Are we about to briefly go down the rabbit hole that is Brené Brown? YES. WE. ARE.

Watch this first:

Now… am I about to write you some gloriously defined speech about data with a soul or how to better engage in emotional content that gets you more customers? I could.

But I’m not going too.

Instead… As I worked to figure out what I wanted to write about in this month’s (late) blog, it hit me, as it often does these days, that when I’m in my millionth Zoom call, or rare, but occasional face-to-face meeting, when people begin talking right now, they talk in almost a labored fashion.

Like we’re all trying not to burden each other with the things we’re worried about.

And holy hell are we all worried.

But I also think that in some ways, we were all previously pretending that things were fine! I’ve got the money to afford that trip! My kid isn’t struggling in school! My job is secure!

And we’ve learned, in a painfully rapid fashion as of late, that we’re all dealing with monumentally profound levels of burden, fear, shame and exhaustion.

In the last several months to years, the quarrelsome exhaustion of dealing with too much has come to roost in all of our heads and it can often feel too heavy.

So today I wanted to write to you, in a different fashion, about something I want to encourage you to do with your peers, the people you feel safe with, your friends, your family… be vulnerable.

You will learn a lot about what drives people during phenomenally different times. Yes, you’ll learn how to market a product virtually or start that new business you’ve been dreaming about because you found a target market that needs you. You’ll do that too. And good for you when it happens.

But I sincerely ask you, no, beg you, to be vulnerable with the people you care about and who care about you. Let the labor of your fears ebb off and really speak to them. Reconnect, rekindle, repair and restore your connections to the community around you. Be safe when you do it, of course, but your fears are shared, likely? By MANY people.

As of recent, with every AAF-Topeka board meeting, we all raise a toast when we log into our Google Meet and then we go around the room and talk about what we’re going through. Half the time it’s just one sentence. Sometimes it’s a fear, many times it’s something to celebrate, but we stop and we check in. Often with our babies and our pets on our laps.

AAF-Topeka is an incredible crew. The other teams you’re on are too. Be bold. Be brave. And use your voice to ask for help. Even if you have to whisper it at first… eventually you’ll start talking, yelling, laughing, and maybe someday, singing.

But for now during the last days of September, which is National Suicide Awareness Month, I’d like to remind you that you are worthy. You are appreciated. You are loved.

Be vulnerable.

We will get through this together.

Yours, JG

Please don’t be afraid to get help.

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