The Missing Part – Meet Jenn (YEG)

For today’s intro, I want to introduce you to LC. Originally from Edmonton, she’s one of the leaders of November Project Montreal.

Bonjour from snowy Montréal! It is my honour and privilege to introduce NP Canada’s most recent Positivity Award Recipient, Jenn Nealon (or as Nadim and I like to call her: 2N-Jenn. Not to be confused with 1N-Jen Ference).

I have been friends with Jenn since we were in the first grade. If you know her, then you’re lucky. Jenn is hugely compassionate, patient, and dependable, she is a fantastic human and outstanding friend. She has helped me through many a tough time, from grade 2 math (when she let me copy the answers in her workbook) to my quarter-life-crisis. When I invited her to November Project in Edmonton, it was because I needed an #accountabilitybuddy – she’ll tell you I got her going to NP, but it’s the other way around. Jenn’s engagement in NP is entirely due to her own drive, effort, and resolution to #justshowup.

When my commitment waned, Jenn took on bridge runs, trail races, -30 temperatures, and The Old 96’er solo. She has become a force in realizing her own dreams, but also a reliable support for those around her. I don’t tell her enough, but I’m not only proud of what she’s accomplished this past year, but I’m profoundly inspired by her journey to this point. She reminds me that a commitment to #justshowup can change your life. Anyone that knows Jenn can attest to the power of her good vibes and positive influence, which is why she is so deserving of this award. Jenn, I love you, and so do your friends, keep slaying.

xoxo, LC (Lauren)

My longtime friend, Lauren, convinced me to wake up early and meet her at Royal Glenora Stairs . It was May 27, 2015 the first day I decided to “just show up”. I’ve always considered myself to be active and waking up early was never an issue as I played sports growing up that required early morning practices. I have thanked Lauren numerous times for what she has done by introducing November Project to me. She replies with something along the lines of “you’re welcome, but I only introduced you to NP, your decision to continuously show up is all you”.  Which leads me to why I still decide to show up. The reason I got hooked to showing up has been the people, the comradery and the friendships.

If I look back at who I was before November Project, I barely recognize the person. For the longest time, I accepted the fact that I struggled with depression and anxiety and that I always had excuses for not pushing myself past my comfort zone. I was diagnosed with social anxiety. Most social situations made me anxious, especially if I was by myself.  In my early to mid-twenties, I carried Ativan with me so I could go out with my friends to birthday parties, ski trips, cabins and weekend getaways. If I had a panic attack and bailed on my friends, it would take some time before they would invite me out again. This got very tiresome and tough to overcome as I immediately thought I wasn’t good enough, cool enough or fun enough and that there was something wrong with me. I accepted that to be my life.  I did not have the confidence to push myself to try new things, meet new people or travel on my own.

When I first started to come to the workouts, I would always make sure my friend, Lauren would be there too. If she couldn’t make it, neither would I. I did not communicate with many people and I was not meeting any new friends. It took me a little while to open up and reap all the benefits November Project has to offer. The cool thing with this whole movement, is that everyone has a different story as to why they come and why they continue to show up. (You should try to learn as many as you can, I’m sure someone has a similar story to yours – make that connection). Some people decide to show up on their own, some people need an #accountabilitybuddy. You may come immediately after hearing about November Project or you may take a little longer to convince yourself to show up. Whenever you decide to show up or speak up, know that there is a great group of people waiting to get to know you!  The tribe makes everyone feel welcomed and appreciated.

As the days got colder and darker, I stopped showing up. I took the ever so popular winter break. (I highly recommend you do not do this). Once I pushed through the cold winter of 2017 and earned my -30 badge, I knew I was hooked. There wasn’t anything that would stop me from showing up. I proved to myself that no matter the cold weather, the dark mornings, the snow, I knew that I could push myself for 30 minutes. November Project has taught me to hold myself accountable. With the confidence to push myself for 30 mins, I was able to convince myself to run a 5km race, a 10km race and most recently a half marathon.  When you believe in yourself and you have a tribe of inspiring people who also believe in you, anything is possible.

This past year I have seen my biggest personal growth #thisis30. My friends and family continue to comment that they have seen so many positive mental changes in me and they are happy that I have found something that brings me so much joy. I feel like I have found a part of myself that was missing. I love all the benefits I have gained outside of the November Project workouts three times a week.  I have met so many incredible people who have encouraged me to set goals and chase my dreams, not only with running or physical activities but in my everyday life. It’s amazing how a supportive group of people can have such a huge impact on your life just by being there. I show up because I hope that by being there I can help impact someone else’s life.  Knowing how much my life has changed from people being there for me is pretty incredible. There is so much to be said for starting your day with a positive attitude and hips in hugs.

My life has been immensely changed thanks to November Project. I never imagined I would be comfortable enough to travel on my own. I say on my own, as in not having any family members or childhood best friends who understand my anxiety. I had always thought I needed them to be able to do anything.  Thanks to the people I surround myself with now more frequently, I was able to get to Milwaukee this year. Huge thank you to the tribe members who helped me get through that trip. I have also had the privilege of #traverballing and attending two summits. Every time I’ve been to a different city, the experience has been the same. Uplifting, positive and encouraging.  I’m excited to keep travelling and visiting other tribes around the world. I plan my vacations around cities and days of the week where I could attend a November Project workout.

Aside from the amazing people I have met through showing up, I also show up for the physical activity. It may only be 30 minutes workout Monday, Wednesday, Friday but there are numerous people who are constantly training for races and who are willing to go for a run, swim or bike with you during the week. As a result of training more frequently and eating better, I’ve been able to shed a few pounds. I am really looking forward to signing up and running more races next year.

To the tribe, thank you for the encouragement, thank you for the positivity, thank you for teaching me to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, thank you for understanding and not judging, thank you for pushing my boundaries. This is the most welcoming and encouraging group of people! I am eternally grateful.

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One Reply to “The Missing Part – Meet Jenn (YEG)”

  1. So proud of you yenn yenn! I’m so unbelievably happy that you have found such an amazing group! Thank you NP! you really have changed my little sisters life! You have given her the strength to blossom into such a beautiful person that I knew was always there but was sometimes hiding behind the challenges she faced with mental health. You are so much more than just a physical activity you really are changing lives! I’m forever grateful to this movement for helping my beautiful sister break the chains she was struggling with and giving her an outlet to feel supported and valued. There are no words that express how truly proud I am of all she has accomplished! She came to visit me all by herself! For many people that may seem like such an easy small task but it was actually a profound achievement that I was hoping one day would happen! So much love to all of you!

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