Tag Archives: The Anxious Wonder Woman

Don’t Hide Your Hustle: Johnna, Faith-Based Community Organizer

Welcome to Don’t Hide Your Hustle, a Finding Delight series that explores the myriad of ways to make a living in 2017. I’m asking folks to share how they hustle over the course of one work-day (which usually extends far beyond a 9 – 5 situation).

Today, I present you with Johnna’s story. As a community organizer, Johnna works with and for others in order to secure a better city for all – and she’s got the perfect positive attitude for such a task. She’s also a huge fan of a holistic approach to health, both for herself, and the readers of her awesome blog. Let’s check out her hustle!

Johnna, The Anxious Wonder Woman

Hello beautiful people! My name is Johnna and I’m a faith-based community organizer. If you don’t know what that means, you probably still won’t after you read this post. But that’s because it really just depends on the day and time of year. In general, I coach volunteer leaders from different congregations to build and use people-power to hold public officials accountable to doing justice in our city.

I also have a blog on health and wellness called The Anxious Wonder Woman. My health journey has been through a lot of ups and downs, mainly because I used to focus too much on my physical health instead of my mental health. When I started going to therapy, that changed. Now, it’s my mission to be open and honest about all aspects of my healthy lifestyle, including my anxiety. And I want to empower other women to think about their health in a way that is sustainable and holistic! Eventually I’ll use the coaching skills I’ve gained from community organizing to help individuals that want to improve their overall wellness. But for now, you can get it all for free on the blog since my job is more than enough for me. 😉

Today I’m going to give you a glimpse into my first day back at work from a 9-day vacation. Probably not the best choice on my part, but it will give you a good idea of how many things I manage to juggle in one day! So without further ado, a day in the life…

6:30 am – Wake up to take my temperature. I use a natural method of birth control, which means I need to take my basal body temperature every day at the same time. Usually I wake up after that. Today, since I’m still tired from jetlag, I decide to go back to sleep.

7:30 am – I read my email (I always start with the latest news from The Daily Skimm), drink some coffee, and eat breakfast. Oh, and I read any updates from blogs I follow. I do all of this in bed. There are no crumbs in bed, I promise! Coffee stains might be a different story.

8:15 am – I start getting ready for the day. Then I leave the house. I have a meeting at 10 at the Panera in town, but I decide to go ahead and leave so I can get some work done beforehand.

8:45 am – I send emails that I ignored while I was on vacation. Out of office email responses are so good for my sanity.

9 am – I have a phone call with the Executive Director of the umbrella community organizing nonprofit I’m a part of. They’re starting a new mentor program for second year organizers. My one year anniversary with this job is in August, so it was good to think about my strengths, the work tasks that really energized me, the things I still want to learn, and who I look up to in the network. Can’t wait to see how that goes!

9:30 am – Since I have some time before my 10 o’clock meeting, I decide to check in on the various Facebook groups I’m a part of for my blog. I also start finalizing the blog post I’m writing about my 9-day vacation to some West Coast National Parks. I put the notes I took during the trip into a WordPress page and do some research for the best SEO keywords.

10 am – I meet with someone from one of the churches I work with. This was our first meeting, so it’s mainly getting to know her and sharing some things about myself. Organizers actually call these meetings “1-1s”. Because, you know, you’re meeting 1-on-1 with another person. These 1-1s are essential to our work. It lets us dig deeper than the surface level Q-and-A’s that we typically get when we’re talking to someone. We try to really understand the underlying values and motives that drive us to do the things we do in life. It’s actually pretty hard to do, because it takes a lot of courage to ask the questions we all normally shy away from.

10:45 am – I drive to the office.

11 am – I do research for a community business that I’m meeting with later today. Currently, we are in our Investment Drive, when we raise the majority of our money for the year. We do that through investments from individuals in each congregation, but also by having meetings with different businesses in the city. That being said, the real purpose of these corporate visits are to build relationships of mutual respect with business leaders. The money is just a measure of how much respect we’ve gotten.

12 PM – The three volunteer leaders joining me for the corporate visit came an hour early to practice. I coach them on our organizations’ script, as well as what we can expect from the business and its CEO based on my research.

1 pm – We meet with a well-known hospital in the area. These corporate visits only last about 20 or 30 minutes, since the business leaders are super busy. This one was a little longer, but it was only because there were a lot of questions and answers.

1:30 pm – We always evaluate the corporate visits right after. Basically, evaluation is an important part of community organizing. So we do it after everything. After corporate visits, after big events, after research meetings…anything you can think of, there’s an evaluation for it right after! While this can get sort of tedious, it’s really important. You can’t improve if you’re not thinking about what worked and what didn’t.

2 pm – After my leaders leave, I take my own notes on the visit. Notes are also important to community organizing. There isn’t a lot of collective memory in this work unless it’s all written down. The point of a good community organizer is that the work can still go on without them!

2:30 pm – I order lunch because I realize I haven’t had any food yet. I’ve gotten pretty tired of the food within driving distance of the office, so I order Jimmy John’s. I think mainly because I saw someone get Jimmy John’s at the hospital we were just at. Subliminal messaging is pretty powerful, I guess!

3 pm – My lead organizer and I catch up. We have a big 5-day training starting tomorrow, so we need to get organized and on the same page about what needs to happen for that.

4:30 pm – I work on some social media for my blog. Specifically, I plan Facebook posts and interact with others on Instagram.

5:30 pm – I write a rough draft of some blog posts and comment on other blogs.

6 pm – I have another 1-1. This time it’s with someone who has been a leader at the church for longer. I’m new to working with her church, though, so it’s another first meeting.

7 pm – I talk on the phone with a friend on the drive home. This is someone I’ve been meaning to call for a few weeks now, because she’s going through some problems in her relationship. We’ve texted, but a phone call is the only real way to talk through those sorts of things. I tend to make calls, with my phone on speaker, while I’m driving. I know, I know. That’s bad. But I like to take advantage of all the time I can! As soon as I got home, I eat dinner really quickly.

7:30 pm – I make some calls for work. Since many of my leaders work during the day, I have to find time for evening calls a few times during the week. Weekend calls are also the only way I can reach some people.

8:30 pm – I do yoga for stress and anxiety.

9:30 pm – I work on this blog post and respond to emails! My boyfriend watches TV while I’m on the computer. He interrupts me for a bit because he loves cuddling. Ever since I started my blog, I think he feels a little ignored. 😛

Thanks so much for sharing your hustle, Johnna! Do you guys have any questions for her? Do any of you work in a similar field?  

P.S. Are you a hustler willing to share your story? Let’s chat! I would love to know how you’re making money while following your dreams in 2017. Shoot me an email — ebeth.berger@gmail.com. Thanks!

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