Emotional Agility: How to Be a Boss When Life’s A Bitch

This post is part of a series recognizing the achievements of Bossed Up’s Boss of the Year nominees, in celebration of Bossed Up’s official #LaunchLikeABoss Launch Party July 24.

Jessica did not have the year she imagined she would.

A native of New Orleans, Jessica moved to Washington, DC with her husband and gave birth to her son, Thomas, 10 months prior to coming to Bootcamp last July.

She missed the soulful scene of the Bayou, and was having trouble connecting with women in DC. Bootcamp was an opportunity to meet like-minded female friends and build out her community of courage to help her pursue her vision.

Soon after, she launched a partnership with a colleague in real estate and developed a program specifically catering to female first-time home buyers, helping them to make the most of the funding opportunities and programs available to this fastest-growing demographic of homeowners in the DC metro area.

But a few months in, and things weren’t working at work.

Jessica was still staging and selling homes successfully, but the joint venture was not panning out as expected and she made the tough leadership call to dissolve for the best of both parties.

Just a few weeks later and Jessica’s world was rocked by the sudden death of her brother. She was devastated.

We firmly believe that work, love, and wellness are interconnected. So what happens when your heart is breaking but you still need to show up and deliver at work? According to the Harvard Business Review:

“Effective leaders don’t buy into or try to suppress their inner experiences. Instead they approach them in a mindful, values-driven, and productive way—developing what we call emotional agility. In our complex, fast-changing knowledge economy, this ability to manage one’s thoughts and feelings is essential to business success. Numerous studies, from the University of London professor Frank Bond and others, show that emotional agility can help people alleviate stress, reduce errors, become more innovative, and improve job performance.”

This is precisely the approach Jessica has taken, and it’s why we’re so honored to nominate her for Bossed Up’s Boss of the Year Award.

“I’ve been practicing awareness and learning how to compartmentalize my feelings in order to focus,” says Jessica, “Through my vulnerability, I’ve been able to  connect with people on a deeper level. I’ve realized you truly never know what people are going through – it’s made me a more empathetic person.”

Being a boss isn’t just about showing up fully at work and making progress towards your vision on an average day, it’s about doing so through the hardest transitions in life.

Jessica is also giving herself the time and space for the self-care she needs. Even the small things, like a dramatic hair cut, have given her a sense of a fresh start.

Jessica can also appreciate the double-edged sword that comes with working for yourself during a time like this. Sure, it can be a privilege to not have to show up to a 9-to-5 job with a supervisor breathing down your back through a time of mourning, but “I have to be extremely self-disciplined and hold myself accountable,” she says, “because no one else is.”

Show your support for Jessica with your vote for Boss of the Year on Twitter and Facebook: simply mention “Jessica” with the hashtag #LaunchLikeABoss to cast your vote, and and join us to celebrate all our nominees and the many ways they’re launching their Bossed Up lives on Thursday July 24.

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