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Hi! My name is Jelan Agnew - LCSW 

 

I am an Award Winning TEDx and Keynote Speaker, Business Coach and Mindfulness Facilitator. I am the recipient of The Hartford Business Journal's 40 Under Forty award and CT Magazine's 40 under 40 award. With 19 years of experience in the mental health field, and over 12 years of experience as a DBT Therapist, Adjunct Professor, and Workshop/Training facilitator, I bring a unique perspective to all that I do.

 

Nalej of Self, LLC started off as a private practice, providing individual, group and family therapy. But, during the pandemic, things started to shift for me. Being a therapist in 2020 became emotionally overwhelming. The need for therapists was high, and my business phone was ringing non-stop. Like many others during the pandemic, it was difficult to manage my own mental health. My depression and anxiety increased substantially, and I struggled with alcohol addiction. There would be many days when I’d see 8 clients back-to-back, and have nothing left to give myself, completely exhausted and feeling constantly engaged in fight or flight. While I absolutely care for every human being I have worked with, (because they are dope and amazing humans), I realized I was experiencing severe vicarious trauma. 
 
I had a rock bottom. An ugly one. One that took me to the ICU.  (You’ll have to wait for the book for that story!) I remember feeling like I was at a crossroads, and I had to make a choice. A choice about what I really believed in. I had been teaching healing, but neglecting my own. Eager to help others, at the expense of myself. That’s backwards, (insert the airplane mask analogy here). I had to make a choice and I chose healing. I’ve been sober from alcohol since January 29, 2021. I also made the decision to pivot out of therapy and into business coaching.  I made a conscious choice to prioritize my health and this looked like a shift in my mindset. From hard work to smart work.
 
I realized I was working at a pace that was impossible to maintain. I had to reassess my connection to hard work. Why was I working so hard? In 2020, I was teaching at a university, attending real estate school, running a full time private practice, and I was a homeowner and landlord. “Building an empire”, is what I called it. In reality, I was stuck in a cycle of achievement addiction- a productivity loop. Stuck in a belief system that says hard work is how you prove your worth. After my rock bottom, I woke up in a life that didn’t resonate with me anymore. I realized that hard work is no longer a value of mine. Hard work does not guarantee any financial success, and for me, it is a short term success strategy, not a lifestyle.
 
I completely shifted my mindset, my schedule and my business model. Hard work to smart work.  I work Monday- Wednesday and take meetings on Thursdays. My work day ends at 4pm every day. I work an average of 8-10 hours a week. With this shift, I have more time to focus on what matters to me. Living my life. Exploring the globe. Reading books, writing my book (eventually). Learning a new language. Meditating on the beach. Frolicing. You know, being a human, having a human experience. And believe it or not, I’ve been able to double my income. By making shifts in my pricing and the services I provide in my business. 
Outside of my business, shifting from hard work to smart work has completely transformed my life. In addition to my 8-10 hour work week, I have made some huge changes in my life. I sold my 2 family investment property, my red Mercedes Benz, paid off all my debt and student loans… and I moved to Playa del Carmen, Mexico! I am writing this from a cafe near the beach. I have completely exited the rat race. My time in the ICU made me realize that life is short, and I have to follow my dreams. ALL of them. So, I’m sipping my iced coffee with plans to meditate on the beach after this. I am a debt free Black woman, with a business I can run from my Macbook, and I intend to explore the world as a digital nomad. And I hope if nothing else, reading this reminds you that there is more than one way to live your life. Cause I’m gonna live the hell out of mine!
 
As always, 
Gratitude 

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