Jenn T. Grace and Jennifer Brown and excited to get together, both as LGBTQ+ business owners, and as leaders of remote teams for many years.
During this time of upheaval and disruption, many folx are finding themselves in virtual work situations, and we wanted to share what’s worked best for us and our teams over the years, as well as hear (and ultimately share, in a post-event write-up) your solutions, and brainstorm together.
Inclusiveness is more important than ever, and yet there is a risk because of a crisis to sideline it, as a lesser priority – when it’s what all of us need, and will continue to need, more than ever.
We’ll talk about tech tools we typically use, processes, meeting management, and building relationships in this context where we have in some ways much less visual information to work with, than in physical workplaces, but potential more information, if we pay attention in different ways.
To watch this video replay, visit: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYv7FLvMCZbY5Q6IVEkh2Ug
To learn more about Jenn T. Grace and Publish Your Purpose Press visit www.PublishYourPurposePress.com
To learn more about Jennifer Brown and Jennifer Brown Consulting visit www.JenniferBrownSpeaks.com
Jenn Grace: Hey Jen, how are you?
Jennifer Brown: Hey, Jen Grace, how are you?
Jenn Grace: I am doing well. So I am Jen Grace and you are Jennifer Brown look at us.
Jennifer Brown: The Jenn’s.
Jenn Grace: Yes. Realizing that it’s not clear under our photos who is who, but it is what it is. So here we are about to have a discussion about leading inclusive and virtual teams in this new reality, and new landscape that I think so many people are trying to figure out how to do. So, where would you like to start?
Jennifer Brown: Well, I think we should talk about how long we’ve led virtual teams, you and I respectively. And I also want to full disclosure, say Jen gets credit, the publisher of my first book, so please check her out. And for any aspiring authors that don’t know about Jen’s author process, I would steer you her away immediately. But yes.
Jennifer Brown: But Jenn, I’ve led a virtual team as long as I’ve been in business. I actually have never had physical offices, we have been all over the country in the world, we communicate in every which way, and so I think I have a lot to share, however imperfectly things might have been executed because I don’t have all the answers. But I also would love folks to chat in and let us know your ideas also as Jen and I talk. So, we’re all going to get smarter together as we cope with this and my thoughts and heart goes out to all of us in this time, whether we’re business owners, corporate people, virtual, parents trying to make it work right now, people with job insecurity.
Jennifer Brown: So I just wanted to say that, this is an unprecedented time and yet there are opportunities in this new configuration that we can ensure that teaming is still happening in a way, my personal interest, in a way that’s inclusive, and that we don’t put that to the side right now, which is a danger I think because everything is so urgent. So right now and how are we going to survive, right. So, I would argue, valuing diversity and inclusiveness and what we build to get through this and how we come out of it is more important than ever because this is a time when the most vulnerable among us are extra vulnerable.
Jenn Grace: Yes, I couldn’t agree more. And yesterday I was on video calls pretty much my entire day, which is not uncommon for me because we do lead virtual teams and we manage our businesses virtually. So I’m on video all the time and I found so much hope in the conversations that I was having with a lot of people yesterday. So yes, we’re in just a really crummy time for everybody. And I know even just earlier today I was posting just different, hey, if you contact Amex, you can do this, if you contact this one, you can do this, because I think for many of us, as small business owners, we’re trying to figure out how to save anything that we can right now, but at the same time, we can’t be short sighted on just focusing on how do we save? How do we cut back? How do we do all these things? We also have To be thinking about how we’re leading and how we’re showing up for the people who are around us and who are supporting us as team members.
Jenn Grace: And I think that’s really the crux of the conversation that we want to have today. And also, as you had said, hopefully, we get some questions from other people because obviously, you and I are just riffing here and who knows where this conversation will take us. But there are legitimate questions that people have and just advice, because like you said, you’ve been running a virtual team for as long as you’ve been in business, I can say the same.
Jenn Grace: I started my business back in 2008, technically, and then there’s a lot of different iterations that it took over the years. But I’ve been managing a virtual team for a solid decade at this point, as have you, so I think we’ve learned a lot of tips and tricks along the way because I think there’s a lot of people out there right now that have never worked from home before, why don’t we even just start with that, right. Because just the concept of working from home, I have been working from my house since 2009. So it’s been 11 years since I have been working out of my home, my home office, so at least I have no space kind of dedicated for it. But I remember sitting in my living room right behind me being a TV, and my family sitting on the couch while I was trying to get work done. And I think that for some people, just that whole concept is so foreign of, how can I just sit at my desk and actually be productive right now? So, what are your thoughts around that?
Jennifer Brown: I mean, if you’re lucky enough to have a separate space and you don’t have chaos happening behind you, lucky you. But you can get those big headphones, right, and really work, and tune things out, and focus. I do think it’s an unprecedented time for … strangely, and I have really been thinking about this, is this a time where actually we will be brought closer because there is not that wall anymore that we can maintain in terms of image in a physical workplace, right? I think there’s an image we’re cognizant of that we’d create, right.
Jennifer Brown: But this is the time I think to let each other into each other’s lives and we teach the the iceberg right in the waterline and you see 10% above and 90% below. Can we actually practice vulnerability and greater authenticity with each other? Can we cover less? Can we be more honest about what we need? Can we be, dare I say it, more honest about how we’re doing mental health wise, and how we’re being impacted, and also just not hide our lives from each other anymore? Because that’s what we’ve gotten so good at doing in the workplace, and it’s actually in a weird way so harmful when we don’t bring our full selves to work because then we don’t have an opportunity to really see each other, know each other, and for people that do what I do, to build strategies for what’s really going on for people. If everybody is hiding all the time, there’s no way we can quantify what people’s actual reality is. And so you have this mismatch of resources, and attention, and priorities.
Jennifer Brown: And that’s kind of the gap I’ve been trying to solve anyway before this crisis. I’m thinking, how can we do this with each other? How can we create more safety virtually and trust each other more right now?
Jenn Grace: Do you think that from a safety standpoint or a being you standpoint, obviously, one of the drawbacks of being in a virtual environment is that unless you force yourself to have social interactions with others, there could be days that you go that you don’t physically see another human. That’s other than your spouse, or kids, or something like that. That is a reality for many of us that work from home. But do you think that from an inclusion standpoint, there is an opportunity for people to feel like they are able to be their full selves while they’re working for an employer or contracting for someone in that virtual environment more so than maybe in that confined office space that they might be in?
Jennifer Brown: I mean, I think so. So we’re deprived of some of the visual cues I feel Like, and the water cooler chat, and casual meeting after the meetings stuff, and yet we’re all communicating back channels right with technology. So, often I’ll be on calls and I’ll be having the conversation on the side with someone because we’re trying to figure out how to navigate through a conversation, right. But that can also be interestingly an exclusionary way of using technology too in a virtual realm to have the meeting alongside the meeting, the real decision makers or you’re influencing and you’re not being inclusive.
Jennifer Brown: So I think there’s this interesting opportunity to monitor team dynamics right now. And it’s not just the job of the manager, but I actually think we all have an opportunity to say, invite each other in to make sure points are heard, or responded to, or that somebody is encouraged to contribute. Introverts may hold back because it’s harder maybe in a virtual team environment to raise your hand to say something than in a physical office environment, I’m not sure. So we just have to be way sensitive to our colleagues in a way I think that will be sharpened in this environment where we could be lazy about it in the workplace because we had so many tools at our disposal to understand what’s really going on, and now we’ve been deprived of some, but then we also gain a bunch.
Jennifer Brown: So I’m curious Jenn, what have you appreciated about running an entirely virtual team from a relationship standpoint, productivity standpoint, collaboration, what do you prize about it that you wouldn’t trade?
Jenn Grace: One of the things that I was thinking of as you were talking is that connection point with a virtual team, because I think if you have a meeting in an office space, you were saying the meeting after the meeting where the decision is really being made, which obviously happens often. But I think in virtual environments, what I find to be a really critical thing is really just actually taking the time to get to know the people on your team, and having those moments where you’re just having that water cooler conversation, where you’re getting to learn about their family, or what they’re interested in, or what they’re doing, because I think if we didn’t do that in a virtual environment, we’re really, really isolating people.
Jenn Grace: If you really think about it, especially if someone is coming from an in person environment to a virtual environment, where they’re used to having … even if they’re very surface level conversations with people, at least they’re used to having that base level interaction, even if they’re an introvert. So I think to me, it’s really important to actually get to know the people that are working with you and for you, because if you don’t make that if we as the leader and owner of the company do not make that effort, why would we expect that the employee or contractor would make that effort? You know what I mean?
Jennifer Brown: Yes, very true. I mean, the tone is set at the top.
Jenn Grace: Yes.
Jennifer Brown: And I know you and I don’t like hierarchies and we’re not about that, but tone is set perhaps by the person with authority, I suppose that is who we are. But the blessing and a curse at this time.
Jenn Grace: Yes.
Jennifer Brown: But yes, I agree that … But the colleague-ship of this time too I think the leader can’t do everything as well and I really appreciate hearing how my team members are checking with each other, how we are all leaders, we’re all leading, just like always right, but I think that this will test it. And we may pick up on different things that are going on for each other, the boss can always have the visibility. And also, by the way, what do we say, the emperor has no clothes, there’s a certain level of information that the person technically in charge is never going to really have. I mean, you can try, but there’s all kinds of other undercurrents going on and relationships that are being built, and I personally think that’s so incredible. I love to hear that the people are getting close on my team with each other, that they’re checking in, that they no more maybe personal details that I know.
Jennifer Brown: I don’t want to be greedy and say, I must be a part of everything [crosstalk] it’s not about that. But for me I see it as like building the container and making sure the house has the electricity bills are paid, it’s comfortable and safe to live there, there’s common spaces, whatever. I mean, you can extend the metaphor but I think of it as providing the tools. And I think too some of my team uses technical tools that I don’t really use, they’re all on Slack and I’m not in it. And hopefully they’re not complaining about me.
Jennifer Brown: But can we make sure that everybody has their own favorite tool. I’m a Skype person, but I’m trying to push out of my comfort zone and be able to run my own Zoom meetings, understand the back end of whatever anybody throws at me right now and I think, what a great time to have to fail forward, not figure it out, have it be a mess, work your way through it, still have people value what you’re trying to do and really hold that space for each other to get much braver and be comfortable making mistakes because there’s going to be a lot of them.
Jenn Grace: Yes. And I think communication is a lot of what you’re surfacing around right now, which is so important in finding those right tools that work for you in your team. I know for you Skype is your jam, and anyone who needs to contact you, that’s the way to do it. For me, I really enjoy using Slack because then I can communicate around different threads. And I also think that just thinking about, in a virtual environment, I feel like there’s a lot more communication in general, there’s a lot more emails, there’s more texting, there’s more slacking, Skyping, however you’re doing it, so I think it’s a matter of how are you containing that overwhelm for people who may not be used to that bombardment of information coming at them from every direction because I feel like if I look at my monitors, right now I have three monitors, number one, and-
Jennifer Brown: Of course you do.
Jenn Grace: And there’s things everywhere. Who knows what I’m going to be doing right now, there’s just so many things but I have my I messages, I have Slack open, I have my email, everything is visible and I feel like for someone who’s used to sitting in their environment, at work, at their desk, and they can just get up and walk over to their boss, or walk over to their colleagues say, hey, let me just run something by you quickly, that’s probably … I haven’t had that in a long time. But that that has to be a really big adjustment for people who are just now sitting at their desk in their home, or maybe they don’t even have a desk in their home, they’re sitting at their kitchen table with kids and animals all around them, trying to figure out, how do I actually focus and concentrate with what I have to get done? Because it’s not like the work is changing or … I shouldn’t say that.
Jenn Grace: With some people’s jobs, the work still has to get done. So, how are we doing it in a distraction free environment, which is I think a whole other can of worms which ties into this whole idea that we have to be more communicative with one another, more so now than ever before. Even if I’m leading a virtual team like you and I have been for a decade, I think it’s even more important for people who, fellow business owner, friends of ours who maybe everyone was in an office. And I think at the end of this, businesses might decide, you know what, I actually didn’t need that office space, or they might see, holy shit, this is imploding, I need my office space because that’s the only way everything got done. So I think it can go either way. But it’s stuff that we all have to be thinking about as small business owners.
Jennifer Brown: You make so many good points. I mean, maybe with all the proliferation of tools, maybe to simplify if folks are not used to this, let alone 10 different tools that everybody prefers, you might want to centralize around one tool, one or two, right. And make sure everybody is trained up on it and make sure you have the agreement that we’re all going to communicate here, that’s our commitment. The other thing is ours Jenn, I’m so curious, I know you and I are so comfortable with whenever you get the work done, doesn’t matter, just as long as you get it done, and I think that it’s tricky with people with different hours and different time zones. Time Zones, were always tricky.
Jenn Grace: Yes.
Jennifer Brown: But I think now we have flexible schedules, people are getting on at night, they may need answers, somebody’s not online. So maybe the ground rules investigating that as a new lead virtual team, some folks will need to investigate. I wonder for you, how do you balance people’s hours when they’re parenting, you’re parenting, there’s a school responsible … There’s no school, not right now. But how do you navigate the balance of productivity when people are offline, online, online sometimes, overlapping here? How do we keep a through line in our businesses?
Jenn Grace: I think to me there’s two components to it. It’s number one, it goes back to the leadership and leading at the top. So, if you’re setting the standard for everyone else to say, these are my boundaries, this is generally speaking, when I’m accessible and when I’m available, then your team is likely going to follow suit with that. And I’ll give an example of that in a second. But then I also think the piece of just communicating, right. Of just knowing when people are working, I think those two things alone, while very basic tips, I think can be really important.
Jenn Grace: And I think of my work schedule where I work Sunday evenings usually and I’m all out Mondays and Tuesdays where I am working 10, sometimes 12 even 14 hour days, because on Wednesday, Thursdays, and Fridays, I am done working at 2:30 PM because it’s my time to be a parent. So, I make that very clear to everyone on my team that I am prioritizing my family over my business on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays and I’m done working at 2:30. It’s not to say that I’m not accessible because I’m always accessible.
Jenn Grace: I say, if you need to reach me, contact me on Slack, send me a text if it’s really urgent because I’m not going to go radio silent. But when I lead forward saying, this is how I’m operating, how on earth could I ever say something to someone on my team like, no, you can’t go take that doctor’s appointment during the middle of the day, or no, you have to work from 9:00 to 5:00, it doesn’t make sense. So I think it’s how we’re showing up and telling people, but then also just having a clear path to say, all right, if there’s three people who are responsible for certain tasks, and they need to be coordinating, we as the the person that’s managing all of these people, or in some cases, we’re not managing someone else is doing the managing for us, but we just need to make sure that people are available when they need to be available.
Jenn Grace: So that way there’s not someone never works on Thursdays and that happens to be the day that all of the things have to get done, I think it’s just a conversation of balance. But I also think, thinking about people who are new to this environment that might be really scary to think about … because I can see myself if I have a team that we’re all in an office space and just used to knowing where everyone is and what people are doing, and then all of a sudden, you set them free and now you just are like, I hope the work is getting done.
Jennifer Brown: Totally.
Jenn Grace: That’s going to be a really scary feeling.
Jennifer Brown: There’s so much trust that has to be built. We just instituted, we call them One JBC calls, and we have a weekly, everybody fills out a little dashboard, and we compile it into a deck, and then we come together. In fact, I’m just about to have that meeting after this call. And everybody does a quick report on the week about what’s going on in their function. We did this red, yellow, green thing for a while around how are things progressing? Where do you need help? Where are you running into problems? What resources do you need? Where do you need help and partnership from other team members who maybe have extra bandwidth?
Jennifer Brown: So, this whole thing, it’s weird, it’s an intuitive thing as much as it can’t really be run on a spreadsheet. It’s having a feel for your team, who’s working when, but maybe you want to formalize it more, maybe … and we need to teach each other how we’re going to balance this in our lives. And we need to set those expectations and be clear to say, just like you did, here’s when I’m off the clock, here, here, and here and text me if it’s urgent, and I can pop on and do something for five minutes. But other than that …
Jennifer Brown: So setting those expectations with each other, I mean, it’s funny, it requires, again, the vulnerability of saying, here’s the cadence of my life. What you’re saying is, I’m not going to lie and say I’m busy, it’s child duty, it’s parenting, it’s this. And like I said earlier, it’s such an interesting opportunity to stop hiding so much of our lives from each other and just say, here I am, and all of its glory, here’s what I contend with on a daily basis. I don’t talk about it but … Also leaving room for folks who are struggling, this is a question, how do we sense somebody may be feeling isolated and struggling with positivity, maybe mental health issues that they probably have been hiding? And how do we sense that when we don’t have a lot of information or data?
Jenn Grace: Yes.
Jennifer Brown: And some of us may be super resilient through this. I know also extroverts are connectors, right, so we’re going to get that charge that we need, but I do wonder, how do I make sure … I think one on one check ins for introverts is key. And just gently pinging and checking in making sure. And again, you’ve got to build trust so somebody will tell you if they’re struggling and may need just a mental health day or whatever. So, I guess we all need to be … We’ve got to meet in the middle. Those of us who are trying to make sure everyone’s thriving need some information that may feel really risky to share. And then those of us who are struggling need to feel comfortable that if they leap and share that the net will appear so to speak, that the organization will hold you, and that you’re a valuable member of this team and we can flex, we can adjust.
Jenn Grace: Yes.
Jennifer Brown: Our bandwidths are all up in the air right now, so I think that this is a great opportunity to rebalance work, who does what. And even cross-training, Jen, I was thinking maybe a lot of us entrepreneurs at least are going to be impacted in terms of how many people we have on our team.
Jenn Grace: Yes.
Jennifer Brown: This has already happened for us badly and I’m heartbroken. So the question for me now is key processes like, how many people know how to do that? And if I have half time here and half time here, then do I cross train and there’s a job sharing situation going on, or there’s almost a process sharing thing that I need to set up so that we have coverage? Coverage is going to be the challenge here I think a lot of us and if our corporate teams start to be impacted in terms of size, we thought we were doing more with less before, I mean, that was like the theme, is the theme of working in the modern world and now I think it’s going to really be accelerated.
Jenn Grace: Yes. I feel like you’ve just said so many things.
Jennifer Brown: Sorry.
Jenn Grace: So, we go back to a little bit what you were saying before. I just think leading with empathy, I did a talk about this locally here in Hartford not that long ago, that I feel like having empathy, in general, in business is critical and I think it’s more important now than ever before. I think it’s going to continue to be more important because I think you’re right especially about introverts. If we were talking about this the other day, just on an extrovert scale, I’m probably like a seven on the extrovert scale, and I’m losing my mind and you’re like a 13.
Jenn Grace: So I have empathy for friends who I know are more extroverted than me, but I think it’s a matter of being there and listening, going back to the communicating and learning about your team. I think just knowing who are the more introverted type and what the communication styles are, and allowing them to bring their flaws to the table. So, Lord knows, we know percentage wise, so many people struggle with some sort of mental health situation, so many people have anxiety or depression. And I think that we’re in a world in an environment now, and maybe this isn’t the case with all businesses, but I feel fortunate that at least the business owner friends that I have, are very supportive of employees or contractors who fall into those categories where they might have something that they’re struggling with.
Jenn Grace: And that I think is something that you should be vulnerable about and be able to obviously, there’s especially employee employer relationship, I’m sure there’s some gray area which I’m not an expert on. But just being able to let your person say, listen, I was having a rough day today, do you mind if I do what I was going to do today, I’m going to do it tomorrow instead because I feel like I’m going to be my best self tomorrow, I just need a day to get myself together? And if we think about, from the understanding when people are working and giving them the freedom to know when they’re at their peak and their best for you, I think that’s really important too.
Jennifer Brown: You just raised then, Jen, time of day. I mean, when are we most productive? Some of us are night owls, right. So how do we reconcile, and if you’re the boss, remember, you do set a tone, you cast a big shadow, as we say. So, your way shouldn’t be the highway, it shouldn’t be biased right now, especially in terms of what you prefer.
Jenn Grace: Yes. And my working schedule, I’m working at 6:30 in the morning almost every day. So my day starts really early. And I have people on my team who are not working until 11 o’clock at night, and I don’t care. Whenever it gets done, it gets done. For me to say, you have to work at 6:00 AM or for someone else to tell me I have to work at 11:00 PM, that just doesn’t work for anybody. So I think just this whole concept of this whole 9:00 to 5:00 thing just hasn’t worked for a long time. And you and I both know there’s a lot of data and research out there that shows that it doesn’t really work well. But yet this is the world we live in and this is how confined we are.
Jenn Grace: But I think that, that might be a good outcome from all of this chaos right now is that maybe people are reevaluating the ways in which they’re working and we have new opportunities for people who haven’t been in the space the way that we’ve been to be able to say, yes, maybe I’ve been thinking about this all wrong. And I think that’s a really cool potential. Who knows how long it’s going to take before we’re feeling hopeful and optimistic about that, because I think we’re still going to have to go through a lot of ugliness before we surface back up to the top.
Jenn Grace: But I think it’s just something to be mindful of is just really paying attention to the emotions of everyone that is around us and not tiptoeing around them, but just addressing them head on. I think that’s the best way to deal with it because I think it’s so easy to be like, that person is going through something, I’m not going to address them, I’m just going to ignore it. And it’s like, that person wants you to address it, you wouldn’t feel better by having addressed it rather than just sweeping it under the rug, nothing good comes from that.
Jennifer Brown: Definitely. And remember there’s some conversations people are comfortable having in a group virtual and then [inaudible 00:26:03], right. So, we need to be reaching out to each other more and opening the door for more vulnerable conversations, how are you doing? I’d love to be your ally during this time. I do think my message for allies in the DEI world the diversity context too is remember that some folks already felt very marginalized in the workplaces as they were, we’ll never know if we’re going back to ever again. But we were struggling already with LGBTQ people bringing our full selves to work. I mean, half of us are closeted in the workplace, and that’s last year statistic.
Jenn Grace: Yes, so sad.
Jennifer Brown: So, this hiding behavior is no joke for a lot of us or the downplaying of a stigmatized identity, which is the definition of covering in the workplace all credit to Kenji Yoshino, who was working with Deloitte at the time. So I mindful of those Differences in isolation that were already being felt being magnified in a virtual environment where nobody is paying attention to this because, right, we’re trying to get the work done, so we’re focused on the task over rotated on the task, right.
Jennifer Brown: So, let’s watch ourselves on that and let’s pay attention and continue to keep a focus and a line open to colleagues who are bringing that experience and that lived experience into this new world, and expecting perhaps the same judgments to be happening, maybe the same stereotyping, maybe the same exclusion microaggressions, whatever it is. I think this is, if we can somehow use this opportunity to improve that, and I’m not quite clear what that looks like, except that the openness, the vulnerability, the ability to maybe have vulnerable conversations we’ve never had before is an opportunity for somebody who feels marginalized and uncomfortable to say, hey, actually, yes, there is something that we could do that would make me feel more included, or there is something that happens in our meetings that make me feel that I don’t have a voice, or actually, yes, my ideas are stolen and attributed to somebody else, I could go on. I know. [inaudible 00:28:19].
Jennifer Brown: Yes, actually, I am LGBTQ and here’s my family and my life. How cool would this be? And I know Jenn, like you said, I don’t want to make light of what we’re in, but I do think we all have to have something to hope for, so I think these are nuggets I hope that were helpful for our audience today. And we’re obviously recording this and we’re going to repost it for everybody, and we’ve really love reactions and ideas and things you want us to talk about too because Jen and I’ve been in this for a decade, there’s so much more we didn’t have time to say today and who knows, maybe we’ll make this a regular meeting.
Jenn Grace: We could. Lord knows we have a little … I feel like I don’t actually have extra time in all of this, but [crosstalk] my desk more time. But we did get a comment from Brooke who is friend of mine, absolutely adore her. And she had commented that we’re absolutely right, that she definitely feels like she is more of herself while she’s working from home, but she does miss some of the socialization. And Brooke is part of the LGBTQ community.
Jenn Grace: So, I think that there really is that opportunity in so many ways potentially for people who maybe they wouldn’t have wanted to get that job at that place because they didn’t know how they would be treated, so maybe there really is a silver lining for more people to feel, as your tagline is, welcome, valued, respected, and heard. Maybe we’re at a tipping point where that’s more of an option for people, what a glorious outcome for marginalized communities if that’s one of these end results as a outcome from just this madness that we’re in right now.
Jennifer Brown: I mean, in a way when we have visual cues right now, right, because we’re on camera, but that’s not always going to be possible, you’re on conference calls. I think, in a weird way, the biases that our identity triggers and others may not be as triggered because maybe, just maybe, we can be seen and interacted with just around our work and who we are, regardless of what you see. And then what you see triggering means, right. So we can be more purely, I think, appreciated, and we can in the virtual world, we can show up as whoever we want to be. And I’m so mindful of all my friends in the LGBTQ community where we’re constantly … maybe we’re gender fluid and we’re coping with so much confusion and things that come at us, right, because people are so thrown off by how we express ourselves.
Jenn Grace: Yes.
Jennifer Brown: And I’m so mindful that like, what a world To be able to just be a voice on the phone and just … So, in a way, I always say, we’re so powerless against our biases, and it’s such a sad reality it’s how we’re wired. And you have to be really, really on it all the time to short those, shift yourself, do it differently, spot it when it happens, do it again. Literally, they drive us in a really sad, primitive way.
Jenn Grace: Yes.
Jennifer Brown: And so let’s revisit all of that, let’s use this as an opportunity to truly see into the heart and the mind of everybody we work with, and let’s see if we can make this an opportunity to grow.
Jenn Grace: Yes. I love that. I have so many other things I can say, but I feel like that’s just a nice period at the end of this conversation. So I think it would be great, because I can see some comments coming in from mutual friends of ours that are saying, this is great, which is so kind. So, as we said, this will be available in a replay, but Jen, I think we should do this again. [crosstalk] I have a lot of just other suggestions and recommendations as you were talking around processes, and time management, and things like that, that might be beneficial for people. So perhaps we can do a recording next week when we can find some mutual time since your calendar is the one that’s always challenging but, guess what, you’re home.
Jennifer Brown: Guess what? I’m not on a [crosstalk] and I’m the extrovert so sign me up.
Jenn Grace: Yes.
Jennifer Brown: If I can mention one thing, I’m launching a daily, I know Genesis talk about connection, daily community calling at noon Eastern tomorrow. I’m sorry, next week, every single day next week. So we’re going to share the Zoom link. And I’m just going to pop on Zoom for an hour and you can come say Hi, we could chat about authoring and working with Jen on her program for author development. We could talk about anything people want to and I would just really like to being the chronic extrovert that I am, I feel the need for my people, and to be reminded how strong and beautiful this community is, because we are, and also to hold space for each other as we roll through the punches of prides being canceled.
Jennifer Brown: A lot of this community will be hugely impacted financially. Nonprofits and advocacy organizations and activists and it makes my heart hurt. So, I just want to be there, and I want to know what’s on everybody’s hearts and minds. And so please if any Genet of any of your community wants to come out and join me, I’ll give that link in the comments.
Jenn Grace: Yes, I was just going to ask you, how do people find out about that? So we’ll make sure that’s in the comments and in the description for this. Additionally, I am running a 30 day writing challenge, because again, similar to what you’re saying, I want people to refocus and think through, what can they be doing now that’s actually productive and planting seeds for their business later? Because we can’t just put our heads in the sand and pretend this is going to blow over, we have to really think about what that looks like. And for me, as someone who works with books all day, I’m doing the writing challenge. Today is day two, so you’ll see my face again with the same outfit on a little bit later [inaudible] my second day tip.
Jenn Grace: But I also I’m doing an office hours on Fridays at 1:00 PM Eastern Time, where anyone who has questions around there book writing, or as you said, it can really be anything, if you just feel you need a safe space to just come and talk because you’re feeling isolated, just come on over. So I’ll include that information as well in the description here.
Jennifer Brown: You’re such a good resource, Jen, like please, anyone who’s listening to this, even if the book is just the twinkle in your eye, and you think you have something to say, and you have an incredible story, which so many people do have in our world, please dial into that on Friday and just you don’t have to be practical about it, it can just be a dream, it can be a craving to be seen and heard that may manifest in a book someday. I mean, that’s literally I think what’s so needed in our world is our stories, right, and Jen facilitates that in a really beautiful way.
Jenn Grace: Thank you. I feel like I may as well just pay you to be my spoke.
Jennifer Brown: I do refer a lot of folks to you.
Jenn Grace: You definitely do. Amazing people. One of which is watching this, Fiona. Hello, Fiona. I love the door and she says, love you both, thank you for this.
Jennifer Brown: Thank you.
Jenn Grace: Yes. And John said that we should do this again. So I think we should just plan, we’ll do it again.
Jennifer Brown: [crosstalk] We’ll do it again. Maybe we’ll invite some of you on, we’ll put you down on the bottom of the screen and [crosstalk] kind of thing going on.
Jenn Grace: We have some good ideas about that. Okay, so yes, you’ll see our faces again next week at some point.
Jennifer Brown: Sounds good.
Jenn Grace: All right [crosstalk] thanks Jenn. Appreciate it.
Jennifer Brown: All right. Hang in there.
Jenn Grace: You too.
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