Teaching empowerment and championing the human spirit: An interview with Mercy Njenga
By Judy Carrasco
Mercy Njenga, author of Say I Can: Be a Deliberate Co-Creator of Your Own Life, is a fierce and enthusiastic believer in human potential and empowerment. Radiating compassion, empathy and intelligence, she truly, genuinely wishes for everyone to find their own, authentic life—one infused with joy, triumph and meaning, despite the challenges that are an inevitable part of living. Say I Can explores how to live a fuller, improved life. While special attention is given to specific practices, such as journaling and meditation, the book also outlines actionable strategies and tips we can use and reap benefits from immediately.
Like many of us in today’s frazzled environment, Mercy takes on different roles. At work, she is an accountant, writer, and motivator. At home, she is a dedicated wife and mother. How does she balance these demands and live out the teachings described in Say I Can? Find out in the interview below. Mercy discusses her daily routine, what inspires her, what drives her to write, and what she’s planning next.
What is your daily routine like?
Mercy: I wake up at 5:45 a.m. every day. I work out for 15 minutes: I either do yoga, or run outside around my neighborhood, or use the treadmill. I spend about 15 minutes to freshen up and then sit down for 15-minute meditation. At 6:30 a.m., I prepare to drop off my daughter at school. In my home office, I plan the projects for the day between 8 and 9 a.m. and then will work until noon.
Every 50 minutes, I set a timer to wake up and stretch or grab a cup of water. My lunch break is at noon. I spend 30 minutes writing what I call “reflections 101” and the next 30 minutes for lunch. I resume work until 2:30 p.m. when I leave to pick my daughter up from school. If she has after-school programs we take care of it. If not, we work on the projects she might need my assistance on. Dinner is at 6:30 p.m. I wind down with 20 minutes yoga and reading for 15 minutes. Bedtime is between 9:30 and 10 p.m.
Your work—as an accountant and as a motivator/writer—seems to honor both your analytical and creative impulses. How do you balance these different careers, and do they ever seem at odds?
Mercy: I have been in accounting for over 15 years now. And in the past few years, my heart has drifted more toward the creative impulses. Even as a CPA, I want to pursue more areas where I need to do more writing than number crunching. I increasingly feel the urge to help businesses develop and implement better systems so that they can increase value and reduce surprises.
I quote Steve Jobs frequently in my writings, and the reason I do this is because Steve possessed an ideal that I find resonates with me. He saw the bigger picture of human potential and wanted everyone to buy into his unproven concepts. He pushed his engineers beyond their limits—to a point where it was uncomfortable to most of them—and managed to ignite their inner creative powers. Interestingly, most of his team had more creative impulses, as opposed to analytical, and that was one reason they created products that people loved and wanted to have.
I am not creating a product, but I foresee a more sophisticated human race that knows itself much better and would use most of its potential to advance the planet. As I connect to my higher self, the part of us that knows the truth of our existence, more often I find myself wanting to help us move toward this concept. I find my creative side now more alive than ever. I am more inclined now to the creative side of myself as opposed to my analytical impulses.
What are your favorite hobbies?
Mercy: Reading a great book or an article inspires me every time. I love journaling and just letting my mind wander onto various topics. I mostly like to daydream about a utopian world where love, bliss and joy are the core virtue of every being. In my most innocent mind (childlike), I believe those things are achievable in our lifetime. I love to dance. I will use music whenever I am doing something less inspiring like cleaning the house. I like connecting with new people and learning about their culture and their way of life, so traveling to different places is one thing I love to do. I also love being in nature for solitude and thinking things out.
What brings you the most joy?
Mercy: I get the most joy when I help someone to see their potential and when they use it to improve their lives. Also, when I help the underdog to feel accepted and loved. The smile on their face makes my heart race with pure joy!
Early on in your book, you mention that you had thought about writing a book before. Now you’ve done it, but did you have a feeling that it was going to be about self-attainment and the other themes of Say I Can?
Mercy: No. At first, I wanted to write a fiction book based on many of my imaginations of a world yet to come. I am a futuristic in some way. I dropped history class after my first year in high school and never got interested to look back at what happened centuries past. I love to look at this moment I have, appreciate all the experiences and lessons that are in front of me, and from that point see what greatness is yet to come. So, this book I wrote as a launchpad for a body of work I am yet to write.
My first inclination to write this book was to introduce myself to my readers first as a person from a humble upbringing, yet more fortunate to receive the greatest gift of all—unconditional love—at very young age. But I still had to figure out how to create the life I wanted for myself. The processes I followed to reach where I am today were purely accidental; no one taught me all these things, other than me listening to my inner guidance and following its prompts. I realized this is something I could teach others to do, and that is how Say I Can: Be a Deliberate Co-Creator of Your Own Life came into being.
In your book, you speak very fondly about your childhood on the farm. How has that childhood and your teachings impacted your role as a parent?
Mercy: That is a great question. Like I mentioned, I had the greatest exposure to unconditional love, strong family connections, and the freedom to make choices very early in my childhood. And this all has helped me to become an empowering mother to my daughter. I instill the values I grew up with, like self-love and self-trust. And at the same time, I step aside and allow my daughter to make her own choices. I respect her choices and cheer her on. My parents taught me one great thing: I can do anything I wanted if I am willing to put effort and trust in my ability to achieve it, no matter how many odds were against me. These are the same values I try to instill in my daughter, and there is no better gift than to let her know I trust her judgment. I allow her to learn through her own failures because that the best way she can learn and grow. I grew up with great family connections. My parents were always there to support us and to challenge us to be the best we can be. Today, I make career choices that allow me to be more present and available to my family.
What is next on the horizon for you? Do you have new goals – either for the more immediate future (in 2018), or further ahead?
Mercy: I want to empower as many people as I can reach. So, the next thing for me is to take my teaching one notch up. I want to create online courses that will teach people how to align themselves to the realm of possibilities, how to tap into their inner wells of wisdom, and how each one of us can use this wisdom to expand our human consciousness. I am in the process of writing two books, and I hope to complete them before the end of 2018. Before the year ends, I plan to launch my first speaking event. So, there is a lot more going on for me this year!
Judy Carrasco is a copy editor with 15 years of experience. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication. In addition, she has a master’s degree in liberal studies from Duke University.