Culture 06 April 2018
A conversation with filmmaker Tricia Brouk and thought-leader Jenn Lederer on the eve of the premiere of their documentary about women empowering other women to accomplish their dreams.
Jenn (left) and Tricia (right) say they aren’t sure what’s possible and sometimes, if they give it over, then the “what’s possible” becomes possible.
Photo Courtesy of Grace Loretta
Tricia: Talk to me about that moment that you agreed to let me shoot a doc about you.
Jenn: The moment ... It's funny. The moment I agreed for you to shoot a doc happened once I walked out of the bar. After we had spent the time together, and I really learned what it felt like to be held by you, to be inside of your space, even though it was super casual, and we were at a bar, and it was like two girlfriends hanging out, talking about a possibility. I really felt your leadership. When I left the bar and started walking back to the subway, I felt so much excitement and so much fear. I knew that if I was going to do this, I would need to hand the reins over to you.
Tricia: And what gave you permission to even consider doing that?
Jenn: Well, I think the fact that you and I had collaborated in little, kind of bite-sized collaborations, up to that point. I had seen you in motion but, what really allowed me to trust you was that feeling I had when we were sitting there together and I said, "This woman gets it." Beyond me, there was already a sense of, "I think there's something bigger here that maybe she is tuned into and I'm not." But, it's almost like I relinquished it over from myself, and I don't know if it was even given to you. It was just given up from me, which felt really good to finally be in a space where someone, without saying it, told me, "You know, you can put this down. You could not carry this on your own. What might that feel like?"
Tricia: Do you think it's important, as entrepreneurs, as leaders, as women who are generally in charge of everything, do you think it's important to acknowledge that sometimes it's important to give over, or to let go, or to put it down and let somebody else carry it?
Jenn: It is non-negotiable. We aren't the be all end all of what we can create in this world because no matter how big our thoughts are, no matter how big my vision is, I don't have access to what is truly possible.
The only way I get access to what is truly possible is when I admit I can't do this alone.
Tricia: Let me take you back to September 26. You sent me an email, and this is when you wanted to share a song that inspired you that day, “The Weight of it All” by Kaleigh Baker, a song we ended up using in Just Enough. And your email says, "It came blaring through my speakers as I was writing my morning pages and exploring what's possible."
We aren't sure what's possible and sometimes, if we give it over, then the “what's possible” becomes possible.
Jenn: And it becomes a collaboration with that intangible source that we all come in contact with from time to time, and sometimes we say, "Oh that was a coincidence. Oh, that was a one-time thing. Oh, that's not really who I am. That's not the norm." But the truth is, every time I give up my control and get curious about that question, what is possible here?, I'm blown away. Sometimes, being blown away, starts with stripping away. That's when it gets really scary because, in order for the new, big, and huge possibilities to come in, somethings got to give. That's where you, Tricia, and your safety, and how much I trusted you, helped me to let go.
Tricia: Yeah. It's difficult to acknowledge all the different ways of being. I think that when you can become comfortable with all the versions of yourself, and trust that that makes you up as a whole, then I think you can drop in and ground into the who you are, and into the what's possible.
Let’s jump ahead a little bit to September 30th.
You had a lot of fear around the project and you were trying to talk yourself out of it while talking yourself into it. So, what was it for you Jenn, that turned from excitement into panic and fear, and almost paralysis?
Jenn: The thing that brought me to the excitement is the same exact thing that brought me to the paralysis, which is the “What is possible?”, question. The truth is when I let, my imagination grab hold of something that isn't complete yet, I'm really good at bracing myself for the worst case scenario. We'll get only so close to what you want. Then, it will implode
Every cell of my body was saying “Yes! Do this!” but, my mind, the proof of past experiences, started to poison all of the excitement of the possibility and flipped it on it’s ear, and said, "But, look at all this stuff that could happen.
Look at how people might judge you. Look at how the story might be told differently than what you want. Look at how ... What are you going to look like on camera, Jenn? Are you in shape the way you want to be? What's your skin going to be like that week? All of the things that started to convince me, "Maybe not right now. You know what? Maybe we should just keep talking about this and really hammer it out." And, that is normally when I back out of big, exciting projects like this one.
Tricia: So, what changed your mind?
Jenn: When I sat with it I couldn't deny the truth. I've gotten very good at filtering through my fears and finding the nugget of truth. The truth was, it was time. The truth was, all of the other fears and, misconceptions, and past experiences were the lies. So, in that response to you when I declared “Yes!”, it was not so much me declaring yes to the project, as it was me declaring yes to a new way of moving toward my dream. Where the fears and the old way, the old way of thinking was no longer going to be mine.
"The truth was, it was time. The truth was, all of the other fears and, misconceptions, and past experiences were the lies." Photo Courtesy of Grace Loretta
"When you get clear about the bigger why, and it’s the exact sensation I talked about when I realized it was a yes for you and I, of tapping into this is bigger than me." Photo Courtesy of Grace Loretta
Tricia: How do we own our power and walk through the world fully lit up?
Jenn: Yeah. Well, the first step is always permission and curiosity. Permission to admit that you do have power, permission to know that it's already inside of you. Then, get comfortable with the practice of seeking people, places, and experiences that mirror that permission back to you. Where you walk in and they say, "We see you. We see your power. You are powerful and, come in here and practice being that power."
Tricia: I think also when you understand that you've got power and intelligence and success, and strength, and all these things that many people, many women, are afraid to own, it's also important to own mistakes, fuck-ups, things that aren't going perfectly. It's about not worrying whether somebody is going to judge you, not worrying about whether or not you're going to fail. Because yes, everyone else in the world is going to judge you. I say this all the time, stop judging yourself, let everybody else do it.
"It’s difficult to acknowledge all the different ways of being. I think that when you can become comfortable with all the versions of yourself, and trust that that makes you up as a whole, then I think you can drop in and ground into the who you are, and into the what’s possible." Photo Courtesy of John DeMato
Jenn: When you get clear about the bigger why, and it's the exact sensation I talked about when I realized it was a yes for you and I, of tapping into this is bigger than me. This message chose my voice, my timing, my experience, to come through.
So, if we can realize that it's not as personal as our ego wants to make it out to be, that can give you permission to relax and trust. Knowing that bigger purpose and knowing that you are a part of something bigger takes the pressure off of your shoulders and you're no longer proving it. You are a part of it.
Tricia: What do you think being just enough has to do with transformation?
Jenn: It has everything to do with transformation because being just enough is, to me, knowing that there is no finish line. You never actually get there. You never actually get to the point where you say, "Aha! I've done it. I have no more transformation to be had. No more lessons to learn." As long as I am on this earth, the concept of being just enough means that, in the same breath, I can be a hot mess and the world's biggest inspiration.
Tricia: I feel like we are in the business of helping other people transform. If Just Enough, the doc, can give people the permission the integrate, then we've done our job.
Jenn: Yeah. And from what I've seen, that's what it's doing.
It is one thing to read and another thing to understand what you are reading. Not only do you want to understand, but also remember what you've read. Otherwise, we can safely say that if we're not gaining anything from what we read, then it's a big waste of time.
Whatever you read, there are ways to do so in a more effective manner to help you understand better. Whether you are reading by choice, for an upcoming test, or work-related material, here are a few ways to help you improve your reading skills and retain that information.
Read with a Purpose
Never has there been a shortage of great books. So, someone recommended a great cookbook for you. You start going through it, but your mind is wandering. This doesn't mean the cookbook was an awful recommendation, but it does mean it doesn't suit nor fulfill your current needs or curiosity.
Maybe your purpose is more about launching a business. Maybe you're a busy mom and can't keep office hours, but there's something you can do from home to help bring in more money, so you want information about that. At that point, you won't benefit from a cookbook, but you could gain a lot of insight and find details here on how-to books about working from home. During this unprecedented year, millions have had to make the transition to work from home, and millions more are deciding to do that. Either way, it's not a transition that comes automatically or easily, but reading about it will inform you about what working from home entails.
When you pre-read it primes your brain when it's time to go over the full text. We pre-read by going over the subheadings, for instance, the table of contents, and skimming through some pages. This is especially useful when you have formal types of academic books. Pre-reading is a sort of warm-up exercise for your brain. It prepares your brain for the rest of the information that will come about and allows your brain to be better able to pick the most essential pieces of information you need from your chosen text.
Highlighting essential sentences or paragraphs is extremely helpful for retaining information. The problem, however, with highlighting is that we wind up highlighting way too much. This happens because we tend to highlight before we begin to understand. Before your pages become a neon of colored highlights, make sure that you only highlight what is essential to improve your understanding and not highlight the whole page.
You might think there have been no new ways to read, but even the ancient skill of reading comes up with innovative ways; enter speed reading. The standard slow process shouldn't affect your understanding, but it does kill your enthusiasm. The average adult goes through around 200 to 250 words per minute. A college student can read around 450 words, while a professor averages about 650 words per minute, to mention a few examples. The average speed reader can manage 1,500 words; quite a difference! Of course, the argument arises between quality and quantity. For avid readers, they want both quantity and quality, which leads us to the next point.
Life is too short to expect to gain knowledge from just one type of genre. Some basic outcomes of reading are to expand your mind, perceive situations and events differently, expose yourself to other viewpoints, and more. If you only stick to one author and one type of material, you are missing out on a great opportunity to learn new things.
Having said that, if there's a book you are simply not enjoying, remember that life is also too short to continue reading it. Simply, close it, put it away and maybe give it another go later on, or give it away. There is no shame or guilt in not liking a book; even if it's from a favorite author. It's pretty much clear that you won't gain anything from a book that you don't even enjoy, let alone expect to learn something from it.
If you're able to summarize what you have read, then you have understood. When you summarize, you are bringing up all the major points that enhance your understanding. You can easily do so chapter by chapter.
Take a good look at your life and what's going on in it. Accordingly, you'll choose the material that is much more suitable for your situation and circumstances. When you read a piece of information that you find beneficial, look for a way to apply it to your life. Knowledge for the sake of knowledge isn't all that beneficial. But the application of knowledge from a helpful book is what will help you and make your life more interesting and more meaningful.