Author: Heather Lowey
Close your eyes. Think of complete defeat. Feelings of what now? Hopelessness. Think of a very specific example of this feeling for you.
Bri began her talk with this very scenario. She then impactfully had everyone put GOT IT in the chat once they had their own specific scenario in mind. Why?
Scrolling through the chat, it was amazing to see all of the GOT IT comments and know, you are not alone. Others have these same thoughts and feelings. Moments in time of uncertainty of their future. Feeling hopeless. You, my friend, are not alone.
SURVIVE VS. THRIVE
Survival in those moments of frustration and hopelessness come from a reactive state. But when we work together, we are proactive. We grow. We thrive. Her exercise of putting the simple phrase of GOT IT in the chat, showing us, we aren’t alone and have teammates to work together with to thrive.
We live in a society of a do better, be greater mentality. More, more, more. Bri walked us through the reality of how we are raised to think about what we want to BE when we grow up from a very young age. Next comes college and the expectations of figuring out our future. Graduating and immediately moving to the next phase and the next. Jumping into the hamster wheel without even knowing if we want to be there in the first place.
While it’s great to have goals and work towards the life we want, Bri points out when the primary focus is always on what’s next, we forget to be in the moment. “We have to normalize the time we spend achieving our goals.” Shifting our focus to be about the journey, not just the end result.
Your story matters. Not just what you achieve and the end result, but who you are and the journey you take to get there. Understanding we are worthy, and our story matters not only to ourselves but others.
Two of her favorite quotes from Brene Brown:
“Worthy now. Not if. Not when. We are worthy of love and belonging now. Right this minute. As is.”
“My story matters because I matter. I am absolutely enough.”
As a storytelling musician, Bri’s first step is meeting with her clients for an hour session to interview and understand their story. Her first client’s story was truly amazing.
As a 5-year-old, her client was diagnosed with epilepsy. At 10, suffered a Grand Mal seizure (lasting longer than 5 minutes) and was pronounced dead. She recovered but suffered learning disability setbacks which led to three schools and eventually being homeschooled. At the age of 12, she re-enrolled in traditional school, completely caught up on her studies, testing on level with her peers, ultimately thriving! Only 6 months later, her mother was diagnosed with cancer. 6 short months after, her client found herself in the ICU watching her mother take her last breath.
Bri discussed the emotions of her client and the feeling of the walls caving in around her. From this raw emotion, the song Collapsed was written. All of us in attendance were able to listen to the words and tune of the song Collapsed and I’m certain there was not a dry eye on any Zoom camera. Such emotion and feeling tied up into a beautiful melody and pure voice.
As for the first client? It was Bri. SHE was the young girl suffering from epilepsy. Bri and her mother learned together and fought Bri’s way back into school. Bri watched helplessly as her mother passed and she sat feeling as though the walls were caving in on her.
“How do I come back from this?”
FOCUS ON PURPOSE
#1 Your stories are important.
#2 Share your story because it matters, because you matter.
#3 Survive or Thrive? You decide.
As a 13-year-old girl, she picked herself up from the hospital floor and continued to thrive. There were setbacks, but in those moments, she knew she mattered. She knew she had purpose and was going to continue to thrive.
Bri also learned to lean on others. You are not alone. She has such an amazing tribe because she is always 100% authentically herself. This attracts authenticity. She also recognizes the strengths among her people and is strategic about who she goes to for various scenarios. Knowing, for instance, when she needs someone to vent to versus when she is looking for sound advice.
She also feels incredibly lucky to have the amazing support and best friend in her sister.
Find reasons to celebrate. Bri was quick to point out while we should celebrate big achievements like graduating from grad school and other monumental life moments, we also need to remember to celebrate the little things too.
Finding joy in life is important. Discover what you like to do and then DO those things. This is a big component of thriving versus just surviving.
Create the space for people to show emotion. Allowing people to have vulnerable feelings, even in a work environment, is an incredible way to break the cycle of people thinking they have to mask all feelings when at work.
Her first song began as a poem she wrote at the age of 13. For her, writing was about healing. Getting her thoughts and emotions on paper and processing them to work through and understand the feeling. What she didn’t realize though, was how healing the process of writing the story for someone else could be for them. This is her purpose.