In October 2020, I took a one-month stress leave from all things life and business. I treated it, in my mind, as if I were going on retreat. I set up support for my clients and told friends and family not to expect anything from me for a month.
That complete leave from everything—work, family, clients–allowed me to slow down and get quiet. It allowed me to feel the way I wanted to feel, and see what reinforced or undermined that.
I planned what I thought would allow me to continue to feel that way when I went back to work. The word sanctuary came up to name what I needed and I hit on the idea of sanctuary time.
As of this writing (May 2021) I am still making sure I have sanctuary time daily, and a big chunk of several hours on Sunday mornings. Sometimes I sit quietly. Sometimes I journal, but in a no-pressure way that is very different from how I used to do it.
I ask myself–and write in my journal–“What do I need to know?” Then I wait. I put my pen down and wait.
Sometimes something comes into my awareness that I capture in my journal, and sometimes it doesn’t, but that kind of slowness, that kind of quiet waiting, is in itself very soothing and nourishing to my mind, soul and nervous system.
I met Jacquette Timmons through the What Works Network, and attended her Comfort Circle in September of 2020. It must have been there that I learned to ask myself, “What do I need to know?” I had forgotten about the origin of that practice until I listened to Jacquette’s contribution to the Staying Sane series.
Jacquette hits upon an important principle of mental wellness: slowing down and getting quiet. For her it’s part of a two-pronged approach.
Listen in to learn how Jacquette cares for her mental health, and about the second prong of her approach.
If you prefer to read, here is the transcript of Jacquette’s recording. It has been slightly edited to make it easier to read and for clarity.
Hi, this is Jacquette Timmons, and I am really delighted to make this contribution to Staying Sane.
A bit of background: I work as a financial behaviourist. If that is a term that is new to you, it simply means that I focus on the human side of money. While people are paying attention to their numbers, I also get them to pay as much, and hopefully sometimes maybe even a little bit more, attention to their behaviour, their choices, and the motivations and the emotions that drive them.
There are three pillars to my business. I do one-to-one coaching, mostly for entrepreneurs and small business owners. I’m a for-hire speaker, doing events for large corporations, fortune 100 to 500 firms, AM Law 200 firms, large and boutique conferences, and nonprofit organizations. The third pillar of my business is that I host events. I host a dinner series called The Comfort Circle. [I also teach] a pricing masterclass, designed after a framework that I developed called pricing made human.
As you can probably tell, there’s a theme here: I focus on the human side of money. Regardless of what hat I am wearing, or what role—coach, speaker, host—I am exploring the intersections of money, business and life.
I have been in the financial services industry since 1986. I became interested in the behavioural side of it after witnessing the crash of 1987. It is just something that has been unfolding, as the years have progressed. I am based in Brooklyn, New York.
What does mental health mean to me?
[To me, mental health] means being fully present, and having the mental bandwidth to think clearly, so I can make sense of the patterns I am noticing. And to be creative. Yes, creativity is a key component when it comes to honouring the human side of money.
How do I take care of myself?
Here’s how I take care of myself when it comes to staying sane: I run. I run outside. All year long, I run at least four times per week.
I am recording this contribution in 2021. In 2020, I logged 800 miles. It is my goal to match or maybe even exceed that this year. Sure, there’s a physical benefit to running. But I really think it’s the combination of the movement of running and being outside and being outside regardless of what the weather may be. That that is the contribution or the combo.
That [combination] is the thing that leads to me having a clear head, whether I am running in silence, whether I am running, listening to a podcast, or whether I am running, listening to some house music. Recently, I added taking a yoga class, albeit from an app, to my routine. I do that at least once a week. So that’s what I do to take care of myself and to stay sane physically.
In addition to exercise, I have a regular meditation and prayer practice. That is something that I have been doing for many, many, many years.
What is a mental wellness tip that I have found useful?
I don’t have a tip. But I can share with you a question. This question came to me from my very first coach; this is going back to the late 90s. The question that she suggested I ask is: what do I need to know today?
What do I need to know today?
I have asked that question darn near every single day. And over the years, I have expanded my inquiry. I’ve added two more questions to my daily practice because, for me, this is embedded into my meditation and prayer time.
The first question I added was: what do I need to pay attention to. This is the kind of thing that just heightens my awareness in terms of attuning my ears, attuning my eyes and attuning my heart to be on the lookout for signals or for messages that can come from a variety of sources.
What do I need to pay attention to?
The second question I added is: where and how can I be more resourceful, and creative? That question really comes into play, even though I ask it all the time… I have realized that I lean into it when I am in a challenging moment, [when I am] feeling betwixt in between. It helps me to get out of focusing just on whatever is causing that and to shift into more possibilities.
Where and how can I be more resourceful, and creative?
What is one thing about mental wellness you would share with women entrepreneurs?
That one thing that I could share for women entrepreneurs, about their mental wellness, it’s this: slow down and get quiet, especially when you feel you can least afford to do so.
It’s been my experience that when things were really, really hectic, and I didn’t slow down, and I didn’t get quiet, that the quality of those choices was not as good as it could have been. If in the midst of all that frenzy, I did in fact, slow down and get quiet, I have found that to be an amazing tool for being able to navigate questions that I’m trying to answer, [for] things that I’m trying to get clarity about, [for] things that I am looking for guidance on what to do next.
It has always served me, especially when I am really, really busy, to remember to slow down and get quiet, even if it’s just for a minute.
I hope that that serves you today, but also moving forward. [I hope] that all of the things I’ve shared today can contribute to your way of staying sane. Thank you so much for listening.
More about Jacquette
Jacquette M. Timmons is a financial behaviourist, with an MBA in finance and an undergrad in marketing from a design school – a combination that helps her bring a designer’s mindset to you and your situation. She works with everyone from the middle class to the 1%, helping them manage their choices around money. In particular, she integrates financial and behavioural analysis to help people blend the emotions of money with the math of money, let go of their money “baggage,” and start to move forward with clearer financial goals – feeling confident and more in control so they can save more, remove debt, invest smarter and earn more.
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