Recently, I had a night where I wasn’t sure if I was having a heart attack or heartburn. Before the doctor inside all of you starts to worry, my heartburn is currently under the watchful care of a doctor — all is good, no need to worry! But, since then, I stopped to take a hard look at where I am in life and examine my day-to-day tasks to make sure my heart is true to my actions.
Yes, 2020 was filled with heartaches, and I am sure 2021 is going to have its fair share of them as well. But, in 2020, I also experienced the fluttering beat of excitement over the thrill of success when we made the impossible possible, and the steady beat of a late-night of work reminding me to keep moving forward to make sure things weren’t just done, they were done right.
I learned you need both the flutter and the steady beat in your life. You need to exercise and you need time to relax. You need sunshine and darkness. Utahns need heat (for golfing) and cold (for snow and skiing). And, you need success and failure. If life always stays warm how can you appreciate a hot summer day with a cool dip in a pool or a crisp morning on the slopes followed by a steaming thermos of hot chocolate? If you don’t take a step forward, even if it’s down the wrong path and you have to come back to do it over, how can you appreciate the hike through the meadow?
I will admit, and maybe you are like me, I sometimes build invisible walls around my heart called fear, doubt, embarrassment, and shame. Sometimes when the walls stop me from moving forward I start believing them. “Don’t go swimming, you’ll drown.” Even though my head says “Jump! It’s hot. You know how to swim.” Logical thoughts go out the window and I begin to feel afraid to try new adventures or doubt myself thinking I can’t be as good as someone else which makes me feel embarrassed or ashamed of my actions. What hurts my heart, even more, is that fear, doubt, embarrassment, and shame invoke lasting memories. When I feel any of these emotions, I can remember them for years and years.
This February, I want to take the walls down. I want to label them what they are, “invisible walls” and “walls that won’t hold me back.” I won’t let them harden my heart. And, I won’t let any failures I may experience live in my memories taking away the heart flutters that bring me joy and peace.
February is also the perfect time to break your walls down and send “notes of love and appreciation” to those people in your life, who make your heart flutter. Especially to those who are staying sheltered like the elderly and single adults. Let your heart lead to positive and prosperous actions.
If you or someone you know needs help breaking down the walls, the Salt Lake Chamber’s non-profit social impact foundation: Utah Community Builders started a campaign to provide Utah business leaders with information, tools, and resources to improve the “mental fitness” of their employees, thus elevating the mental and emotional resilience of Utah’s workforce, and by extension all Utahns. For information on this campaign, visit slchamber.com/workforceresilience.
Finally, I would also encourage you to donate to the American Heart Association. Help those we love to live happier, heart-healthier lives. Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of women. Together, we can be an even more relentless force for good. To learn more, visit heart.org/en/affiliates/utah/welcome-to-utah.
VP of Programs & Events, Salt Lake Chamber
Jackie Sexton is the Vice President of programs and events and is responsible for events such as Giant In Our City, Classic Golf Tournament, Annual Meeting and Small Business Awards Luncheon, Utah Economic Review, Legislative Reception, and the Women & Business Conference. She also oversees the networking events such as Business After Hours, Leadership Utah, Leadership Utah Alumni and the Military Affairs Committee. Jackie has worked for the Chamber since 1998. She has also held positions in the Chamber’s Women’s Business Center and Marketing Department prior to joining and now leading the event staff. She attended Weber State University where she majored in business management and information technology and received a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the University of Phoenix. Jackie and her husband Rod have two daughters. Over the past few years she’s turned into an excellent chauffeur, a wickedly cool softball mom and a pitiful maid.
ABOUT THE BUSINESS WOMEN’S FORUM: The Business Women’s Forum (BWF) is a program organized by the Salt Lake Chamber where local women managers, executives and entrepreneurs meet to improve their personal development and networking skills through bi-monthly luncheons and mixers. For more information on BWF, visit slchamber.com/business-womens-forum.