I welcome another guest post from Jordan today. He shares about his vocational search and the tools he’s using to guide his path.
“I see beauty everywhere:”
The evolving journey of my brand and story
by Jordan Walker
“Your brand isn’t just about you. It’s about how you show up for other people and serve them.”
— Ashley Northington
Recently, I had the privilege of attending a workshop led by Ashley Northington, Director of Denor Brands, during which she took the group through a series of exercises to help us unearth the values and language of our authentic brand/story. Through this process, we began with writing sentences, then one sentence, and finally six words to capture “our story” as professionals and as people. In the midst of that, my one-sentence story/personal manifested as, “I see beauty everywhere and want to connect with others by doing the same.”
Admittedly, I’m not entirely sure if I meant that I want to build relationships by seeing the beauty inherent in others and sharing that with them, or helping them see beauty in their own right, or both. Probably the last one and more, but, if this process of discernment and engaging in conversations with amazing thought leaders has taught me anything…baby steps seems to be more than just conventional wisdom, especially since I have no right to call something beautiful on someone else’s behalf; art and creation is a dialogue, not a monologue.
With those baby steps in mind, I can’t help but look at the toolbox I always reach for when I begin doing something that requires a bit of my soul to bring forth…inspiring quotes by writers I love, music that captures the spirit of what I’m feeling, art that stills me in the midst of chaos of everyday life. In short, beauty.
It sounds trite in a way, but the inspiration of others inspires me. Perhaps it’s the witness of discipline bringing forth something new, something beautiful: “To love means to open ourselves to the negative as well as the positive - to grief, sorrow, and disappointment as well as to joy, fulfillment, and an intensity of consciousness we did not know was possible before” (Rollo May). And, in that vein, this work of self-discovery is a process, a conscientious cultivation, a commitment to the questions (“Live the questions…,” as Rilke exhorts), and to believe, in spite of and because of everything, that something will come from all that is being asked of us. Again, something beautiful.
I would be lying if I said I don’t struggle with depression and discouragement, a sense of apathy when I allow myself the false entitlement of being owed something. I don’t believe we’re owed anything, but we are given everything. It’s just a matter of living out the process and creating ourselves with all the raw goods—stardust and earth and the Ruach of God.
What this might mean for my brand and vocational journey, I don’t quite know yet, and I’m trying to be okay with that. Such lessons have been the gifts of partnering in conversation with sages like Linda (my Professional Development Coach), David Hutchens (and his Leadership Story Deck) & now, Ashley. They have all been gifts beyond measure to my journey, and I’m grateful. I see beauty in them and have no words for the affirmations of beauty within myself that they have helped me see. (Thank you all…)
"There's only one thing in life, and that's the continual renewal of inspiration."
I am a Nashville-based nonprofit professional with experience across Human Services, Community Engagement, Hospitality, Development & Marketing. In tandem with this employment experience, I also hold a B.S. in Human & Organizational Development (with a concentration in Health & Human Services) & a Master of Divinity from Vanderbilt University.
I bring the drive to take initiative, to solve problems collectively & efficiently, to continue pursuing lifelong learning, to embrace challenge & growth as an employee & person, to tell the story of organizations & stakeholders in honor of the Hero's Journey that lives in both of these narratives & to align myself with work that is both practically addressing social issues, as well as honoring the process of community formation in the process.