An oversized denim shirt that once hung from my dad’s broad shoulders in the 90’s, is what I wore on the day my nana died. It was a year ago, March 3rd when the person who raised me was taking her very last breaths, and I couldn’t stand being with her for more than a minute at a time.
Much of my last year has been about grief, and death. Myself, my nana, my world, the world.
I’ve waited until the very last moment of writing this book to talk about her, though she is a part of every page.
A Virgo who taught astrology to housewives in the 50’s. A writer, a painter, and my mother. She didn’t birth me, but she was my mother.
Wiping every tear, holding every pain, always. And I, couldn’t stand in a room with her as her body stopped working for more than a minute. My sister, however, hung to her bed like she lived there too. Dying, too.
When my nana died, I wasn’t sad about death, I was sad that the only person I felt held me in deep love, was no longer here. Jan Turner created a space for my wholeness in a way that you only read about in books and watch in movies that don’t seem real. Love that makes you think “wow, that’s nice but not real because it’s a movie”.
There wasn’t one part of my humanness that wasn’t seen, loved, and accepted without question. Maybe a few questions, but never shame.
As an entrepreneur, her love is the space and wholeness I hope to coach with.
She taught an astrology course called, The Magic of Understanding in the 50’s. The same principles in which she taught of the stars, she raised me with. Which is also how I see business. It’s not about right, and wrong, or hierarchy.
Business isn’t really about business, it’s about humans.
The business space says it’s all about humans. See them, hear them, give them value. And somewhere in all that noise, humans and their needs, started to become less important. As long as the actions were there, it was enough.
So folks gave their money to other folks, and always felt a bit far away from themselves. They felt hopeful at first, which slowly turned into ‘am I okay”?
When we move human first in business, it means we acknowledge privilege, trauma, and lived experience. Just like nana did with astrology. I wish I would have thought she was as cool as I see her now when I was 8.
Human first means we…
See someone in their wholeness, and don’t ask them to leave pieces of themselves behind to fit into our work.
Believe their experiences.
Don’t center ourselves.
Make room for the full scale of human emotion.
Remain trauma informed.
When we do all these things, sometimes our client work doesn’t fit into nice frameworks, because people weren’t meant to fit into frameworks. Which can make business messy and make bro marketing all that more appealing.
I get it, it’s much easier to say someone has a mindset block and give them a quick piece of homework that might have worked for you, than to move with something that wasn’t given to you in the dozens of entrepreneur books you read.
It’s easier to act as if someone’s objection to work with you has something to do with your own value, than to believe them when they say it’s not a right fit.
Your human first business will come as a result of creating trauma informed spaces, doing anti-racism work beyond sharing in your stories, creating spaces built off of more than just your own human experience and needs, and always seeking to meet the person in front of you where they are at—not to the degree in which you’ve met yourself and got comfortable there.
What I loved most about my nana was the room she created for more than just the rules, or the way things ‘should’ be.
Just like she made toast, ‘butter to the edges’, she’d say, is how I hope we can do business.
Taking what is, and expanding humanity all the way to the edges, too.