In a recent Oh Ship! episode, host Freddie Laker and guest Tena Crock share how to find positivity to overcome life’s greatest challenges.
For some people, positivity seems to come naturally. Life always seems to go their way. They’ve never met a challenge they couldn’t conquer. For the rest of us, though, positivity is often something we have to look for (sometimes really, really hard). We face challenges we didn’t want. The nightmares that would keep a person up at night are often the daily reality for others. But it’s through these challenges that we become resilient and better able to rebound from tough situations. Positive thinking plays a powerful role in resilience, and the more time you invest in finding positivity, the more naturally it starts to come.
For recent Oh Ship! Guest Tena Crock, the power of positive thinking has gotten her through some of life’s biggest challenges. She shared with show host and fellow Chameleon Freddie Laker about how to make positivity an everyday practice.
Introducing Tena Crock
Tena Crock served as the VP of Commerce at Step Two, where she first met Laker. Prior to this, she served in numerous roles at startups and companies that were making the transition to digital back in the early days of the “dotcom” era. Now an interim VP of E-Commerce at CX, Tena has spent the last several years of her personal and professional life cultivating her mindset and leaning on the power of positive thinking to help her push through one of the worst nightmares as a parent.
Laker: What was the turning point for you to start focusing on the positive things in life?
In 2010, Tena was excited to be welcoming a baby boy into her family the next year. But at the 20-week ultrasound, she found out her growing baby had a congenital heart defect. He would require surgery at birth and several more over the course of his life. It was bad news after bad news. “One doctor suggested we abort the pregnancy. One doctor told us our son would have an 80% chance of making it to adulthood. I don’t think my husband and I said a word all weekend. It was somber.”
To help deal with a situation out of her control, Tena threw herself into her work while her husband stayed home with their son and oversaw his surgeries and doctors’ appointments. “I was using work to numb myself and to avoid getting close to my son because I was scared.”
But several surgeries later, Tena realized it was time to work on herself and be “all in” for her son, just as she had planned during her pregnancy. She quit her job the next day, no hesitation.
Laker: This is an example of extreme adversity, and it’s a struggle personally and professionally. How do you keep the two parts of your life separate?
Tena admits she hasn’t kept her story secret at work or around friends and family, but it is the main reason she decided to leave corporate America. She wanted to be an available mom, so she transitioned to consulting in 2017.
While she isn’t necessarily separating work and home life, she does believe in boundaries. “One of my non-negotiables is time with my family. I think it’s super important to identify what those non-negotiables are and then communicate them—because people aren’t mind readers. Once you’re able to figure out WHY—your passion for being—what’s important to you, establish your boundaries and non-negotiables around that. You’ll start to have the kind of life you want to have. And that’s why I feel like I’ve created a life I’m happy to have.”
Laker: How are you curating the life you want to have now that you have clarity on what that life looks like?
For Tena, her son’s health journey was something that life threw her way. And she decided it was up to her what she wanted to throw back. “I live by the motto ‘When life gives you rotten bananas, make chocolate chip banana bread.’”
Tena points to a lot of self-work that helped her to get to this point in life. Before, her emotions would take the place of logic and cloud her decisions. Conducting self-work was not only key in transforming her positive mindset but also a big part of her professional development.
“I think getting my emotions in check and allowing them to come up at the right times versus allowing them to spill over like an emotional hijacking was a big part of my ability to lead logically now.”
Laker: What advice would you give to others to cultivate the life they want and embrace the power of positive thinking?
Though a lot of Tena’s positivity has been “trial by fire,” she used her emotional journey to get back in the right mindset and decide what she really wanted from life. Now, as a consultant, she is teaching companies and their employees how to do the same.
“I’m really passionate about bringing the concepts of mindfulness and meditation into the workplace because I think that’s such an important piece of it. We spend more time at work than we do with our families! But I think if more workplaces invested in building personal and emotional connections with their employees, it would be a better and more positive experience for everyone. Everything that I do is people-first. It’s that emotional connection that we have that gets people to take the action that we want them to. And I think once you know that, once you understand that it’s all about experience and connection, the rest falls into place.”
With the recent pandemic and the shift to remote work, Tena believes that more people will start thinking positively and creating a life that serves them, especially when it comes to choosing a job that supports the life they want. “I’m super hopeful that companies will begin to adopt a hybrid model or give a choice [of working from home] if the job function allows it.”
Subscribe to the Oh Ship! Show and hear the entire conversation with Tena Crock on the power of positivity.