[00:00:00] Roxanne Merket: Podcasting from my closet in Northern Japan. This is Reimagining Hustle, a podcast for entrepreneurial parents, creating a life where business and parenthood live peacefully in the same space. I’m your host Roxanne Merket, a mom of two micro-business coach and serial entrepreneur on a journey to prove that it is possible to do what you love without sacrificing all your precious time.
[00:00:31] Let’s do this.
[00:00:34] Welcome back to Reimagining Hustle. I cannot wait to chat with my guest. For you to meet my guest today. I have Jen Rafferty with me. Jen, how you doing?
[00:00:45] Jen Rafferty: Hello. I’m so great. Thank you so much for having me
[00:00:48] Roxanne Merket: Oh my goodness. I’m so excited. I feel like what you’re putting into the world is gold and I can’t wait to hear about it. So can we just dive in? Will you just tell us about you? Tell us about the work that you’re doing and your journey to.
[00:01:01] Jen Rafferty: Sure. So I guess the easiest place to start would probably be 2019. At the very end of the year, right before Christmas, I published my book, which was a place in the staff, and I was a music teacher for most of my career. I thought that’s what I was going to do. It was more like a calling than even a choice.
[00:01:19] I just felt completely called to do this work and, and I was really good at it. I loved being in the classroom. I was conducting across New York State and really getting my name out there as being a teacher leader and, and leading conferences and things like that, and, Right at the end of that year, in addition to my book being launched and, and, and published, uh, my husband and I at the time decided to get a divorce, and I moved out of my house with my two children who were five and seven at the time.
[00:01:50] The week in the world shut down.
[00:01:52] Roxanne Merket: Oh my.
[00:01:52] Jen Rafferty: And yeah,
[00:01:54] Roxanne Merket: Oh my word.
[00:01:56] Jen Rafferty: Oh yes. So everything that I was, I wasn’t truly overnight. And in addition to that, you know, singing was really scary, you know? So there was this incredible grief that happened not just with my family, with, you know, being in a new space, but also with my career.
[00:02:20] This huge part of my life. All of a sudden, I, I wasn’t available anymore and it was dangerous. So I was trying to figure out homeschooling my kids and trying to teach music online. It was like a whole thing.
[00:02:33] Roxanne Merket: Oh my word,
[00:02:34] Jen Rafferty: it was a, it was a whole thing. So, fast forward a little bit. I decided to stay home for the next one.
[00:02:39] I thought would just be a semester to homeschool my own. Which is also when I started my PhD in educational psychology, cuz I couldn’t just sit around and do one thing. I had to, you know, do the things
[00:02:50] Roxanne Merket: Do everything You had to do everything.
[00:02:52] Jen Rafferty: I had to do all, I had to do all the things. So, uh, I started that. I really dove into mindset work and got really interested in cognitive neuroscience.
[00:03:03] I’d always been interested in brain development, especially as a middle school music teacher. You know, they are hot mess and so, right. So, you know, as, as a teacher, I always wondered, you know, I could teach them a whole lot better if I understood how they were developing in cognitively. So I’ve been studying brain development pretty much whole my whole career.
[00:03:24] And now the research was becoming more official and what I started to realize was, Leveraging these ideas of psychology mindset, cognitive neuroscience, and then I became certified as emotional intelligence practitioner. I was like, you know what? Teachers actually need this very much. So I shifted my focus.
[00:03:46] I ended up resigning from teaching, which was a whole identity shift for me. Someone who thought I was gonna be a teacher my, my whole life. All of a sudden now I was going into this entrepreneurial space. I had to like come out as an entrepreneur, . And that’s like, yeah, that’s the whole story. Um, and. . I started my company, which is Empowered Educator, and now I provide professional development for teachers and school leaders that really focuses on the social and emotional wellbeing of the adults in schools because we know that the kids need it.
[00:04:19] But if we’re not actually paying attention to our needs as the adults, we’re not actively able to get those messages across. We can’t show up for them the way that they need us to right now, especially now. And, um, you know, you don’t have to look very far to see a burned out teacher. ,
[00:04:36] Roxanne Merket: I yeah. No, they’re, they’re everywhere. Oh my goodness. Wow. Wow. So how long had you been teaching before this shift happened?
[00:04:46] Jen Rafferty: I was in the classroom in the public school for about 15 years. Um, but you know, on top of that, I had really been doing this ever since I could get in front of kids. So, you know, I was teaching voice lessons when I was in high school to younger kids, and I was teaching preschool during college because I was able to do like kinder music type
[00:05:06] Roxanne Merket: Oh yeah. Mm-hmm.
[00:05:07] Jen Rafferty: So, you know, I teaching was and still is in my bones. I just now do it a little bit differently.
[00:05:13] Roxanne Merket: I was gonna say, it’s, you’re still doing it. I can see And what, what a valuable thing to come from the experience of having been a teacher. I know from many teachers in my life that one of the things that is really frustrating to them is to have these, these people show up who have no idea what they’re actually going through, what they’re actually experiencing.
[00:05:32] And so I think that that’s like, that brings such a, a valuable. Almost like a validating experience to the teaching world, so, wow. And then, okay, so I, tell us a little bit more about coming out as an entrepreneur, would you
[00:05:46] Jen Rafferty: Oh yeah. Yeah. This is a great story because I’ll, I’ll tell you, you know, parallel to this was really understanding that at the same time, Everything was kind of ground zero,
[00:05:59] Roxanne Merket: Yeah.
[00:06:00] Jen Rafferty: and I had this beautiful opportunity to reconstruct my identity. ,
[00:06:05] Roxanne Merket: Hmm.
[00:06:06] Jen Rafferty: and this was something that, you know, as a performer, you know, I grew up on stage, I grew up in theater, I grew up as a, you know, and it became a teacher.
[00:06:13] You have this teacher persona, and there were all of these expectations. What I thought of how I needed to be in this world based on what I thought other people wanted me to be, right in all of the ways. And what was so interesting was the moment that I realized this. was so unexpected. It was my first class as a doctorate student.
[00:06:40] And in the orientation, the assignment was introduce yourself,
[00:06:45] Roxanne Merket: Okay.
[00:06:46] Jen Rafferty: and everyone was introducing themselves by their relationship to their spouse, their relationship to their job, or their relationship to their children.
[00:06:56] Roxanne Merket: Mm.
[00:06:57] Jen Rafferty: And I, at that point, j just balled my eyes out because I didn’t even know how to start that conversation because everything had shifted for me.
[00:07:08] Yeah, of course, I was still a mom, but I, I didn’t wanna lead with that. I, I really wanted to figure out, well, who was Jen? Who, who am I? And so it was like, who, who am I?
[00:07:19] Roxanne Merket: Yeah.
[00:07:20] Jen Rafferty: Trying
[00:07:20] Roxanne Merket: Yeah.
[00:07:21] Jen Rafferty: do this assignment. Um, but it was in that moment that I realized, okay, I can. I can be who I want to be and what do I want? What do I want in this life?
[00:07:36] What’s important to me? How do I stay true to my mission as a teacher? You know, my, my professional mission has always been to inspire people to discover their voice, and while it was quite literal in the music classroom, you know, how can I do that now? in a different arena. So it was a lot of self-discovery through asking a lot of questions, and especially as someone who held their identity as a teacher so tightly to who I was as a person.
[00:08:03] Roxanne Merket: Mm-hmm.
[00:08:04] Jen Rafferty: letting go of that and coming out as an entrepreneur felt very scary for me because here I had built my whole life around what I did for a living. So shifting that I was terrified of how people would perceive it or receive it or react to me, would, would I be shunned from my communities of. Teachers I was, I felt like I was abandoning, you know, people who have been following me and, and supporting me throughout my career, being this teacher leader.
[00:08:37] And what I realized was as soon as I came out about it, everyone was just like super happy that I was happy. no one really gave a shit. And it, they were just so happy that I was happy and all of that angst that I felt, um, really had a turning point then.
[00:08:56] And I started becoming more comfortable saying, oh yes, I’m, I am an entrepreneur. My industry is education and. That was a process that I think is something that we don’t talk about very often as entrepreneurs making that leap. We talk about what happens after the leap and what happens before the leap, but there is a transition that happens and that involves mourning and grief of your old life and really embracing the scary things that are coming next
[00:09:27] Roxanne Merket: Mm-hmm.
[00:09:28] Jen Rafferty: you go off into this new venture.
[00:09:30] Roxanne Merket: Yeah, and, and I love that visual of leap because there is that moment of suspense in the air where you go, what have I done? What? What, what, like that panic, right? Where there’s nothing underneath you. And so that makes a lot of sense. Do you feel like you were worried, I guess part of the grief is that you maybe were betraying parts of yourself and you had to figure out how, how those parts of yourself were going to be reconstructed in this new version of you?
[00:10:02] Jen Rafferty: Sure. And I, I think , this was kind of a funny thing re regarding that, you know, as I was like, oh yeah, I’m totally going to be starting my own business and you know, just in case though, I’m gonna be applying to all these other jobs because I can’t wait to tell them. No, thank you. Um, I’m going to start my own business.
[00:10:20] That was in my mind what I was gonna, I was gonna get all of these offers and I was gonna turn ’em all down. And what was so interesting was I did not get one interview, not one. For any of the, that I was overqualified for these positions, and so I remember sitting on my couch. My children at the time were at their dad’s, so I was alone and I was feeling those feels too sobbing.
[00:10:49] So what did I do? I had just resigned. I felt great last week when I submitted my letter and.
[00:10:55] Roxanne Merket: Riding that high. Right. And then the crash
[00:10:58] Jen Rafferty: What did I do? What did I do to my children? What did I do? And, um, I remember I called up my, one of my best friends and, um, she talked, she talked me through that. And, you know, I was in the middle of doing a lot of this mindset work. And truly, that was the stuff that allowed me to navigate through it and trust, have a, have so much self trusts.
[00:11:22] If I’m not betting on myself, then who else is?
[00:11:26] Roxanne Merket: Yes.
[00:11:27] Jen Rafferty: you know, and I believed so much in this vision that I had. I, I first of all had to kind of figure that out, right? And, and, um, if I’m not going to bet on me, who else is gonna bet on
[00:11:39] Roxanne Merket: Mm.
[00:11:39] Jen Rafferty: And once that decision was made, then the path became clearer.
[00:11:45] Roxanne Merket: Yeah. Yeah. Hmm. That’s so powerful. And I feel like too, you know, you, you mentioned that having almost that like breakdown in that first class that you took, right. Of having that, what do you want? Right. I feel like you just described both pieces of this, of like that realization that you, you weren’t listening to.
[00:12:05] You at your deepest core and then making a decision as to what that was going to look like. I feel like that’s so powerful. Uh, I wonder if you, if I could like pick your brain as it were. Right. Um, because we talk a lot about mindset w work in the coaching community. Right. I talk about it with my clients.
[00:12:23] I know you talk about it with yours. We’ve already talked about it a lot, but I feel like mindset work, like the phrase mindset work kind of gets thrown around a little bit, almost like it’s almost buzzwordy at this point in the game. And so I would love for you to describe, um, maybe like what does that look like?
[00:12:39] And, and I know there’s so much, there’s so much that goes into mindset work, but like if you could. Describe it to someone who’s like, okay, but like, what is it really? What would you say? How would you, how would you answer that question?
[00:12:53] Jen Rafferty: So I look at it through the lens of neuroscience because it’s fascinating to me. I, I, you know, we can’t, the biggest tool that we have exists between our ears yet, we have no formal training in how that works.
[00:13:06] Roxanne Merket: Hmm.
[00:13:08] Jen Rafferty: And so up until recently I just thought that I had a brain and like I have an elbow and two feet.
[00:13:16] Right. You know? And yeah, I could like do some cool things, you know, but that was just like part of how this, you know, meat suit operates
[00:13:25] Roxanne Merket: Yes, yes. , yes.
[00:13:26] Jen Rafferty: Um, but I, I didn’t understand that I could direct my brain because I am not my brain. I’m a person who has a brain, so just like I can like wave hello to somebody or kick a ball.
[00:13:39] Once I understood how my brain worked, I can actually be in the driver’s seat instead of my brain. So mindset work to me is understanding how your brain works in regards to its neurobiology and how really it, it tries to keep you safe. Its job. And so the reason why we ca we have such a difficult time getting out of our comfort zone is because of that biology.
[00:14:09] And so understanding what’s happening physiologically and neurologically, you can actually remove yourself from it, from the situation, from the feeling, from the emotion. and look at it objectively. So you, as the person who has the brain, can make decisions instead of just going on autopilot. Now, there’s a second piece to this too, and this is not the elevator pitch.
[00:14:33] This is like
[00:14:34] Roxanne Merket: Yeah, but it’s okay if it is, but
[00:14:36] Jen Rafferty: But yeah. Well this is the elevator pitch that’s like up to, you know, the, um, Empire State Building. If I’m talking to someone about what, what is mindset? But the second part of this is also somatic work, which is I think where a lot of mindset work. Work falls short is that we also have a body, and unless we’re bringing our body along, it doesn’t matter how many positive affirmations you tell yourself or you know, change your thoughts, it’s not actually going to work unless you understand that you need to incorporate and integrate practices to bring your nervous system and your body along for the ride for sustainable change.
[00:15:12] Roxanne Merket: Mm, yes. I love that you pulled that piece of it in too, because we so often don’t talk about that piece, and it really is that supportive. I mean, it, it is. One whole system, right? Like we, we are functioning in one whole system. It’s so interesting. Um, I was, I was working with a personal trainer and she mentioned that.
[00:15:29] if you’re going to try to correct posture, right? So if you’re gonna try to stand up a little bit straighter, we think mentally we’ve gotta work on our back muscles, which is true, yes, to a certain extent, but we forget that we also have to work on our chest muscles because those expand. Right? And that’s gonna be helpful with posture.
[00:15:44] And I feel like that’s exactly what you just described here, right? Is yes, it is going to take a lot of this. Recognizing you’ve gotta act versus react. You know? And, and, and that you can be, I love how you said in the driver’s seat of your brain. But that there is this somatic piece as well that, that’s so important.
[00:15:59] So thank you for, for indulging me a little bit there with that , with that question. I love it so much. So, okay, so in all of this, you taught for 15 years, you went through this huge identity change, life change, all in the middle of a global pandemic because why not? Right? What does success look like to you now maybe versus what it used to look like?
[00:16:19] What is it, what, where is that vision of success now?
[00:16:24] What does success look like?
[00:16:24] Jen Rafferty: Oh, I love this question. It’s so juicy. So, As a , as a perpetual student. Right. I mean, I have been going to school every September.
[00:16:39] Roxanne Merket: Yes.
[00:16:40] Jen Rafferty: I was four years
[00:16:41] Roxanne Merket: forever. Yeah. Yep.
[00:16:43] Jen Rafferty: until very recently when I decided to leave the classroom. You know, I, I would have told you back then that success was, you know, how many A’s I got.
[00:16:57] Roxanne Merket: Hmm.
[00:16:57] Jen Rafferty: You know, how many accolades I received, how many good job Jens, I, I got, you know, especially as a performer, a lot of times, I mean, outside of the academic space where we’re taught, you know, you need to get a certain amount of, as, you need to get this grade, you need to get this ribbon and you know, this and pat’s on the back and this and that.
[00:17:18] But, and then on top of it being a performer, um, you know, , even my ability to stay in my college curriculum. My course, I had to re-audition every year
[00:17:31] Roxanne Merket: Yeah.
[00:17:32] Jen Rafferty: for a panel of professors who would tell me whether or not I was good enough to stay in the program. And so the way that I defined success was very much external because I needed validation to know that I.
[00:17:48] Okay. Not just okay, but like better than okay and probably like better than the next person. That was also very important to
[00:17:54] Roxanne Merket: Mm-hmm.
[00:17:55] Jen Rafferty: Um, it was important to my parents and it was important to the other people around. Cause I could say, Hey look, look what I did. See the thing, I got the thing. You know? Now it’s, it is a complete it.
[00:18:09] It had to have changed cause none of the metrics were relevant anymore. There were no metrics when, you know, we were all in a pandemic. Ha, we, we totally. , just even out the playing fields for everybody at that time. So the things that we thought were important all of a sudden weren’t. And I think the challenge is now that things are kind of going back to the way they know they’re not the same, but they’re going back to the way that we’re not in isolation like we were.
[00:18:40] right? What’s happening is we’re placing those same metrics again, and they’re not wor, they’re not working for me. Success, and this is what I, I teach as well, is feeling the way that I wanna feel for as many hours as of the day as possible, and I make choices throughout my day. To align with that as much as I can, and that takes an incredible amount of personal responsibility and self-awareness.
[00:19:12] So again, I’m in the driver’s seat, so when I go to bed at night, I know that whatever I did, it’s enough.
[00:19:20] Roxanne Merket: Mm-hmm.
[00:19:20] Jen Rafferty: I was present with my kids, I was present with my clients. I was present when I was eating my sandwich.
[00:19:29] Roxanne Merket: Mm-hmm.
[00:19:30] Jen Rafferty: And, um, it’s all okay and I can sleep well. You know, it’s, it’s not about the number in my bank account, it’s not about the number of contracts I have, it’s about how I feel, and that is radically different than it was before.
[00:19:44] Roxanne Merket: That is one of the most succinct and fascinating answers I’ve heard to this question, and I’ve asked a lot of people this question, right? I’ve interviewed a lot of people for the podcast. It’s a fun question, you know, it’s a fun party question, whatever, but to, to. to really drill it down. That specific, to feel the way you wanna feel for as many hours of the day as possible is like, like, you’ve blown my mind with this one.
[00:20:11] You have just, you’ve blown my mind with this one because it’s like, well, could it be that simple? Could it be that simple?
[00:20:18] Jen Rafferty: it can be.
[00:20:19] Roxanne Merket: Mm-hmm.
[00:20:20] Jen Rafferty: Is it easy?
[00:20:22] Roxanne Merket: no.
[00:20:22] Jen Rafferty: No.
[00:20:24] Roxanne Merket: no.
[00:20:24] Jen Rafferty: but, but you know, that’s where, that’s where the, the personal responsibility comes in because I, I am the only person responsible for how I show up. So, you know, when my kids are acting out, you know, I have a choice. You know, when I, the, the contract falls through, I have a choice, you know, when it’s raining outside and I really just couldn’t wait to go for a walk.
[00:20:46] And it’s been raining for seven days in a row and I can’t get outside. I have a choice, you know? You know what
[00:20:52] Roxanne Merket: You just described my summer, Jen
[00:20:55] Jen Rafferty: I see? I see you.
[00:20:56] Roxanne Merket: Yes.
[00:20:57] Jen Rafferty: Uh, and, and that is, it’s, it’s empowering
[00:21:01] Roxanne Merket: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
[00:21:04] Jen Rafferty: and no one can take that away from me. That’s.
[00:21:05] Roxanne Merket: Yeah. Yeah. Oh, it’s so fun to hear you say that. It’s, it’s especially fun to me as a complete sidebar. I grew up around the, the performing world, right? So my dad owns a recording studio and that’s the world that I grew up in. And so all my siblings involved in musical theater, we were all performers, all musicians.
[00:21:24] So I get this right, like you’re speaking to me on like my core, like my inner most child level , you know, of uh, because we do, we look for so much validation, so much validation. and we all do it. We all do it. And so it’s so, oh, I love this. I love this so much. Okay, Jen, we gotta shift a little bit and talk about parenting during all of this, right?
[00:21:47] Because that adds a fun layer, you know, so, okay, so we’re gonna remind everybody. We’re gonna set the stage so the, the weekend the world, shut down you and your five-year old and seven year old restarting life , and this is like, as you described, your story that feels like this huge pivot point, like as you kind of described it, we had all the buildup and then that was the weekend and then everything changed. So how has being a parent during all of this changed you?
[00:22:24] Jen Rafferty: Hmm. So I don’t know that being a parent during, I don’t know that I can answer that question because I am that way. Because I am, I am in it, but I, but I can’t answer it. How has it changed my kids?
[00:22:41] Roxanne Merket: Ooh. Okay.
[00:22:42] Jen Rafferty: because how has it changed me? I don’t, I don’t know that I can be objective enough to see what the change is.
[00:22:50] I know that when I, when I first made that transition, I did a, I, I tried, well, okay, here, I, I’m thinking about going back, going back to that.
[00:23:07] Roxanne Merket: Yeah,
[00:23:08] Jen Rafferty: I wanna be as succinct as possible. So feel, feel free to cut any
[00:23:10] Roxanne Merket: you’re good. I, this is where the juicy stuff comes though,
[00:23:15] Jen Rafferty: Yeah. It’s, it’s this, it’s, this is a really great question. You know, I remember trying to make the transition as easy as possible for my kids.
[00:23:28] Roxanne Merket: Mm-hmm.
[00:23:29] Jen Rafferty: but what happened was, because the divorce, the moving, the pandemic happened the same time. They were process, well, we were all processing everything at the same time.
[00:23:45] Roxanne Merket: Mm-hmm.
[00:23:46] Jen Rafferty: So someone asked me recently too, you know, how Jen, how did your kids handle the divorce? Like, were they, were they, did they go through some stuff? And my answer to that question, I don’t think so. . Cause they were transitioning to all of this at the same time. And we all were, you know, I was frightened too.
[00:24:09] I was scared too. I was alone too. I was. And they didn’t have the, well, you know, I have to go to school now and all of a sudden mom’s not home and now I’m going to dad’s house and I’m going, nothing. We just, were home together. The three of us for 18 months
[00:24:24] Roxanne Merket: Yeah.
[00:24:26] Jen Rafferty: in my house.
[00:24:27] Roxanne Merket: Remember when we thought it was gonna be like two weeks
[00:24:29] Jen Rafferty: Right. Yeah. So, you know, so they saw me go through a transition.
[00:24:37] They saw me transition from being a, an overly stressed, pressurized, um, controlling, cuz I just trying to keep everything and all in every, everything’s safe, you know, um, unhappy person to. The grieving process of, you know, figuring all of this out and, you know, when we are together for that long, there isn’t, there isn’t, uh, you know, I’m gonna be upstairs for a little while while you’re downstairs and I’m crying my eyes out upstairs.
[00:25:06] We are all in the same space. Like they know, they see, you
[00:25:09] Roxanne Merket: They’re gonna see the messy.
[00:25:10] Jen Rafferty: Oh yeah, they see all of it. You know, maybe I’d, I’d get in my closet and they’d have 20 minutes of, of cry time, but my daughter would find me
[00:25:18] Roxanne Merket: Yeah. always right.
[00:25:19] Jen Rafferty: always. Yeah. But I got to a point where I was like, but it’s, I, it’s okay. I think. Right?
[00:25:24] Isn’t this okay that they can see me having these emotions? And when I got comfortable with that, while at the same time doing all of this work with emotional intelligence, with neuroscience, with mindset, I was able to create a language with them where feelings were, okay, so you’re mad about something great, like, let’s you know, let’s duke it out.
[00:25:44] Let’s you know, here’s a punching bag. Here’s, you know, go scream in your pillow. And we develop these really good ways to manage our emotions.
[00:25:53] Roxanne Merket: Mm.
[00:25:55] Jen Rafferty: They’ve seen me now grow a business, um, and. My daughter said to me at one point, you know, mom, I think your next, your next book should be about how to live your best life.
[00:26:06] Roxanne Merket: Ooh. Yes.
[00:26:08] Jen Rafferty: think to myself, you know, girl, yes. I think maybe it’ll be, and, but you know, she, she sees me and so, you know, they have. Seen me in a new way. They’ve seen me, um, blossom into someone authentic. You know, part of my journey too is, you know, I, I met a woman and fell in love with a woman and, you know, I am now, that’s also now my journey.
[00:26:34] And you know, having them see me just be me has been tremendous for them to, um, figure out themselves.
[00:26:46] Roxanne Merket: Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Well, and it’s interesting too, you know, you talk about that class that you were in, right with the breakdown and everyone was identifying themselves as a role. It, you’ve done that for your kids too, is you’ve given them a vision of you as more than just your role as a mom. Right?
[00:27:00] Jen Rafferty: Oh, a hundred percent.
[00:27:02] Roxanne Merket: They get to see you as a person, as a, and they, and they get to see you in all these roles as well. You know, as, as someone who is, you know, someone falling in love. They get to see you as someone growing a business. They get to see you in all these roles, but also just being a human and what a gift, what a gift to them.
[00:27:18] Jen Rafferty: Thank you. Yes,
[00:27:20] Roxanne Merket: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:27:21] Jen Rafferty: and you know, for a while I held onto that mom guilt. You know, am I doing enough? Am I damaging them? Was this a mistake? You know, all of it. Um, but again, that’s just knowing what I know. And going back to that mindset piece, right. That’s my brain being like, Hey Jen, we have no evidence of you being an entrepreneur and a mom and doing all these things.
[00:27:42] And surviving. Shut it down. Shut it down. And you know, knowing that that’s, that voice in my head is fear. It’s my biology.
[00:27:52] Roxanne Merket: Mm-hmm.
[00:27:52] Jen Rafferty: I could start to work with it a little bit and, and dance with it and understand. Okay. I’m grateful for you. Thank you. You’ve kept me alive. I’m, I’m here. I’m talking to you today.
[00:28:02] So it’s doing its job. Um, but I don’t Thank you for this one. I got this one. And figuring out how to move forward in that way, you know, that’s, that’s the secret sauce.
[00:28:11] Roxanne Merket: Oh yeah. Ooh, ooh. I love it. So do you still experience guilt ever?
[00:28:18] Jen Rafferty: um, not like I used to. And I recognize it if I, as soon as I feel it. Why? You know, what’s important about the somatic work and understanding your body is where I usually feel guilt is in my stomach and all of a sudden I’ll get this drop and this dip. And so when I feel that, That’s usually the first indicator.
[00:28:36] And I’ll pause and I’ll, I’ll, you know, calm my nervous system down. I’ll take, I’ll take a couple of breaths and, oh, that’s, what’s that about? Okay. And I get really curious about that feeling. Um, and again, once I can be objective about it, I can work my way through it. I, the guilt stays when it, it’s habitual.
[00:28:55] It’s something that, you know, especially mom guilt is, is a tradition
[00:29:00] Roxanne Merket: Yes.
[00:29:01] Jen Rafferty: you know, the way I feel about tradition, it’s it’s peer pressure from dead people. That’s,
[00:29:05] Roxanne Merket: Ooh.
[00:29:06] Jen Rafferty: tradition
[00:29:07] Roxanne Merket: Yes.
[00:29:08] Jen Rafferty: That that’s tradition. And you know, if this isn’t serving you and, and, and in, in. Supporting you to live your best life, then you really need to question whether this is a tradition you wanna keep.
[00:29:22] And guilt is something, especially moms, especially teachers, especially women, like if you fit into all three of those categories or even just one of those categories, right? I mean, we wear our guilt and our martyrdom like a badge of honor, and you know, look at all we’re doing and we talk about it as if this is something that you know, should.
[00:29:43] Honored in some way, but at the end of the day, guilt is a choice. It is a choice, and you can continue to choose guilt or you can decide that it’s not serving you and, and you can set it down and everyone’s gonna be okay.
[00:30:01] Roxanne Merket: Hmm. Mic drops from Jen Wahoo!? Yes. Oh yes. It’s, so, that’s honestly one of my favorite questions to ask people because there are, there are a lot of takes on guilt, right? It’s kind of this hot topic, and so I, oh, I love that take. I love, love, love that take. Jen, what do you wish people knew about being a parent and being an entrepreneur?
[00:30:25] what do you wish people knew about being a parent and being an entrepreneur?
[00:30:25] Roxanne Merket: And we can pull in this teacher aspect of it too, all at the same time. What do you wish people.
[00:30:31] Jen Rafferty: There’s not a right way.
[00:30:33] Roxanne Merket: Mm.
[00:30:34] Jen Rafferty: There’s, there’s no supposed to, there’s no shoulds. And as soon as you start shoulding on yourself, you know, that’s when, that’s when you know that you are living someone else’s expectations. And we’ve all felt that, you know, I, I should be further along. I shouldn’t be reacting like this.
[00:30:50] I shouldn’t, I shouldn’t, I shouldn’t supposed to be blah, blah. No . You know, I think the most important thing is honor yourself where you are. be where your feet are and, and love on yourself so hard because what you’re doing is enough. And, you know, another one of the, the phrases that I keep at my desk all the time is enough is a decision.
[00:31:14] It is not an amount, and you are the only person that gets to decide whether or not it’s enough. , that’s it. And, and that is something that I look at every day because we are, we are so used to just looking over at other people’s lanes and seeing what they’re doing. But if you’re in someone else’s lane, who’s in your lane?
[00:31:34] Roxanne Merket: Mm mm
[00:31:35] Jen Rafferty: lane.
[00:31:37] You’re enough,
[00:31:38] Roxanne Merket: you’re like, drop him like nugget after nugget after nugget after nugget. I’m gonna be, oh man. Woohoo,
[00:31:46] Jen Rafferty: good.
[00:31:46] Roxanne Merket: Jen. I like you. You’re a fun one. Oh, this is, this is fun. Okay, so I wanna ask you a question about the name of the podcast. Right. So the name of the podcast is Reimagining Hustle, and the reason that it’s named that is when I started my entrepreneur journey, I was not a parent and I very much bought into the like, Bro.
[00:32:06] Marketing, hustle, culture. Like it felt good to me. Right? That hustle, hustle, hustle. Go, go, go. Like the harder you work, the harder you play, but you’ll never play cuz you’re, oh, he’s been working so hard. Right? That nonsense. Nonsense. And then I had my first child and my whole world stopped and I realized what I was doing was not sustainable.
[00:32:24] And so I’ve been on this quest to reimagine what hustle can look like since then. And so I would like to know, how do you, in your realm, reimagine hustle?
[00:32:34] Reimagined Hustle
[00:32:34] Jen Rafferty: That is not even a word that I use ever anymore, and it was, especially as a musician, right? Uh, you know, I, I did know that about you cuz I, I did some research
[00:32:44] Roxanne Merket: Yeah, that’s right. That’s right.
[00:32:45] Jen Rafferty: You’re a studio musician. What do you, what do you play, by the way?
[00:32:48] Roxanne Merket: a violinist.
[00:32:49] Jen Rafferty: Oh, fantastic. So, you know, um, , someone said this to me a, a while ago, and I always think about this.
[00:32:59] I guess if I were to describe Hustle, it would be like this. The more walks you take, the more money you.
[00:33:05] Roxanne Merket: Mm.
[00:33:06] Jen Rafferty: your time for yourself, because the more spacious you feel, the easier it is going to be to sit down and do the thing. We can’t be creative and problem solve when we’re feeling activated. Again, going back to biology, I can’t talk about anything without talking about brains
[00:33:21] Roxanne Merket: I am here for it. This is like, I’m, I’m so fascinated by it. Don’t stop. Keep telling us
[00:33:26] Jen Rafferty: If you are activated and you are sitting in. Fear response, which comes anytime you’re feeling stress, you don’t have access to the part of your brain that you need to organize, prioritize, be creative, and problem solve. So you’re staring at your computer, pushing your mouse around a little bit, trying to look like you’re being productive, spending 10, 13, 15 hours of your day just trying to get shit done.
[00:33:54] But again, if you take a look at what the. My definition is of success. How does that align it? It doesn’t. And so I guess, you know, hustle to me is really about alignment. You know, alignment to who you want to be, the vision of your future self and how you wanna feel. And if you can do that and swing that, I think you’ve got it made.
[00:34:22] Roxanne Merket: Hmm. That’s a great take. That’s a great take. Woo hoo. This is so fun. Okay, we want, we need to learn where we can find you online. But before we do that, will you please give us a 30 second pep talk for other parents on this entrepreneur journey? If you wanna gear it towards teachers, that’s fine. Whatever feels right to you in this moment.
[00:34:44] Right? So we’ll be where your feet are right now. Will you give us a pep talk right.
[00:34:48] Jen Rafferty: Sure. Well, if you are in a state where you are feeling. Just constant overwhelm and frustration and stress and burnout. It is not a sustainable way for you to live your life, and it’s okay, and it’s not your fault because this is how we were raised, because this is how our parents were raised and how their parents were raised.
[00:35:12] But we know better now, which means we can do better. So what you can do for your. I’m gonna rephrase this. The most generous thing you can do for the people in your life is take care of yourself. Because when you win, everybody around you wins. When you prioritize your own wellbeing. You can show up for your family, you can show up for your partner, you can show up for your clients and for all of the people that you that need you in this world.
[00:35:43] And so you can have that impact that you really wanted to make. It has to come from a place of self-regulation, which means you need to be the number one priority and drop the guilt because that is capital T truth. You get to be your number one priority.
[00:36:00] Roxanne Merket: Hmm. I don’t have enough mics for you to drop today. Jen. Thank you. I, my goodness, like what a gift you’ve given to me
[00:36:11] Jen Rafferty: Aw.
[00:36:11] Roxanne Merket: Well, thank you. I really appreciate it. We need more of you. Tell us where we can find you online.
[00:36:16] Jen Rafferty: So the easiest place is my website, empowered educator.com. And if you go to the resources page, there’s a bunch of free resources on there about, you know, how to get to this space where you’re dropping guilt and feeling great all day and, and navigating through some of the stress that you might feel.
[00:36:32] And then the other place is my Facebook group actually, which is Empowered Educator Faculty Room, and that’s a place where you can get a lot of content from me. I go on there, live quite frequently, and it’s a really great community of other people who are doing this work actively to just show up as their best selves.
[00:36:48] Roxanne Merket: Amazing, and we’ll make sure that we link everything in the show notes. Jen, thank you for the gift of your time today, the gift of your wisdom, and your education, and your experience and your story. Thank you for sharing all of that with me and with us today. So thank you. Thank you. Thank you for your time.
[00:37:02] Jen Rafferty: My pleasure. It was great to be here.
[00:37:05] Roxanne Merket: Thanks for listening to Reimagining Hustle with Roxanne Merket. If you like the show and want more, check out reimagininghustle.com and please leave a review wherever you get your podcasts. We’ll be back next week with another episode. See you soon.