Meet Jerrilyn Black, a transplant from Texas now living in Washington DC.
If you told my mother over 10 years ago that I would be a certified life coach and business owner, she wouldn’t have been surprised, but I would have been. When I was a business major in undergrad, I called my mother and asked her what I was good at. I was doing horribly in my accounting and finance classes, and was struggling over all with anxiety, homesickness, and finding an identity. My mother said that I was good with people. I didn’t understand at the time that it meant something to be good with people, but now I do. I love working with others to get to better places in life.
After I graduated from college, I had the opportunity to work with a group of amazing and dynamic young teenage women, and together we were responsible for hosting, coordinating and developing content for a conference for teen girls. That experience was incredibly powerful because it reinforced how powerful young women are, especially when they work together. After that experience, I worked in human services as a caseworker for the State of Texas, where I developed relationships with youth and families involved in the foster care system. While there I had the opportunity to understand just how much systems impact the way engage with the world, which encouraged me to obtain a master’s in social work from the University of Chicago.
Developing a social work background has been integral to my approach as a life coach, and values of social justice and equity are forever infused in my work with others. Social work has given me the space to use a holistic, justice-oriented, person in environment approach when helping others realize their freedom, grow into their power, overcome doubt and fear, and live their best lives.
My experiences assisting clients and loved ones through the ups and downs of life have helped me realize that many of us are not following our life paths due to fear, anxiety, and stress. Having once been held back by mountain and molehill sized anxieties; I understand the potential barriers to change. I also know that once we overcome those obstacles that we are capable of living our dreams. I create a nonjudgmental space for others to share their stories, experiences, and dreams, and ultimately assist them in creating workable plans to achieve life success.
I also spend time within my community. In the past I mentored a teen through the College Bound program, and I currently volunteer at the YWCA to teach a GED class to adult learners. I also participate in the Sanctuaries, a spiritually diverse art community with soul, where I share poetry and collaborate with other artists.
My greatest accomplishment to date has been:
Starting my J. Francis Black Life Coaching has been my biggest accomplishme
The most challenging thing I ever experienced is:
The most challenging thing I’ve experienced is moving to a new place without friends or family, and I’ve done it three times. Originally from Texas, I moved to DC as a youth, having only visited once, when I went to college. When I decided to attend grad school, I moved to Chicago having never visited at all. I moved back to the DC area over two years ago after most of my friends had gone. Those experiencing were challenging because I had to learn how to make new friends/family, and to become more secure within myself. I had to start over each time, learning new things along the way. Every experience left me asking “Who am I?” to then start searching for the answers, which is not always and easy process. At times, it’s been difficult living so far away from my family, who are still in Texas, yet I am very thankful for their continued support.
Most valuable lesson:
The most valuable lesson that I continue to learn is to let go of what no longer serves my highest good and purpose. These include past beliefs and behaviors, relationships that are unsupportive or drain my energy, and situations that veer me away from accomplishing my priorities. Yet that lesson also comes with accepting what is for my greatest good, including self love, creative endeavors, and people that are encouraging and compassionate. Ultimately I continue to discover how to make the space for good thing to come into my life.
“It is the possibility of having a dream that makes life interesting” – Paul Coelho, The Alchemist. We all have dreams that have the possibility to come true. We don’t have to know when they will come true, or even how, but having a dream or a desire means that we have something that we can pursue, while learning some amazing lessons along the way.
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