Jessica Begay | Building Emotional Intelligence
“I’m eternally hopeful. Seeing [bad] things around me made me think that things can be better and should be better.” I speak with people across Indian Country that share their stories and do amazing, interesting things on a daily basis. Their energy is fiery, resistant, forward thinking or any combination of those emotions. Jessica Begay (Navajo), has an awesome story. But her energy was different from some of the other people I speak to, but it’s end goal is the same. And it is refreshing. And we need more of it in Indian Country. Jessica is a social worker at a tribal pre-school in Phoenix. During college, she realized that her interest and energy aligned with that of social workers. Her hopeful energy is not bound in the usual “we will endure” message, which is needed and powerful. It is based upon the knowledge that we can make our communities a better place. And from Jessica’s work, it is done through creating healthier social environments. Our conversation included a discussion of Brene Brown (start with her TED Talk), social and emotional development, and quizzes to test one’s emotional intelligence. The bigger idea than just sharing these ideas generally is about how we can spread these ideas throughout Indian Country. For whatever reasons we may not be well developed to express, understand and be comfortable with emotions, I think it is something we need to reclaim. It seems to be an under-explored part of our work in Indian Country, at least in a way that is positive and healthy. We discussed a variety of other issues, too (parenthood, running, discipline, Patagonia and bucket lists, and more) that made for a fun and well rounded conversation. It energized me in a way that I have not been energized in a while. And it’s exactly why I do the podcast.