Jennifer England believes in the power of letting go because too many of us are living in what she calls a “culture of urgency” – one where we are feeling overwhelmed, under-supported and perpetually fatigued. As the founder of Spark Coaching and Consulting, and a senior executive and non-profit leader for over two decades, Jennifer has had to come to grips with her own battle of “urgency.” She has since learned to slow down and is now living her most idyllic life.
“Too many of us are living in a culture of urgency.”
Jennifer had been working on the front lines in the Downtown Eastside when she found herself experiencing burnout. Longing for a slower and more meaningful pace, and one closer to the mountains, she and her husband started discussing the possibility of heading north. Around that same time, Jennifer was given a book on feminism that featured a series of personal stories. One story in particular stood out to Jennifer. It was about a woman who moved to Whitehorse from Quebec to live in a cabin with her dog, spending her days roaming the mountains. She also shared a beautiful story of a thriving feminist community. This story resonated with Jennifer, especially as it painted an idyllic picture of the life she was craving. When her husband started talking about moving, Jennifer suggested Whitehorse.
That was in 2002, and they haven’t looked back, absolutely loving their new life in the Yukon. Jennifer recently shared her story and wisdom as part of a Wise Money Talks presentation on The Power of Letting Go. Through her engaging and interactive presentation style, Jennifer discussed how so many leaders today have “manufactured a culture of urgency which permeates through everything and it is getting us into trouble.” In particular, she believes that it is wreaking havoc on our bodies, minds and hearts.
Through some thought-provoking reflection exercises and stream of consciousness writing, Jennifer invited everyone to explore where they felt this sense of urgency comes from in their personal and professional lives. “Many feel the need to be the martyr,” says Jennifer, “where we put everyone else’s needs first, before our own, and end up in a spiral of burnout.” For others, Jennifer suggested that it may come from a need to do things fast and be extremely productive, over-deliver, or even to prove their worthiness. Jennifer also suggests that often there is the feeling that this urgency can prevent or control uncertainty or that it “transpires from our love of productivity and being busy delivering on outcomes.”
“We need to give ourselves permission to slow down.”
So how do we begin to let go of our attachment to moving fast and doing too much, without losing who we are in the process? Jennifer suggests that that we need to give ourselves permission to slow down. “The way in which we are leading, the way in which we are participating, in this hyper capitalistic society that wants to solve everything yesterday, is the problem.” By learning to let go, Jennifer believes that we will then be able to open up to new opportunities. However, we must first do the work to figure out where our need for speed comes from, and then slowly work towards finding that elusive balance. In her workshop, Jennifer offered some simple yet effective tools and strategies that helped to start this process.
To learn more about this “culture of urgency,” and how to embrace the power of letting go, listen to Jennifer’s entire Wise Money Talks presentation.
You can also sign up for Jennifer’s newsletter to receive a free worksheet based on The Power of Letting Go workshop.