I LOVE reading about inspiring people and for some reason the winter months my brain needs the boost. The beginning of a new year brought me to the book, “Imperfect Courage” by Noonday Collection Founder, Jessica Honegger.
It was a fun read that shared her life experiences, the faith needed to leap and the courage she learned along the way in creating the largest fair-trade jewelry company in the world. And that in only five years, Noonday Collections would be named by Inc. Magazine as the forty-fifth fastest growing business in the U.S.
I wanted to do a post on some of my personal highlights (literally) from her journey. enjoy.
“Its tempting to bubble wrap our lives. Layer upon layer of protection means we stay unbroken, right through to the end. We wrap ourselves in fear. We wrap ourselves in isolation. We wrap ourselves in nightly glasses of wine in our beloved Instagram feed. We avoid real issues involving real people who live int he real world because, What if I get hurt? And yet what does this approach yield for us? A life of boredom, a lack of impact, spiritual death.
“Amidst safety the world has never before known,” Andy wrote, “the greatest spiritual struggle many of us face is to be willing to take off our bubble wrap.”
“We know that outside our front door, something much more fulfilling lies in wait. But instead of pursuing the desires of our heart, we spend our energy in defense mode, trying to avoid disappointment, betrayal, and pain. Something in us clings to these places of safety and makes it difficult to stand—even as something deeper within us longs to stand up, to eventually rise.”
I LOVE that metaphor—bubble wrap lives. You can visualize how many of us live. I live in Utah and we have an even bigger sense of living in a bubble. I think many of us have a deeper desire to do more, be more, live more, but safety is so warm and inviting. I enjoy visualizing what it would be like to take each day and pop a piece of the bubble wrap and begin to step beyond. To take one little step each day to fulfilling a meaningful life.
“regardless of these internalized messages about staying safe and playing it small, there comes a time when each of us is called to use our one and only life to risk big and act boldly on behalf of something or someone we prize. To refuse to act just isn’t an option; we simply must move. Maybe inviting that quiet colleague to lunch will help her feel known. Maybe our simple presence will comfort a friend who is lying in a hospital bed. Maybe a quick but heartfelt “You got this” on Facebook will reassure a friend. Maybe showing up for the foster care info session will change our lives forever. Maybe our timely arrival will confirm for that lonely one that were there for them. Whatever the situation, we know that its our time to rise.”
I like how the simple, little things make a difference. It is a good reminder to just be present for who may need you TODAY, in this moment. I think it is easy to think we need to do great, big service to rise and do big work, but even the little notes, the genuine call, being with a need places you where you are needed most.
Jessica was sitting with one of her Ugandan artisan partners and asking her about dreams for the future, and she answered, “I simply want to live and not die. Most Ugandans die before the age of fifty-five. Jessica, I want to live.”
Wow, that statement really stuck with me. We live in a country where people live to be almost 100. This book had many moments that made me grateful for having hospitals, a 911 service for an emergency, clean water, safe environments, respect of women, that I have a voice and so many small things we take for granted. It was humbling to think how much we take for granted.
“There is a saying in Uganda: “You look so smart today.” It’s an expression used when speaking of appearance, but it speaks so much more to the whole person as well.”
I love the thought of making a statement that encompasses the whole person, not just the exterior.
“You know what Oprah said she learned from the thirty thousand interviews she did?” They all wanted validation…Every single person you will ever meet shares that common desire. They want to know: ‘Do you see me? Do you hear me? Does what I say mean anything to you?”
Think about how you feel in conversations with other people. How do you feel? I do believe this is a sincere need we all share. Remember this need in all you do.
“If there is one formula that I can share with you, it is this: vulnerability, when met with empathy, leads to wholeness. It works this way every time.”
This is a genuine path to connection with others. When we are vulnerable, we almost open up and we are able to sit with the empathy we need to connect on deeper levels, which leads to whole relationships—with ourself and others.
“If you’re longing to leave a life of safety for a life of risk, meaning, and impact, then please read this carefully: you cannot get there on your own. You–even you–were made for community. To flourish, we must work with, not against, togetherness, and to prize togetherness, we must come out of isolation and be seen.”
This is one big struggle for me on a personal level. All around me are people in the same religious organization who do not seem to need me and I have struggled to need them. People in my neighborhood feel it is there duty to invite my family to specific meetings or activities, so they drop in for an invite. I will have deep conversations with them and then wont see them again for six months or a year. I see them walk by my house every day, but the depth of connection is never seemingly genuine, so it is hard to want or need to reach out. It is a struggle, but I do my best to invest in those who I feel do genuinely need me. I am a constant work in progress. Aren’t we all! smile. smile.
“Keep going scared.”
I like this motto she shares throughout the book. To me it says, no matter what, keep going even if you are scared, fearful. Walk through the scary thoughts or insecurities. To do something worthwhile, there will be obstacles that will terrify us. Keep going scared.
“When we own our worth and share our truth, not only are we more apt to taking ever-increasing risks but also we let others take big risks on us.”
When we begin to see our own value, others will see it within us. It is like the light you share–if you don’t feel the light within, then how can you light up another? When we feel of our inner worth and are able to find a deeper truth, there is a light, a purpose, a drive, a divine direction that guides us and others will see the excitement, the enthusiasm (God within) that shines from us.
“I want us to be people who cultivate compassion and create spaces of belonging for those around us.”
Who doesn’t want connection?? One of my greatest connections has come from finding a stray cat, which led me meeting a young 18-year-old girl who had just got out of foster care earlier this year. We have had an immediate connection & we have been a great gift to one another’s life. We cultivate love and compassion for one another. We can genuinely be gifts to one another when we open up the spaces—even with strangers.
“The Sisterhood Effect happens when women refuse to let perceived threats strangle our relationships, when we let empathy triumph over judgement and let collaboration win over comparison.”
Comparison is definitely a tool that can strangle relationships. If we are not aware of our own tendencies, then how do we avoid this trap? We are surrounded by social media that creates envy and judgement. Be careful. Things are NOT always as they seem.
“What it comes down to is this: there are two ways to approach people in this one precious life, and only one of them is worth doing. You can either judge, condemn, disregard, and indict people, deciding that they are shallow, an inconvenience, a mess; OR you can learn about, affirm, celebrate, and love them, offering them compassion at every turn. You can choose to assume positive intent–to assume that someone is doing the best she can, instead of jumping to the conclusion that she is acting out of malice or laziness or a sense of superiority.”
JUST LOVE. period.
“If we are going to live for something bigger than ourselves in this world, it’s essential that we widen our circles to include not just ourselves, not just our neighbors, but people around the world.”
Circles are round and are a good metaphor of coming full circle, wholeness, fulfilled, becoming our best, doing our best. Circle of friendship. A globe. It is a beautiful symbol that is a great reminder of something bigger.
This book was a great read. It is full of wonderful perspectives, great stories, real life and ways to become better individuals that can inspire a better world.
Have a beautiful day! Find hope and rise to your best. -Peace to you.