How To Master Communication And Conflict Resolution Skills With Jenn Whitmer

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If you want to improve your communication and build stronger relationships, then stay tuned because this episode is for you.

Today’s guest, Jenn Whitmer, is passionate about helping people learn how to resolve conflict in a manner that fosters communication and helps strengthen relationships. 

I’ve experienced conflict just like everybody has in both my personal as well as my professional relationships. Over the years, I’ve learned that there are many different ways to go about managing these types of situations and this is exactly what I’m going to be talking to Jenn about on today’s show. 

Jenn Whitmer is a coach, author, and speaker that shows people how to resolve conflict in a way that helps foster communication with over 20 years of experience. Jen loves helping people communicate through difficulty so they all come out stronger on the other side. 

She shared with us some of her favorite strategies sourced from her own experience in this episode.  Watch, listen or check out the transcript to get our full conversation.

Episode Highlights

Across the world, people communicate in different ways.

 What’s common for your own community is not common on the opposite ends of the world. This was the case for Jen when she traveled the world as you know, a child and 18 through her college years. And it’s something that I learned myself while hosting au pairs through the au pair exchange program. It’s very easy for us to take, you know, insult to something that was never intended to be that way because it’s a cultural norm wherever that person is from. So always be mindful that communication internationally is different everywhere and never take anything personally. 

Always make sure to make time and appreciate each other

While both Jenn and her husband were having both difficulty selling their home as well as when her husband had lost his job, they still made time for regular date nights doing inexpensive activities all within their means. They still made it a priority to be able to connect with each other and it was through that time invested in that kind of connection that by the time they emerge out the other side, they were a strong couple but I haven’t walked through it together.

The other person is not the problem

 The other person is not the problem, that it’s the two of you going through the problem together. So and Jen’s experience, especially in communicating with her husband during their difficult times, they both had to learn that anytime something difficult came up, the problem was independent of them and it was up to them to work together as a team to find solutions to that problem.

You are not a tree.  You can move.

If you are in an environment that’s toxic or you’re in a situation that you do not like, you have the option to remove yourself from said situation.  Ultimately you have the choice of whether or not you want to accept that type of behavior and whether or not you want to put up with it. So remember, you’re not a tree. You can move on to bigger and better things. 

So I want to hear what is your favorite takeaway from today’s episode? Be sure to drop me a comment below or take a screenshot of this video and tag me or DM on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and let me know. I’m going to be featuring my favorite comments and future episodes. 

Show Transcription:

Corrie Lo: 00:00 If you want to improve your communication and build stronger relationships and stay tuned because this episode is for you. Today’s guest, Jen Whitmer, is passionate about helping people learn how to resolve conflict in a manner that fosters communication and helps strengthen relationships. You’ll want to stick around to the end because you’ll know how to become a better problem solver, how to resolve conflict and just be an all around better person.

Corrie Lo: 00:24 I’ve experienced conflict just like everybody has in both my personal as well as my professional relationships. Over the years, I’ve learned that there are many different ways to go about managing these types of situations and this is exactly what I’m going to be talking to with today’s guest on the show. Before we go ahead and get started if you enjoy both motivational as well as self-improvement content, just like this interview, be sure to go ahead and hit subscribe and tap the bell so you get updated the next time, new episode hair. Now let’s dive into today’s show. Today’s guest, Jen Whitmer is a coach, author, and speaker that shows people how to resolve conflict in a way that helps foster communication with over 20 years of experience. Jen loves helping people communicate through difficulty so they all come out stronger on the other side. I’m so excited to have Jen share her inspirational story with you today and now it’s time for the story to begin.

Corrie Lo: 01:23 Good morning or good afternoon or evening, wherever you are. Cory, low show. I’ve [inaudible] so excited to introduce my guest for today. I’ve got Jen Whitmer with us. How are you doing today, Jen?

Jen Whitmer: 01:37 Good, how are you? Thank you. Uh, so

Corrie Lo: 01:42 every single episode I do of this show, I always ask my guests the very same question and we kind of walk along your journey from start to finish. So Jen, what was childhood like for you?

Jen Whitmer: 01:53 Um, I am one of those people that just really had a good childhood. I, um, enjoyed my family. I was an only child for a really long time, but I had an extended Italian family around me all the time. So I grew up with my cousin and aunts and uncles and everybody all-around in the town. My dad grew up with, my mom lived and grew up on the East coast. I grew up in the Midwest. And so I also got to spend a lot of time traveling. So I would go lots of different places with her while my dad served in the military for different weeks at a time. And so I got to do a lot of really fun things and enjoyed learning and being with friends and I just really had a great childhood.

Corrie Lo: 02:34 Oh, how fun. So you know, and I know when we were talking a little bit earlier, you had mentioned you thought that travel was a big thing for you. So did you not travel

Jen Whitmer: 02:43 at an early age as early as your mom? So what was that like for you as you kind of transitioned into young adulthood? Yeah, well, I, um, as I said, I was traveled with my mom when my dad would do two weeks, who’s in the Marines, two-week reserve things. And so it would be the two of us in a car. And I learned how to read a map and we learned how to stop at interesting places. I always enjoyed finding out what the people were like in that place. And um, it was always, there were cool things to see, but it was always about how did the people interact with these school things. I’ve always been a lover of history as well. So seeing those things, and I used to go to New York every other year and the off years we’d go to DDC and um, and added places in between.

Jen Whitmer: 03:24 And my parents were big drivers and campers, so we would always stay in those. Um, you know, you got to see it as you went. And I loved that. And as I transitioned to adulthood, I went to a high school that had, was a really big high school and had lots of different travel opportunities. I went with choirs and I went with orchestras, but my senior year I had, or junior year I had a teacher who had grown up in Israel. And so he just really pushed this idea of international travel. And I had done a short, small trip to Mexico from the Midwest, but traveling over the ocean was a new thing. And um, so I said money and went with six students and we traveled in Israel. So it was my first international trip and just seeing such a different place than the Midwest really was like, Oh, there are all these people and everybody is different.

Jen Whitmer: 04:15 And there’s so much joy in that. Um, and so as I traveled to adulthood and then I, I knew that I wanted to travel overseas and do study abroad when I was in college. And so that was really important to me. And I ended up in Oxford and studying American history in Oxford, which was really fun. Yeah, it was great. America, it was fantastic. And music history, so I did and Holocaust literature. So I did a lot of different things that I was there, but I’m just living and working in a different country a couple of different times now has really shown me that people, while the same, they have the same motivations, the same internal things, the way that impacts their culture impacts, the output of that is fascinating and also needs to be taken into account when you’re interacting with people. So we may have the same motivation, but that shows up differently because of cultural influences, a family, country language, other different kinds of expectations. And that’s really important in communication. So as I transitioned to adulthood, that’s one of the things that I learned really early on of how that impacts who we are.

Corrie Lo: 05:21 That’s so, so wonderful that you got to learn that at such a young age. Cause I know for me, well I didn’t really learn that until much, much later. I was part of the AU pair program.

Jen Whitmer: 05:34 Oh wow. Oh, mom,

Corrie Lo: 05:36 You know, and I, I have a son and I didn’t know what to do as far as childcare goes. So I’m like, all right, well let me, you know, check out this AU pair program, which is basically a foreign exchange student. You give them like a, a place to stay and food and whatever else and they watch your kid. And um, you know, culturally, you know, we, I always hosted, um, young women from South America and it was interesting cause it, they’re all various countries so none of them were from the same country. And each one of them had little things. Like I remembered being so insulted once over Christmas I gave one girl, you know, Christmas gift and she left the room to go over and come to find out later. Like that’s what they do in her country. But it was completely normal. Yeah. I think it’s great to be able to at such a young age like that, you know, cause I expose my son to it, you know, having, you know, these women come and live with us. But for you to be able to explore that I at the age that you did, I mean, what a incredible eyeopening,

Jen Whitmer: 06:32 Valuable. And I think some of it comes from my dad’s, my dad’s side of the family was Italian immigrants. And so there was always a little bit of difference and clearly different between my dad’s family, this Italian immigrant community and my mom’s family were sent of them, literally came over on the Mayflower and all live in new England. So even in my own home I watched that happen. But I think that was not necessarily a conscious, um, absorption of that understanding. But then when I was old enough to say, Oh,

Corrie Lo: 06:59 I see this experience magnified and expanded all over the world. Right. Wow. Awesome. All right. So you studied American history at Oxford.

Jen Whitmer: 07:12 Um, well we came back and actually got engaged to my high school sweetheart and we got married in college. I was actually a music ed major and so we got married between my junior and senior year before I did student teaching and all of that kind of thing and lived on campus and made student housing. Um, started our,

Corrie Lo: 07:30 I don’t know why they cuddled 21. How fun is that? So, so being so young, you know, and experiencing that, what gave you both the confidence to know that like, now’s the time to do it? Cause right now, I mean it’s so the opposite of what most, you know what I hear most millennials are waiting. Yeah. Yeah. He married until later and later. So what gave you guys the confidence to know this is the right time right now?

Jen Whitmer: 07:51 Well, I think a couple of different things. One is it wasn’t culturally as abnormal. It wasn’t typical, but it wasn’t abnormal. And like I was at a college that had married student housing. So there was, you know, and I knew people who lived there. So I knew it wasn’t unheard of. Um, we had known each other since we were four, so we’d had a really long time to know one another. Um, our moms were really good friends. Our dads both worked for the city we grew up in, and my dad worked for the water department. His dad was a firefighter, you know, like, so we had lots of different connections in different ways. So we knew we were really, really good friends. And, um, we had talked with our families and people in our church and we had been leading youth groups. I was in the classroom quite a bit.

Jen Whitmer: 08:35 So we felt like while we were yes young, we were, we had a lot of people around us to help us make that choice. We weren’t just like, Oh yes, let’s do this and go off to Vegas. You know, it was a, I really hated being engaged, but it was a good time to like learn some of those really difficult things and the decision we can grow together. We’re both young enough that we can grow together. We’re not so set in our ways. We haven’t done those things. And for people who get married in their thirties and late twenties, thirties, forties, there’s are just different challenges that you face. It’s not better or worse, but when you get married young, you have a different opportunity to, um, mold and shape into becoming one. So you learn how to separate and come together in just a different way. And uh, so I dunno if the competence was, Hey, we really love each other, which we did.

Jen Whitmer: 09:27 But after it now we’ve been married for more than 22 years. It’s kind of, we love each other more now. So it’s hard to say, Oh, we were selling little, I mean we were, but we’ve learned how to love one another and grow up together at the same time. How beautiful that tone. Thanks. When you said you knew each other from when you were four, I was like, I know miss four. I’m like, it’s pretty K class and I don’t even know it. I know we tell our kids that all the time. They’re like, you know, our first date was our junior prom and we went as friends. We didn’t, we weren’t like dating, dating. And so our oldest son is now a junior and you know, sometimes we like to give them a hard time. We’re like, we’re not pushing you that direction, but you never know.

Jen Whitmer: 10:19 All right, so what happened after that? So I know you mentioned your son, so you guys have kids. Yes. You did. So, yeah, so we got married. Um, he worked and I graduated and then we decided to move. We grew up in Kansas city and decided to move to be a part of a church plant in st Louis. My church plant is just a small group of people who are beginning a church. And so we decided to be a part of that. And so we moved across the state, which you would think is not a big deal, but Kansas city and st Louis are actually very different prayers. And um, so it was, we’d been married a year and, um, there were lots of benefits to that because we, the, when I was talking about growing up together, we then moved to a place where we were adults, where we were in Kansas city.

Jen Whitmer: 11:01 Everybody had known us as these two separate people and we were the kids and we’ve got mad, you know, and then, but moving to st Louis, everybody is like, Oh, this is Michael. Jennifer, this is who they are. They came with a couple of, as, as adults. And um, so at 22, that was really empowering. Um, so we lived here. Um, he finished college, we started having children and, um, you know, got, he got a job, we bought a house, we had three kids in three years and then had another one about three years after that. So, um, you know, and I, I was teaching and working and he was working in communications and advertising and um, this kind of living, living our lives. And then, um, we decided when, um, I was pregnant with her. We’d been married I guess about eight years by that point.

Jen Whitmer: 11:56 Um, we wanted to sell our house. We’d bought a house. It was this little starter house. It was great. There was 1100 square feet, three bedrooms and one bath. You know, it was great. It was perfect. And, but having five people in that, we were like, we should. And we live in the Midwest. You can go buy a new house at that point in different places. And so we got our house ready to put it on the market. And, um, we put it on the market the first week of April in 2006, which if you don’t remember the first week of April, 2006 was the time when everybody was like, the housing market is crashing. And so we’d owned this house for five years and then tried to sell it and um, it did not go well. And so we, um, put it on the market, we’d had to take it off the market.

Jen Whitmer: 12:44 We remodeled the kitchen, we put it on the market again, it didn’t sell by this point. I was pregnant with our fourth child. So we had, um, lots of people living in a small space and, um, couldn’t sell a house that was in the starter house in a good neighborhood that everybody was like, everybody just sells their house by owner in this place. And we couldn’t anymore because of external forces of the housing market. And it was really hard. And so we moved out and rented a larger place so we can rent our place out and got different renters over time. But it took us about seven years to sell that house. And it was a really, um, it was one of the reasons it was such a turning point in our lives is because one, you realize that you can go through pain like before that point.

Jen Whitmer: 13:34 I mean we’d been through pain, but, um, and actually some devastating pain. I shouldn’t say it quite slightly, cause my husband’s father passed away not long after we moved to st Louis. Um, but that felt like a horrible pain that was different than what you’re supposed to be able to just sell your house and move on. Like this is, that’s part of a normal life trajectory. And this isn’t like you just move on. Right. And, um, it really changed our perspective of how [inaudible] you decide what’s good [inaudible] in your life. So these external forces, we could do everything right. I mean, we staged the house and we put it on the right places and it was all these things and we told all our friends and put the flyers up and you know, it’s 2016 and it was still around but not quite the same. And you know, like we, we did everything right.

Jen Whitmer: 14:21 And it just didn’t sell for a really long time. And so then we only thing that we could do was control how we, how we thought about it. And so we, we really made lots of different choices that we wouldn’t have made had we not had this other house, but it was good for us because we had decided we were still gonna live within our means and we were going to be joyful about that. And that really changed, especially in my perspective. I’m a huge optimist. I’m always like, it’s going to be great. And I mean, I still am that person, but I also know it might not be great, but I’m going to be okay. Okay. And that was a really important life lesson for us as we, as we moved and life moves on for us in that way. Perfect. Wow. I love how you took it on with such optimism. I can’t not learn.

Jen Whitmer: 15:19 So you finally, you finally sold the house. Yes. What happened from there? Cause I know that your, your husband had a situation that that was difficult. Yeah. Yes. So we finally sold our house. We had to say we made almost no money on it. And then so we had to save for quite a while to then buy a new house and we were in this great rental that was wonderful, but we, it was not really where we wanted to be. And um, so we bought a house in May and then my husband lost his job in March of that year. And this was a house where we had put, it was all in like it was that top of what we said we could do. And he was the major breadwinner. I was working as an administrator, um, in a small private school that just was not, it was just about volunteer work in some ways when it came to our income he was at.

Jen Whitmer: 16:07 And so it was a really difficult time remembering, not remembering it was a difficult time because, well there’s the financial issue, but there’s also helping my husband through something as my dearest friend watching him really suffer pain because he’d been kind of put in a position that he, he knew this wasn’t the place for him, but it was kind of the promotion. And it was, well, let’s see how it goes. And it just, it didn’t work out and it was really painful. And so walking through that together, um, one of the things that made it easy is because he’s kind of wonderful. And so he immediately knew that he was going to need to do something or it was going to be sorry if there’s a, he was going to fall into some kind of depression. So he immediately took on all of the things around the house he took on the laundry and the grocery shopping and the cooking of the meals on the taking kids places and all of that kind of stuff.

Jen Whitmer: 17:06 And I’m watching him walk through that deep pain by just processing with, with positive doing was really amazing too. And all I could do was just care for him. Like I didn’t, I couldn’t do anything really. You couldn’t make him get a new job. I couldn’t, you know, like finding a new place to work. And, um, so there was this watching him know that he needed to manage his emotions and manage his own, um, executive functioning skills. All of that through really trusting and who God is trusting that it was going to be okay, but also I have some work to do and this is hard, was really kind of awe inspiring in him. And it did a lot for us in our marriage because he wrote, he’s like, I mean I know you cooked the food, but I didn’t know, I didn’t know this farm, which really was a huge shift for us cause he always appreciated me.

Jen Whitmer: 18:01 It wasn’t that, but then he just knew deeply what it was like and that really helped us as a couple and for him, he says a lot. He’s like, I mean, what else is bad that can happen to me. We couldn’t file a house and I got fired and we’re fine. You know? Like I gave him so much bravery and freedom as, especially as somebody, he’s a real perfectionist. That was a huge thing for him. And so that helped us in my life. This to see, Oh we can, we can continue to make it bad. Things are gonna happen. Things are going to be difficult. I may even be a part of it and, but I can still learn from her and move on.

Corrie Lo: 18:38 Exactly. It’s then that, you know, any kind of life challenges, and I’ve said this for the last year on the show, it’s meant to teach us something and we figure out what that lesson is. Then we have the confidence to take on things that are worse.

Jen Whitmer: 18:54 Yeah. Just this past week I had a question

Corrie Lo: 18:58 that’s hit Instagram or something that was something along the lines of the people who have been through like the absolute worst in life are always the ones that are the most positive because they know how bad things can get. Yeah. Yeah. You know, just, just speaking to you and hearing your positivity and hearing how your, you know, your husband took on such a negative situation. Also positively, you know, by rolling up his sleeves and getting involved with the house and, and, you know, pitching in. Um, you know, that’s a literal Testament everything I’ve been talking about. So that’s awesome. Yeah. Thanks. So how did you guys, um, uh, did you, do you have any other tips for families out there that might be going through the same thing in regards to the job loss?

Jen Whitmer: 19:39 Well, it’s definitely challenging because he, um, was without work for probably about two and a half years off and on, like he had some consulting work that he did and started his own company. And um, so it, the instability and that kind of Hills and valleys of life make it really hard. So there’s some really practical things about communication that I think are so important is just kind of having regular times together throughout the day. Um, and kind of talking about what was it like today, what was it not, um, at the same time looking forward to what can be better later and having both of those conversations so you’re not always like, okay, we just got to make it through today. We just got to make it through today. That’s part of it. And being okay with that being really hard. Like I don’t have to put a sunshiny face on it.

Jen Whitmer: 20:28 I don’t have to be like, it’ll be fine. It’s great. No, this really sucks and it’s really hard, but we’re going to make it through. And having that kind of perspective is really important. So I think having that communication and also for us having times where we just didn’t talk about it. So we’re going to watch a movie, we’re going to go for a walk. I really like being outside. We’re going to just read a book, we’re gonna go do something fun. And for us that meant a lot of creative things that were free. So we had like you literally in your park, which was great. So we spent a lot of time that’s been work. Let’s sit in our backyard, let’s do things like that. And so having times where you really talk about how bad it is and you cry, and that’s good.

Jen Whitmer: 21:06 Um, and in terms of, we’re like, let’s just go have some fun, and you need both of those to really make it through those difficult times. Um, and I think one of the big things we tell people, so my husband and I do a lot of um, mentoring and coaching of younger couples in their early marriage and premarital, um, times that we tell them, you have to remember that that issue is separate from the, the two of you. So it’s not you against the other person, it’s you two together against the issue. So you kind of lock hands together and are facing the issue. So you’re now a team facing the problem. The other person is not the problem. And that’s a really important skill for any couple, no matter what the difficulty is. I mean, who left the fork out on the counter and you know, it can blow up in some places, especially when you’re in a super difficult circumstance, you know, sick parent job loss, your own illness. You have to remember that the two of you are together against the problem and that just really changes your perspective.

Corrie Lo: 22:06 That is awesome. Thank you so much for sharing such wise advice.

Jen Whitmer: 22:12 Okay.

Corrie Lo: 22:13 I know after that had happened, I know we had talked briefly, you know, about a toxic work environment. So was, you know, going back to work into a different position, something that stemmed out of your husband’s job loss kind of.

Jen Whitmer: 22:29 A little bit. I was in the same place and then, um, we had a leap here, ship change and um, the, the leader who came in, um, I think was probably ill-suited for that role. And then it just turned into a situation where that leaders kind of insecurity about their own skill. Then starting to filter down and a lot of blame, a lot of triangulated communication and some real gaslighting happened and that it took a really long time to realize that’s what was happening. And cause I’d never really experienced that. I didn’t grow up with childhood trauma. I didn’t grow up with childhood abuse. I, you know, you’ve heard me talk about my husband that’s clearly not an abusive relationship and so I didn’t recognize that type of behavior as toxic or abusive. It was just like, this is really hard. And you’ve heard enough of me already to know that I’m going to keep going.

Jen Whitmer: 23:25 Like it’s all right and I really want to care for the other person. And um, but when it’s when really good intentions of putting others first and assuming the best about the other person are then putting the hands of somebody who is manipulative and trying their own, you know, dealing with their own stuff, uh, it an environment that was awful for us as a team of people. It wasn’t just me. And, um, it was really affecting the organization, a culture that was really thriving and healthy, um, and moving forward with suddenly, um, painful, toxic [inaudible], um, gossipy down. And it was, it was, it changed so subtly. It was, you know, kind of like the frog and the boiling water. Like all of a sudden, it was just, Oh my gosh, this is terrible what happened to us? And we had been spinning our wheels trying to make it work and assume the best and all of that.

Jen Whitmer: 24:23 And it took somebody from the outside really kind of trying to help us, um, in that situation and help this leader to realize a weak can’t fix this without clearer boundaries. And, um, it was even talking about it now it’s hard to describe because I think I’m far enough away that it’s not painful anymore, but I’m not yet far enough away to figure out exactly how it all went down because it’s still like, how is it so slow? And then it happened. So, um, but in that time, because of the amount of conflict, like I said, we had somebody from the outside come in that was initially not the most helpful, which was shocking, but were like, you were supposed to be here to help us. Um, but because of the skill, I’ll say I’m the leader of kind of triangulating communication and telling one person one thing like there’s another, the outside person couldn’t see it either.

Jen Whitmer: 25:25 And it just took a really long time. Um, I ended up losing my position and so I ended up getting fired at the same time in the middle of my husband not having worked. And, um, so we were just together in this difficulty. Um, and then with the help of, um, a couple of people realizing, I actually don’t have to put up with this. I know that I am the, I, I know that I don’t have many. And, and we had a small amount of savings that we were still living then, but like our kids were on free and reduced lunch or kids, you know, you’re on scholarship and other places. So we were doing all the things that we could do to make it, but I actually don’t have to let you treat me that way. Was kind of a revelation. Um, I had heard the quote, you know, like, you know, BW people treat you the way you let them treat. Like I heard all of those things, but until I had a moment where I could say, wait, I can believe this situation, I’m not actually stuck here. Um, you know, there’s that phrase of like, you’re not a tree. You can move. Um, became very real just all of a sudden. And that was, that was huge. And just being able to say, I am, I’m gonna leave and here’s why and I wish you the best, but I’m, I’m leaving, I’m not going to allow you to treat me that way.

Corrie Lo: 26:46 It’s so interesting hearing you share that story because, you know, I had an emotionally abusive marriage. Mmm. Right. And everything you’re describing was exactly what I went through. And I’ve interviewed so many other people on the show who have gone through, you know, emotionally abusive, you know, intimate relationships. Um, I’ve never had somebody on the show talk about, you know, a work environment being the same way. And that kind of goes to show you that, you know, toxic treatment is toxic treatment. It doesn’t matter what the relationship you had with that person is. It’s more a matter of, you know, what you will and won’t accept like you said. Yeah. And you know, it’s up to you to decide enough is enough and to move away. But to your point earlier, I remember, you know, you’d talked about the frog and the boiling water. Um, cause it was the same thing for me. I mean, I was married, I was with a guy 15 years and one day I was like, how did it end up like this? Like I don’t, you know, cause at the end of it, you kinda almost feel silly. Like why did I, what was I blind to like what was wrong? Totally.

Jen Whitmer: 27:52 That’s the double trauma of it. It’s like, so you experience it and then somebody labels it as trauma and you’re like, wait a second, what? Right. And then foolishness, that’s it. And you feel the shame and, and that was really hard to get through of like, Oh, I am. And also a little bit of, you know, maturity. I am susceptible to that. You know, there was a moment where I had always had empathy for people who were in difficult relationships but never understood. Now, why don’t you leave? Why I didn’t understand, like I wasn’t judging about it, but I just didn’t understand right now I’m like, Oh, I don’t know why. I mean, I totally, I mean, I know, I know. I know. Um, and I, cause, and then the foolishness of it feels just so deep. You’re like, how was I duped? How did I not know? How did I not do that? And processing through that pain was also really helpful. Right. Um, that I’m, I’m never going to know it all. I’m never gonna

Corrie Lo: 28:50 None of us ever will, but I can have that conversation the other day. It’s like the day that you assume that you’re perfect and you have nothing to learn as today, you might as well just kick the can

Jen Whitmer: 28:58 Totally pack it up. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.

Corrie Lo: 29:05 So how are you using your past experience, you know, everything that you’ve been through to help other people today. Here’s what.

Jen Whitmer: 29:12 the craziest thing that had come out of this circumstance. So this leader, one of the things that kept happening is kind of pawning off of their responsibilities onto other people. And one of them was bringing in a conflict resolution specialist all the time whenever there was a difficulty brought in this expensive conflict resolution person. And um, I learned so much from that person. And um, she was a professional, she has a business working with mediations and conflict resolution and I saw the benefit of that. So, even though it wasn’t the right environment to use, all the skills that she brought, um, it was whores were much more relational, not so much for a business setting. But having watched that happen, I was like, Oh my gosh, people need this. People need conflict resolution skills. And I had been okay at conflict. I’d never been somebody who was scared of it.

Jen Whitmer: 30:08 But definitely I learned so many more helpful skills in a conflict situation and how conflict resolution, um, solved so many other problems and have communication happens before conflict happens, how you communicate while with somebody. So we’d been through like I said, my husband had been through all these difficulties, we’ve helped so many young married couples, um, communicate well and learn about communication that and then in a work environment, how do you communicate well and resolve conflicts. Suddenly all came together. I was like, this is what people need. People need help with communication skills and they’re, they’re just small and little things instead of from that, um, I started freelancing and doing some consulting work on how you give feedback and um, taking some other pieces to that. And then started doing some public speaking about, here are some conflicts, here’s how conflict works. And some workshops about that.

Jen Whitmer: 31:04 And um, through all of that process, I also started learning, um, using some S, uh, self-awareness tools like the Myers Briggs and the Enneagram to really dig into why do I respond that way? What are my reasons and how other people see the world. And so when I’m helping people through conflict, you know, some things aren’t going to change about how you see the world. So you need to help understand, you need to help other people understand how you see it and also understand that other people don’t see it the same. So all that travel that I did as a child, one of my graduate degrees is in intercultural communication and communication. And so learning all about those things and just kind of combining it all together to help people really learn how to have whole relationships in there at work, at home as parents. Uh, it.

Jen Whitmer: 31:55 So using all of that was it. The communication at this place was such a catalyst of I have to leave and I’m going to take with me this really terrible experience and help other people manage and mitigate that in their lives. Wow. And not only that, you’re utilizing all of your skills and all of your interests through your entire life, that you’re just using that as a toolkit to kind of help with it. Oh, cool. Yeah, it’s really, I mean it’s early days, but it’s so great. I really, I enjoy seeing one of my favorite public speaking things do. I like being on a stage and I like being with a lot of people and doing a keynote. That’s great. But my favorite are workshops and when I can sit, spend time with 15 2050 in a day and we can work through things and I watched them change and then I get the feedback that’s like, Oh my gosh, I tried it and it worked. And I’m like, yes. That’s what we doing, making our culture better. One little person at a time. I love that. Oh my God. How fun. Yeah. That’s great. So for everybody out there who’s listening or maybe watching, okay. Um, who is, has gone through something that you’ve gone through, whether it be a job loss, you know, for example, or you know, toxic work environment, what would you want them to know?

Jen Whitmer: 33:14 I’m not very good at one thing, so let’s see. I definitely want them to know that they will get through it, that even in the darkest times it’s you will get through it, you will get up the next day and you will get through it. And um, it’s not necessarily tomorrow is going to be better, but, um, eventually tomorrow will be better. And that’s really, it’s hard in the middle. And I have a personality clearly that enjoys things that are fun. And um, so that was hard to learn how to sit in that and be OK with the pain. Um, so I guess for the people who are like me, um, don’t try to escape the pain, try to deal with it, and then real joy comes with that. I remember salaries, the suck. Yes. Yeah, I know. It’s like, Ooh, that’s still a little like I know logically, but it does help me.

Jen Whitmer: 34:08 And um, rather than ignoring the pain which then piles up and blows up in different ways later, there’s always bad. It’s always bad. So I would say, yeah, you’re going to make it through. Um, because yesterday you made it through and you’re here today. Um, I think the other thing that I would want them to know is that you can learn how to work through conflict and you can learn how to communicate in more fucked ways. It’s not, well, this is just how I am. You can learn how to be yourself and communicate more effectively with other people. Those two things are, um, you can do those together. And so I will always be this person that’s going to go to the bright side first. Like that’s just who I am. Um, I’ve got a child who will always go to the negative first and I can respect that in him and also honor that in him without losing who I am. I don’t have to become other people to appreciate that. So communication skills and talking with other people are all things that you can learn and become better at. It’s not a fixed skill. Right. So true. Awesome. Yeah. So Jen, how can our viewers and listeners find you? Yeah, so my website is Jennwhitmer.com with two n. I’m a two engine and a so J E N N w H I T M E r.com or I’m on Instagram at Jenn underscore fit mirror. Um, Twitter’s the same LinkedIn, um, Facebook that’s Jenn Whitmer speaks is that’s.

Corrie Lo: 35:38 Right, yeah. You link up to you in the show notes so that everybody can find it. That’s great. It was so good to talk to you. It was awesome to talk to you too. Thank you so much for coming on and sharing your story with everybody. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, we’ll be sure to link up again soon. All right. Thanks, Corrie. Alright.

Corrie Lo: 35:54 if you take anything away from my conversation with Jen today, I truly hope it’s this across the world, people communicate in different ways. What’s common for your own community is not common on the opposite ends of the world. This was the case for a Jenn when she traveled the world as you know, a child and 18 through her college years. And it’s something that I learned myself while hosting AU pairs through the AU pair exchange program. It’s very easy for us to take, you know, insult to something that was never intended to be that way because it’s a cultural norm wherever that person is from. So always be mindful that communication internationally is different everywhere and never take anything personally. Another point that Jen made that I thought was great was to always make sure to appreciate and make time for each other, especially when times are difficult.

Corrie Lo: 36:43 One of the things that I thought was so wonderful that both Jen and her husband did, while they were having both difficulty selling their home as well as when her husband had lost his job was they still made time for regular date nights doing inexpensive activities all within their means. They still made it a priority to be able to connect with each other and it was through that time invested in that kind of connection that by the time they emerge out the other side, they were a strong couple but I haven’t walked through it together. Another great point is to remember that the other person is not the problem, that it’s the two of you going through the problem together. So and Jen’s experience, you know, especially in communicating with her husband during their difficult times, they had to learn that anytime something difficult came up, whether it was her husband losing his job or them, you know, having difficulty selling their house, the problem was independent from them and it was up to them to work together as a team to find solutions to that problem.

Corrie Lo: 37:45 And lastly, you are not a tree. You can move. This was something that took me so long to learn myself and I am so glad that I did. But always remember, if you are in an environment that’s toxic or you’re in a situation that you do not like, you have the option to remove yourself from said situation and Jen circumstances it worked out that you know her job had let her go. So she was removed from the toxic situations through that. But ultimately you have a choice whether or not you want to accept that type of behavior and whether or not you want to put up with it. So remember, you’re not a tree. You can move on to bigger and better things. So I want to hear what is your favorite takeaway from today’s episode? Be sure to drop me a comment below or take a screenshot of this video and tag me or DM on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and let me know. I’m going to be featuring my favorite comments and future episodes. And here’s our feature comment for this week. Ready for even more inspirational and motivational interviews. Be sure to visit my website, www.corrielo.com and sign up for my email list. Every single week you’ll receive tips, tools, resources in interviews designed to help you lead a life full of passion and positivity and purpose. I look forward to connecting with you there.

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