Fierce Friday | Jennifer Gividen

What makes you a L I O N?
@jenhail: “Ever since I was little, I’ve felt a warmth deep inside—at times, uncontrollable and all-consuming. When I was pushed during an elementary school basketball game and didn’t resist their force. The blood rushed to my face, hot tears started to roll down my cheeks, and my fists tightened. I ran with all of my might back down the court, to show them that I wasn’t going to retreat from a challenge.

Perhaps you can call this my competitive side, but I’ve felt it in other ways too. In situations where I felt wronged or treated unfairly.

My mind flashes back to the hours when I was detained by Canadian customs officers. They took my phone (likely to look through all of my emails and files, or, from what I could see through the mirrored glass that I pierced with my gaze, to laugh at the girl who accidentally tried to work illegally in their country). The flame burned bright that night.

Or when my mind enters a state of flow: the fire burns slow and steady, as I search for the answers to question after question, stoking the flame with fresh timber at every turn.

But within all of these moments, one thing is an anchor to my fierce spirit—I am a lion because of my father.
He spent time with me wrestling and roughhousing on the floor, teaching me how to fight for what is right. (True story: I once bloodied his lip. Picture little me, perched on a couch cushion, delivering a punch from above after I had asked him to stop pestering me. He always said if you ask someone to stop three times and they don’t listen, you can punch them.)
My dad taught me how to love fiercely and never to give up. And while it might hurt in the process, I had to learn how to control that fire within and use it for good, to protect myself and the people I love.”

What makes you H U M B L E?
@jenhail: “Honestly, and this will sound like the cheesy, expected answer, failure has made me humble.

I am a very strong-willed and hard-headed woman. If I want something, I can figure out a way to get it and usually don’t like waiting. But in the moments when I’m knocked down or I fail to meet my own (high) expectations—right before that flame ignites—I’m reminded of my humility (or rather, smacked in the face with it). I’m reminded that I have so much to learn and that it’s okay to ask for help.

It’s something I try to choose when I notice my ego inflating or when my plate is too full.”

My friendship with @jenhail started during my first internship in college with @wkuimagewest. I fell in love with her sweet spirit and absolutely INSANE design skills. Little did I know how much that friendship would blossom over the next three years. She’s right, when she puts her mind to something, there is no stopping her. She’s the boss babe of @bypine, a design studio for the everlasting. 🌲 This girl has taste and style like I’ve never known. (She’s even helping me launch my new website VERY shortly!) J, thank you for all you have helped me realize about myself and the brand I’m creating. Your endless support as a friend has built a confidence in me that I never knew could be reached.

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