Episode 4 – Sister, Supporter, Storyteller: Jen Hatmaker Cheers Us On

This episode finds Jessica talking with her good friend Jen Hatmaker. Jen is a speaker and author, whose latest book Of Mess & Moxie, debuted at #2 on the New York Times Bestseller List. Jessica and Jen both have platforms where they encourage women to live out their dreams and lift each other up in the process. They discuss why it is so vital that we cheer each other on and how there’s plenty of space for us all to succeed. They also discuss the courage it takes to live outside your own “echo chambers,” and that taking the first steps toward your purpose may be hard, but “they are the ones that will lead you all the way home.”



Show Intro: Hey, everyone. Welcome to Going Scared. Just to recap for those of you that may be joining me for the first time, this is Jessica Honegger, founder and co-CEO of Noonday Collection, and I just launched Going Scared a couple of weeks ago. On this podcast, we discuss entrepreneurship, social impact, and my all-time favorite topic of courage — which I define as simply “going scared.” And although our guest today could probably speak to all of those topics, we felt like she would have a lot to say about courage and the ways she’s had to summon up the strength to keep on keeping on.

Jessica:  Jen Hatmaker is a New York Times’ bestselling author. She’s a speaker, mom to five kids, and generally that woman that everybody wants to be friends with. She’s written a host of books including Interrupted, For the Love, and her latest, Of Mess and Moxie. She also got the chance to be on a show on HGTV, and if you haven’t seen it, you guys have got to go check it out. It’s called My Big Family Renovation. She and her husband are just awesome, and she’s been married to that said husband, Brandon Hatmaker, who is also a friend and a great guy, for 24 years.

Jen has a way of making you feel at home. She writes about really important things, but she can also make you laugh about everyday things too. She’s relatable. She’s funny. Not only because she can celebrate the good stuff, but because she digs into the harder stuff. She’s done that for thousands and thousands of people across the world, but she’s also done it for me as a friend.

She’s been an early supporter of my company, Noonday Collection. She talked about us to her tribe before anyone even knew who we were.  Jen has always just been a woman who lifts other women up. She continues not only to be that great friend and a supporter of the work of Noonday Collection, but she’s a supporter of so many other things as well. She has her own foundation, The Legacy Collective. She doesn’t just talk about change and making the world better, she actually gets out there, and she does it, which is what we are all about on the Going Scared Podcast.

She recently spoke at our Shine Conference, an event that we do every year in Austin to encourage, empower, and educate women about their potential to change the world as well as a time for us to celebrate their impact. So I’m extra excited for this conversation today because I know that you will come away with a lot of great things from hearing our conversation. Let’s give a welcome to my friend, Jen Hatmaker.

Welcome Jen, to the Going Scared podcast. So excited to have you here today.


We’re In It Together

Jen:  I know, right? Same.

Jessica: So, Jen, you really have been… you’ve been a huge champion of mine over the years. A huge champion for Noonday Collection, but also a huge champion of me personally, and I just see you as being a champion of other women. I feel like there’s that phrase, “Her success doesn’t diminish my success,” and I feel like you absolutely sum that up. And your influence in my life has been, I mean, it’s been palpable in what you have poured into me.

“Her success doesn’t diminish my success.” – Jessica Honegger

So, I’m excited to get to share some of that wisdom with everyone who gets to listen today. And I was thinking about it today and wondering, do you remember when we first met?

Jen:  So, first of all, that was a really nice thing to say. Thank you. Second of all, we had this conversation not too long ago, and I can’t remember it again. What is it? Remind me. We literally just had this conversation.

Jessica: Listen, I totally remember when we met because you had written 7, but I had not read it yet. Somebody had told me that you had listed Noonday Collection in the back.  All I knew about “7” was that it was hardcore. That’s it. Like, “Okay, you’ve gotta give up a whole lot of things.”

We met… it was like a playdate with our kids at a Central Market, a little grocery store where we used to go hang out every Friday, and I was scared of you. Not because you were some famous Jen, but because I was afraid you were going to judge me for not eating organic, judge me for wearing makeup, judge me that I wear a different outfit every single different day of the week. So I was pleasantly surprised that you were not like that at all. Did you find that a lot after “7”, that you kind of had to do a little bit of disarming of people and maybe their perception of you from that book?

Jen: That’s making me laugh so hard. Of course, now I remember once you started saying it. It’s so hilarious because I mean, of course now, years later, you totally know me, and so you could know how absurd that was. So when I wrote “7”, the reason I wrote it was because I just had absolutely no sense of restraint in my life, in any category. I was just gloves off, wheels off:

“What did we spend?”
“I don’t know.”

“What are we buying?”
“Who knows?”

“What is all this stuff?”
“I’m not sure.”

And so it came from a sense of personal chaos not personal piety, right? It wasn’t like, “I’m really good at this and so I’m going to write a book.” So first of all, there’s that. But it’s funny because when I wrote it, and for everybody listening, “7” was this social experiment my family and I did that turned into a book and curriculum and all of this stuff. It’s where we took seven areas of what I considered to be really excessive in our personal life, but then sort of at large in culture, and we would spend one month on each one and reduce it down to just seven choices.

So, for example, the first month was food because we had two refrigerators full of food, plus an outdoor freezer, plus pantry, and then I’m throwing food away every week. It was just gross. So, for the month of food, we only ate the same seven foods. It was like that, listener, so be afraid. Clothes… obviously, I had clothes with tags on, so we wore the same seven pieces of clothes for a month, and on and on. So you can see why Jessica was afraid of me.

Jessica: I was so afraid.

Jen: So, here’s what I thought. I thought after writing that book… I was literally afraid to be out in public and go to my speaking engagements and whatever the things that I was doing because I was just convinced that everybody was going to be watching me like: “You know what, I don’t think that shirt came from Target.” I thought I was going to be under scrutiny and everybody was going to be calling my bluff and pointing me out as a fraud like, “I saw her throw her paper plate in the trash.”

“[The 7 Experiment] came from a sense of personal chaos, not personal piety” – Jen Hatmaker

But it was the opposite. It’s what you’re saying. Everybody was afraid of me. Everywhere I would go, I would get somewhere, like to a speaking event, and whoever was driving me would pick me up from the airport; and I promise you, every single time, I’d get in the car, and they’d be like, "This is my mother-in-law’s car. I didn’t buy this car. I borrowed it." I’m like, "I don’t care. I don’t care if this is your car." So you were not the only one who was positive I was going to come in and start making a checklist of your excessive sins.


It’s Okay to Be This AND That

Jessica: Okay. So how do we balance this? Because I mean, I do get push-back sometimes because I stand up for a lot of things, like anti-human trafficking, and I own a fair trade company. I do think there are certain times where people expect me then to only wear fair trade and to only shop organic. If you meet me, you see that I started this as a “pro” movement not an “anti” movement.

So it wasn’t like I’m “anti” factories. I am “pro” creating opportunity for vulnerable people. We’ve talked about this: this whole idea of choosing “and” and holding paradox. How have you embraced paradox and held these tensions of social justice and maybe doing your hardcore 7 experiments with just the reality of life?

Jen:  That’s a good question. Some of it is seasonal for me. I can look back at certain seasons and see that I was going hardcore into an idea or into a space. All of my words and all of my actions and leadership were undergirding this myopic idea. Then, I can usually get a sense of like, “Okay, that is when I found some balance back in the conversation, six months later.” So, my personality tends to be kind of, I don’t know if “extreme” is the right word, but maybe.

I think for me, getting older, and now at this point having cycled through several pretty profound levels of exposure and education–do you know what I mean? We’ve been through this painful exposure, nuisance of exposure, and then what it meant in our lives, toward the world’s poor — like you did early on in your life. Ours was a little bit later in life. Then, towards waste, and excess, and the human rights abuses that are embedded in that as well as just the plundering of the earth. Then, it sort of moved on toward a fresh new understanding of racial inequality and the continuing fight for the dismantling of white supremacy.

At this point, having now opened my arms wider and wider to injustices and then their solutions, I think I’m just developing a better sense of balance in terms of how to hang on really tightly in one hand–because of course you and I share this passion–really tightly in one hand to our advocacy, and our good use of our influence, and really strong leadership. And in the other hand, joy and really ordinary things like having fun, and rest, and chilling out.  So, I think I’m just getting better and better at that as I go along.

Because, really, you cannot do either one of those things all the time. If your whole life is fun time, fun girl, party, trips, manicures, and shopping, that lacks so much substance after a while, you’ll just starve. But if your entire life, if 24/7 you are an advocate, you are reformer, you are tearing down walls and building up new ones, and you’re sticking it to the man, you’ll just burn out. You’ll just wear out, and you’ll wear everybody else out. There is something right down the middle, I find, that doesn’t sacrifice one for the other, but makes us human beings that are number one, more effective, and number two, more fun to be around.

Jessica: Totally. I wonder sometimes, though, if there is a season for the extreme because sometimes you have to swing one end to get back into that balance. Sometimes I kind of like when people are fiery. I mean, yes, it’s hard. We were just talking about this, about leadership, and how you have to learn how to just take a lot of criticism. But at the same time, I can appreciate a good old long, “How come you’re wearing something that’s not fair trade?” Because I’m like, “You go, girl.” You know? “I am glad that you have found your fire.” You know?

Jen:  Listen, you know I love a good rant, and I will pop right up on my soapbox and stick it to the world. So, it’s not as if I can’t also appreciate a good, solid…listen, “I’m locked in, and I’m staying the course until this is wrestled to the ground.” I’m here for that too.  So yeah, I think there are seasons. Let’s be fair, some moments in time or some seasons in our personal life, or even our collective societal life —  which we’re all figuring this new world out right now — it just requires passion and intensity. There’s no other response that makes sense. There are just certain times where what is called for is foot on the gas. That moment will probably not last forever, but it might be longer than normal. I think we kind of…we do that by touch. We do that by feel. When we know, “Let’s keep our foot on the gas.”

“some moments in time, or some seasons in our personal life—or even our collective societal life—it just requires passion and intensity” – Jen Hatmaker


Breaking Out of Our Echo Chambers

For example, right now in the world we’re seeing this #MeToo campaign rise up for women speaking out against sexual abuse, and exploitation, and harassment. The momentum is so important and the walls that it is busting down so need to come down. So this feels like to me like a moment where we collectively, as women, keep our feet on the gas. Where we don’t worry that the men are going to get tired of hearing it or that the next story is somehow going to desensitize the 10,000 that came before it. But rather, I think we really grab hands tight right now and say, "There is nobody else on earth that’s going to see this thing through except a community of women." And so to me, I think we feel it out, and we know when to go absolutely hard and when we can take a breather.

“There is nobody else on earth that’s going to see this thing through except a community of women.” – Jen Hatmaker

Jessica: Right. Something I’ve been thinking about is “echo chambers,”  because I had a day recently where I was with one community in the morning maybe via Facebook, and they were talking about an author and a book that I had never heard of. Then, I was with a whole other group of people that evening. It was a group of CEOs, and they were talking about bitcoin and the latest LinkedIn article, and I was like, “Oh, shoot. I’m going to have to fake it right now because I don’t know what they’re talking about.”

I just had this thought of: “Oh, my gosh. If I didn’t have this diversity of voices; if I was only getting all of my commentary and community from this one space and not in this other space, then I would not have the whole picture.” How are you managing to not create a community that is an echo chamber and to still hold a community that has differing opinions and that can hold those tensions as well? Because those tensions are almost harder than holding the tension of: “I can go get a manicure and shop fair trade.”

Jen: Totally. It’s a challenge because, I mean, it’s not a mystery why we prefer echo chambers. They’re more comfortable. They’re easier. They’re a really wonderful home for our outrage and for our passions… our good ones. So I get the instinct to surround yourself with only like-minded people who believe the way that you do and have the same sort of ideology. I do just want to say, real quick, before I parlay that forward, that I think it is actually important to have people around you — especially if you’re a bit of a person like me who seems to be going against the grain sometimes in your personal community or tribe — it’s important to have some people around you that you respect, whose lives you admire, and who are in similar headspace as you. Otherwise, you start to feel crazy and really, really lonely. There is a place for that community, for people to say, "We’re with you. You’re not by yourself. We are for you and standing beside you." That’s good.

“I can’t underestimate what it has been like to have people from a different community…speak into my understanding of a dozen issues.” – Jen Hatmaker  

But to your very salient point, it cannot be the end of the story. I would actually contribute my entire adult development in a positive direction toward being exposed to people outside of my immediate circle. I just cannot underestimate what it has been like to have people from a different community and from a different perspective and from a different experience, speak into my understanding of a dozen issues. It’s been life changing, although uncomfortable. I think that’s where the rubber leaves the road. I actually think that’s the fork where most people choose echo chamber.


Growing Pains

Because as soon as you do put yourself into somebody else’s world as a listener and as a learner, then probably what’s going to happen is you’re going to be confronted in an uncomfortable way. You’re going to be confronted with your own bias maybe, or your own personal beliefs, or your values; or maybe just the way that you describe something or something that you’ve held dear. Nobody likes that. Growth is uncomfortable. It really is. I remember having to get up in the middle of the night with all of my kids, every one of them — when they were between like three and seven — with their growing pains. They would be screaming in the middle of the night… screaming. It was just so hard to give them relief from those growing pains. That’s how I feel sometimes. There’s that stretching where you just think, this is just an ache that I don’t want to live with, so I’m just going to go back to where I came from because this is too hard.

“Because as soon as you do put yourself into somebody else’s world as a listener and as a learner, then probably what’s going to happen is you’re going to be confronted in an uncomfortable way.” – Jen Hatmaker

But I can’t recommend enough staying the course, pushing through the tension,  and pushing through the discomfort. Pushing through maybe a point where you have to say either, “I’ve been getting this wrong,” or, “I have not been a humble friend or a humble listener,” or, “I need to say I’m sorry for contributed to this thing that has hurt you." On the other side of that is true growth, true development, and, honestly, true community. So that’s my approach.

Jessica: When you and I… I went with you because I invited myself, and you graciously said “yes” to go hear Brene’ Brown, we ended up in the green room with her in the back. I am forever grateful for that, Jen. I remember one of the most powerful moments that night — and she was on a book tour for Braving the Wilderness — is when she said, "You know, it’s easy for you all to laugh, for some of you all, it’s easy for you to laugh if Trump’s son is the butt of a joke on Facebook. But then you need to be as equally offended if Obama’s daughter…" I’m saying this wrong.

Jen: Yes, exactly. That is what she said.

Jessica: Be equally as offended, you know? Hold all of our humanity. It really is about humanity.

Jen: It is. I’ve taken that teaching with me deeply in my heart for the last few months. You know, Brene’ calls that place “the wilderness” because you kind of have to enter it in order to really be an equal respecter of other people’s humanity. Because, of course, we can make fun of a certain group of people or a certain set of ideologies or whatever, and our people will cheer us on. We’ll laugh together like, “Yeah, you’re so right. What a bunch of whackadoos.”

However, if we call that behavior out from our tribe towards somebody else, then all of a sudden, they’re not on our side. She calls that place “the wilderness” because it’s hard to choose. It’s hard to choose that space where you risk criticism from your own people because you are holding either yourself or the group at large to the same standard you expect from the other. So, yeah, I agree. I don’t think that’s easy at all. I think it’s way easier said than done. You can tell when somebody else has done it because you feel your hackles go up like, “Are you defending him?” Or, “Are you on their side?” You feel this sense of outrage like, “How dare you say something conciliatory toward that group of people I don’t like.” I think this is really hard work. You and I have talked a lot about this over the years. It requires an incredible amount of emotional maturity and humility.

“It’s hard to choose that space where you risk criticism from your own people,  because you are holding either yourself or the group at large to the same standard you expect from the other.” – Jen Hatmaker

Jessica: It does. And I think that’s something I value about us is we don’t agree on a lot of things. We agree on a lot of things. But that is where dialog comes in and safety. And knowing that we are appealing to humanity and our friendship isn’t based on what side we’re picking. It’s based on our common love for one another and acceptance of one another no matter what. There’s a lot of safety in that.

Jen: There is. Not only in that, but there’s so much to build on. I mean, this is the way we’ve been able to function for a really long time until we just reach this incredibly polarized moment in our culture.

I think I’ve used this example before, but one of my really good friends is the granddaughter of a past president, a past president of the United States. Her grandfather was President Ford, so it was before our time, but she always talks about stories he would tell about how back in the day — and I’m just using a political example here but I think it crosses boundaries — that Republicans and Democrats in D.C. would get to the end of the work day and all go out to dinner together, all go out and have a beer together. They’d work on bipartisan legislation together all the time. They’d write bills across the aisle. They’d vacation together across the aisle.

She said it was really just a different climate where, yes, there were differences that mattered. There’s weight to that. It’s not as if that doesn’t mean anything at all. But at the end of the day, they were able to hang on to their shared ground, their shared sense of duty, their shared humanity, and work together and be friends. I think about that a lot. I think about how much we’ve lost… how far away we are from that sense of cooperation and bipartisanship in general. I don’t even just mean politically but just bipartisanship in life. I wonder what it’s going to take to get us back there? I wonder if we can do it?

Jessica: Have you read the book that I sent you yet, Jen?

Jen: Abraham Lincoln?

Jessica: Yes.

Jen: Jessica, it is like 1,100 pages. It is the biggest book I’ve ever seen.

Jessica: The heart of this… It’s called Team of Rivals, this book. I just admire him so much, and that’s the kind of leadership that we need is leadership that can create room for all spaces of opinions.

Jen: I agree.

Jessica: Okay.

Jen: Okay, I’ll read it. Oh my gosh.

Jessica: Book club.

The Ability to See The Sublime and The Spiritual

Jessica: Okay, let’s talk about humor for a second. You just spoke at our national sales conference, Shine. You’ve spoken at it every year for as long as we’ve been around. Let me tell you, there were leaders of artisan businesses from India and Peru and from Uganda. We had professional speakers come and speak about how to deliver compelling and convincing communication. We had authors come and speak. It was just powerful. We had Melissa Russell of International Justice Mission. So, I’m talking with my daughter yesterday because I forced her to attend all of Shine this year.

Jen:  Love it.

Jessica: I’m like, "Amelie, now that you’re a couple days out, what is really sticking with you?" And she’s like, "Jen Hatmaker told a really funny story about a donut and a Buddha mommy, and it was hilarious." And I was like, "Oh my gosh."

Jen: That’s what she took away, right there. You’re welcome.

Jessica: But you know, there is something really powerful about the fact that that is what she took away because humor is this common language. That’s kind of your go to is to be able to be vulnerable, to laugh at yourself, to see the sublime and the spiritual. That’s sort of what’s defined you. How did you develop this kind of voice? Give me a tip on comedic timing, girl, because I’m telling you, you can storytell like nobody’s business.

“Humor is this common language.” – Jessica Honegger

Jen:  You know, it’s funny, because at this point in my career, sometimes people do ask me about, “How did I develop and what was my strategy?” It’s funny because I didn’t have any of that. I had no strategy. I had zero strategy. I started so little and so small and so simple and grew into this space I stand in now. But all along I was just who I was.

It’s funny because I grew up in a family that’s funny. I have a funny dad. I have really funny siblings. Humor was our family vernacular. I didn’t know any different. I didn’t know that other families were not obnoxious. I just didn’t know. That’s just how we are. We’re still like that. It was funny, because for a really long time, especially in ministry — especially in early ministry, I should say — I never even one time considered humor a real asset. In fact, I thought of it a bit as a liability because at the time, and let’s see, I mean, I probably started ministering in some sort professional capacity — I don’t even know what to call it — probably around maybe 2004.

At the time, I did not have a whole lot of people to look toward by way of example. There just weren’t so many women spaces that have now been built: conferences and ministries and organizations and leadership cohorts. They just didn’t exist. So my only plumb line was Beth. I didn’t know anybody else. I looked to Beth Moore, and I can go back and hear some of my early talks — especially in my early writing — I can see that I’m trying as hard as I can to emulate her, and I want to die. I just want to die. I wish somebody would go around the world and gather up all of that content and burn it to the ground. I’m so sorry, world.

But what happened, I think, is that I stayed the course, and I grew up a little bit. I mean, I started when I was 29, for Pete’s sake. I grew up a little bit and developed some of my own chops and realized that humor is just a value of mine. It just is. I love comedy. I study it, and I’m drawn to it, and I’m moved by it, and I’m interested in it. I love it. So, I decided to stop treating it like some weird little personality add-on that I just had to work around to get to the serious stuff and just be who I am. I know that that is disconcerting for people. I really do. I have people tell me on the regular, "You don’t get to just come and tell an absurd story and then in the next sentence talk about white supremacy." I’m like, "Yes, I do. I do get to do that. You can’t stop me."

“‘You don’t get to just come and tell an absurd story and then in the next sentence talk about white supremacy.’ – I’m like, ‘Yes, I do.’" – Jen Hatmaker

Because that’s just who I am. It’s a part of the package. I realized that will mean I will never, ever fit in a really tidy category. Never. Because I’m not just one thing, and I don’t always do humor, and I don’t always do advocacy and ministry. It’s some kind of weird blend.

Jessica: It’s a magic formula.

Jen: It just is what it is. I don’t know what else to do.

Jessica: The Jen Hatmaker formula.

Jen:  I guess.


Sharing Our Success

Jessica: Okay, so there’s this quote that I recently heard, and I don’t know why I recently heard it because apparently it’s been around forever, but it says, "When you show up, you go up. And when you go up, you take other women up with you."

"When you show up, you go up. And when you go up, you take other women up with you."

Jen:  That’s good.

Jessica: You are someone that takes other women up you with you. I mean, you have been a supporter of Noonday since I was working out of my little tiny office space, and it was hardly even a business. You’ve encouraged me because I could be so myopic sometimes about Noonday. Like, “If you’re not for me, you’re against me.” You also encouraged me to expand my horizon a little bit. Can you tell me, how has that lesson been learned? Because that’s not something you’re necessarily born with. How have you learned? Was there a time when you were more coming from a scarcity mentality or a threatened mentality, and you have moved into this abundance place?

Jen: For sure, I can still slip into that too. Absolutely. When I am in not good head space and when I’m not super healthy, I can tell because I start feeling grabby. I’m really grabby about how many eyes can the world spare, and if they’re not on my things then how can they go to everybody else’s things? I can start to feel that internal panic that everything’s going to run out, right? That there’s only so much, and if I do not grab, grab, grab onto my portion, then we’re all going down in flames.

Obviously, those are red flags for me. Like, “Whoa. Hello, you’re not doing well.” But I hope, that by and large, my life is not marked by that. I think, and it’s a variety of reasons, but first and foremost is that women have been so good to me. I mean, mostly, so good to me, and collaborative, and sharing their space, and sharing their platform, and cheering me on, and giving me a hand, and counseling me, and advising me, and helping me course correct — especially early on in my career when I was just dumb as a sack of diapers. I’m so grateful for that. I’m so deeply grateful. That never feels far away from me — how many people gave me a shot, and gave me a chance, and trusted me.

Some of that is just going to be the air I breathe at this point because now I realize, “Oh, that didn’t really take anything away from them.” It didn’t. They shared, and it all multiplied. So my personal experience has borne this truth out. When we elevate other women around us, when we cheer them on, when we share the microphone, when we promote what they’re doing, none of that makes our space shrink. It really doesn’t. This sounds like something you would just put on a meme. But it’s true. It really is true. Our spaces do not shrink. In fact, they become way more expansive from that place.
And so, even from a self-promotion space, it’s better for you to elevate other people and to cheer other women on. I believe it too, man. You know, you and I and the Enneagram. I’m a hard core three. So, for those of you who don’t know what that means, all this means that means is my kind of type… I sincerely — and again, when I’m healthy because when I’m not, I can devolve into the grabbiest, most threatened, paranoid person you’ve ever seen — but when I’m healthy, I am like, “Everybody can contribute. Everybody is amazing.” I really believe it. I’m like, “You’re smart, and you are gifted, and you have gifts to bring to bear on this world. And everybody, you can do it.” I’m such a cheerleader deep in my heart. I am glass half full. I am optimistic. I sincerely believe in people because it’s true. Because people really can rise up in their gifts and do amazing things in this world. Anyway, that’s annoying. A lot of my friends are always like, “God, just take it down a notch. Not everybody is awesome.” I’m like, “Yes they are!”

Jessica: They are awesome.

Jen: They are.

Jessica: Okay, I want to wrap it up with the same questions that you wrapped your podcast up that you did with me which by the way, I love your podcast. It’s been so much fun. It’s like, “Where has it been my entire life?” I love it.

Jen:  Thank you.


Taking the Steps Toward Your Dreams

Jessica: You asked me, “What would you say to people that are listening today and they are in the midst of having to make some tough choices? They have a seed of an idea. They’ve known a change needs to be made. They know something bigger is calling to them, but they have absolutely no sense of how it’s going to work or if it’s going to work.” What would you have told yourself if you could go back and talk to Jen then? What would you say?

Jen:  I love that question. I have a lot of pieces of advice for that, but I think the one I’d like to reach for today is just this. If you’ve got the seed of a dream, if there’s something brewing and something right under your skin and you can’t quit thinking about it, you should take the first step. Again, it sounds pithy. I don’t mean it to, but I think where women get paralyzed is we want in our minds to see it through all the way to its final end game success. But that’s rare that we’re going to get that full picture from the beginning.

“If you’ve got the seed of a dream, if there’s something brewing and something right under your skin and you can’t quit thinking about it, you should take the first step.” – Jen Hatmaker

So normally, what needs to happen is that most people have to start somewhere, and that means, what you might know, is step one and two. That is literally it. You have no idea what three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, and eleven is going to be. You just don’t know yet. You don’t know how it’s going to happen. You’re not sure how it’s going to happen. But you kind of do know what to do first. It’s probably little. It’s not some wholesale “sell everything you own.” But it’s probably one or two steps that are within reach. You know what to do. You know you need to make this phone call, send this email, and look up this information. That much you know.

My suggestion is: do what you know. Do what you know to do to get started. What happens is you start pulling that thread and the next steps appear in front of you. They really do. All of a sudden, you get to step three and you’re like, “Well, I don’t know what’s after that, but at least I know this is the next thing I’ve got to figure out or this is the next piece of the puzzle I need to put into place.”

So don’t let the end game paralyze you into doing nothing at all. Everything starts somewhere, and steps one and two are a doozy, but they are the ones that are going to lead you all the way home.

Jessica: That’s right. I love that. Love it.  Okay, if people want to find you and learn more from you, where can they find you?

Jen:  Pretty much everything I do is housed on my website. It’s over at jenhatmaker.com. My podcast is over there. My blog, which I never write on, but you can read old blogs. Sad. My travel schedule, everywhere I’m going to be this spring. All my social media accounts are over there too, which you can follow me over there. Fun time. We’ve got a lot of fun stuff going on over there.

Jessica: It is fun. I can’t wait to catch you somewhere this spring. I mean, it looks like you’re going to like 30 cities to speak.

Jen:  It looks like that. It’s not quite that many. But it’s a tour schedule, so they’re all back to back. But you know we’re coming to Austin? It’s so rare that tours like this come to Austin, but we’re going to be at Riverbend on, I think, it’s February 27. In fact, it’s already sold out and we’re adding a matinee.

Jessica: Awesome.

Jen:  I know. Super, super, super. Yeah, February 27. That’s actually the last stop on the Moxie tour. So coming back to hometown. I’m probably going to cry the whole time. So warning, Austin.

Jessica: I’ll come and bring a bottle of champagne for you.

Jen: Absolutely.

Jessica: To wrap it up. Well, thank you so much, Jen. This has been really fun.

Jen:  Absolutely. Love you, friend.

Jessica: Love you.


Sometimes, We Fit Into More Than One “Box”

Jen and I talk a lot about this idea of holding tensions and living in paradox. I think I first realized that I was not an “or” person but an “and” person in high school. There was the “jock lot” where all of the athletes and cheerleaders parked. There was the “west wing” that was more for the alternative folks. And guys, I gotta say, I didn’t exactly fit in either one. So I would park in the west wing sometimes. Sometimes I’d park in the jock lot. I think that’s when I learned that I didn’t really want to be a part of a clique. I wanted to create a space where we could embrace our paradoxes and our tensions.

I think our journey towards authenticity and really owning our own story is going to involve embracing “ands” in our lives. It’s for that reason I actually started a hashtag on Instagram called #choosingand. I wanted to read to you some of the “ands” that people have been posting about.

“I think our journey towards authenticity and really owning our own story is going to involve embracing “ands” in our lives.” – Jessica Honegger

I’ve been making this list about my “ands” and living an “and” life has sometimes made me feel like I don’t quite fit in anywhere. So I choose “or” more often than not, but I find that authentic living is found when we can embrace our “ands.” So here are some of our “ands” on Instagram.

You can be happy AND you can be sad.

You can be single AND be content and love your life.

You can be content AND have desires.

You can be sexy AND be strong.

You can be smart AND ambitious AND still be the one in the room cracking bad jokes.

You can be about being a good businesswoman AND a good mom.

You can love home design AND homes without design.

You can love the wealthy AND the poor.

You can love jamming to Taylor Swift AND to Hillsong.

You can be bold AND compassionate.

You can go to seminary AND wear false eyelashes.

I can love chocolate AND be healthy.

I can work hard AND rest well.

I can value my time, work, and talents AND be generous with them.

I can be a stay-at-home mom AND be smart.

I can be a homeschool mom AND wear decent clothing.

I can be overweight AND be a beautiful human.

I can be budget conscious AND be generous.

I hope this list encourages you as much as it encourages me. I’d love to hear more about your “ands.” If you want to post #choosingand on Instagram, I’d love to find you and share that on my Instastories. Again, I think as we begin to embrace paradox and hold tensions — as we do that together — it creates an ability for all of us to be more courageous in living an authentic life… a life that’s really how we were designed to live it.

Thanks so much for joining me today.  I will see you next time on the next episode of Going Scared.