ToxawayLoopReflection

A time of transition – letting who I am determine where I go

I am leaving my job at Intuit and for the next six months, I will be embracing a new kind of journey—an open-ended period of transition leading me into the next half of my life. While I don’t know exactly where these months will take me, I know the journey will be significant. And I know this time is essential to my living with the bold intentionality my spirit craves. 

The single most powerful piece of advice I have been given (and often extend to others today) is to live intentionally. For me, this has meant centering my life around my core values—specifically, shaping my leadership style and approaching my daily decision-making with the sole purpose of influencing the lives of others, for the better. Discovering and beginning to live out these values was an incredible gift in my life. (If you’d like to read more on that earlier journey, I’ve shared some of it here.) But eventually, something felt off. 

At first, I didn’t know why. There I was, leading and living intentionally. Or so I thought.

Then, a few months ago, it happened. A Jerry McGuire moment. It didn’t come completely out of nowhere; since things hadn’t felt quite right, I’d been spending some time reflecting. But all of a sudden, everything hit me at full force, and I was left with panic, nervous laughter and a feeling that I just couldn’t shake—that I was a fraud. Okay, fraud may be a bit harsh. I certainly don’t want to trivialize the path of intense personal and professional growth I’ve traveled. But it was in this moment that I realized I wasn’t living fully into my commitment to intentionality. 

To date, my growth journey has mostly focused on my how; how I could work within the worlds I inhabited to influence the lives of others through a commitment to my own set of personal core values. But I’ve never stopped to consider my what; the specifics of what I do professionally, and whether that was where I needed to be. You see, I’ve always worked hard going from one thing to the next. It’s not uncommon for my friends, family or colleagues to point out my natural tendency to be a workaholic. I give my all. I always have. Yet in this continual push forward, I’ve never stopped to explore what next should mean for me. 

Now’s the time to channel my drive in a new way.

Your how is the secret to effective leadership, mentorship and coaching. It is the key to motivating others to do their best work. And so often, many underestimate the power of leadership through vulnerability, transparency and real human care. If you want to impact the world through leadership, start here.

Jennifer hetherington

I have an insatiable desire to be first, to be greater than average, to be the best. I am a force—accomplishing what I set out to do. I’ve always used this capacity to charge further ahead an established path. And now, here I am staring into the eyes of what I will do next, with the opportunity to create my own path and point my voracious drive in a specific direction. It’s both scary and powerful. As I charge into unfamiliar territory, I also could not be more excited. 

It’s important to call out that my professional life has been full of hard work, self-improvement, passion to win and commitment to delivering excellence. I am happy with my success. And I’m grateful for my fair share of lucky breaks and people who were willing to take a chance on me. Ultimately, at the end of the day, I look back on the first half of my journey with a heartfelt smile. I wouldn’t change much, if anything at all. 

But now, it’s my Halftime. The journey ahead of me will be one of self-reflection, discovery, connection, exploration and giving back. My goal is to emerge with a vision of the second half of my life; to be in the driver’s seat of what I will do next and ultimately, define my legacy. My hope is this journey leads me to living even more intentionally and fully than I do today. 

In this time, I’m drawn to…

Disconnect. I’ve always wondered what silence would feel like in my life. A break from all the hustle; a respite for the soul. For the first few weeks of my mid-career break, I plan to disconnect. You will not find me on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram or any of the other social media platforms. In an effort to keep the noise to a minimum, I am planning to commit to nothing and to only invite those events into my life that I am most passionate about—time with nature (hikes, runs and long drives through the mountains), quality family time, date nights with my hubby, and cuddles with my fur babies, Walker and Marshmallow. 

Reflect. My hope is that a short period of disconnection will act as a solid foundation for a period of self-reflection and introspection. It’s rare that people intentionally create space to ruminate on life, the decisions we’ve made, the motivation behind those decisions and the lessons we’ve learned along the way. But whenever I’ve done this, it’s been incredibly valuable. Through meditation, prayer and writing, I will explore some of these questions: What are my gifts? What lessons have I learned that I most cherish? What challenges have I overcome that can help others? What brings me joy? What and who am I most grateful for? What do I love but have not made space for in my life? 

Give Back. In the early days of my professional career, giving back was directly correlated to how satisfied I felt with life. From working with The Idaho Foodbank to the Idaho Governor’s Council for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (IGCAPP) to Capital City Communicators where I sat on the board, I was always involved; I was always looking for an opportunity to help others. Along the way, I lost my commitment to giving back and I’m ready to rediscover what it means for me and how this connects to the organizations that speak loudest to my heart—like the Ronald McDonald House. I’ll never forget how much they helped Mac and me during the most challenging time in our life together

Travel & Explore. Between now and September, my journey will open the doors to seeing a bit more of the world. A romantic getaway with my husband to Portugal and a trip of a lifetime with my parents through Southern Ireland. These will offer a chance for adventure and new memories to fill our hearts.

Learn Something New. Four years of Spanish, two years of Latin, a year of Russian, and still today I cannot make the claim that I can speak another language. There is no better time to start. In fact, I’d love to learn some Portuguese in preparation for my trip to Portugal. Vamos fazer isso. In addition to learning a language, my friend and success coach, Stacy Ennis, has sparked in me the desire to write a book and share my leadership journey. So, during the next six months, I’ll also be learning from her what it takes to get started. Perhaps I can even get a solid start on an outline. But first, I’ll be immersing myself in the wisdom of Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown. Feels fitting.

Reconnect. I wouldn’t be where I’m at today without others, many who seem to have been serendipitously placed in my life at just the right moments. There are so many people that have played pivotal roles in my life; I’d love to reconnect with some of them and thank them for their love and support through the years. I will also be spending time nurturing relationships I value deeply but have neglected as I got so busy. It’s time to remember what it means to nurture those connections that are most important to me.

The journey ahead of me will kick off with a weekend away with my rock, my friend and the love of my life, Mac Hetherington. In business, it is not uncommon to spend days off-site planning for the year ahead, deciding where to focus and what to commit to. We’re going to do this in our personal lives. Just the two of us tackling the hard conversations and discovering our North Stars together.

My rock, my friend and the love of my life, Mac Hetherington.

I do not know what’s next for me—anything is possible. From starting a company to joining a new startup to stepping into a new role as CEO, the world is at my fingertips. As I move through this adventure, I invite you to learn more about me and stay connected

Here’s to living intentionally, to defining my second half and pausing just long enough to let who I am determine where I go next. Here’s to the end… and the beginning.

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