May 1, 2018
Excuse the pun in the title of this newsletter but I lost my big toenail. After years of dealing with a toenail injury caused by a last minute rush of moving tables at a professional development session and a table falling onto my toe, I lost the nail. I rushed to the salon where three people discussed my now quarter moon toenail. The most supportive comment I heard after much flurry and discussion was from the woman behind the desk saying, “Don’t worry. We’ve seen much worse.”
The woman who was working on my toe wasn’t sure it would grow back. Without being defeatist, she just kindly said I should begin the acceptance process and put red nail polish on a quarter moon toenail with pride. The skin you can see is pink and healthy. I am growing used to the new ‘me’ every time I look down.
Now, I have perspective, I assure you. This is a small thing in the big picture. But there is something very wonderful about this self-perceived ‘semi-ugly’ moment. It is a physical reminder of change and resilience. Things aren’t going to look the same for a while. Since my last newsletter, my father has passed away. Things are changing. I am ‘molting’ physically and emotionally. I am on starting a new chapter. And, I am so aware that I am not alone. We all are ‘dealing.’ I have found comfort by watching Coco with my nephews and spent time with the Netflix documentary on Ram Dass, Going Home. I am also awaiting my copy of Elena Aguilar’s new book, Onward: Cultivating Emotional Resilience for Educators.
It would be great if death hadn’t entered into the picture, but it did. So how do we to move forward with grace? David McQueen (@DavidMcQueen) posted on Twitter this week, “We are all running our own race. No one has their shit together. Perfection is a myth. Comparison is the thief of joy. Just do you.” So I will be me. And have compassion for what’s up.
Although I was met with two feet of snow in Minnesota this past month and then with rain during my work in Maine and New York, spring is here. And my open toed sandals will show that quarter moon toenail polished with OPI’s “Soho Nice to Meet You.” Here comes the sun!
If you have any questions, comments or topic suggestions, please feel free to email me at Jennifer@jenniferabrams.com. I look forward to hearing from you!
My colleague and friend, Barbara McAfee, is a voice coach extraordinaire and so much more. Not exactly like my version of voice. This woman can sing! She offers a special workshop for those who want to bring their voice more fully into the world and she calls it a Full Voice Intensive. “Curious about the untapped gifts and power residing in your voice? Barbara is now offering an intensive Full Voice package. People from diverse walks of life (including authors, speakers, coaches, health care leaders, people facing transition, consultants) have made use of the intensive to prepare for major presentations, address vocal challenges, build vocal flexibility and health, and become more expressive and alive in everyday communication.” Check her out!
Simple Habits for Complex Times: Powerful Practices for Leaders – Jennifer Garvey Berger and Keith Johnston. Amazon writes, “When faced with complex challenges or uncertain outcomes, many leaders believe that if they are smart enough, work hard enough, or turn to the best management tools, they will be able to find the right answer, predict and plan for the future, and break down tasks to produce controllable results. But what are leaders to do when this isn’t the case? Rather than offering one-size-fits-all tips and tricks drawn from the realm of business as usual, Simple Habits for Complex Times provides three integral practices that enable leaders to navigate the unknown.” It’s on my must read list.
The Upside of Stress: Why Stress if Good for You, and How To Get Good At It – Kelly McGonigal. Amazon writes, “McGonigal shows readers how to cultivate a mindset that embraces stress, and activate the brain’s natural ability to learn from challenging experiences. Both practical and life-changing, The Upside of Stress is not a guide to getting rid of stress, but a toolkit for getting better at it—by understanding, accepting, and leveraging it to your advantage.”
About Jennifer Abrams
Jennifer Abrams considers herself a "voice coach," helping others learn how to best use their voices – be it collaborating on a team, presenting in front of an audience, coaching a colleague and supervising an employee. Jennifer holds a Master's degree in Education from Stanford University and a Bachelor's degree in English from Tufts University. She lives in Palo Alto, California. Jennifer's latest book is Swimming in the Deep End: Four Foundational Skills for Leading Successful School Initiatives. Her previous publications include Having Hard Conversations, The Multigenerational Workplace: Communicating, Collaborating & Creating Community and Hard Conversations Unpacked – the Whos, the Whens and the What Ifs. She has also created a Corwin Press e-course by the same name.
Work with Jennifer
Praise for Jennifer
“Our school’s work with Jennifer Abrams has sown the seeds of stronger communication skills among the adults in the building. This has only served to strengthen the integrity of communication between staff and students as well. We’ve added her language to our expectations: honest, humane, and growth-producing conversations occur regularly.”