick shaped battery bank to carry around with her to give her phone a charge throughout the day. I went and bought the same battery charger and I love it.
A Postcard from Jenny
She mailed me a postcard – early on in our “ relationship” I must have mentioned or commented on a post or shared something on social media that Jenny had posted and caught her attention.Jenny responded asking for my mailing address because she wanted to send me a postcard!
I felt so acknowledged and appreciated! It was so sweet of her to recognize my comment or recommendation of her and then send me something in the mail. Everyone loves to get personal mail, right?
A Yoga Pose
I heard her describe how in yoga all the work and effort is all preparation for the corpse pose so that once you get there, you can totally let go of everything and completely release and relax.
And then, the very next pose is a fetal pose- so its a rebirth!
I can’t remember if I heard it on one of her momentum calls, or a podcast, or some kind of a training presentation that she did, but I just know I heard Jenny describe that yoga sequence with the final yoga pose which is just laying down and resting. I think she was telling the story as a metaphor for doing all of our daily activities, and going through all of our struggles and challenges all with the purpose of having a really peaceful rest at the end. I may have gotten a metaphor wrong or maybe I missed her point completely, but I always remember that metaphor and always felt really appreciative for the idea that maybe the purpose – of all of this- is a restful rest after all the work and struggle and challenge.
A Restful Rest
Maybe a restful rest is the whole point, maybe that’s not a weakness or something to try to rush through or avoid. It gives me a different perspective about how I approach thinking about the reason for rest and how long I should rest and what I make resting mean.
What if everything we do in life working socializing struggling exercising trying feeling, what if all of it is all in preparation for the most perfect restorative resting pose – that we then eventually come out of to do it all over again?
Checking in with Yourself
I briefly mentioned these questions on the Co Created Questions episode. I thought I heard this from a podcast, but maybe I read this list in her book Pivot.
When you’re noticing you’re not feeling 100%, if something’s off, you can check in with these questions and figure out what to do to course correct.
I love that these questions are just “getting back to the basics.” This advice reminds me of something that happened over and over again when I was a sales manager for 5 years. A tenured member of my team would come to me and say “something’s off – I don’t know what’s wrong. I’m not getting the results I was getting. I feel stuck.” and no matter what they thought the problem was, I would always take them through the basic behaviors and tactics that I taught each new team member, inevitably, we’d always find some “basic” that they were skipping, rushing through or that they had substituted with something else.
So, this is the same idea- but its about living your life, instead of having a sales call. Here are the questions:
Am I working out?
Am I sleeping well?
Am I avoiding buffering?
Am I working towards a goal?
Am I being generous?
Am I in alignment?
Am I making decisions from a place of abundance?
I’m not sure these were the exact questions Jenny suggested or if this is a list I evolved based on her original suggestion. But, since I started with a list from Jenny, I know I’ve added other questions based on influence from other favorite teachers too.
Don’t Suffer Twice
This phrase that I first heard from Jenny may be the most often repeated thing I learned from her.
Again I can’t remember if I heard it on a podcast or in one of her trainings oir in a video call, but she told the story of, I think it was like a friend’s mother who recommended to her the advice: Don’t Suffer Twice.
Those three words are so simple, yet so profound and they struck me so directly when I first heard them from Jenny and I’ve never forgotten them and I’ve used that expression for myself and others so many times since then because they are so perfect in their advice and simplicity.
Whenever I catch myself worrying about something in the future I can remind myself “Don’t Suffer Twice.”
By worrying now, I would be suffering in the present moment and then if whatever I’m worrying about does actually happen, then of course, I’ll suffer when it does happen. So that’s suffering twice for no benefit. What if I just reserved the suffering for if and when it actually happens and not suffer now in this current moment when it’s not happening and it’s not even sure that it will happen.
The whole concept of this book is genius. I think a lot of us can identify with the feeling of wanting to or needing to make a change in our lives, or in our careers.
I loved, even just from the title alone, that we are given permission that we don’t have to make a drastic change and we don’t have to trash everything that we’ve worked hard on and start something completely new. I love that she gives us the idea to just pivot. Just 1°. Or just a slight shift to see what’s different, to experience a new perspective, to try something out. I was reading her book on an airplane coming home from a work trip when I knew I was about to go through a major change in my career.
I really appreciated the exercises and thought-provoking questions that she provided to give me a way to think about this major change that I was going to make and also consider if there were ways that I could make a smaller pivot in some areas instead of just diving in headfirst.
I could’ve probably said about each one of the things that I’ve mentioned so far on this list that it’s my favorite, and so of course I’ll say it about this final tenth item on the list too.
I really love Jenny‘s podcast. I love getting to hear her voice, her expressions. I love hearing her describing and explaining how and what she thinks.
She does an amazing job on interviews and she gets really, really interesting guests who I always end up wanting to know more about. Jenny has introduced and re-introduced me to some of my favorite teachers on her podcast including Martha Beck, Cal Newport, Susan David, and probably so many more that I am forgetting right now and many, many more that I haven’t even listened to yet. I love that she gets excited with her guests about their work, their thoughts, and their ideas.
Thank You Card, Love Note and Fan Letter
This wouldn’t be a first Friday without a Thank You Card, Love Note and Fan Letter for one of my favorite teachers.
Jenny- I hope you’re listening to this: when I first “met you,” I immediately felt such a kinship because I was working in an employee development space similar to one that you had just come out of. I was on the horizon of making a big career change that you had already made. You showed me that leaving a big name organization and an established role that you’re good at and enjoy to try something new was possible and could make sense and be a great career move.
Thank you for being so generous and thoughtful. You share your journey as an example of how to navigate career, and relationships and life. And you give us a peek into how your brain works and how you make decisions for yourself.
Your excitement and enthusiasm is so fun. I can imagine that someone else might think: “do I really want to to share this new app that I’m geeking out with on my newsletter – does anyone care?” and you’re like “I can’t wait to share this new app with my newsletter! They’ll love it!”
So thanks Jenny! Thanks for your that amazing newsletter, thanks for your lovely podcast, thanks for your insightful books. Thanks for trying new things and putting it all out there. Thanks for being so committed to personal development and systems and organization. You definitely demonstrate both heart and systems!
There you go! Those are just 10 of the reasons I love Jenny Blake. I hope something I talked about caught your interest and you’ll check out her work. I hope something you hear or read from her will resonate with you the way it has resonated with me.
What stood out to you? What did you hear for the first time? Or what was a good reminder for you?
Get the Companion Workbook
Want a Checking In Checklist to help you get back to the basics when you’re feeling off? It’s included in the companion workbook, along with many of the exercises and worksheets that go along with each of the other posts on this site – so no matter when you joined me, and no matter what you’re currently working on, if you download the companion workbook you should be able to follow along with most of the worksheets and exercises that I mention. Go get that pdf right now.