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The Problem with Porn

“What’s the problem with porn – isn’t it just an individual’s private choice to do what they want with their own body? Many reputable people have deemed it ok from the friend who thinks no harm no foul to New York Times detailing the benefits of pornography. So why are we taking a stance? Because porn hurts. 

At Journey, we are concerned about anything that affects relationships. Research indicates that almost half of all families in the U.S. reported that pornography is a problem in their home. Furthermore, porn can be associated with lowered sexual satisfaction and commitment, along with an increase in negative communication and infidelity among couples. 

This is similar to what I’ve seen in my practice. Couples who come into counseling where pornography is an issue often describe a lack of physical and emotional intimacy. Why is this?

Many women consider porn use by their partners to be a type of infidelity. Porn typically encourages a photo or video induced fantasy relationship by which the person is sexually aroused rather than by their partner. It is like an extramarital relationship, except that the fantasy relationship can be even more threatening because the fantasy partner always says and does what you want them to, they are usually without blemish, never have a headache, and are always in the mood. How can any real person compete with that? 

Women whose husbands or boyfriends look at pornography often report poor body image, concerned that he is comparing her to those perfect younger bodies. Women also complain of loneliness, a lack of communication, and little or no intimacy (physical or emotional). They often wonder, “Why am I not enough?” 

Sometimes I hear women state that their partner pressures them to reenact what he has seen on porn videos, leaving them feeling “humiliated” or “dirty” afterwards. This is especially true when the photos or videos portray violence and/or abuse. 

The reality is, porn hurts. It doesn’t just affect the person who is using it, but it also affects the individual who they are in a relationship with.

So what can be done? We encourage you to do your own research. If you are in a committed relationship where porn is involved, have a heart-to-heart discussion about how it affects each of you. When it comes to sexuality in a marriage, both people need to feel secure and comfortable in order for intimacy to grow. 

If you are someone who struggles with the negative aspects of porn in your life, reach out. There are likely professionals in your area who can help, look online, call a hotline, or find a therapist, but don’t try to go through this alone. 

Terry Carlson, RN CADC LMHC

Sarah’s Story of God’s Grace

From a monumental panic attack to knowing that God’s grace is sufficient, Sarah’s story is inspiring and encouraging. Join Jeff and Don as they interview Sarah on her story of God’s grace in her life.


Transcription of the Podcast


Don: In a very short sentence, sum up what you believe grace is.

Sarah: That’s a really good question. Because I keep saying, when I keep saying the definition, which is God’s unmerited favor for sinful mankind. But if I was going to make it personal, it’s God’s unearned love for me.

Sarah: (singing)

Jeff: Welcome to the Journey Podcast. This is Jeff Carlson. And today we’re going to talk about the grace of God. We’re going to talk about it with Sarah, and Sarah’s here. Hello Sarah.

Sarah: Hello.

Jeff: And Don is here also. And Don will be asking Sarah a few questions. In an earlier podcast we talked to Don about this topic, and it was a great podcast. And Sarah just thought, “Hey,” she’d want to jump into this topic too. So, anyway, let’s just jump right in. And Don, do you want to just say a few words.

Don: Yeah. I want to say thanks, Jeff, first of all for introducing us. And I know that you’re getting better at that on a day-to-day basis.

Jeff: Hey, I’m trying man.

Don: We’re proud of you, your daughter’s sitting here looking at you-

Sarah: We’re getting a little better at this podcasting thing as we do it, right?

Don: Well yeah, we’re all just going to chill man, take a chill pill and get it on. Yeah, so I will jump right into this Sarah, because now it’s payback time.

Sarah: Thanks, Don.

Don: Yeah, you’re welcome. The last time we were talking, we finished up, you had asked me about kind of to summarize what I felt was the grace of God in my life because of my past. And for folks listening to the podcast, this will bait them to listen to another one if they’ll listen to that one first. So please keep listening.

Sarah: Yeah. Please listen to Don’s podcast first.

Don: Come on, listen to them all, not just mine, all of them. There’s so much here. And we’ll try to keep them in line. And that’s what we’re doing. So, with that being said, I gave you my spin on what grace means to me. And you’re not even about half my age, so can I hear what your definition of grace is?

Sarah: Well, yeah. So, I actually thought that grace was just a nice girl’s name. And I have an interesting story about God’s Grace. But before I get into that, I do just want to mention that, I do just want to mention that, if you listen to Don’s podcast you know that he struggled with alcoholism and he’s had a fairly rough life. That’s…

Don: That’s an understatement, it’s true, very true.

Sarah: … that’s of… yeah. And I’ve had a different story than Don’s story. So, I was actually raised by Jeff and Terry Carlson who are the creators of Journey. And I feel like Journey was really much… it came out of the way that I was raised. So, my mom, she was a nurse when I was young. And she went on to become a licensed counselor, and works as a Christian counselor. And Journey was written by her along with Pastor Mike. If you’re just listening you probably have a hard time understanding what I mean when I say that I was raised that way. But when you go through Journey I think that you’d look back at what I’m saying right now and be like, “Oh, that makes sense.” So the questions that are asked, the nurturing that is in Journey Coaching, that’s how I was raised. So meaning, when I had problems with my friends, and it was 9:30 p.m. on a school night, and I had a hard time falling asleep, my mom was there asking me these questions. Their similar questions in what Journey Coaching is all about. And so-

Don: So let me interrupt you there. You mean, so that the questions in Journey Coaching, then you feel are a lot like questions that you had the blessing and the grace to ask your parents?

Sarah: No, that they asked me, that my mom asked me.

Don: Okay, I got you.

Sarah: So, she took parenting and she wrote it down. I really kind of feel like Journey Coaching is kind of like parenting or nurturing for adults. I mean, kids could do it to. But it’s doing really good parenting and writing it down, and then helping us parent each other almost to an extent. Which is weird, and I’ve never really said it that way, but that’s when I went through the coaching. So, when you go through the coaching, and the questions that are asked, those were the things that my mom asked me. So, those were the things that she walked me through when I was growing up. Like, “What are your strengths, Sarah?” And helping lead me to finding my strengths, and dealing with weaknesses in a healthy way. And so that’s how I was raised. So I accepted Christ when I was eight years old. And then I was raised in a very healthy environment. I feel like, I mean, every family deals with their issues. Especially my dad and I, we have our-

Jeff: Oh, do we have any issues, Sarah? Come on. I think we’re enough alike where maybe there’s a few things. The sparks fly.

Sarah: I mean even this-

Don: You know, that father/daughter thing could probably get in the way every once in a while.

Sarah: Don even admonished us earlier today. He was like-

Don: I don’t even know what that word means folks.

Sarah: … oh good critique.

Don: I reprimanded them.

Sarah: Yeah. Just, enjoy your relationship and stuff, and don’t take it for granted. And Don told us that earlier. So, I was raised in a really healthy environment I feel like. And-

Jeff: Well, and can I just jump with just a thought with the environment and things?

Sarah: What’s that?

Jeff: So, you mentioned your mom’s grace, which I definitely agree with. And then there’s another thing that we talk about sometimes is truth. And the truth is, “Sarah, it’s 8:00 in the morning, the bus is coming, you really need to get on the bus today.” Now, there’s not a whole lot of grace there, it’s like, “Sarah, you need to get up and get on the bus,” right?

Sarah: Yeah. So what he’s saying is, that the grace came from my mom and that you know.

Jeff: Well, yeah, but yeah, it did-

Sarah: There was a lot of hard… I mean, I was held to a very high standard, especially since I was the oldest. And my parents owned a company, and I worked there. And my dad held me to a high standard. Which is funny now, when he tells me when I’m holding my own children to a high standard, and he’s like, “Can’t you just give them a little grace?” And I’m like-

Jeff: Drill sergeant Sarah.

Don: Isn’t it funny how we as parents kind of change our tune a little bit.

Sarah: Well, thinking because grandparents, grandparents not as hard as parents. I’m like, “Do you remember a similar situation?” I would not have gotten away with that. So, yeah.

Don: Yeah. But I think it’s really something that’s been hitting me lately, is this balance between grace and truth, and trying to get that… not that it’s going to be perfect, but get it well, so to balance those out, you know?

Sarah: I think they’re not opposite ends of the spectrum either. Because grace can be truthful too. But there’s… I don’t think God is an enabling God. He’s not going to enable you. So, let’s lead into this story. So, this is a story that I kept quiet. And you know what, Don? I’m going to let you decide if this is even… you guys are going to decide if this even something that we want to actually air.

Don: Okay.

Sarah: So, this is a story that I kept quiet for years. I did not tell people. Because I rightfully so would think that they thought I was crazy. So, this is my story with grace. I have always wanted to have children. I got married young, and we were married for three years when our oldest son was born. And I had my very first panic attack during my scheduled C-section with my oldest son. And I did not know what the panic attack was, I just felt like I was dying. And they even hooked me up to the heart monitor. So I really did think that there was a physical problem. And I had prayed and asked God to just let me live so that I could take care of my husband and my son.

Don: Amen.

Sarah: I was 21-years-old. And about seven months went by, and I really was convinced that I had almost died during my C-section. And about seven months went by, and I was actually at the movie theater watching a movie about firefighters. And it hit me again. And I had my second panic attack. And I went out to the lobby and that’s when I knew that, “Wait, this is a panic attack, because obviously I’m not in surgery at this moment,” and everything else was fine. And that was the start of a different kind of story about anxiety and panic attacks, and a long line of dealing with that. But what else was a catalyst at that moment was the fact that a month prior, I had actually found out I was pregnant a second time.

Sarah: So, having that second panic attack was actually a blessing, because I realized, “Wait a second, maybe I will survive a second child.” But a month prior to that second panic attack, I actually found out I was pregnant. I had a neighbor over at my house that night, and she had asked me, she said, “Sarah, when are you going to have another child?” And I looked at her and I said, I go, “Never.” And she’s like, “What?” Like, the look on her face was shocking, because you don’t usually have a 21-year-old with a baby say never. And I said, “Well maybe in five years I’ll adopt.” Because I was convinced that it was a death sentence if I got pregnant again. And she walked out. And it was about 9:00 p.m. that night. She walked out, I looked at my calendar, and I realized, I should probably check something. So I went into Hy-Vee and I got a test, and I came home and it turned positive instantly.

Don: Praise God.

Sarah: Well, that’s what-

Don: Not how you looked at it, was it?

Sarah: That is now how I looked at it. So I walked out of the bathroom, and my husband was just so excited, and he hugged me. And I said, “Don’t touch me, that’s how got into this problem in the first place.”

Don: There you go.

Sarah: And he knew well enough to just be like, “Okay,” he didn’t really say anything. And it was bedtime anyway. So he just want and laid down. And years later I found out he was actually awake this whole time. So this whole time that I thought my husband just went to sleep, he was awake and he was waiting for me. Because my personality is, when something’s bothering me I cannot fall asleep. I ruminate on it, and ruminate on it, and ruminate on it, and he knew that. And so he just left me alone. I wanted to call my aunt who I knew could possibly understand, but it was late and I didn’t want to bother her. So I called my parents, because I can always call my parents at any time. So I called my parents and my mom answered the phone. And I said, “Mom,” I was crying, and I said, “Mom, God has given me something that I cannot handle.” And she told me later that she thought that Matt or my son had died in a car accident.

Sarah: And she goes, “What is it, Sarah?” And I go, “I’m pregnant.” And she started laughing, because obviously that was a good thing instead of my spouse or my child dying in a car accident. And then I was like, “No, this is not…” like, I just couldn’t. And was like… then she’s compassionate, and she’s like, “Okay,” and she’s like, “Well, it’ll be okay.” And then my dad and my brother got on the phone. He was still a child and living at home, a teenager and living at home. And they got on the phone and they congratulated me, but that wasn’t helpful.

Jeff: You know, it was the… anything we can do to not help, just let us know.

Sarah: And so, granted it’s probably 10:00 at night on whatever day.

Don: So, can I interrupt you?

Sarah: Yeah.

Don: So, would it, from where I sit, double your age, would it be fair for me to say at that point in your life, one could say you didn’t have a whole lot of faith. When you said God gave you-

Sarah: I was, I-

Don: … something you couldn’t handle, I’m not sure that… and I’m not picking on you.

Sarah: No, don’t pick on me.

Don: I’m keeping you real [crosstalk 00:11:56]. So it’s very clear that you weren’t trusting God when you make a statement like that. And the reason I caught that, is because I’ve said it all my life, and I’ve always been told by what you call, really devout Christians, “Don Evans, God will never give you more than you can handle.” And my grandma told me something when I was a little boy, I was about six or seven years old. And I do, before I make this comment, I have big shoulders, I’m a big guy. And my grandma, I’ll never forget this quote, she goes, “Donnie, you got the biggest shoulders of any of the grandkids in the family,” and they had 12 kids, so there’s a lot of rugrats running around. And she said, “God’s got a plan for you,” at seven years old. But I didn’t know God. And at that point in your life, you weren’t trusting God.

Sarah: Well, and it’s amazing that you say that. Because here we’re doing a little Journey Coaching right here on this podcast.

Don: Yeah, man.

Sarah: Because, what is it that… there’s a bible verse that talks about, like without… what is it? Like, perfect, wait perfect love casts out fear. And something about a tie between faith and fear. And I can’t remember what that is. But there is a tie between faith and fear. And so what I will say is, my biggest struggle you just nailed on the head, is fear.

Don: Right, that’s, you know-

Sarah: So this lack of faith is coming from this immense fear. And I was very fearful.

Don: But you also know, and I’m going to plug Zach Williams a Christian singer. His song’s one of my favorites, we play it at church, Fear is a Liar. And it is. It’s a liar.

Sarah: Yeah. It is.

Don: And I believed that lie for 59 years.

Sarah: Yeah. No, it is.

Don: So I’m glad you’re opening up about it in your 30s.

Sarah: Well, and so what ended up happening was, talking about that lie is, that I got off the phone with my family, and I went into the other room where my son was sleeping. And he was, I don’t know, six, seven, eight months at that point. And he was sleeping in his crib. And I sat down on the floor. And this is why I haven’t told this story… that in the last eight years, the son that I was pregnant with is 14 now. So, I think about 10 years ago I started sharing it a little bit. And as time goes on I just don’t care anymore. So, I sat down on the floor and I cried. And I have been through some stuff in my life. And yet this was the… I call this day, it was February 7, 2005, I know the date, February 7, 2005 is the date that I call the worst day of my life and my best day of my life. It was the worst day of my life because it was so dark, it was so dark. I’d grown up in a pro-life family and I pride myself on being pro-life. But at that moment I could see it.

Don: You were asking some hard questions weren’t you?

Sarah: I was scared. I was very, very scared. And I looked at my son. I was dealing with a lot of baby blues and stuff too after he was born. And I looked at my son and I thought, “How can I take care of two babies when I don’t even feel like I can take care of one?” And let alone, how am I going to survive this. And I sat on the floor and I sobbed. And it was so dark, it was like a pitch black room in my mind, in my heart. I was sitting there sobbing. And all of a sudden, like a light switch, like when you flip a light switch and the room fills with bright light light, it was like a light switch switched. And I heard audibly, “My grace is sufficient.”

Don: Wow.

Sarah: And I heard Jesus’ voice. And there’s an Amy Grant song that talks about the peace the past is understanding. And I was filled with complete peace at that light switch, at that flip. “My grace is sufficient.” And I will tell you, that the words went straight to my brain. It was like they bypassed my ears, they were audible, they were like physically audible. But they went straight to my brain, they bypassed my ears. I know that if anyone else was in that room they would not have heard the voice, because it went straight to my brain. And it’s the hardest thing to describe. Also, I don’t remember any more, or remember what I thought. But I remember thinking that I’ll never hear that voice… the voice you don’t hear in a human’s voice, it had the strength of a man’s voice and the compassion of a female voice.

Sarah: And I’ve never heard any voice like that. And I will say that the first thing I thought was, like, I just thought, “What’s grace?” I was just like, “Grace is a female’s name.” But I was filled with so much peace, that I stood up, and I walked into my bedroom. I left my son’s bedroom and walked into my bedroom, and I literally fell asleep before my head hit the pillow. And Matt told me, I was telling this story to friends years ago-

Don: That’s not only grace, that’s peace, and peace.

Sarah: … yeah, that was grace. I was telling the story to some friends and Matt goes, he said something… and yeah, he had been awake the whole time. And he actually remembers me… he goes, “You were sobbing and you got up and I was waiting for you to start talking, and then I realized you were completely asleep.” And I was like, “Yeah.” So what ended up happening was, it took about three days, it kind of like Novocaine, it kind of wears off. Like, I was just filled with so much peace that it protected me, and it just slowly wore off. And then after about three days I had to start digging into scripture. Because the anxiety came back. And so one of the first things I did was to search out what grace was. Because, to me it was just a girl’s name. And so, I found out that grade is God’s unmerited or unearned favor for sinful mankind.

Sarah: And it is in 2 Corinthians 12, when Paul is boasting about the weaknesses that he has, because he says, “Jesus says my grace is sufficient for you. For my power is made perfect in weakness.” And the apostle Paul goes on to say, “Therefore I will boast all the more in my weaknesses and hardships and insults…” I’m not quoting it word for word, but… because God’s Grace is shown in all of those. So, in my weaknesses I did not think that I could… so here’s God’s Grace on my life, I did not think that I could take care of one child, and I now have six children. So we went on to have… God just showed me so much about his love and his mercy, and how much he adores children through in his care for me and our family. And we went on to have four biological children and two… we have legal guardianship of our fifth child, and we just legally adopted our sixth child. So that is my story-

Don: Wow. Yeah, that’s quite a story.

Sarah: Of God’s Grace.

Don: You know, for you to go back to the day we met, I’m looking at you and all those young ones, you know, I’m just a hillbilly, I couldn’t help [inaudible 00:19:19]. Okay, I’m looking at the one I’m going to coach, and looking at you, and looking at him. Okay, mathematically this aint working out, this aint right.

Sarah: What do you mean? Oh, the age!

Don: Yeah. Because he looks so much older than he really is, to me. I’m like, “Wait a minute, wait a minute.” But anyway, it was really funny, because I [crosstalk 00:19:36]

Sarah: Well, we also are different skin colors.

Don: Yeah, I know, right. I was looking at it, you know, I’m just a redneck and I’m going, “Wait a minute, where are they from?”

Sarah: Well, that’s funny. Because my oldest, who we just legally adopted, we have to wait until they’re… yeah, we just legally adopted our adult daughter, we’ve had her for many years though. But, she’s 20, she just turned 20 last week. And I’m 37, so you know, do the math there, but…

Don: So, back to you and the grace.

Sarah: Yes.

Don: Because I’m fixing to think you’re getting ready to close up here. I want you to do this for me, like we started out with. In a very short sentence, sum up what you believe grace is. In your own personal walk and spiritual…

Sarah: That’s a really good question. Because I keep saying, when I keep saying the definition which is God’s unmerited favor for sinful mankind. But if I was going to make it personal…

Don: Yeah, make it your story.

Sarah: … it’s God unearned love for me.

Don: Amen. That’s powerful. So glad you’re sharing that with me today.

Sarah: And for everyone.

Don: Yeah. They all get it, right?

Sarah: Thanks for interviewing me today, and sorry I just talked too much, oh my goodness.

Don: No, that’s why we get along so good, because neither one is going to shut up. Jeff’s over here looking at us like, “You know, I’m getting hungry over here”

Jeff: I always want to [crosstalk 00:21:00]

Sarah: I know, do you want to close this out?

Don: [crosstalk 00:21:01] Dad.

Jeff: Well…

Don: Come on Gilligan, close out this.

Jeff: Yeah. No, this has been really something to listen to, Sarah. As a father, it’s humbling. It’s very cool that your mom and I were just a part of your story, and that we’ve been a part, and hopefully will continue to be a part.

Don: You still are.

Jeff: Yeah.

Don: That’s what I envy in you, you still are. Some of us don’t have that luxury.

Jeff: Yeah. It’s very cool. And my hope, Don, is that the kiddos in your life understand what a really cool dad they have, because they do.

Don: Everything’s in God’s hand sir, and he’ll take care of it. Thank you for being concerned.

Jeff: And so, really I think in all this, as we’re relating it to Journey, one of the things that I think is important to say is, for a lot of people listening today, Sarah’s story is like, “What was she smoking?” You know? But guys, here’s the thing. Look at all the sort of things you hear every day and the way the world is. And just consider that maybe there is something to this. And maybe there is a God that loves us. And maybe there is a God that loves you, and how can you lean into that and move forward.

Don: they can start their journey right here with us.

Jeff: Just start the journey right here.

Don: That’s what this is all about.

Jeff: Exactly. So, reach out to us. There’s ways to do that, at journeycoaching.org, there’s Facebook, Instagram. But actually just reaching out and making those connections, and to help us to know where you’re at and how we can help you on your journey, we would love to do that.

Don: Leave a comment in the comment section on the website.

Jeff: Absolutely.

Don: Please do, leave us a comment, we’ll get back to you.

Sarah: Yeah, on social media.

Don: Wouldn’t you just love to have Don show up at your door.

Sarah: Yeah.

Don: Let me in, let me in.

Jeff: Thanks for listening today, and join us again,.

Sarah: Thank you.

Jeff: Take care.

Sarah: Bye.

Speaker 4: Thank you for listening. Tune in next time, and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at journeycoaching.org, and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at journeycoaching.org.

Speaker 4: (singing)

Gender Stereotypes Debunked.

Regardless of gender, we are all meant for connection. Is there something keeping you from building relationships? Whether it be pride, unrealistic expectations or even stereotypes – you were meant to connect.


Transcription of the Podcast


Don: I know, I’m just saying this for me, I’m always too prideful to let anybody not know that I wasn’t Mr. Popular and everything was going smooth when my whole world was crumbling down around me. I couldn’t connect with my kids for lots and lots of years. [inaudible 00:00:16] rebuilding something that I destroyed 13 years ago. It takes time, but it’s not something I was ever willing to share with anybody until I started on my Journey Venture last summer.

Don: (music).

Don: Hi, Jeff.

Jeff: Good afternoon, Don.

Don: [crosstalk 00:00:43] so I understand we’re going to talk about relationships today.

Jeff: Relationships, yes.

Don: Awesome.

Jeff: It is.

Don: Those could be, between you and I, what do we want to go with, probably work, family?

Jeff: Yeah, it all fits in, right? It all fits in, yeah.

Don: How relationships maybe struggle-

Jeff: How they struggle, and especially with guys, right?

Don: Because we like to talk about football, NASCAR.

Jeff: Packers, oh the Packers. Yeah.

Don: We don’t have [inaudible 00:01:13].

Jeff: Dale Earnhardt, he just … Is Dale Earnhardt even racing anymore? I don’t even know. That’s probably back from the ’80s. Anyway, so yeah, before we started today, off air we were talking a little bit, it seems like gals can open up a little bit more, talk a little bit more about things that matter. But, what were you saying? Something like, “Guys could meet each other three years later-“

Don: Oh yeah, I know, right. You just bump into a buddy you haven’t seen. I had a trucking buddy just call me a month ago, true story. I hadn’t heard from Jimmy forever, and he called, “Hey, buddy, what are you doing?” I’m like, “Man,” we haven’t seen each other in 10 years, but after we said, “Hey and what’s going on? I’m still trucking.” I’m like, “I’m home, not working.” So we’re all caught up, but women, on the other hand, you’re worried about people’s hair, another child, a lot of dialogue there. Guys, we’re in maybe 90 seconds, we’re caught up. See you in five years, we’re good.

Jeff: Exactly.

Don: With that being said, what we were talking about earlier, of course, I know for me, we don’t get into that relationship thing as much as women do. I mean, I think there’s science out there that verifies women’s brains and men’s brains work completely different, and thank God they do.

Jeff: Right, right. Yeah, what’s that book? Men Are Mars, Women Are From Venus or something like that.

Don: Mars, yeah, Mars and Venus. We’re just from two different kinds of [crosstalk 00:02:45].

Jeff: And we could learn something from women in this thing, because here, us guys, we go through life and it’s … Especially like this American dream thing, we’re living the American dream.

Don: What is that?

Jeff: Yeah, what is that? But, man, we’re all about that and we’re going to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, and when the going gets tough, man, we’re going to man up more. We’re going to man up and we’re just going to-

Don: Well, here again, don’t you think, Jeff, possibly that’s just the way we’ve been trained and brought up as our parents? You and I are basically the same age, 60ish. We’re just taught that men do this and women do that. I mean, this sounds cliché and old-fashioned, but it’s not that way anymore. All these women are working, they’ve got jobs, there’s some stay-at-home dads. But, when you mentioned to me, just before we started recording today, about relationships, it just made me think back to all the things that I missed out in life by letting money and jobs take over my life, that it very much did for so many years. From a young man to age 57, when I was forced to quit working because of my health and back and stuff like that. But, I didn’t realize until that point in my life, my gosh, if you were to say, “How was life for you, Don, with your family and kids?” To be real about it, it was all lost. I mean, I’ve had wives walk out of my life because, “He worked too much,” was the rumor that I heard. It’s not a joke.

Jeff: Well, that’s interesting that you say that.

Don: That’s what I was told.

Jeff: Yeah, and you didn’t say, “wife”, you said, “wives” so it’s more than one. So here’s the other thing I think, and this is … I don’t want to pick too much on guys here, because women … I think it all applies. But, isn’t it amazing sometimes as just human beings, how we’ll go a direction and we go, “Hmm, what could I have learned from that?” But, we keep going that same direction and it’s like … Which is what Journey … As people listen to this on the Journey site, or however they’re listening to it, if they’re Journey, that’s what we want to do is help people. If you’re heading south, that’s okay, right? We all head south at some point. But, lets re-calibrate and maybe we can’t turn true north, maybe we never get true north. Nobody’s perfect, right? But, at least lets re-calibrate and at least point more towards north.

Don: Well, we just got to find direction. Let’s pick that one apart [inaudible 00:05:29] would say. We’re going to unpack that.

Jeff: Unpack it.

Don: Direction. I was headed in a lot of directions in life. I’m a multi-tasker, if things we’re going on, I did farming at a young age, and all kinds of other sideline businesses, just again, thinking that I was being that good guy, that man that’s providing for the family. When I look back now, and even then, but couldn’t change directions, because in my 30s, so focused on … had a very good job at a management position, and it was a seven day week in the ag businesses. I didn’t realize all this stuff until just this last few years, “Wow, you sure missed out on a lot of stuff.” But, as a guy, here again, we just think that that’s what we’re designed to do. Boy, I’d hate to see … and that’s why we’re doing this today, I think, if I understand you right, is to let you guys out there know that there’s a whole lot more to life than working and money and the things that you have. Because, as Jeff mentioned the word journey, and that’s what we’re doing here, is the journey that I’ve been on for the last 14 months is the coolest journey I’ve ever been on, because it allows me to have time to pay attention to what’s going on in my life, which I always did in the working world, but I didn’t pay attention, obviously, to my relationships, because they all crumbled.

Don: Even with my children, those dissolved and still are just being rebuilt as we record this today. We’re still working on it. Things are going good, but I’m telling you, it’s been 13 years since the major break up with all three of my children, and we’re just repairing that now. I guess, my message to the guys is, slow down, take a look at your family, your wife, your kids. I mean, anything can be worked out, and Journey really helps us do that when we find another guy to mentor with and sit down and talk about stuff, because, let’s face it, Jeff, you don’t want to … You and I haven’t seen each other for six months, you don’t want to share your personal problems with me because you’re a guy. You don’t want me to see you sweating and struggling, do you, because that’s shameful.

Jeff: Yeah, let me … Let me run off on that a little bit. The way I was raised is, yeah, you just don’t divulge any of that stuff.

Don: Never let them see you sweat.

Jeff: Yeah, never let them … Exactly, never let them see you sweat. Now, that caused me a lot of internal angst and a lot of sweating over the years, some high anxiety times. I still … It’s hilarious, actually, that I’m involved in anything about coaching, because my kids will tell you that … Terry, my wife, has been the coach of the family. Here’s my idea of coaching, it’s like, “There’s the thing that needs to be done. Go do it. Don’t hurt yourself. Let me know if you need any help, but just go get it done.”

Don: Right.

Jeff: I’ve been really good over the years at keeping people at a distance. Yeah, before we started this podcast, Don and I, we had lunch, we talked for about half an hour, and that’s something that I just haven’t done a whole lot in my life. I don’t have 25 good friends in my life, so I look at this and I go, “Hmm, am I weird? Am I unique?” No, I mean, that’s kind of the common thing, right? I mean, we’ve got tons of maybe friends on Facebook, but how many real friends do we have that we can call up and just say, “Hey, this thing just happened in my life, this just sucks, and I just need somebody to talk about this thing.” Especially guys, right? I mean, we just don’t do that.

Don: Well, that’s why I think we just kind of spitball the idea of doing a little brief podcast on relationships, and you’re sharing now that you don’t have a lot of friends. I did not know that. This is why I think it’s important to say at this point, we didn’t even know that we were going to do this, but this is now meant so other men out there can hear that, “Here’s some guy that just admitted that he didn’t have a lot of friends when it comes to male friends.” I think all of us fit that mold of, here again, the man thing. I don’t want to beat this into the ground, but I know, I’m just saying this for me. I’m always too prideful to let anybody not know that I wasn’t Mr. Popular and everything was going smooth when my whole world was crumbling down around me. I couldn’t connect with my kids for lots and lots of years, as I said earlier, we’re just rebuilding something that I destroyed 13 years ago.

Don: It takes time, but it’s not something I was ever willing to share with anybody until I started on my Journey Venture last summer. So now I’ve been able to open up more about that and that’s why I think we’re laying this down and recording it, to let … We’ve done a lot of recordings. We’ve got women, Sarah, Terry, [inaudible 00:10:55] and stuff, but we really haven’t just heard a guy podcast, so we just kind of threw this together last minute, over a sandwich. We said, “Let’s just talk about some guy stuff.” So ladies, we love you, but you’re just not going to be here today.

Jeff: We need to wrap it up because I think it’s a good start, I think there’ll be some other good conversations along this line. But, the point being, “Hey, if you’re out there, you’re hearing this, and you’re sort of prompted, you’re sort of sensing, “You know what? I’m just tired of pulling myself up from my bootstraps. I’m tired of, well …” Well, Don’s got this term.

Don: I got the phrase. I mean, it’s so easy. Life is tough, right? I’m sure you want to get it right, don’t you, Jeff? You want more friends and good life, right?

Jeff: Yeah.

Don: Well, we at Journey want to help. We want to do that, and you and I will help the people. I’m going to start coaching next week, this coming Sunday I’ll start coaching for the first time, coming along side a 16-year-old boy.

Jeff: Yeah.

Don: Well, there’s a weird twist. A 61-year-old man coaching a 16-year-old boy, how much times have changed. But, based on my life, and the lack of good things and the relationships that were destroyed, I am just completely blessed that I’m going to get to work with a teenage young man that I’ve met and guide him in the direction where he doesn’t travel that path of no relationships like I did.

Jeff: Well, and that’s the other thing too. Let’s face it, and I’m not a counselor. I kid people, “My counselor wife, Terry, she swims in the deep end of the pool, I swim in the shallow end.” But, I do know that there’s a lot of people out there, 15, 16-year-olds, and their emotional maturity sometimes gets kind of stuck in that 15 or 16-year-old mindset. So there’s people out there listening today that are, yeah, 60, 70, 25, 30, whatever it is, you got to … It’s really important to look at yourself in the mirror and say, “How much deeper have I grown since I was a teenager, and would it be better if I grew emotionally in my emotional health, my physical health, and my spiritual health, and how do I do that?” Well, that’s where there’s some people around the table, there’s a great process, there’s a seven session coaching process. It has been really, really developed well by some really smarter people than I, over the last five plus years.

Don: It’s a great book.

Jeff: Yeah, 10 revisions on this little guide. It’s what? Probably 80 pages maybe?

Don: Yeah.

Jeff: Seven sessions. But, 10 revisions, coaching dozens of people, and it’s really good stuff. So I guess the call to action here is, first of all, thanks for listening, hopefully some people, some guys made it through the whole-

Don: Yeah, I hope so.

Jeff: [crosstalk 00:14:07], it’s like, “I don’t want to hear this. I just want to continue to be in my little bubble.” For those of you that are still listening that really want to find out more, just take a step, reach out to us, it’s journeycoaching.org. There’s a phone number there, there’s ways to connect with us. It’s just, again, by connecting, you’re not making a commitment for a lifetime, you’re not making a commitment even for seven sessions. You’re just taking a step to just find out more and how it applies to your situation, and again, how we can help and come along side and-

Don: Just take a look.

Jeff: We all grow together.

Don: What I’ll close by saying is just take a really hard look at a journey that I jumped on not even a year ago, that I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again and it might become my trademark, “I hope this journey never stops.”

Jeff: Yeah, amen. All right.

Don: Thanks, Jeff.

Jeff: Thanks, Don.

Speaker 3: Thank you for listening. Tune in next time and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at journeycoaching.org, and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at journeycoaching.org.Speaker 3: (music).

Overcoming the Fear of Discouragement

From overcoming the fear of discouragement to tips and tricks on goal setting, join Sarah and Don as they interview special guest, JoJo.


Transcription of the Podcast


JoJo: I believe in miracles. I think Sarah does too, we’ve talked about that, but Sarah’s always had just a huge faith in something that she is pursuing for the right reason.

Don: Right.

JoJo: And I think that’s really what’s going to make goal setting, or success, or a great mentor, is someone who is seeking a goal that is a higher goal.

Sarah: Welcome back to The Journey Podcast. My name is Sarah Bandwits. Today I have two guests with me, Don Evans. How are you today?

JoJo: Good sir. How are you doing?

Sarah: I’m good. JoJo Hawks, how are you today?

JoJo: Above average, thank you.

Don: That a girl.

JoJo: Happy to be here.

Sarah: Thank you both for being on the podcast. Today we are talking about goal setting, which is great for the new year, and you two both are excellent with goal setting, so I’m really happy to interview both of you regarding that. JoJo, you’ve never been on the podcast before, so will you do a quick introduction of who you are?

JoJo: Absolutely. My name’s JoJo Hawks. I have three children. I’ve been going to school full time now for at least a year and a half. I’ve got a degree in journalism. I’ve been a computer programmer, software project manager and-

Sarah: Licensed massage therapist.

JoJo: Licensed massage therapists with hospice for the past 16 years, which is really what I love doing is working with people and helping people, which is why I’m going to nursing school now.

Sarah: Very excellent, but awesome.

Don: Good for you.

Sarah: Yeah, she’s amazing. And single mom too.

JoJo: Yes.

Sarah: Doing all that as a single mom.

Don: That’s going to be hard to follow when they ask what I do.

JoJo: Give it up Don.

Sarah: Yeah Don, give us a quick overview.

Don: Well, I’ve got a PhD and a bachelor’s degree in life, hard life and many others we won’t mention. But yeah, just been on fire for a year and a passion to help people in their spiritual walk a little prison ministry and I’ve been doing a few podcasts with the Journey Coaching thing and encouraging people to get involved with that a lot, which I’ve went through it. So that’s a little snapshot of me JoJo.

JoJo: Awesome.

Sarah: Oka, so when I think about both of you, and you guys have never met.

Don: No ma’am.

Sarah: Five minutes ago, you guys didn’t know who each other was.

JoJo: Yes.

Sarah: But I’ll say this, knowing both of you pretty well I think the one thing that I would say embodies each of you individually is that book, Who Moved my Cheese?

Don: Right. I haven’t read the book, but I’ve heard about it.

Sarah: You’ve heard about it?

Don: I’m ODC, I just don’t like my stuff moved, period. It just really bugs me. How about you?

JoJo: I’m trying to give up cheese.

Don: Are you? No, please don’t. That’s bad.

JoJo: That’s actually one of my goals.

Don: Right. Well set a new one please. Don’t worry about cheese, man.

Sarah: You’re going to have a really crabby 2020 then.

JoJo: No, one of my goals is vegetarian.

Sarah: Wow.

JoJo: Yeah.

Sarah: Okay, this is the big, how do you guys set goals? Wait, come up with goals, set them and then implement them? Because you both do that really, really well.

JoJo: I think a lot of what I’ve done over the years is try to be obedient to what God’s calling me to do, which is ultimately to be a good steward of the gifts and talents that he’s given me, and so like when it comes to vegetarianism, some of my numbers weren’t so great this year when I got my blood work back. And God gave me a body, so it seems like I should be a good steward of that body, even though sometimes when I’m studying I’m in denial and I like doughnuts, creamy bun buns to be specific, so I’m trying to work towards that.

JoJo: It’s hard, it’s a process and I also feel like God has a good way of convicting me to do certain things. And thankfully it’s not all at the same time. It has to deal with the situations that I go through where he opens my eyes. It’s kind of like taking the blinders off, or peeling back layers of an onion, not, “Hey look, this needs to change.” You know? So that’s one goal that I have. Going to school, becoming a massage therapist and going to nursing school, I feel like God’s kind of been knocking at that door, pounding on that door, bulldozing that door for a long time.

Sarah: How did you do that while being a single mom? Because accomplishing goals is really systematically small steps moving forward. How did you do that and still overcome hurdles, especially as a single mom? I’m sure that there were a lot of hurdles just like I think just being tired, probably a big one.

JoJo: Yeah. Honestly, I don’t get that tired, which at church right now, they’re doing a long series on joy and they talk about, joy comes from faith and I think that’s one of the reasons why I don’t get that tired is that I have a really strong faith and that keeps me motivated to go on and the hope for what’s beyond that. I think in goal setting, I call it creative creative financing when it comes to anything that takes money.

Sarah: What do you mean by that?

JoJo: Never say never, because there’s always a way to get things done, you might just have to be more creative. I have a marketing background too, so I don’t let money necessarily stand in my way. I look at what would God have for me and to try really to look fear in the face and say, “Yeah, but I don’t care.” Because-

Sarah: That’s a good point.

JoJo: I think fear is not of God, and so when you’re scared to do something, that might actually be a really healthy thing. And when you’re stepping out in faith, when you’re doing something that everyone else is going to think is crazy, you might have to just think, yeah, but there’s so many things that God and his apostles did that are seemingly crazy in today’s world, but yet I have faith that it’s all going to work out for the right reasons. It’s going to come to the best and that it can.

Sarah: JoJo, do you have any personal examples? Any stories about how you’ve overcome that fear or even discouragement as you’re reaching your goals?

JoJo: I think when I had a really challenging time with my divorce, kind of seeing the future was a huge goal for me. Like, what is this going to look like when you’re walking out into the, “I don’t know what’s going to happen.” And the more I started leaning into God, the more he just started providing the right things for me, the right people, the right scripture, the right Bible study, the right attorney, the right information that I needed, Christian people, mentors to give me hope. And against that I also got a lot of chances to really, he encouraged me by giving me feedback, whether that was through people or scripture or action, when things came back to me and I really felt like, wow, he’s encouraging me or reinforcing what I already thought was true by what he’s laying out in front of me, but it never happens according to my day planner. It’s always his schedule, which can be very frustrating.

Don: He’s kind of funny about that stuff, isn’t he? He wants us to hear a thing in his time, doesn’t he?

JoJo: Yeah, he’s got his own schedule.

Don: Finances had to be a concern for you, stepping out as a single mother though didn’t it?

JoJo: Yes.

Don: So if you’re a goal setter, what was your goal for finances? Thinking, “Okay now I’m a single mother.” Not unless your husband was rich and you’re got a lot of money, I don’t know.

JoJo: I have a lot of creative financing. I’m okay with that.

Sarah: She’s done amazing. I mean, because you got a house.

JoJo: Yes, I’ve purchased the house. I look at the big picture, like when I purchased my home I knew it was possible to buy a home with no money down, so I did that. I did a 100% financing so I had to do it on my own based on even though basically my credit got tanked out because he took all my credit when he closed all of our accounts without talking to me, because I had a great credit before I got married. I had no idea that this was coming so I didn’t have my own, credit card or whatever. So you know, I was starting over, but at the same time I’m like, “I’m going to do this. I need to do this.” And you know, obviously I made a budget. I’ve always been very budget conscious and looking at provision and trying really hard to just think, how did my kid’s life look before this and how do I want it to look like after this? And so I just worked really hard to make it look to the kids like it was seamless.

Sarah: Well and your house. Okay, story time. What happened with the paint on the stairs?

JoJo: My son like kicked a gallon of paint down the stairs on the carpet that I just had laid.

Sarah: And you had a neighbor. Okay. So you bought this house, which is super adorable.

JoJo: Thank you.

Sarah: And was in really good condition even before you bought it, but you’ve really made it your own. And the way that you’ve made it your own is doing a lot of things yourself and having friends and family do things, one being laying this carpet. No, but you paid someone to lay the carpet, right?

JoJo: Yes, I paid someone to lay the carpet. Yes.

Sarah: And then just knowing you, I’m sure that you turn that paint issue into something positive.

JoJo: Yeah, it was definitely a learning experience for all of us because I’m let “Oh no.” And I’m scrubbing and my son’s crying because he didn’t mean to do that. And we still laugh about how he did that and he managed to put a plastic tray to bake potatoes on in the oven.

Sarah: Oh that’s right.

JoJo: Super smart guy. Super smart. But he’s learning a lot. We’re all learning a lot. I think as a family, we look back at it and laugh and we were all scrubbing and soaking and things like that. One thing I attribute my kids too is that they’re great team members. I mean-

Sarah: Your family does work really good together as a team.

JoJo: So we just come together and just really try to lift each other up, or help with homework, or whatever we need to do to like get her done and move on, because that’s what we do is we support each other.

Don: So JoJo, after what you were just saying about all the things with the goals and how you’ve really had to dig in and do so many things in your life with your kids and stuff, do you feel like there was ever one single moment where you were just something was going on, whether it was a pain or the kid’s homework where you just really felt like God’s hand was there and you’re like, “Wow.” you just got this tingling feeling inside like “I just feel his presence here and this must be why this is happening.” Do you ever experience anything like that?

JoJo: Yeah, there’s a lot of different situations in my life when maybe something stopped that I expected was going to continue to keep going, but then God suddenly opened a door and I’m like, “Okay, this has to be God because I never saw this coming, and I never skipped a beat and it looks too good to be true.” Kind of a thing. There’s been a couple of different changes with part time jobs that I’ve taken on where I think a lot of people might be just, really like, “Oh this is so sad. I’m going to dwell on this for a really long time.” And instead I was like, “Okay God, you have a different plan for me and I’m just going to keep my eyes open and take a look at what you have for me and what blessings are going to come from this.”

JoJo: There’s a friend of mine I met through massage therapy, ironically she now goes to the same church that I do and she’ll call me and bless me to go see someone that we know, which is a huge blessing for me. Timing is everything and it always seems to work out so it’s a blessing for both of us. There’s been times, like when I was going through my divorce, when I was in a Bible study with a group of other mothers from our school and just reading the scripture and I think it was specifically how to hear God speaking to you and getting that reinforcement or confirmation from scripture or other people, and it had specific steps on how to do that. And it was like, systematically step by step, I was being confirmed in, “Yes, this is the right thing to do.” Whether it was scripture or God placing in front of me someone to talk to, to just get that Christian perspective again as a mentor of, “Hey, you know this is the right track you’re on. This is what you should really be looking or thinking about or reading about scripture.”

Don: I’m dying to ask a question over here, I really am.

JoJo: Sure.

Don: With all that being said, and I understand that so well, where in your schedule, I’m a single person, but I don’t have kids.

Sarah: Well, you have kids, they’re just older, they’re just adults.

Don: Right, but she’s-

Sarah: She’s in the thick of it.

Don: Bless her heart. She’s got little ones she’s raising up in Mao’s defeat and whatnot like that. But while I’m sitting over here listening to you and so inspired by what you’re saying, but my burning questions, I just can’t wait to ask, as you see, I just interrupted you. That’s what I do. Where do you find the time, and really think about this for a second, where do you find time to listen to what God has to say to you? Because you have already convinced me that where I come from, we would say, you’re just working your tail off with your kids. Scripture, people calling on you, you’re seeing people, you’re in Bible studies. Where do you carve out in a 24 hour period of time to go, “You know what God, it’s just you and me and I want to listen.” Because I’ve been working really hard at making my goal heavier in that area because I have this gift to can’t shut up and talk all the time, so I’m carving out. Where do you carve yours out of JoJo?

JoJo: Sometimes it’s in the minivan behind the wheel.

Don: That a girl. I’m a trucker, we like to look at concrete, listen to God.

JoJo: Sometimes it’s just on my way to get the kids, pick the kids up, go to work, whatever, go to school. I go to a Christian college right now, so I’ve literally sat at my professor’s desk, looked him in the eye and say, “Can you pray for me that my brain starts to understand chemistry.” And when I did my final, across one of the pages, I didn’t write scripture, but I said, “Dear Jesus, please bless me today.”

Don: Yeah. So you know, I’m not college kind of guy or stuff’s so I’m listening to you talk, I’m really curious as to all the people that you’ve talked about. Who do you kind of single out as mentors in your life that really inspired you to want to travel this path that seems, from where I’m sitting across the room from you, appears to be pretty hard, especially for a woman and I’m a guy. But I had mentors growing up, a couple, three farmers in my life from a little boy that really shaped me because unfortunately appearance didn’t. So I admired them and looked on and I can still call them till the day I die, my mentors. Can I ask who mentored you to get you to be so driven?

JoJo: Hmm, driven.

Sarah: You are very driven.

JoJo: Well Sarah, you have definitely mentored me.

Sarah: Okay.

Don: Don’t you all go getting emotional on me now.

JoJo: I know, I get weepy. I think just in the fact that I believe in miracles, I think Sarah does too. We’ve talked about that, but Sarah’s always had just a huge faith in something that she is pursuing for the right reason. And I think that’s really what’s going to make goal setting, or success, or great mentor is someone who is seeking a goal that is a higher goal.

Don: How do you go about when you set, because I’m curious, the way I do things, I set goals, I try to achieve them, but when I’m getting close to them being done, I can see it coming together, then my psychologist says, “You’re a really extreme forward thinker. You’re always looking for the next project.” I would think with your circumstances, with the little ones again and then working, school and all that and where do you find time to set new goals? Or you just got so many that you’re like, “Well, this bucket’s full and it’s going to take the next five years to get all these accomplished.”

Sarah: Well, and JoJo is very creative.

JoJo: Yes, and they explode. I mean, they just come to me. I’ve had several people tell me before that I am the idea person, that I see things come together in a different kind of way.

Sarah: So before we wrap up this podcast and in wrapping up this podcast, Journey Coaching, a lot of it is about working in your strengths and JoJo, I think that that’s one reason I’m excited to have you on the podcast today is because you very much, you embody someone who has a strong faith and who works in their strengths.

JoJo: Thank you.

Sarah: I don’t know if you even realize that that’s what you do, but you do. You lean on your strengths and you lean on God and then you work in those strengths and as a result you’re able to accomplish these amazing things in your life.

JoJo: God gives us gifts and he gives us deficits and so our job is to go find people who have the gifts we don’t.

Sarah: Yes.

JoJo: And you bring them to the table.

Sarah: Yeah, and you have a lot of people around you.

Don: Have you been through Journey Coaching already?

JoJo: I’m sorry?

Don: Have you been through Journey Coaching already?

JoJo: No.

Don: Okay, sounds like you have/

Sarah: I know, actually she’d be a great coach, but she doesn’t even know. We’ll have that conversation off.

JoJo: Well, when I was a manager, when I would fill my team, I was like, nobody brings everything to the table so you really need to look and handpick those people who are going to bring everything you need to the table and appreciate their uniqueness and that they’re going to bring something to the table and it’s a synergy of everybody working together. It’s like the community in Christ, we aren’t meant to be alone. Together we’re much stronger, much more powerful.

Sarah: And that community together, I mean people want to be around JoJo because of her positivity and because you can tell she genuinely cares about people and yeah.

Don: Yeah, she does. You can see in her eyes when you start pressing her about God, the eyes are getting watery. That’s why I said, just don’t get all teary up here. I’ve got shirt sleeves.

JoJo: I can’t help it.

Don: No ma’am. That a girl.

JoJo: It’s just how I roll.

Sarah: Well thanks for being on the Journey Podcast.

Don: You’re a good actor too. That was good. I like that. Amen sister.

JoJo: Nice to meet you Don.

Don: You too, it’s a pleasure.

JoJo: Yeah. Nice to-

Don: Next time warn me when you’re coming, just don’t show up.

JoJo: Okay, I will.

Sarah: If you guys want to learn more, go to journeycoaching.org and we will talk to you later. Bye.

Automated voice: Thank you for listening. Tune in next time and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at journeycoaching.org and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at journeycoaching.org your journey starts now, but.

Special Interview with Life101.9 Station Manager, Matt Dean

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode Jeff and Sarah interview special guest, Matt Dean, station manager at 101.9. In this interview, Matt recalls his story of coming to 101.9 and the goals of the radio station.


Transcription of the Podcast


Matt:                Our goal is just in between those songs to bring encouragement, to put something positive into people’s lives because there so much that is negative in the world today.

Jeff:                  Hi, this Jeff. We are here for another Journey Podcast and great to have a couple of actually very good communicators in the studio today. So, we’ve got Matt Deane who is the station manager at 101.9.

Matt:                Yeah. Good morning. Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.

Jeff:                  Good morning, yes. Very fun.

Sarah:               Thanks for coming, Matt.

Matt:                Yeah, you bet.

Jeff:                  And that other voice you just heard is Sarah and she is here to interview and talk to Matt and to just basically hear a little bit about his story. So, I’m just going to let her jump right into this.

Sarah:               Well, thanks for being with us, Matt. I really appreciate you coming all the way down to Cedar Rapids.

Matt:                Yeah. It’s great. I’m just really glad for the opportunity. So, thank you.

Sarah:               So tell us a little bit about your story because you’re a newer manager. You took over for Doug.

Matt:                That’s right. So, Doug Smith was our station manager for 19 years and certainly some big shoes to fill. Just tracking back a little bit, our family’s been in Eastern Iowa for not a long time, about three and a half years now. And I came to Life 101.9 as the program director, which just basically means in charge of all of the things you hear on the radio. So the music, the stuff in between the music, everything basically fits that program director job description. And at that point when we moved here, I had been at a radio station in Wausau, Wisconsin, which is kind of right up in the middle of the state of Wisconsin, for almost 15 years and we had looked for new jobs at certain points and nothing was really a good fit and so we were just under the assumption that God was just wanting us to be in Wisconsin.

Matt:                And we were cool with that. And so we were raising our girls. And out of the blue one day, I got an email from Doug Smith. And at that moment I didn’t know who Doug Smith was. So, I literally almost deleted the email without looking at it because I thought it was a junk mail thing or something. But I opened it up and it was an invitation to come to Waterloo to potentially be the program director at Life 101.9, so that was different than junk mail message. So, we came down again. We weren’t looking, but it was an opportunity so we thought we’d come visit and several weeks later I accepted the program director position.

Matt:                So, that was something unexpected, but something we were really excited to start on. So, fast forward now a couple of years later, and I get a phone call from one of our big bosses at our home office in Minneapolis and he tells me that Doug Smith has accepted a new position in Fargo, North Dakota, at our Northwestern media station there and that he wanted me to replace him. Doug and I had talked about that. At that point, being the four- or five-year plan when Doug retired, but then this obviously turned it into more of a four-week plan when he was moving. So, this last few years have been various levels of stretching and stretching in a good way. I feel like God’s really grown me in a lot of areas. But yeah, it’s been about a year and a half now that I’ve been the station manager and I’m really enjoying it.

Sarah:               Very nice. So married with daughters. How many kids do you have?

Matt:                Yeah, so Anna just turned 14. Kate is 11 and so we’re in that teen tween whatever you call it these days land. And it certainly keeps us on our toes. Kate, our youngest is in cheer and so we’re going to competitions all over the Midwest several times during the season and Anna’s very involved in music. So, she’s in her middle school band. She’s in jazz band. She plays the piano. So, if one of us is not running Kate to all of her activities, the other one is running Anna to all of her music stuff. So, we’re busy. We’re on the move.

Jeff:                  And what’s kind of interesting is when you’re talking about your daughters’ ages is that’s kind of our daughters spread.

Matt:                Oh, okay.

Jeff:                  Close to their spread in ages. And I just think back to those years, 11 and 14, and I just go, “Oh my. Let me give you a hug man.”

Matt:                Thanks. I will accept that hug.

Jeff:                  Yeah, those are interesting times, aren’t they?

Matt:                It’s a challenge. And in fact, my wife, Jenny, and I were just talking about this last night. How different it is just because of the technology and the things that when we were teenagers that just weren’t available. I mean, we would listen to the radio in our room or pull out a cassette or a CD, which was brand new technology back then. And now they’ve got social media at their fingertips. They’ve got really the world at their fingertips with smartphones and different technology and that can be a wonderful thing, but that can also be a really scary thing too. So, trying to help our girls kind of navigate that whole world and make good choices is a challenge really on a daily basis. So, that’s the world that we’re operating in right now.

Jeff:                  Yeah.

Sarah:               So Matt, okay, you had mentioned just a lot of growing and stretching. I wanted to ask you a question about that, but I don’t know what to ask.

Jeff:                  Well, it’s interesting too because a lot of … my sense is you’re really good at what you do because people have really reached out to you, which is really cool. But that is often rare. I mean, it’s often rare in this economy, in this world today, because you can be really good at what you do but a lot of people hit those walls because companies downsize or get sold or restructure or there’s just different positions that move around and so forth. So, just the fact that doors open, I mean it’s almost good for you and in what you were doing for those in those roles that you served in because people saw that.

Matt:                Yeah.

Jeff:                  And those doors open, but it had to be challenging when all of a sudden, you said you had what you and Doug thought was like about a four-year plan moves into four weeks. What does that feel like? Because one of the things we talk about in Journey is growth and one of the things we just try to be honest and transparent and if that was me, I think just the level of angst would rise there because it’s like, “Oh, so you mean I’ve been sort of co-piloting this plane. Now I’m going to be piloting this plane?” I mean that’s got to be an interesting feeling, right?

Matt:                Yeah, for sure. Yeah. I will tell you when I received that phone call, I was actually driving from our Northwestern media station in Duluth where I was there helping out and driving home. So, I get this phone call, this great news, but this kind of scary news is shared with me and I can tell you for a fact, I do not remember the next 30 minutes of the drive. I know I was driving. I’m still here to prove that fact. I didn’t drive off the road. But just processing all of that in the moment was pretty amazing and then I remember thinking, “Oh, I need to call Jenny.” So, that was my next step. So, it was a crazy time.

Matt:                I’m super grateful for the four weeks that I had with Doug. It was kind of like station manager boot camp a little bit and he couldn’t teach me all the ropes and the things that he had accomplished over 19 years at Life 101.9 but having that time was amazing to help me hit the ground running rather than one person leaves, one person comes in and you just start from scratch, so to speak. So, I was really grateful for that. But yeah, to say it was stressful, to say there was anxiety that might be putting it lightly honestly. But I was just really grateful for the people that I had around me. Not only our team at Life 101.9 which is great and we’re super grateful to have the people that we have who I get to work with every day, but also the friends around our Northwestern media network.

Matt:                I got emails from everybody and texts from everybody saying, “Hey, whatever you need, if you have questions, let me know.” Having those relationships and having those people was super helpful to making the transition an easier one.

Sarah:               Well, and the fact that 101.9 doesn’t have a high turnover rate either.

Matt:                Yep.

Sarah:               I mean, I don’t know who the guy is, but there’s a guy on there that has been on the early morning or very late-

Matt:                Yeah. Lyle.

Sarah:               Yes, Lyle. Since I was a little girl.

Matt:                We lovingly refer to Lyle as the longest tenured part-time radio station employee in the country because he’s been doing Saturday mornings since the early to mid-seventies and he had a different full-time career that kept him busy and that he really enjoyed but he loved the opportunity. So, when I moved here, I did not know the history of Lyle and the great work that he’s done here.

Matt:                Yeah. We’re really grateful. We have several great longterm employees and that goes to show … and I’ve been here for roughly three and a half years, but it’s an amazing place and I’m just really grateful to be a part of it.

Jeff:                  Well, and the industry is really prone to turnover, right?

Matt:                Big time.

Jeff:                  Yeah. So, I mean, not only is that cool, but in the industry you’re in, it’s really unusual.

Matt:                Yeah. And radio can be an industry where if you want to move up, you have to move on, so to speak, because there’s only so many positions at any given radio station. So, that can be the case. It can be really a revolving door. So, we’re grateful for what we have in the way that God uses Life 101.9 in Eastern Iowa.

Sarah:               Well, let’s explain what Life 101.9 is because, personally, it’s my favorite radio station. I’ve listened to it since I was a little girl.

Matt:                Thank you. I appreciate that.

Sarah:               I was really happy when you guys got your higher range tower probably around 2000, 2001 because that was when I got married and moved to Ames.

Matt:                Oh wow.

Sarah:               Yeah, you guys got the longer range tower right before I moved to Ames and that was really cool.

Matt:                You could pick us up in Ames?

Sarah:               I could.

Matt:                That’s amazing.

Sarah:               Yes, I could.

Matt:                Yeah, we were really grateful for that. We had a great tower to begin with and we just were able to move. The thing with radio is power of your transmitter and how high your tower is. So, those two things. And so we have a hundred thousand watt transmitter, which is basically the strongest you can have and we are on a super high tower now. I mean, even higher than the one that we were at. So, that’s really great.

Matt:                But yeah. To explain, if you’re listening to this and you’re like, “What is Life 101.9?” So, Life 101.9 is a Christian music radio station. Our offices are in Waterloo, Iowa. We are owned by the University of Northwestern in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The Northwestern Media Network, really, if you go all the way back, has its roots to Dr. Billy Graham who helped put KTIS on the air in Minneapolis. That was the first radio station. And he had this vision to share the gospel on the radio. In the 1940s this was like breaking technology. This was an unbelievable opportunity. So, that first station went on the air in 1947 and then in 1953 KNWS AM went on the air in Waterloo, Iowa.

Matt:                So, initially we started as just an AM station, which is still on the air today. Am 1090. Then, about 10 years later in the early sixties, KNWS FM went on the air. And it’s interesting to think about. People didn’t use to listen to FM radio for music. Everything was on am. And so in the 1960s, this was again kind of experimental, kind of new. But yeah, so we have the opportunity to share encouragement and share God’s love on the air in Eastern Iowa and wherever people are, they can listen online and it’s amazing what technology can do these days.

Jeff:                  Well, and what’s interesting too is before we started recording here, you said something about, was it like 30% of the people are sort of the non-church, maybe not non-Christian, not church folks though?

Matt:                Yeah.

Jeff:                  So, that’s the other thing to people listening is, check out the station. I mean, you’re not going to hear like organ music and church music. It really is really good uplifting music that if you have cross on the face, it’s great. If you haven’t, it’s just really good uplifting music.

Matt:                Yeah, thanks.

Sarah:               Well, the branding is amazing too. I like the billboards.

Matt:                Yep.

Jeff:                  Yeah.

Sarah:               And just the audio branding too, I mean, is just solid. And it’s true that when you’re driving around the country you can tell what is without … I mean, they say it a lot, but before you hit that, you can tell that it’s a Northwestern station.

Jeff:                  So, your new tagline could be, “If you’re feeling crappy, listen to the station and then you’ll feel happy.”

Matt:                Okay. Do you have a notebook? I’m going to write that one down.

Sarah:               That was super corny.

Matt:                Well, our goal at Life 101.9 is to speak to everyone. So, something we try to think about is to communicate biblical truth in ways that everyone can understand because if you’ve … like I grew up in the church, so people who grew up in the church are prone to using churchy words that “normal” people don’t understand. And so that’s our goal. The Christian music industry has come so far. Like I said, I grew up going to church and in Christian school and looking back I’m grateful for what was there, but a lot of them, the music just wasn’t really all that good and it wasn’t produced all that well. And fast forward to today and you have artists like MercyMe and Lauren Daigle who are making strides in mainstream music, selling out big arenas. That wouldn’t happen if the music itself wasn’t good and it wasn’t connecting with people.

Jeff:                  Well, I don’t know if we want to go down this road, but wasn’t it really … if you look back, a key person to move that forward … I think of Amy Grant.

Sarah:               Yeah, I was going to say Amy Grant.

Matt:                Absolutely. She was really one of the first to make that crossover and I remember back then-

Sarah:               That was hard.

Jeff:                  She got push back.

Sarah:               She did get push back.

Matt:                Yeah. Yeah. Big time. But she was making those strides. She was making good music and that was the case. I remember that because I was in middle school, high school and going to all of a sudden those really big concerts in big arenas. So, we’re grateful that the product that we have is better. And then our goal is just in between those songs to bring encouragement, to put something positive into people’s lives because there is just so much that is negative in the world today. So, if we can share an encouraging thought or say something that just puts a smile on someone’s face … I think if you make someone laugh or you put a smile on someone’s face, you’re encouraging them. So, that’s our goal with what we do on Life 101.9 every day.

Sarah:               I feel like Life 101.9 is like an IV, an infusion, of good news and peace and purpose. And I know this is all … you guys have these little audio clips all the time where people say that the right song came on at the right moment. And I just think all the time, I mean, multiple times a week, I’m like, “Wow, there must be a lot of prayer going into Life 101.9 because it’s so true. Years ago … it’s probably, well, I mean time goes by fast, but about seven years ago, I took my first trip overseas. I’m not a morning person and I had to leave really early in the morning by myself and I was super anxious. I’m very, very, very anxious. I was going to Ethiopia for my first time and I was going with people I didn’t know very well and without any family and I had to leave home around 4:00 AM and I was just incredibly anxious.

Sarah:               I ended up taking some medicine that my doctor had prescribed once I got to Africa, so that’s how anxious I was. I didn’t know if I’d actually get on the plane and I remember before I left the house thinking “God’s with me, Jesus is with me” and I felt in my heart that like Jesus was trying to pull me along saying “I got an adventure” and it’s been an adventure since and I ended up going back three more times. What was really cool as I got in the car and every single song on 101.9 got me from Marion, Iowa to the Eastern Iowa Airport, which is a 30-minute drive. 20 to 30-minute drive and I will tell you one of the songs was Give Christmas Away, which I had never heard before.

Sarah:               Never heard before. And it was Give This Christmas Away. I was leaving right after Christmas but before Ethiopia’s Christmas. It was literally like God was holding my hand through that and that was one time that it’s just amazing. And then another time was when we were homeschooling, we went to put our kids into public school and again, so incredibly anxious about that. And we were putting them in on a Wednesday and on a Monday, two days prior, was the first PTO meeting.

Sarah:               And so I was going to go to that and I was so anxious and driving just three minutes down the road. The song that came on, which again I’d never heard before, and I can’t even remember what song it was now, but it was about, it was like speaking directly. I’d never heard it before. I really haven’t heard it very much since. But it was like speaking directly to that like something about being the light, being a light. That’s what it was.

Matt:                Wow. There it is. That’s awesome.

Sarah:               And it was the first time. But yeah, I mean, that kind of stuff happens all the time and I can’t even imagine life without 101.9. I mean, honestly since I was a little girl, you guys have just been such a huge blessing to my life.

Matt:                We meet as a staff together on Monday mornings and we pray for each other. We pray for some of the needs that people call in or send emails and ask for prayer. But that’s really a big prayer for us too because it’s our job to run a radio station and to do all the mechanical work that makes sure that there’s music in the computer system that runs all of that. But at the same time, we can’t make what you described happen. It’s our job to make sure there’s songs on the air and people think, “Oh wow, you knew.” And we didn’t know, but God knew exactly what was going on.

Sarah:               But you’re faithful. You’re faithful with putting the songs on the radio and making sure that the technology is working and that the staffing is where it needs to be and that you’re sourcing the newest music and everything like that. You’re being faithful with what you can do and God is just taking it and running with it. And it’s amazing.

Matt:                Yeah. And so that’s our prayers, that God would take our efforts and the cool thing is he knows who’s listening at any given time. I mean, he knows everything obviously, but that’s just a mind-boggling thought to us in the building. So, he knows that you needed those songs when you were driving from Marion to the airport and when you were getting ready to go to the school meeting and he’s been so faithful to help us stay on the air financially in that way. We’re just grateful to be a part of what God is doing through Life 101.9.

Jeff:                  So, I’m sitting here going, “Wow, this is just so cool. I mean, it’s just really neat.” But, again, at another level you just go, “If you’re feeling crappy, listen to the station and you feel happy.”

Matt:                Here it comes again. He’s really trying to sell that one today.

Sarah:               And I do just want to play … Matt did not ask us to do this and I want to do this just because I think it’s important. You guys just finished your Winter Share last week and I will say that Life 101 … I’m going to speak for you what I hear on the radio. Life 101.9 does not run on advertising even though you do some very minimal advertising that’s done very, very well. It runs on the support of listeners.

Matt:                That’s right.

Sarah:               And so if anyone does want to support 101.9, how did they do that?

Matt:                So, you can either go to our website, you can give at Life1019.com, or you just want to call us, you can do that too. Our phone number is (866) 515-1019.

Sarah:               And I have a funny story about this. When I was a little girl, I was probably eight years old and I called in for my first sharathon. And I said $1 thinking it was $1 a month. I still remember this moment. I remember standing in the kitchen and the announcer was so sweet and she goes, “Sarah from Solon, Iowa.” because I was living in Solon with my parents at the time. I was little. “Sarah from Solon, Iowa donated $1” and she was so sweet. I was so embarrassed because I was like, “It was supposed to be a dollar a month.” Which to a little girl … $1, $12, or whatever. But I still think about that whenever I call in. I’m like, let’s make sure that …

Matt:                Well, there’s a lot of moving parts to a shareathon. So, stuff sometimes gets misunderstood.

Sarah:               Well, I think it’s just being a little girl. Like this little, seven, eight, nine-year old calls in or whatever. And I never ended up giving that $1. I was so embarrassed and I think they sent me the little form or whatever and I don’t know what happened, but I’ve made up for that because every time there’s a shareathon, I think about that $1.

Matt:                Awesome.

Jeff:                  And along with that, you have the sponsorships with businesses, which we do with Warehouse Auto. If you’re listening to the station … again, if you’re not listening, check it out. Again, it’s great music. But if you are listening give because it’s really nice. I don’t know how most people feel. I would guess I’m going to get agreement with 99.9% of the people. It’s really nice not to hear all the ads. And as we move into this coming year, it’s going to be really nice to not hear all the political ads.

Matt:                There’ll be zero political ads. There will be zero.

Jeff:                  Your listenership is going to skyrocket.

Sarah:               Well, that’s going to help the station too because I know with other … I don’t really listen to other radio stations, but if I ever do, I just flip them as soon as the commercials come on.

Matt:                I mean, it’s a different model for sure. But we are grateful that we’ve been able to get by for literally decades basically on listener support. We do have some businesses like Warehouse Auto that we’re grateful for that help us to even out the budget and solidify things that way. But it’s not something where we have a big team of people out on the streets trying to do that. So, we’re grateful to be able to do that. I mean, I don’t think we could say that we were positive and uplifting if we had political ads on Life 101.9.

Jeff:                  Nope.

Matt:                I don’t think that would work. So, heading into election year, it will be political ad and just politics free because everybody’s got an opinion. Man, you scroll through social media. There are some opinions being shared.

Jeff:                  I love this concept though. See, now you could go to all the politicians and say, “Guys, here’s the deal. We’ll let you on the air, but you only have to say what is a positive thing that you will be doing to help the country.”

Matt:                Yep.

Jeff:                  Boy, wouldn’t that be a movement?

Matt:                Maybe that’s an angle. Who knows? I don’t know if they’d be able to do it though. It’d start there and it would just go somewhere else. So, yeah.

Jeff:                  Yeah.

Sarah:               Okay. So before we close out this podcast, I have one question for you.

Matt:                Sure.

Sarah:               Okay. Well, I want to ask what is your most unique, surprising but fun thing that you’ve been surprised with about being a station manager? Like something that you really enjoy that surprised you.

Matt:                This was really surprising to me. As a program director, which again was the job I had before I was promoted, I was in charge of picking music and that’s a fun … I mean I got to pick the music that people listen to. I mean, that’s a pretty fun job and a lot of other things too. But I didn’t ever really do budgets. Didn’t do a lot of spreadsheet work. And so in my four-week station manager boot camp with my friend Doug Smith, I quickly realized that that was going to change and I was really nervous because I didn’t have a lot of experience with Excel and all of that kind of stuff. And I have come to find that doing the station budget is really fascinating and really interesting and I really love it.

Matt:                We have to obviously make sure that all the bills are paid and they’re paid out of the right accounts and all of that and I didn’t see that coming. At our house, my wife Jenny does the budget stuff and whatever, so I don’t even really have a lot of experience with it. But when I got done doing my first fiscal year budget, I was like, “That was kind of fun.” And I just got done with my next fiscal year budget and it was still fun. And so who knew that doing radio station budgets and combing over spreadsheets all day could be fun? I did not see that one coming. So, that was a surprise.

Sarah:               So, are you going to take over for Jenny at home then too?

Matt:                Maybe that would be too much and then it would be less fun.

Sarah:               Then it wouldn’t be fun for you.

Matt:                She likes doing that so we’re going to let her have her fun. I’ll have my fun and it’ll be all good.

Sarah:               Well, thanks for being on the journey podcast, Matt. It’s been a joy to have you on.

Jeff:                  Yeah, it’s been a lot of fun. And the thing is next steps, how do people again connect with, … I mean it’s probably pretty easy. You go to 101.9.

Matt:                There you go.

Jeff:                  But are there other ways to connect with you then?

Matt:                Yeah, absolutely. So, if you’re in Eastern Iowa, you can probably hear 101.9 on your radio. If not, you can listen at Life1019.com and see what we’re doing there. We’re on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter. Just search for Life 101.9 there and wherever you are you can tell your smart speaker to play Life 101.9. It’s just amazing what technology allows us to do.

Matt:                So, we’d love to connect with you. So thank you.

Sarah:               And your website has the most recently played songs. That’s very important. I find myself using that quite often.

Matt:                Yeah, remember that one song you didn’t-

Sarah:               Especially when you’re driving down the road at high speeds, you have to go back 30 minutes later, get the name of the song that was on.

Matt:                Yeah. Lots of good information, concerts, articles that we again, hope will grow and strengthen people in their walk with Jesus or maybe point them to him for the first time. So yeah, lots of good stuff at Life1019.com.

Sarah:               Your concerts are amazing too.

Matt:                Oh, thank you.

Sarah:               Love the concerts. Big Daddy Weave is my favorite though.

Matt:                Did you see them last year? They were here.

Sarah:               Every time they come I try to come. So, probably. I’ve been to too many. I’m sorry, I think they’re a better artist than MercyMe and MercyMe is like … you can’t say anything. You can’t agree with me.

Sarah:               So, MercyMe is huge and very popular, but I personally think Big Daddy Weave is hands down … I don’t know, just above and beyond. Their concerts are like …

Jeff:                  You’re a weaver. A weaving fan.

Sarah:               I’m a weaver. Yeah. Anyone listening to this, if you haven’t heard Big Daddy Weave, you got to listen to Big Daddy Weave and go to their concerts. Their concerts are great. They’re like church services but like the best services.

Matt:                Best picture of what that looks like, absolutely.

Sarah:               And they’re so neat. They’re just such neat people that have been through a lot. And I think that’s what it comes down to is, I don’t know MercyMe’s story, but I know that Big Daddy Weave has had a lot of health problems and issues like that and it just comes out in their music and if you’re hurting Big Daddy Weave is a great band or group to listen to. So, yeah.

Jeff:                  Well, thanks again Sarah for being a part of this. Matt, for coming in.

Matt:                Yeah. Thank you.

Jeff:                  It’s just very cool with these Journey Podcast to hear people’s stories. It’s cool to hear what’s happening at the station because you guys do reach out to a lot of people so it’s just really cool.

Sarah:               And you guys do it really, really well.

Matt:                Oh, thank you.

Jeff:                  You really do. So, thanks so much for being here. And again, if you are … it’s very simple. Just tune the dial, check it out and then after that, check out Journey Coaching at journeycoaching.org and thanks everybody for joining us today.

Sarah:               Thanks for joining us.

Matt:                Thank you.

Sarah:               Bye.

Thank you for listening. Tune in next time and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at journeycoaching.org and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at journeycoaching.org. [Singing 00:31:31].

Loneliness Hurts

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode, Sarah, Terry and Don walk through loneliness during different seasons in life. They offer encouragement to those who are feeling lonely.


Transcription of the Podcast


Transcript of the Podcast:

Terry: You know, everybody goes through a period, a short period where you’re lonely. But chronic loneliness kind of makes us more susceptible to things like depression, even Alzheimer’s disease. It lowers our immune system, it stresses our cardiovascular system, and it can actually affect how long we live, because loneliness is not something to just ignore. If you’re feeling lonely right now, do something. Reach out, call somebody, call a hotline, find a counselor, a therapist, a psychiatrist, psychologist, somebody, and just say, hey, I’m really, really lonely. Can you help?

Sarah: Welcome back to The Journey podcast. I’m Sarah Banowetz, and today we are asking the question, how do you cope with loneliness during the holidays? In the studio with me is Don Evans. Welcome Don.

Don: Hi Sarah.

Sarah: Thanks for being here with us.

Don: You’re welcome. It’s my pleasure.

Sarah: And we have Terry Carlson.

Terry: Hi.

Sarah: As a mental health counselor, it is always good to have you here.

Terry: Thank you. I’m happy to be here.

Sarah: Thanks for coming. So, many of our listeners may say that they’re surrounded by too many friends and family during the holidays. How big of an issue is loneliness during this time of year?

Terry: Oh, I think, you’re right, a lot of people do have, we’re inundated with invitations, parties, events and so on. But the reality is that loneliness can show up either in the midst of those kinds of things. Have you ever been in a situation where you have been surrounded by people and yet still felt very, very lonely?

Sarah: Yeah.

Terry: And I think that the other possibility too is that there are people who just are plain lonely. They’ve lost family members, they’ve lost friends, other people have moved away, and they just find themselves at the holidays without someone to invite them anywhere.

Sarah: So I would like to hear Don’s input on this.

Don: Yeah, coincidentally I just been thinking about that the last couple of weeks or so. And with my background of, as we’ve recorded on podcasts before, for those that are listening, have heard it before, that created a lot of storms in my family based on my behavior, which led to a dissolving of families, children, relatives, and things of that nature.

Don: So I’m thinking about that a lot lately. And it is a struggle for people. I mean some are afraid to speak out and some are a little bit shy of maybe leaning into a conversation when in turn, I think … What I’ve been thinking about lately is just the peace that I have with my spirituality that has grown immensely over the last six or eight months and I just recommend to people to find peace in yourself, which in turn will help you on those days. When that happens, you really have to decide where your heart is and where you lie in life yourself.

Don: For me, I’ll say for me, before I start judging, say your relatives, an aunt or an uncle or any family members, even your own children for instance, it’s not really up to me to judge what they think, whoever this person may be. Maybe it’s a coworker that you struggle with at work that just doesn’t seem to be in the holiday spirit.

Don: Well, first I would recommend for me, and it’s been helping over the last month or two, is just to look in the mirror at myself and realize that I have to find peace in me, when I look and can recognize the messes with 40 years of experience of messing up your life. And I can see those. Then before I say anything or think anything, I realize, and mentally quietly tell myself, yeah Don, but you’re a mess too. And I’m finding that very helpful, Terry. I think that’s making a difference in the way I view what I think also.

Terry: Well, I think that’s really, really good to try to look inward and just say, what part of this am I playing in it myself?

Don: Yes.

Terry: I think it also happens sometimes. Sometimes we don’t realize it, but the very things that we’re doing can actually make the situation worse. You know, a lot of times when people are lonely, they may be really just trying to avoid rejection from other people. And so they kind of avoid going to parties, or they avoid going to family gatherings and stuff for fear that, well, I’m just going to be rejected and that hurts too much. So I avoid it. And that adds to the loneliness, because you’re right, while you may risk being rejected, there’s that feeling, you don’t get the opportunity to connect with people who might actually be positive.

Don: Well, I completely agree with you, Terry. And we’ve talked about that in various Bible studies and groups that I went to over the years. Then people will say that, gee Don, I wish I could be outspoken like you and really interact. And I take that as a compliment. It’s wonderful.

Don: But I just encourage those folks to just think about where you’re at internally and mentally and don’t back up. Lean in and then people will surround you too. And with those people, I want to convey to all of those, and I do it consistently, I’d love to be alongside of you and help you. When people tell you over and over all your life that we just like the way you act. Okay. That’s all right.

Don: But I also know Terry, there’s a tremendous amount of people that are what you just described. They just don’t know how to get in there and they maybe not go to that family event or something. So I just think that we should really just go with one thing in mind. I’m going to go and have a good time, and can we all just put aside our issues for the day not let them be stressful, and worry to the fact that we just don’t even want to partake in any family events anymore. Maybe just sometimes showing up and just giving it a go and see how it works.

Terry: Yeah, just reach out.

Don: And one other thing that I just thought about is as we look at those friends, relatives or coworkers, if we want to be honest with ourselves, we don’t know what they’re going through. So we have to give them a pass too. Because I know, like I said earlier, a few minutes ago, I’ve lived in a mess most of my life. It’s still not crystal clear, and it never will be, because we’re all sinners. We’re going to make mistakes. And that’s by the grace of God, we can have the peace and show up and not be so judgmental. And I’ve said for years in those situations with families, really, I’ve truly said this, can’t we all just get along today? Come on.

Terry: Well, and Don, you’re an outgoing person yourself. We’ve talked about that before.

Don: Seems to be, yeah.

Terry: But what kind of advice could you give to somebody who maybe isn’t so outgoing and they’re feeling kind of lonely this time of year?

Don: Well, I think again, it comes down to the person, Terry. I mean, are you willing to do the work? And we can spin this another way. As far as I’ve said since 2006, the hardest thing I’ve ever done is being a Christian. I have to work so hard at that based on my extroverted personality and forethinking and quick speaking, and then even coworkers coming up against you to be a Christian. It’s like yeah, that’s all humbug stuff. Well that’s your opinion, and I’m not going to judge you certainly because that’s just wrong of me to do that.

Don: So I think the advice for that person that’s struggling is just to watch some stuff, get involved with somebody that would guide you and have a friend, like I’ve developed in this journey thing, with the coaches and stuff. I have people to reach out. I talk to those coaches, yeah. We get together and have fun times and meals together. And then that gives you a person to go see and express your concerns about that family member or the holiday coming up in Christmas.

Don: It gets pretty complicated, I know. But the main thing that I read and see in my studying is it all starts with you. You’ve got to do something to make your situation go better. And you have to be able to … This is very important, I’m really going to stress on this. You have to listen to other people.

Terry: I think listening is a really good … You make a really good point there.

Sarah: Well, I was going to jump at that’s a great point too.

Don: Yeah, somebody knows your situation, and can tell you what you need to do. Because I’ve been there folks and I’ve done it and I did not listen and that was wrong. So reach out and talk to somebody that you feel close to and ask them what they could do, because they might be able to point you in the right direction. But be open about it. Be open minded.

Sarah: Well, and one thing, I’m an extrovert too, so you got to take what I suggest with a grain of salt. But one thing that I do as an extrovert for any kind of events like this too. So Don, you’re talking about, in general, building relationships and stuff. But as far as when you go to that party, one thing that I do is I look around the room and I find someone who is sitting by themselves.

Terry: That’s an excellent idea.

Sarah: And I go and sit down next to them, and I’ll ask questions. So that goes along with the listening, is I’ll ask questions. So instead of talking. And then it goes into a back and forth. And all of a sudden a half an hour has gone by and other people have joined you. And then if you feel like you don’t really fit in the conversation again, you get up to go get a slice of pie. And then you look around the room again and you find maybe two people are sitting next to each other and not really talking, and you sit down with them.

Sarah: I mean, again, I have a lot of introverts in my family and I know it’s hard when you sit down and no one else is talking. But the main tip is you ask questions.

Terry: Right. Well and I think developing a plan, you’re going to a party, especially if you’re an introvert, develop a plan and think, okay, I’m going to go in and I’m just going to say hi to three people. Or I’m going to ask them how their day is. You’re developing a plan. You’re saying, okay, this is what I’m going to do. So you actually count. Okay, I’ve talked to one, now I’m going to talk to another one. And just kind of do it as an experiment. What happens if I do that?

Sarah: And what if you came up with questions to ask too?

Terry: Sure.

Sarah: Just say, okay, so if it’s for Thanksgiving, Then you could ask them about what their Christmas plans are, or what they are planning on getting their children for Christmas or something like that. Or what their work projects are. But come up with questions ahead of time that you have in your back pocket essentially to ask, so that you don’t have to come up with it on the spot.

Terry: Sure. And I think also doing something good in the situation, volunteering, helping out. We tend to, even introverts tend to feel more competent and more comfortable if they have a role. So call the host ahead of time and say, hey, can I do something for you? Can I go around and refill glasses? That kind of thing. And when you do that, you have more of a role in the thing and you feel a little bit more connected.

Sarah: I naturally do that too. I get up and help when I’m feeling uncomfortable. Another thing is you smile. The biggest thing, even if you don’t talk very much, if you smile at people, they just think you’re the nicest person and they come and talk to you and stuff. I just let the world know, whoever’s listening to The Journey Podcast, that’s my secret of being an extrovert is I just smile. And people mentioned it all the time. They’re like, oh, you’re so nice, I love your smile. And it’s just you can be an introvert and just smile.

Terry: And somebody might even be curious about what you’re smiling about, and come over to find out.

Sarah: I mean, don’t just walk around totally smiling. But when you can’t make eye contact, give them a big smile.

Don: Yeah. But it’s just like Sarah says. It’s very evident that happy people, everybody wants to know what you’re happy about. And we can wear that same smile in Christianity. We can hear the best preachers, wherever you want to listen to them, talk about if you’re … It’ll radiate off of you. And Jeff and I had an instance here a week ago, where a lady just walked by and just overheard us talking. And that just led her to reach out. And it’s amazing how if you’re walking that walk, and talking the talk, and people can see that you’re, whatever it is that you’re on fire about, they want to know.

Don: And I tell people on a regular basis. They go, I don’t know about this church-going thing, Don. You’re inviting us, but I really don’t know about that. I just continue to invite them a couple times and then tell them, hey, come and sit with me. I’m not asking you to go.

Don: But then I leave it alone. I mean, folks, if you’re listening, this works. Try it. They’re going to watch what I do. I’m being watched at all times. And I’m not saying that to pat myself on the back, but people are watching Don, and they’re following. And it’s showing up here as we record this today. There’s people that are going to contact me this week because of what they’ve seen happen, and the happiness that I share wherever I go. They want, I want to know what he’s doing.

Terry: Well, and I think you make a good point here because I think it’s don’t be passive, be active. And if you’re passive, you can sit there and kind of wait for people to come up to you and be lonely or you can be active and look for somebody else who might be lonely like Sarah was saying.

Sarah: Exactly, because with me being an extrovert, I will say that if there are times when I just am not feeling well and I don’t want to be talking with people, I just do the opposite of what I just suggested. So I won’t make as much eye contact, I won’t smile as much, I’ll stay back a little bit further, and then I won’t have those conversations that I usually do as an extrovert.

Don: I got to one up you, because even when I don’t feel good, I’m smiling at people. How you doing? I’m just great man. I’m on my way to meet with Jesus tonight here at church. What are y’all up to?

Sarah: Maybe you’re more of an extrovert than me.

Don: Yeah, well that goes back to the last podcast. That word pretend-aholic. Well in that case, it’s good to be a pretend-aholic that night, because then everybody thinks you’re still happy.

Sarah: Okay. So I want to change the subject slightly. So Terry, with you being a counselor, maybe you can address this more heavy topic, which is for others who are missing loved ones who have passed away or moved away, and in those situations the holidays can be devastatingly lonely.

Terry: Oh absolutely.

Sarah: How do people deal with those kinds of situations?

Terry: I think a lot of what we’ve already talked here really applies, maybe with one additional one. Be really good to yourself. Remind yourself you’re not alone. There are other people who are also going through the same kind of thing. But again, develop a plan. Get out there, try not to be passive. Let people know, find close friends and just say, hey, I’m really struggling with this holiday.

Terry: I remember the year after my dad passed away. It had only been a few months before Christmas and I absolutely didn’t feel like putting up a Christmas tree. It was like, why bother? I just remember feeling like I didn’t even want to celebrate Christmas. And I mentioned that to one of our kids. And they came over and they put up the Christmas tree for us and they decorated. And it felt so good to just feel, to have somebody kind of come around us.

Terry: So if you know somebody who has lost someone right before this holiday or even anytime this year, maybe check with them, how can I bless you? Can I come over and help you with something? Can I bring you a meal? Just realize that they’re the ones who probably are going to have the toughest time this holiday.

Don: Well, and I’ll just add to that one last little thing there. Terry, I like what you said. But I’m going to just make this phrase right up front. Please don’t stay home alone. This alone thing is really bad, folks, because I know, I have traveled that path. And home alone, I’m being silly now, is not the way to go. You need to reach out and talk to anybody you can, just even a passerby friend. Start a conversation, and just make sure that you’re going to plug in somewhere and spend some time with somebody. But please don’t do the alone thing.

Terry: No, I think you make a really good point there. Don. And really what happens too, is everybody goes through a period, a short period where you’re lonely, but chronic loneliness makes us more susceptible to things like depression, even Alzheimer’s disease. It lowers our immune system, it stresses our cardiovascular system, and it can actually affect how long we live, because loneliness is not something to just ignore.

Terry: If you’re feeling lonely right now, do something. Reach out, call somebody, call a hotline, find a friend, find a loved one, find a pastor, find a counselor, a therapist, a psychiatrist, psychologist, somebody, and just say, hey, I’m really, really lonely. Can you help?

Don: Yeah. And just another side note to that loneliness. I can speak with this, with complete confidence. Based on my health in the last 40 years of my life, the loneliness and home alone thing, I can verify doesn’t work. And by making this one statement, it severely affected my health for the rest of my life, because it led to immense drinking. And there’s a lot of people that struggle with drugs and other things. Fortunately, I never did any drugs. But I want to just make this so clear that the alone stuff is just, it’s a Josh Turner song, it’s writing the long black train, and I’m not going to ride that train and I certainly don’t want any of you to.

Sarah: Yes, that’s a good point, Don. So thank you for joining us today as we discuss the impact of loneliness and how that affects us. And our hope is that in listening to this podcast, you feel encouraged, connected, and determined to develop your strengths and to live out your purpose.

Sarah: In concluding the podcast, I do want to leave you with a few questions in order to continue this important discussion. Our hope is that by asking these questions to a trusted friend or coach, you’re able to bridge the gap of loneliness to connection, fear to confidence, and worry to peace.

Sarah: And so the questions I have for you today are what are you going to do? What are your plans for this Thanksgiving and Christmas? What are you planning ahead of time right now so that you can help with connection and avoid loneliness? And then the second question is, what can you also do right now to be prepared for building those relationships during these events?

Sarah: And until next time, live the journey that awaits you. And thank you for listening to the journey podcast. We will see you later.

Terry: Bye.

Don: Bye.

Thank you for listening. Tune in next time and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at journeycoaching.org. And check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at journeycoaching.org.


Difficult to Healthy

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode, Jeff and Terry explain how to move from difficult relationships to healthy ones. 

Transcription of the Podcast

What happens through the conflict through the movie, the people develop, you see the characters more clearly, they may be grown, they change, they move, they evolve. There’s something that happens through the conflict that makes them better and stronger and movie more interesting.

So think of… A lot of people out there trying to run as fast and as far away from conflict in this kind of difficult relationships as possible. I’m suggesting you kind of dive into them a little bit. Don’t cause them necessarily, but dive into them and try to figure out how can I grow from this? How can our relationship grow from this conflict? 

Hey, hey, hey, we’re here for another Journey podcast, and we’re talking about really a core kind of a thing here. It’s something that’s very difficult. It’s something that a lot of people shy away from, and that is difficult conversations. I’m Jeff. I’m sitting here with Terry.

Hi. 

Hi Terry. So, yeah, difficult conversations. I mean they are kind of hanging out there consistently. How many times or how many instances are there when you go through a day, a week, a month where there’s actually not a difficult conversation that could be had? 

Not too many.

Not too many at all. 

And this is a followup to one that we did a little while ago on difficult conversations. We could call this number two. 

Yeah, number two, and there’s probably number five, 10, 40. I mean there’s a ton of these really to unpack. We had somebody ask specifically after hearing the first podcast we did about difficult conversations… A question came up, and so let’s just jump in and kind of try to tackle these, because, again, this is something that’s not really that easy to do, right? It’s a lot easier to talk about sports or what’s the latest movie, you know, that cool. 

Sometimes it even seems like as tough as politics is, it can be easier to talk about politics than those things that are really bothering us and deeply concerning us in terms of a relationship with another person.

So the question was say there’s someone… Say if I need to bring up an area in my life of hurt or frustration, there’s just some shortfall, you could even call it a sense of misunderstanding, something that’s really, really on my mind and my heart, and there’s this fear that the relationship really can’t handle that kind of a hard conversation. In fact, it might not even be the same relationship if I did bring it up, that the relationship might dissolve or become more distant. 

So what are some ideas of really navigating through something like that, of really getting into that kind of a conversation? 

Yeah, I think that’s… Definitely that’s one of the things that kind of brings fear and trembling to most people. When you think about it, really I think it depends a lot on the individual situation. When I work in my office… I’m a counselor and I deal with a lot of different things, and I don’t like to give advice until I hear the situation specifically, so this is kind of a tough one to give advice on.

Well, and can I just jump in too, because that was key, what you said. You never give advice until you hear what’s going on. How oftentimes in life do I or others may be that aren’t as attuned to… That has sort of that listening ear that you do, give advice?

And that’s kind of the first thing, right? We hear something, we jump right in, hey, here’s the solution. I got it. I got it figured out, and we don’t even have all the… We don’t have all the facts. We don’t even know what’s going on. 

Right. A lot of arguments happen that way. It’s like you hear just a little bit of what somebody is trying to say and you react to that little bit even before they’re done talking. I mean how many people out there have actually found themselves talking over somebody, jumping into the conversation-

What do you mean, like jumping over, like right now? I got that… Oh like that? Okay. I just wanted to show how that works. Go ahead, Terry. I’m listening. 

Well, and I think what happens is we hear a part of the conversation, we think we know what they’re going to say next… And this happens a lot with couples who have been married for a long time, in fact, the longer you’ve been married, the more likely you are to finish each other’s sentences. 

Anyway, when you think about it from that standpoint it’s like okay, I hear something and maybe it’s something at the dinner table or maybe it’s something… You know, you’ve got family coming over for Thanksgiving and uncle so-and-so says something and he starts going off on politics or religion or something like that, and people immediately roll their eyes and start jumping into the conversation, and before you know it uncle so-and-so is yelling and you’re yelling and the whole table is kind of getting ready to scramble and leave. Those are really, really tough kind of conversations.

Well, and it’s that sort of setting it up. It’s that environment, right? Because it sounds like it’s probably not a good idea to bring up those tough conversations just randomly at the Thanksgiving table and say, “Hey, Uncle Joe, who I had this thing I wanted to talk about for years, let’s just bring it up in front of everybody.” 

Yeah, that’s not… Timing is everything. Picking the right timing that says… Maybe take Uncle Joe aside at one point and talk to him and just say, “Hey, there’s something that I want to talk to you about and this has really been weighing on my heart,” and just kind of talk to Uncle Joe from your heart about what it’s like when these things happen.

Something that I have found helps is if I say to somebody, “Hey, there’s just a couple of things that I’ve kind of been thinking about actually kind of bother me a little bit here,” or whatever it might be… You know, just be honest and say, “Hey, something has been bothering me. Can we just grab a cup of coffee, and when would be a good time for you,” so put in… Again, trying to be very open to the person’s schedule and making it a very comfortable kind of a… As comfortable as possible situation.

Just say, “Hey, can we just grab a cup of coffee? When’s a good time that works for you,” so they have a little time… You might even say, “You know, we’ve been dealing with this thing about,” it might be a brother and sister. They say, “We’ve been talking about this situation about mom for a long time. Can we just sit down and you and I can just talk about that?”

Is that a good way to kind of just set up the conversation for success, because people both who are going into it kind of know what happens?

Yeah. You kind of give them a little bit of an idea of what your direction is that you’re kind of… What the agenda is, so to speak. 

Yeah. Yeah. This just seems so from what I’ve seen out there very unusual, because, again, it’s just easier to let things slide, but they don’t really slide, do they? I mean-

Not entirely. I think the other thing to kind of keep in mind does hone your listening skills as much as possible. That’s one of the things that we’ve kind of gotten away from doing. We do a lot of talking and not so much listening and realizing that everybody wants to be heard and they want to be understood, even Uncle Joe, even uncle so-and-so at the dinner table.

One of the reasons he’s bringing up the things is because he wants to be heard and understood, and if we jump in and jump over him and cut him down and shut him off, my guess is he’s only going to get louder and he’s only going to get more obnoxious because he has… Just like you and I, we all have a desperate need to be heard and understood.

So talk the time to listen to uncle so-and-so. Find out what it is… Okay, why is this so important to you that this person gets elected or that people understand this fact that you’re trying to impart. You don’t have to change your opinion, but I think listening and understanding where he’s coming from can help him feel heard and understood.

It’s funny when you’re saying that I think back to… And then you were in the room, Terry when this gal said this. But we were talking about a similar kind of topic and she said, “Well how can I love my neighbor when I don’t even like my neighbor?” 

Yeah, that’s a tough one. 

And sometimes I think ought we not just push through the well I really don’t… It’s hard to feel the love, but I can just… That person is important, I mean they’re an important human being. I may really disagree with them, but they’re still a person that I can care for, and to take that intentional, even though it might feel a little awkward kind of a step to say, “Can’t we just sit down and talk about this, because you’re important, this matter that we need to talk about is important.” 

Does that… I don’t know. Does it just seem like that is one of those kinds of intentional things to do that always doesn’t feel that natural maybe? 

No. For sure. But I think understanding people and where they come from and trying to hear their heart on an issue or on whatever is going on can help us to bridge that gap. I think part of the reason we may not like our neighbor is that we don’t really know them that well, or we know some things about them and we don’t like those things but we don’t… I think a lot of times we make a whole bunch of assumptions, that if I was in this situation I would do these things. Since they’re not doing those things, there must be something wrong with them. 

I think we just have to check to… Besides listening, I think checking your assumptions is really, really huge in working through difficult conversations. Check your assumptions, especially motives. If somebody does something that’s different than what you think they should check your assumptions of their motives. Why do I think they’re doing that? It may not be accurate.

All right. Right. Right. Well, yeah, so that’s kind of huge too, right? Because somebody doesn’t call me back multiple times and I assume they’re just blowing me off or… Again, it comes to the negative a lot of times, right? But until I really find out oh, they’ve been out of the country for a month, they couldn’t call me back, you know.

I mean this has happened a lot. I’ll talk to people in my office and they’ll say, “You know, I made a mistake the other day. I blew up somebody’s messages. I messaged them, they didn’t message me back, and so I assumed that they didn’t care anymore and so I just sent a whole bunch of really nasty messages.”

That doesn’t ever happen. 

Guess what happened to that relationship. 

Not good. 

No, it’s not… And I think it all fell down to the fact that she made an assumption or he made an assumption, whoever it was made an assumption that the other person was blowing them off, and in fact, they were sleeping or something, you know, less destructive than that. 

Right. So, Terry, anything else then that kind of relates to this that you’d like to put out there?

Yeah. I think it’s really important that we consider… I like to use the analogy of a pebble dropping in a pond. When you’re out in the woods or whatever and you see this nice little pond and you take a pebble and you toss it in, if you pay attention to it you see that this little ring of water, this little ripple just kind of starts where to pebble is and it goes out and then there’s more ripples and more ripples, and you see this really beautiful pattern of ripples all going from the center where the pebble is out to towards… It’ll go all the way to end of whatever pond you’ve got, it takes that much energy.

I think that’s a really neat analogy for relationships because if you think about everything that you say or do has that kind of pebble and ripple effect, if I say something kind to my neighbor hopefully the ripples that follow out, the way that they receive it is kindness.

If I get really, really short with my neighbor because they’ve put their trash and it’s fallen over into my yard, instead of going kindly and talk to them I just kind of get really snippy or snarky with them, that’s probably going to ripple out in a snarky sort of way.

Right. Right. It sounds like, using sort of a farming analogy, the farmer, he plants, he sows, and then there’s a harvest, there’s reaping. So it’s sort of along that line, isn’t it, which is actually in the Bible. I mean it talks about sowing and reaping.

If you plant seeds of corn you’re not going to harvest wheat. You’re going to harvest corn hopefully. 

Yeah. So if you really plant positive, affirming, those kinds of good things, ought there not to be more of that good that comes back to you? Not always, right, because there’s always going to be that… You know, this is not a perfect world, but odds are lots more goodput out there, a lot more good coming back. 

Right. And realizing you don’t have control over how it comes back. You can do what you can to control the message that you’re sending out, but once you send it out its kind of like that ripple. It just takes a life of its own. You may say something in a very kind way and uncle so-and-so takes offense at it and he comes back with it. A healthy relationship will be kind of well wait a minute, uncle, I didn’t mean it to offend you. How did you take what I just said and… Well, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you.

You may not be sorry for what you said, but you can definitely be sorry for the fact that it affected him the way it did. 

Uh-huh. So what do I do when somebody confronts me? I mean they say, “You know, you keep doing this thing to me,” or, “What about this that’s going on what you?” I mean what do I-

Yeah. If you’re uncle so-and-so?

Yeah. If I’m Uncle Joe. 

Well, I think if somebody confronts Uncle Jeff, then I think Uncle Jeff really needs to listen. I go back to that word of listening and just-

What’s that? Okay. 

There’s something underneath the confrontation. There’s something that’s at the heart of what it is. Try to hear what their heart is and try not to take offense. Put the offensiveness on hold.

Okay. Deep breath. Yes. Okay, because I want to get right back at it. I want to just respond. Okay. Okay, deep breath and listen. Got you.

If you can put the defensiveness on hold and try to listen with curiosity it’s almost impossible, if not impossible, to be curious and defensive.

Right. 

If you can try to stay curious… Oh, wait a minute, I’m starting to feel a little bit defensive, but wait a minute, if I can stay curious and figure out why did that offend her, why does it offend people, then you might get to the heart of the issue a little bit easier and save that relationship. 

Right. Right. Yeah. It’s just stuff here that is just… I love talking about this because it’s not talked about a lot, right?

Right.

Don’s Story of God’s Grace

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode, special guest, Don shares his story of God’s grace. From self-medication with alcohol to relying on God’s grace to sustain him, Don’s story inspires us in the beauty of God’s grace.

Transcription of the Podcast

Don: Yeah. I’ve been blessed with a few people at my church that are going through Journey as we speak. They want to reevaluate their life and I say to enhance their spiritual growth and let’s face it, Sarah, I mean we can all enhance our spiritual growth. I mean, Jesus wants us to work every day to get… To build a relationship stronger with him. I mean that task and journey are never going to be over.

Sarah: Welcome back to the Journey podcast. I’m Sarah and today I have Don Evans in the studio with me. Hi Don.

Don: Hi Sarah.

Sarah: How are you?

Don: Good. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it a lot.

Sarah: Thanks for being on the podcast. So today we are talking-

Don: Why are you smiling? You’re so happy today.

Sarah: I don’t know, I just like to smile.

Don: You’re smiling because you’re going to ask me about my story right?

Sarah: I know, I got to make you…

Don: Let’s just keep this cool.

Sarah: I got to put you at ease.

Don: I’m at ease, you’re the one I’m concerned about. Let’s go.

Sarah: So today we’re going to talk about the grace of God. And I was wondering if you’d share a little bit of your story.

Don: Oh God, I would love to. Yeah. I don’t know. It’s a journey that started a very, very long time ago. I guess it would probably be… You caught me off guard with this today, which I enjoy because I don’t… And I want everybody to know that none of this is scripted. We’re just talking, aren’t we Sarah?

Sarah: Winging it.

Don: Yeah, and we’re just out there in left field, coming around. Yeah, I guess a history of alcoholism in my life. First got to know a lot about Christ in maybe 01 due to a crash of alcoholism and being in the hospital. Then there was a big gap in there more of that and then really got introduced more so to God when I got baptized in 2006 in a very large Christian Church. And-

Sarah: Don, so why did you end up getting baptized in 2006? What was the catalyst for that happening?

Don: Yeah, I started in 06, kind of leaning into the side of Christianity, watching people, what they were doing inspired me a little bit, I guess to see that their happiness, I guess I’d never experienced that. So I got started in 06 as I said, did pretty good for a while, but due to my lack of faith, I like to call it and my lack of devotion to God. I slid back into my old ways again and managed to stay there for a multitude of years. So we’ll leave out all the middle stuff. But as I said, 06 and I just got sober in October of 2018 so it’s just been a little over a year.

Don: But at that point when I was able to get out and about again about December, it took a couple of months to become human and even be visible in public again. Really plugged in this time, Sarah, and there was a lot of fun and I hope you’ll interrupt at certain points and ask me specific questions whenever you hear me say something that you want to know more about, you could just jump in there and go, wait a minute, what about that?

Don: But I’ll keep going.

Sarah: Well I do want to know about… Okay, so becoming sober in October of 2018 for anyone who’s listening, who may be struggling with that, what was it that caused you to want to go down that route?

Don: Well, what was causing me to stay on the drunk fest or what caused me to want to jump on the Jesus wagon?

Sarah: I almost want to ask both with.

Don: Okay. Big one. Let’s go with the drunk fest. All right. We were talking earlier today, just in an outside conversation about people being lonely. And we just briefly mentioned this morning in the lobby out there and that got me thinking and now you’re asking what created that? Well, it all comes from loneliness. Losing another wife, we won’t count the number of wives. That’s not important. Just was a tailspin in 2015. So from 15 to 18, three solid years, it was drunk every day of the week, seven days a week.

Sarah: And it was dealing with the loneliness?

Don: That, losing everything that I had, through the divorce. And I’m a man, I’ll man up if it was my fault and in this particular marriage it was not. And I’m not going to say any more about it, but I was not at fault and everybody knows that and they’re like, wow, we just can’t believe that she just left and took everything you had. I was on the road trucking at the time, on my own truck. then when the… I call it the resurrection in October, that was only because if I’m honest, which I am because I followed Jesus, like Andy Stanley, I’m a Jesus follower and I love it because I have severe cirrhosis of the liver and I almost died the end of October again and had to go to the hospital and do some procedures there.

Don: And At that point I think, I really think the day that my brother took me into the hospital, I just kind of… God got ahold of me that day and said, you’ve had been playing this game for 18 years of in the hospital, 40 years of drinking. And I just felt, any standard, we’ll call it a nudge, I felt like a thump in the back of the head. Okay, I need to get this and this possibly is my last opportunity. So that’s when I jumped on the Jesus’ bandwagon.

Sarah: What did jumping on the Jesus bandwagon look like, entail?

Don: It always inspired me. It really did. Even years back before I ever even attended church whatsoever. And I just want to know more about it.

Sarah: So what did you do? What steps did you take then? So you leave the hospital and then what was your first step after that?

Don: Go home and start reading the Bible a little bit, but I wasn’t really good at that and started going to church right before Christmas in 18 and since then I’ve stayed plugged in there.

Sarah: And how did you find a church?

Don: I had gone to this church prior years, in the past. Yeah. I actually went to this church, started there in 08, left there in 10 to move back to Illinois to accept a job. It was a job moving venture. And then when I came back in 15 I was too drunk to pay attention. So I didn’t show up at church until December of 18. And so then at that point, I really got plugged into the church and enjoyed doing volunteer work and helping with homeless and seeing their struggles just really led me to think, man, I was almost there, almost homeless person. So just the little bitty things you keep doing on a daily basis, monthly basis. I just really started enjoying it more and seeing how it was affecting me spiritually. And then I took kind of a Christian class that was really in-depth in regards to where our faith is and asking us questions in regards to how we feel about God and Jesus.

Sarah: And was that class through the church?

Don: Yes. Yeah. It was a 10-week class and it was phenomenal and I learned a lot from that. I think if I’m being honest with everybody, which I am, I don’t know why I even say that. I can tell you this, Sarah, that I’m convinced that I found my Holy Spirit in the eighth week. As we were going through the class, we spoke about, I believe it was the eighth week, and getting to know our Holy Spirit was the topic and I did not know my Holy Spirit. It was quite obvious. So I left that meeting that night and went home and I did a lot of praying about it. And it’s just different. I can’t put some sophisticated word on like, oh, it was a revelation or oh, I don’t know how to address a word to, but it was very moving for me.

Sarah: So if I’m hearing you right, the steps you took were reading your Bible, then getting into church, then getting connected in church and taking that class, which gave you a foundation and then just knowing you, it’s being continually connected.

Don: Yes, absolutely. And then I was fortunate and I call it blessed to be volunteering for the church at a Casting Crowns event. I got to be specific on that. And Zack Williams was playing and they just… There was a booth, it wasn’t our church but it was members of my church that invited me to help with the compassion booth and that was quite interesting to see all these people signing up, taking care of these kids in foreign countries and stuff. I was really inspired by that and that’s where I met your mother. She was one of the volunteers at the booth and we talked about this class at church and then she shared a little bit of journey coaching with me and introduced me to your dad, Jeff, and we became friends and connected and then built a relationship.

Don: And then I believe it was about May, after getting more information about what Journey had to offer and the ongoing relationship that I had with Jeff, decided to step into the Journey coaching thing, which was designed to be approximately seven weeks. And I ended up spending, with the coaches, 13 weeks and there they had put more emphasis on reading the Bible when you’re answering questions, and I think I said this in another podcast, that by their patients and grace, they inspired me to pick up that Bible and politely told me to be reading it every day.

Don: And it’s really been so great to do that but to be plugged into various, I guess you would call it, you’re a young person, the media network and the social media. I watch other ministry preachings and things. You’ll hear me refer to Andy Stanley, which I know there’s… He’s on some of the Journey websites I’ve seen as I cruised around and explained Journey coaching to people and send them there. I hear him say that, oh yeah, I see that they got Andy Stanley on their website and I’m like, yeah, he’s pretty cool. So that’s kind of how this all got to where it is today.

Sarah: Well, and I think one thing that’s interesting for our listeners to understand is that… So one of the core things that I took away from doing Journey coaching was working in your strengths. And so in the process of you working with the Journey coaches, you build a relationship with other believers and you looked at what your strengths are and what’s been really cool just in the last several months is that you’ve been working in your strengths and helping build up Journey coaching too.

Don: Yeah, I’ve enjoyed that because it’s just after going through it. Yeah, I have a huge passion for it because of how it affected me and I’m kind of a hard nut to crack. So yeah, I’ve been blessed with a few people at my church that are going through Journey as we speak. They want to reevaluate their life and their… And I say to enhance their spiritual growth and let’s face it, Sarah, you mean we can all enhance our spiritual growth. Do you know what I mean? Jesus wants us to work every day to build a relationship stronger with him. I mean that task and journey are never going to be over until…

Sarah: Well, and that’s the really cool thing about Journey coaching too, is anyone in there, whatever place they are in their walk, they can pick up Journey coaching and it can work for them with them. Because I did journey coaching and I’d been walking with Christ for 30 years when I went through Journey coaching too. I have my own struggles and stumbles and things like that. But it was impactful to me too. And we just came… We just started our coaching journey just in different places in our life. And yet it just works for so many people.

Don: It does. And I’m glad you got on board with it early. At your young age because that’s a regret. I’m not going to drag it around, but it’s just, I regret that I didn’t, what they would say, maybe see the light.

Sarah: But then again… Well, I’m going to interrupt you here because then the other thing I want our listeners to realize is that DOD is getting ready to start coaching himself. And even though you have those regrets, the thing is if you hadn’t, God works, what is it by mercy? He works mysteriously and he works all things for the good of those who love him, who are called according to his purpose. And the thing is that because of the story that you have, you’re able to show that grace of God to other people because he is a Redeemer and he is a savior and he is a protector and he can use you to help show the grace of God to other people who have had similar struggles. And if you hadn’t gone through that, then how would you minister to those people?

Don: Right. I know it’s just like he ministered to the 12. Look at those characters in the Bible.

Sarah: They were Don.

Don: They were Don and then a whole bunch of other people, they were Don’s and Sarah’s and everybody, every couple of life. But none of them were Christians per se. I mean, it was just… You can do anything you want. And I think what I really found out about this whole… And let me interrupt myself and say this because you were just getting ready to, I think. No, you don’t have to be a Christian to do Journey coaching.

Don: I want everybody that’s listening to be crystal clear on that. I’m not going to bang on your door or be your coach and go, if you don’t accept Christ, I’m not going to coach. No, that’s not what I’m saying. So yeah, this is for anybody. But I can tell you this, I’m just going to warn them. You’re not going to go through Journey coaching and not want to know more about Christianity. That is a given and you might as well be forewarned. And it’s fun. And when you go through this, if you are true with yourself and you’ve had these coaches as I did, I was blessed with two very great coaches that they’re coaching this guy that I brought through.

Don: You just have a sense of now I need to take the ball and run with it and go coach some people. You just mentioned that I’m going to start coaching and I am. You’ve even hung me out in a tree because I’m going to coach your son. So that’s a big challenge for Don and as a teenage kid and if you trust me with him, everybody listens to this butter too, huh?

Sarah: Well, and my son’s been through some things. So I actually asked you to coach him the day that I met you back at the beginning of August. You were sharing a little bit of your story during the leadership summit and my son was there attending the leadership summit and I just stopped you. I said… We had just met and I was like, wait for a second, I need you to stop talking right now and that you’re like, what? And I called my son over and I’m like, okay, you can start talking again now.

Don: Normally I don’t like getting interrupted but with you, I made an exception.

Sarah: But I needed you to stop talking so that I could go have you… I wanted you to finish your story in front of my son because my son is not my biological son and he’s got a story himself and I wanted him to hear your story too.

Don: He was really cool. I mean, we had a good conversation and we’ve talked to him, I’ve talked to him since then. He’s looking forward to it. So we’re just getting our timings all lined up and that’s going to take place. So I guess if we weren’t doing podcasts today, I could probably go coaching him. Right. Seriously, there’s a ton to my story and I don’t say that boastfully I’m just saying we can’t put it all on the air. It would take forever.

Sarah: No, we have… Yeah, we just have to have you keep on the… To keep coming on the podcast and for others to get to know you too. Okay. I want to end this podcast with one question for you. If there is anything that you would want to mention right now about the grace of God and you would want people to know about the grace of God, what would it be?

Don: There’s a lot of things I could say about that, but I will say this and you’ve again done your work and caught me off guard.

Sarah: Wait, I’m going to interrupt one thing and I’m going to mention to our listeners that the grace of God… Grace, because I have a story about the grace of God but I won’t share right now. But from that story, I know that grace means God’s unmerited or unearned favor for mankind.

Don: Yeah, that’s cool. I guess to summarize, God for me would be, he has given me more hope than I’ve ever had in my life and I’ll be 61 years old and I’ve never had this much hope nor faith or conviction of my own wrongdoings that I’m addressing on a daily basis.

Sarah: Well, let me jump in there. Conviction of your wrongdoings, but yet that sounds counterproductive. Like how can you have so much hope if you’re so convicted of your wrongdoings too?

Don: Because now I can admit all my faults instead of pretending that they didn’t exist. See, most of the things that went wrong in my life, in my marriages were Don’s fault. But Don was blaming other people. So when I used to be bad, I said that wrongful conviction. But it’s allowed me to have peace and get rid of it. I’m no longer carrying that stinky bag over my shoulder anymore because God’s given me the glorified grace. He’s forgiven all of us. You know that as well as I do. I’m preaching the choir, looking across the room talking to you, but we’re all forgiven. God has given us… We didn’t have to fight for the promised land. God has given us the promised land and we need to accept that and help lead other people into faith with Jesus Christ. I know that’s more than one sentence.

Sarah: I love it. I love it. So we’ve got to close out today, but I do want to just encourage everybody to keep listening to the Journey podcast because obviously Don has to continue being on the podcast with us.

Don: I look forward to it. I had a lot of fun with you, Sarah.

Sarah: Thank you for being on and we just hope that you feel encouraged and connected and determined to develop your strengths and live out your purpose and find us on journeycoaching.org and reach out to us on social media or email or we have a phone number on journeycoaching.org too, and keep listening, like and subscribe and we will talk to you later. Thank you very much. Bye.

Thank you for listening. Tune in next time and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at journeycoaching.org and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at journeycoaching.org.

Relating With People Who are different Than Us

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode, Jeff and Terry discuss how to effectively relate to people who are different than us. We want to encourage you that by practicing acceptance of another person’s perspective, you will be able to relate to those who are different than you.

Transcription of Podcast

Terry: You know, in the workbook, we talk about telling your story, we talk about your strengths, your weaknesses, your goals. How do you set a roadmap for your life and the future? Those sorts of things. What was missing was that piece about, how do I look at the world? We’re going to use the word worldview, but it really means, what’s my view of the world, and where does it come from? I think it really fits well into this concept because of the fact that nobody has the same worldview.

Jeff: Okay, today we’re going to talk about a challenging topic, and that’s how to have these conversations before the tough conversations, and why we really need to have the pre-conversation to the tough conversation. Which relates to, how do we relate to people that are different than us? So, relating to people that are different than us, that’s a key, key concept if we’re going to have those tough conversations.

Jeff: With us today, we’ve got Terry. She has had many tough conversations and many ways to relate to people that are different because she is a licensed, full-time counselor. So, you have lots of-

Terry: I do, yeah. Well, there are some, yes.

Jeff: Like, every day?

Terry: Every day, okay.

Jeff: Every hour.

Terry: Maybe every hour, not so much.

Jeff: I would assume that people coming into your office are not all the same as you, they’re not females that are … so on and so forth. They’re different-

Terry: Oh, yeah.

Jeff: Correct?

Terry: For sure.

Jeff: This is not just a conceptual topic, this is something that you have to deal with every day.

Terry: Yeah, yeah. We have some clientele that is similar to us, but, for the most part, people come in from all walks of life.

Jeff: Right.

Terry: They have all kinds of different issues, all kinds of different beliefs. It’s not my place, as a counselor, to change their beliefs, it’s my place to make sure that they’re aware of what those are, and how those affect them. Then, maybe, go from that point on to asking, is that something that you really want to hang onto?

Terry: No, there’s a lot of differences. As councilors, any other counselor that’s out there listening is going to understand this, that you have to know how to relate to people who are different than you.

Jeff: Right. For the other 99% of us in the world that are not councilors, we need to get a lot better at this. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of polarizing topics out there, there’s a lot of tension in the world over certain topics. Before we really can sit down with somebody and address those topics, we need to have the conversation before that tough conversation.

Jeff: So, let’s just jump right into it, with the first, really, focused point. How do we do that? How do we relate to people who are different than us?

Terry: Well, I think that’s a great question. I think, first of all, I think the very first thing we need to do is that there are people much like us, and look at the similarities versus the differences.

Jeff: Well, I just heard that the other day, that’s really a key point. So oftentimes, there’s this polarizing, pointing out differences, and that’s done a lot today. How is this person different? Pointing out those differences in a negative way. But, really a key point, isn’t it, of saying, okay, there are going to be differences? We are just made different. Isn’t that a huge starting point to say, well, what are the similarities?

Terry: Oh yeah, definitely. That’s why it’s so hard to do. Often, our differences are typically the things we focus on. We see skin color, hair, makeup, clothing styles, and so on. I think if you think back to someplace like middle school, or those years when-

Jeff: Oh, those dreaded middle school-

Terry: Yeah.

Jeff: Oh, no. Not that!

Terry: Well, I think that’s when we really start to notice the differences, and we’re affected by them. We start to be aware of what the norms are in our society. By society, I mean that society in middle school. The kids, the other kids, the ones that, if you wear the wrong kind of shoes or clothes, you get picked on. If you don’t have your hair exactly the same way as everybody else, you’re ostracized, basically, for not fitting in. I think that’s where the underlying message we get is that you have to fit in, or you won’t be accepted. In that way, comparing ourselves to others makes us weary of those things that are different, and it becomes an ingrained habit for us.

Jeff: Well, just going back to that whole middle school for a second. I mean, some things in life … For example, I’m looking out a window now. If I see a little bunny rabbit crossing a street that gets hit by a car, at my age I go, oh that was sad. The little bunny rabbit got hit by a car. It doesn’t really ingrain too deeply in me, right?

Jeff: But, take that back to junior high and middle school, and those kinds of times in our lives, and those things, and the way we see things, and the way that people respond … I mean, the bullying, for example, that goes on. It just really does get ingrained in our psyche, doesn’t it?

Terry:

It really does. It gets even worse than just ingrained, I think it turns into a series of different kinds of fears. It’s not just from middle school, it can come from influences such as family members, friends, neighbors when we’re growing up. Whatever the source is, we start to feel comfortable and safe with those things, with others who are like us, and we start to become fearful of those who are not. I think that’s where the problem really turns into a deeper problem.

Terry: If we don’t recognize this, and intentionally do something to counteract it, we’re really destined to live a life of just being around people who fit a certain mold.

Jeff: Right, right. Again, going back to those growing up times, it is the … I think back to when I was in school, and it was always fitting in. You know, we want to fit in. At some level, we are all sheep, aren’t we? We’re just-

Terry: For sure.

Jeff: We’re just wandering around, and we want to fit in. We want to not stand out, in either a positive or a negative way. The tough part about that is that we, at the core, are made different, and really need to not blend in. We need to lean into our differences, but when we do that, oftentimes, these negative things can happen. It’s on social media, too, now, right? If something’s a negative, it’s like, oh boy, let’s really pounce on this person.

Terry: I think social media is really a key part of this, too, because as we’re talking about trying to embrace the differences in each other, that’s exactly the opposite of what social media does for us. It feeds us. It learns the things that we’re interested in by the things we click on to read or the people that we connect with. Then, it just automatically tries to send us things that interest us, that’s their whole point. In doing that, we miss out on the opposites.

Terry: If you want to take something like a political point of view, all we end up seeing is that particular political point of view, and we miss out on some of the good things that we may hear from the other side.

Jeff: Right.

Terry: If all we’re getting our news from is social media.

Jeff: Right, right. In social media, it is really about posting the picture of oneself, or with your family and friends, on top of the beautiful mountaintop in Colorado. Everybody is smiling, and it’s a bright, sunny day. So, on that shallow level, life is good. Then, when we do a deep dive, and we want to say, here’s how I really feel about the things that are going on in the world, and in my life. And, I want to come alongside others, and share what I feel with them, and have them share how they feel with me, that’s where those differences come out, and where we have lots of challenges.

Terry: For sure.

Jeff: Yeah. So, then the question becomes, what do we do? What are some ideas? Yeah, this really stinks, this is tough. How do we actually take some deep dives, and get alongside people and really have those deeper conversations? What do we do?

Terry: For sure. Well, I think the first thing we need to do if we’re looking at really wanting to change this is to start to become more accepting of other people’s, and other’s perspectives.

Terry: Going back to the Journey material that we have. We’ve got this wonderful workbook that was put together by some very smart people.

Jeff: Well, that’s a first. I’ve never known you to give yourself a little pat on the back, there. Terry did do a lot of the writing on this, although we had lots of people we took through the coaching end.

Terry: For sure, yes.

Jeff: What was it? Nine or 10 different revisions?

Terry: I think we were on revision 10 when we finally went ahead and had it published.

Jeff: Yeah, yeah. Anyway, it’s a lot of painstaking processes that went into the workbook. Anyway, that’s a topic for another day.

Terry: Well, when we were putting the workbook together, we started with a concept, we put it together, as you know. We went out and coached some people, and then we came back with their suggestions, and their perspectives. We made some tweaks to it, and we went back and coached some more people. We kept doing that, that’s why we had so many different versions of it.

Terry: At some point along the way, we realized there was something missing. That missing is this piece that we’re talking about today. How do we deal with … In the workbook, we talk about telling your story. We talk about your strengths, your weaknesses, your goals. How do you set a roadmap for your life and the future? Those sorts of things. What was missing was that piece about, how do I look at the world? What is my … We’re going to use the word worldview, but it really means, what’s my view of the world? Where does it come from? I think it really fits well, into this concept because of the fact that nobody has the same worldview.

Jeff: Well, worldview being a very specific example of one of those tough conversations, that needs to be had. It’s just like, okay, if we’re going to have a conversation with somebody else about their view of the world, again, how specifically can we do that?

Terry: Well, one good thing, and going back to the material … Session four of the Journey coaching workbook is really where we added that at a later date. We ended up moving some things around so we could put that in, and it’s all about worldview. The whole goal is to help you identify your worldview. Where does it come from? It’s a good way to gain insight into what you see as your perspective of the world. Until we look at this directly, we assume that everybody else has the same type of view of the world. If they just knew what we know, they’d feel the same way. Then, we get into arguments in that way.

Terry: I think the first thing is to understand, what’s my view of the world? Then, I can have a conversation with others about what their view of the world is. We can look at it from a curiosity standpoint, versus trying to talk each other out of their worldview.

Jeff: Well, the material was designed so that people could share their views of the world. So that the person coaching can, at some point, give a view of the perspective that the coach is going through. First of all, that person just has that freedom to say, hey, here’s what I see my view of the world is.

Jeff: In terms of that, what can we do kind of thing, doesn’t that apply, then, outside of the workbook, outside out Journey, as we have those conversations in life? It’s just asking those questions of people? Whatever it might be, whether it’s a worldview, or whatever, and just listening.

Terry: Yeah, absolutely. It’s really, really important that you ask that of yourself, first.

Jeff: Unpack that a little bit.

Terry: Well, that basically means, we’ve got to go back and look at our culture, and our worldview, and look at it from a lens that says, oh, I get it. I know why.

Terry: I was raised in the Upper Midwest. In our culture, if you want to call it that, it’s hard-working people, it’s mostly farmers that settled this area. There’s a lot of autonomy, there’s a lot of, you don’t ask for help until you absolutely need it, and you basically shoulder deep in mud. Then, you can call your neighbor.

Jeff: Pulling one’s self up by their bootstraps, right?

Terry: Yeah. That’s the kind of culture that my parents were raised in, and that’s the culture that they raised us in. One of the things I remember my dad saying, over and over again is … We went camping a lot. He would say, “You leave the place better than what you found it.” There were certain values and cultures that came from growing up. Not everybody had those, not everybody saw things from that perspective. They may have some of the same issues, but I think it really comes down to understanding, what is my culture?

Terry: By culture, I don’t just mean the American culture, I’m talking about micro-cultures. Every even home has its own little culture, its own outlooks, values, norms, goals, shared by the group of people.

Jeff: Let’s take a real simple dive down to what that looks like. For example, then, that person out of that environment most likely would say, if I have a place I’m supposed to be at nine o’clock, I’m going to be there at 8:55 AM, right?

Terry: Sure.

Jeff: But, let’s compare that to a different culture. For instance, our daughter has been over in Ethiopia many times. She really loves the Ethiopian culture. I think there, it says, if you have a nine o’clock, if you’re there by 9:15 AM, or maybe 9:30 AM because it’s all about that relational piece. Maybe that person isn’t necessarily … Again, it’s the relating part, it’s the understanding part.

Jeff: We may say, at the shallow pass, we may say, well, that person just doesn’t care, because they’re 20 minutes late to this important thing.

Terry: Right.

Jeff: But, the reality is, they’ve put such a high value on relationships, that they’re probably, in a relationship, connecting with somebody that causes them to be a little bit late. We need, again, to just take a deep breath, go okay.

Terry: Right.

Jeff: They’re not the nine o’clock person, they’re the 9:15 AM person. That’s okay.

Terry: Well, if somebody comes from a culture where being late is actually on time, then, they’re not going to understand our being-

Jeff: Yeah.

Terry: Come on, come on, it’s time.

Jeff: Those uptight people that have got to just be there.

Terry: Well, you can get into the conversation, and we’re not going to do it here, but you can get into a conversation about warm climate cultures, and cold climate cultures, and how they’re different, and how their approaches are different.

Terry: I think the main thing that I want to bring across today is just figuring out what it is that your beliefs, your worldview, your perspective is, helps you to, then, ask the right questions of the other person.

Jeff: Right, right. Again, it comes back to, just that understanding that let’s look at the similarities, rather than just the differences. Let’s take a deep breath, let’s ask some questions. Let’s listen. Then, at the core of all this, is really, love. All you need is love. Wasn’t that a Beatles song, or something? If you’re going to do this … It’s a lot easier not to do it, right? It’s a lot easier to just stay in our little bubbles and move forward. If we, again, take a deep breath, look beyond ourselves, love is important, love matters. Talk a little bit about that?

Terry: Well, what I’d like to do is I’d like to put that onto the next podcast if I can. I think we’ve covered quite a bit today. What I’d like to do is, let’s send people to another podcast. We’re going to have one talk where we discuss, how do we handle heavy topics? I think that might be a good thing to put in there, that unconditional love piece, and unconditional acceptance. I think that’s going to make it really important.

Jeff: This is like a little teaser to actually listen for the next podcast.

Terry: Ah, there you go.

Jeff: Oh! All right. Well, any other summary thoughts, then, before we end this one?

Terry: Not that I … Get involved in coaching! Come on, there’s a good workbook, here. If you give us a call, email, text message somehow-

Jeff: Yeah, just reach out.

Terry: We’re on social media. Just give us a call, connect with us, and we will try to help you find a way to do that.

Jeff: Right, exactly. The coaching is just, again, those one-on-one discussions that focus on relationships, which, again, focus on looking at the things we have in common, rather than the differences. Asking questions, listening, all important things that are just core to what we can, as just human beings, to connect with each other and grow.

Jeff: Anyway, Terry, thanks for coming in, for coming out of the councilor’s office, and talking to the rest of us. Thanks for being here.

Terry: It was good to be here, thank you.

Jeff: See you next time.

Thank you for listening. Tune in next time, and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at JourneyCoaching.org, and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at JourneyCoaching.org.



Partnerships Strengthen Community

By Terry C.
This past week, I was honored to have the opportunity to speak to volunteers at Bridgehaven Pregnancy Support Center in Cedar Rapids. While at Bridgehaven I met with many of the kind and wonderful volunteers who make this organization work. I shared with them what Journey Coaching is about, and they gave me a tour of their facilities. The place was abuzz with women and families who were taking classes, obtaining food, clothing and infant supplies.

For those that haven’t had the opportunity to experience Bridgehaven, Bridgehaven is a nonprofit organization that has been serving the Cedar Rapids area for over 35 years. They provide compassionate support, with free pregnancy tests and confirmation ultrasound, along with practical support like food, clothing, skills classes and more.  I can’t begin to describe how vital this organization is to the Cedar Rapids area and how much they depend on donations and volunteers to do their work. I am excited for the opportunity to partner with Bridgehaven in the future!

Partnering with Journey will provide Bridgehaven an opportunity to expand their services to offer more one-on-one mentoring, and it will allow Journey a chance to serve our community through this positive and life-affirming ministry.

If you are interested in finding out more about how you can get involved with ether Bridgehaven or Journey Coaching you can find us at: BridgehavenCR.org or JourneyCoaching.org.

When Finding Joy Is a Struggle

By Terry C.

Joy to the World ….. Christmas and Joy go hand in hand, or so we expect. Yet many of the people I talk to actually struggle to find joy or happiness at this time of the year or any other. They are trying and trying to find joy, only to feel it is not available to them. But what I would like to suggest is that joy cannot be “found” by looking for it. 

Consider the very young child looking at rapt enjoyment at the simplest things. Wonder and joy are in the very way a child plays. No one has to teach them this. It comes so very natural to children. As long as they feel safe, connected and loved by those who care for them, small children are naturally joyful, happy and content exploring the world around them. 

So what happened? How did we go from just experiencing joy, to feeling like we have to chase it? I think the answer is that we allow robbers to come and steal our joy. Joy robbers show up as common things we may not even realize, such as: Unrealistic expectations we set for ourselves or others; comparing ourselves to others; and my personal favorite, believing we don’t deserve to feel joy. 

What I have found is that when we eradicate the joy robbers from our life, joy shows up often in the simplest and most surprising ways. We all have the capacity to feel joy and wonder from birth. You may feel great joy the next time you find yourself gazing at a beautiful sunset or watching an infant discover her feet for the very first time.

So, the next time you feel the need for joy, ask yourself “What am I letting rob the joy from this situation?” Make this change and you may very well have a joyous holiday!

Special note: one of the biggest joy robbers in our lives can be depression. If you have tried everything you can think of and still feel a loss of joy, please find a therapist near you. Or contact us and we will try to help you find someone to talk to.  Call us at 319-244-8341.

IOWA TO BOLIVIA

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode, special guest, Shelby, returns to the podcast. Shelby shares her eye-opening story on how moving from Iowa to Bolivia changed her perspective from what was once critical to acceptance and excitement in combining 2 different cultures.


Transcription of the Podcast

Shelby: If you’re listening to this and you think like, “Well, I’m not going to go to a different country and definitely not right now,” you don’t have to go to a different country to challenge some of your perspectives on your own culture. Have conversations with people that are different than you. And like I said at the beginning, have those conversations and let them be influential.

Terry: Today, we’re going to talk again with Shelby. We talked to her once before. Shelby did something really interesting. She left our beautiful state and she went to Bolivia. And when you talk about getting to know a whole other culture, that’s a giant leap. So I want to introduce Shelby, let her introduce herself and then we’ll go on from there.

Shelby: Hi, I’m Shelby. I’m so happy to talk about cultures today. I’m no expert, I will say that, but I have I guess a different experience than maybe some living here in Iowa. So my husband is from South America. We have children who are being raised in a bi-cultural, bilingual family. We continue to travel to South America and it’s just interesting to see them growing up in a family that is back and forth between countries and that, that will be a part of their story. Very different from mine because I grew up in farm country here in Iowa and I was surrounded by my own culture. I didn’t have very much diversity in that growing up.

Terry: Can you paint a little picture of what that was like for you to grow up in Iowa?

Shelby: Yeah. So I have family on one side. We have generations from Czechoslovakia, on the other side, from Germany. And we took a lot of pride in that growing up that our grandparents spoke different languages and that they had immigrated here and I knew that was part of our story, but I think even more so, we were like a farm family, grandpa farmed our uncle’s farm. We grew up in the country. I grew up in a small town school and so I think that was important. We took pride in that and loved that, but I didn’t realize how everyone else around me also grew up the exact same way. And so I didn’t get to hear very many perspectives and I didn’t realize that.

Terry: So growing up you didn’t have people from other cultures that kind of showed up at your school or anything like that? It was pretty similar.

Shelby: I would say here and there, and I think a lot of people would probably say, “Yeah, growing up, I came in contact with other cultures,” but not with very heavyweight, like those people from other cultures or different life experiences and perspectives, didn’t have a very big sway, influence or say in my life. So I felt like I could check off that I know a lot of people from other cultures, but they didn’t really have very much influence on me.

Terry: Sure.

Shelby: So.

Terry: So what gave you the idea to leave the farm community of Iowa and go to Bolivia?

Shelby: Well, I think God had that idea.

Terry: Okay

Shelby: Because it was not part of my plan. I didn’t have a specific country in mind. I just wanted to have a gap year before I started school before I started paying my own bills and kind of I got settled into the routine adult life in America. And I thought this is a perfect time, in between high school and adult life to travel. And with me, I thought, I’m going to use that traveling to volunteer and to do some mission work. And so I just started researching mission organizations that would have bases elsewhere. I wasn’t set that I needed to get out of the country, but there was this opening for someone that needed to fill a role at a children’s center in Bolivia. So it was not in my plan ever, but obviously, it was in God’s. So.

Terry: Had you taken Spanish in school at that point?

Shelby: I took Spanish in high school and I really enjoyed it. I was decent at it, but high school Spanish is pretty minimal, but that was all the Spanish I knew. And I’m like, “Yeah, man, it’ll totally be fine.” And then I got there and I think it is definitely the best way to learn a language to be totally submerged, but I was submerged. There was maybe one other person that I knew in that country that could help me with English. And otherwise, it was like, you’re on your own.

Terry: What was it like to just get off the plane that very first day?

Shelby: It was scary and it was so much culture shock. Looking back, I think everything was just like, “Oh my goodness, what?” And now, I get off those same planes years later and I’ve done it several times and it’s like, “Ah, I’m home.” But the first time I got off that plane, I was like, “Why are they driving like that? And why is that tree there? And why is that person talking like that?” Everything was just so foreign and strange. But it’s just crazy how my heart has changed by having different perspectives in my life that now, it’s like, “That’s not strange. That’s normal. That someone else is normal.”

Terry: Right. Did it seem strange because it wasn’t Iowa?

Shelby: Yes. Yes. And I look back on my thoughts when I got off the plane the first time and I’m a little bit embarrassed. I’m like, “Why was I so judgmental?”

Terry: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Shelby: But I was coming from this place of never being exposed to anything else. And so my first thoughts to anything that was different than my norm was judgment. And now, I’m exposed to those exact same things, exact same scenario, get off that plane, see the same stuff, and it’s like, “It’s totally fine. Why was I so judgmental about that?”

Terry: I think that’s a huge point. Did you know or did you realize at the time that you were feeling judgmental or did that just kind of come with experience?

Shelby: I think I did know I was being judgmental, but it was almost like I was justified in being judgmental, like I had a right to complain about the way people drive in another country because, well, my culture drives better. But now that my husband lives here with Iowan drivers, he’s like, “Uh, not necessarily.”

Terry: Because he had the culture shock coming back the other direction.

Shelby: Yeah. Yeah. And he went through the same things of being very judgmental about things that were new to him and strange at that point and now he’s come to terms with. They’re just different.

Terry: Yeah.

Shelby: So.

Terry: That’s awesome. When you think about that first few days or weeks when you were there, were you getting lost a lot? Was there some, I mean, how did you navigate those first few weeks?

Shelby: I have a really good sense of direction so I won’t lie and say I got lost a whole lot but I remember just feeling so fatigued. My body was tired because my mind had been thinking so much.

Terry: Sure.

Shelby: And I was just, didn’t have any emotional capacity to be friendly to people because all of my energy is going into figuring out the word for a four-way stop, just really simple things that were just draining me.

Terry: Sure.

Shelby: And I saw that in my husband too when he came here just like he had just reached his limit in his mind, and you could see it in your body that culture adjustment is, it’s huge. It takes a toll on everything, not just your mind but your emotions and your physical health.

Terry: When you’re trying to translate in your brain the language, when you hear somebody talking and that sort of thing and you’re still thinking in English and guessing and trying to translate that into Spanish, but we know that only about, I’m going to say, an estimate of about 20% of what we communicate is actually verbal, the rest of it is nonverbal. And I would assume that some of their non-verbals would be different than what you might have here and just, how did that all fit in as far as trying to communicate with people?

Shelby: Totally. I think I was probably over-sensitive because I took everything personal instead of just taking it as, it’s a different form of communication, the same tone of voice or the same facial expression might be offensive in American culture, but it’s totally normal in Bolivian culture. And I remember just down to the most simple things, like what movie do you want to watch tonight? And me saying, “I don’t care,” and it being very offensive in the way I said it in Spanish but I’m like, I’m just trying to be like flow… go with the flow. I’m like, “I don’t care.”

Terry: You were trying to be considerate of their feelings and you ended up offending them?

Shelby: Right. And it just kind of was a light bulb to how often within cultures being in relationship with each other does this happen, where it’s just no one’s trying to do something wrong and we get offended easily, be sensitive Sally like me, or we get hurt or we say something we didn’t mean to and it just takes a lot of grace, a lot of grace to combine cultures I think.

Terry: Sure. Well, and as you stayed there, because you were there for a year, and as you went there and interacting with people, tell me about that, what was that like to… because it seems like there’d be some growth that would take place during all of that.

Shelby: Yeah. I think it was really humbling when I went into it and I will venture to say, the way a lot of Americans go into mission work, it was with a savior complex that Jesus is the savior but he’s using me to save, and that’s just not true at all.

Terry: Here I come to save the day.

Shelby: Yes, yes. And of course, I would say, “No, that’s not what I think.” But that is because of our worldview and that is what I thought is that I have been given so much monetarily or physically and there are physical needs, of course, I can help. But it was a humbling process to just see that the need is always Jesus. Yes, there may be physical needs, but someone in a different country is in no more need of Jesus saving their soul than I am of Jesus saving my soul. And that was so humbling and good to be put on an equal level. I think that’s really key for any kind of mission work, whether it’s you being intentional to love on your neighbors or you going across the country, or you going across the world, you have to first come to terms with that even playing field that we are both centers in need of a savior and I’m no better than you. So.

Terry: That’s really good. Anything else you can think of that our listeners might be interested in about your trip to Bolivia?

Shelby: I think that it is interesting to hear and know just how long it takes to build relationships, but how important those are in mission work. So I think a lot of people would like to just go in and do a good deed than dip out of the situation. It’s hard to sit in the hurt with people and to sometimes not have a resolution, but just as important. So I worked with a children’s center for underprivileged children, providing them tutoring, snacks after school, just like organized games and sometimes, a little medical care here, like dental training and just teaching them how to brush their teeth or to clean to avoid infections and that kind of thing. But there wasn’t always a resolution to some of those problems. They’re just living in poverty. Their lives were very difficult. And my job, our team’s job was not to solve it, it was to walk through it with them.

Shelby: And I think that is impactful and that can be applied when you go overseas, that can be applied when you are in your neighborhood. That’s not like a big huge idea, it’s very simple that there sometimes isn’t a resolution to people’s problems. That’s not your job to resolve it, that’s under the control of God. But your job is to walk alongside people, and that can be more impactful. I’m a big believer in just relationships and it takes time and it’s hard, but it is so worth it to build into people.

Terry: Well, and you saw some extreme poverty. Did you see some ways that they were richer than us or things we could learn from them?

Shelby: Yeah. Beautiful, beautiful character. I really admire so many things about Bolivian culture. My husband is from there and his family lives there and I just admire how families function and come together. So I think there’s a lot of countries that have similar cultures, but where grandma, mom, grandkids, even great-grandkids will all be living together and bearing each other’s burdens. Whereas I think in American culture, we outsource a lot of that care, care for grandma or care for childcare instead of being a family unit that kind of pushes in and makes their own community within each other. So I admire that and I admire the work ethic and just the joy that they can have in having little. I think it’s a culture shock for a lot of Americans to go to countries where they don’t have very many things and they’re not very comfortable in American terms, but they’re totally okay. They’re happy and can find joy in that. And it’s really inspiring and encouraging to me.

Terry: That’s really cool. So now you’re back here, your husband is here, you’ve got these three little littles, and tell me about what you’re doing to help them to kind of grow up in a multicultural home.

Shelby: Yeah. I think just letting them know that they have been blessed and not making them feel bad that they’ve been blessed, but knowing that American culture isn’t the norm for everyone in the world and that having all of these things isn’t the end-all. So we’ve been able to do that by going back to my husband’s home country and just living life there and them being exposed to having a bouncy ball and that is enough for the entire day. That’s okay. But also, just having a heart of generosity, whether we’re here or whether we’re there, that things are not our own. Whatever God has given us, it’s to steward well within our family or to give and be generous with. So we’re really trying to build a generous heart. I think that’s something that my husband has because of his culture that he grew up in. They’re very generous. And we just want that to apply wherever we are, whether it’s here or there or another country that can transcend all lines.

Terry: It’s fascinating, and especially when you think about someone from a culture like that where they have a really generous heart and here, we have so much and sometimes, we don’t.

Shelby: Yeah. It’s really crazy. And sometimes, I feel like those are just, those moments that are kind of a gut punch, like, “Why is it that I’m so selfish when I have so much?” And so even in just having my husband and me with our different worldviews or different perspectives or different cultures in the same house, we’ve really challenged each other in some of the behaviors that we have. Like, “Why do you act that way? Is it because of the culture you grew up in or can you see benefits of the other person’s culture that you could put into your life or characteristics that you could take on from each other?”

Terry: Sure. Well, and I think the other question I have for you is, what’s in the future? Do you have any plans to do any more mission work?

Shelby: Oh, this is quite the question. I don’t know. Missions are definitely not off the table. I’m a social worker, so it’s just kind of ingrained in my mind to see needs and that’s a blessing and a curse because I know that God’s the main provider so it means I have to always bring it to him. But I always feel that heart of like, “Okay, we should go, we should serve.” When we’ve talked about, should we live there, should we live here? And the cool thing about our marriage and our family is that nothing is set in stone. When we got married, it was this contract that we might live who knows where and that’s okay. So it’s been kind of peaceful to know that it’s up in the air and that’s how God wants it. So, I don’t know, there may be mission work in the future. We’ve talked about moving back to Bolivia at some point, just that our kids can even grow up in both countries. But only God knows really what will come next.

Terry: Well, and it’s neat that you feel like Bolivia is home too.

Shelby: Yeah.

Terry: I think that makes a huge difference too. If you end up living in Bolivia for a while, it feels like home.

Shelby: Yeah. I think that’s been the work of God, to humble me and to remind me that our allegiance is to God and that we’re both and we’re all in every country, we’re all looking forward to eternity and heaven together, but because we have that firm foundation, then we can look at each other’s countries as a place of home while we’re here on earth.

Terry: Awesome. Anything, any last words or anything that you want to leave people with today that might be helpful for them?

Shelby: If you’re listening to this and you think like, “Well, I’m not going to go to a different country, and definitely not right now,” you don’t have to go to a different country to challenge some of your perspectives on your own culture. Have conversations with people that are different than you and like I said at the beginning, have those conversations and let them be influential. Don’t let them just be a small voice in your head, but really take people’s perspective and give them a little bit of weight that their perspective matters and it’s important and it’s just equally as important as yours.

Terry: Awesome. Very, very good. I love that. Well, I think we’re going to wrap this up today. Thank you for joining us today and I just really appreciate, and everybody who’s out there listening, we really appreciate Shelby coming and sharing with her, her life story. I think one of the first things we do with journey coaching, with the process, is we talk about our stories. The coach first gives their story to the person who they’re coaching and then the other person comes back the next week and shares their story, and it’s through our stories that we identify things like our strengths, our weaknesses, and we identify what’s our worldview, what view of the world do we have, where did it come from? And then we start working on, where do I want to go from here and how do I want to get there?

Terry: And so if you have any interest in getting involved with journey coaching, let us know. Definitely listen to some more of the podcasts if you get a chance to, and we will see you again in another session.

Thank you for listening. Tune in next time, and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at journeycoaching.org and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at journeycoaching.org.




Surviving and Thriving During The Holidays When There Is Family Tension

By Annie M.

It’s that time of year when many of us are excited about the holidays. But perhaps you feel differently. Perhaps the holidays are a reminder of the things and relationships that aren’t going well. Instead of being excited, you might actually be dreading the holidays.

I want to encourage you that you aren’t alone. For one reason or another, the holidays can be very difficult. You may feel like there is nothing about this time of year but stress and negative interactions that are completely beyond your control. You’re not alone. Many of us feel like that, but it doesn’t have to stay that way.

As I sat down to listen to a recent Journey Coaching podcast recording, I found myself feeling not only encouraged but excited for the holidays. This time, I had received some helpful tools to enter this holiday season in a way I haven’t before. All too often, I have approached holiday gatherings without a plan or clear set boundaries. Usually this left me feeling out of control, or even worse – attacked.

I want to encourage you that there are some things that you can do to help you thrive during this holiday season. First, anticipate the event before it happens. Recognize what actions or behaviors can be a trigger for you and develop a plan on how to handle those triggers with clear set boundaries. Rehearse your plan and boundaries beforehand and decide practical steps of what you will do should a confrontation arise.

Maybe you are thinking, sounds great in theory, but I’ve tried that and it blew up. Yeah me too. But I learned from this recording something I had never thought about before. I was encouraged to decide now how I want to react before the moment happens and develop a backup plan. I want to encourage you to determine a few backup strategies and implement them should things not go the way you planned. Get away, take a walk, take some deep breaths and stay determined to not let this experience rob you of your joy.

Try to stay focused on the reasons for the holidays. For instance, Thanksgiving is about gratitude. Choose to focus on the things that you are thankful for and those things that are going right. Stay positive by reminding yourself out loud the things that are going well. Perhaps you have a family member who has always been supportive. Focus on your relationship with them and allow that to act as a buffer in the midst of negative interactions. And remember, gratitude is just one thought away.

Lastly,  have you checked your expectations. What are they? I want to encourage you to evaluate what they are and why they have them. It is important to remember the reason for the Holiday. Holidays are designed to bring people together. Focus on others, and you may find that you feel a little more joy yourself.

Are you looking for a way to improve your strengths and look at your areas of improvement in a whole new light? Call us at (319) 244-8341 or email us at Terry@journeycoaching.org – we would love to get in contact with you and help you on your journey through coaching in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Freedom Through Honesty

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode, we had our special guest, Shelby on the podcast. Shelby shares her personal story on how the dark period of her life becomes the manifestation of God’s love and how she handles the vulnerability of being transparent and authentic.


Transcription of the Podcast

Shelby: Then I think there’s someone else out there who needs to know that not everything is sunshine and rainbows, but it is still working together for the good.

Terry: Have you seen some of the positives that come out of your being transparent and authentic?

Shelby: Yeah, definitely. I think authenticity breeds authenticity. So, the more vulnerable you are, though it may be difficult, allows people to have space where they can be honest maybe for the first time, maybe sometimes even with themselves. I just think a lot of people, I don’t know if it’s American culture or Bolivian culture, just culture in general, that we like to live kind of hidden lives. We just don’t want to go deep. We don’t want to open up.

Your life, your journey, starts now.

Terry: Well, thank you for joining us today on this episode of The Journey podcast. Today we’re going to talk with Shelby, and Shelby has a really interesting story, I think, that the listeners will really want to hear. I’m just going to open it up to Shelby. Why don’t you tell me a little bit about yourself?

Shelby: Hi, I’m Shelby. I am wife to Jorge and mom to three kids under five. We have Susanna Hope, Alejandra, and Javier. Currently, I stay at home. I am a social worker at heart, but I’m staying home with them while they’re little. We’re part of a bi-cultural, bilingual family if you can’t tell by all of our names. My husband is from South America and Bolivia, and we speak Spanish and English in the home. It’s just kind of a beautiful little dance that we do every day. We love to travel. We travel down to see family in Bolivia as often as possible. We like to try new foods. Just adventure. But also we like to just find the magical and the little normal, simple things of our family at home. But yeah, I am enjoying this season of life, of being home with littles and what that brings.

Terry: Awesome. Being part of a multicultural family. That’s really interesting. And I’m sure a lot of our readers would love to know a little bit more about that.

Shelby: Yeah. So, it has been really eye-opening how ingrained your country’s culture is in you and how ingrained your family’s culture is. I think when anyone gets married, they realize like, “Wow, you grew up in a very different family than I did.” But added to that we have, “Oh, you grew up in a completely different culture, in a different country, in a different government, a different dynamic with when you eat, how you eat.” I mean, just everything is so different. So, that took a lot of getting used to, but it’s also so freeing to see that my way isn’t the only way. And that like there’s just so many perspectives out there and different norms and that’s okay. And it was definitely a challenge at first to realize like, “Oh, we can’t live this perfect Shelby decides how things are going to be life.” And that’s been beautiful to be challenged in that way.

Terry: Sure. It’s interesting for your children to be raised in this environment, have you considered what that looks like for them to not have to make that… They’re just learning this multicultural environment from the beginning.

Shelby: Yeah, it’s been exciting. I mean, some things have been like, “Oh, what are we going to do about this? Which way are we going to go? Or are we just going to make up our own family culture almost?” But our oldest is in kindergarten and we’ve seen that her being more adaptable and understanding to kids in her school that their cultures are different, their home lives are different, and she doesn’t really have a status quo that she thinks everyone needs to lead up to because she’s seen that everyone’s norm is very different. And it’s been cool for us to see her almost be more empathetic just because she’s being raised in a house that’s used to that.

Terry: That’s really awesome. In The Journey coaching material, we spend a session working on worldview, which is really kind of getting into the culture and trying to identify… Even different homes have kind of micro-cultures. And so when we look at this is a macro-culture sort of adjustment, and that’s really cool. You’ve kind of told us a little bit about your story and I’m really fascinated by a part of it where you mentioned something about a pivotal point in your life. Can you talk a little bit more about that here?

Shelby: Yeah, so I think how our family came to be was very pivotal. When I was 18, instead of taking the traditional route of going to college, I took a gap year and I moved to Bolivia in South America to do missions work and just volunteer working with underprivileged children. And in that year in my life, I came to know a relationship with Jesus in a more personal way. I was out on my own for the first time. I was living in a foreign country that I wasn’t comfortable with. I was kind of discovering myself and I met my husband there, my now-husband, and I had lived there for a year. When I came back I was 20 weeks pregnant with our child. We were unmarried, he was still there and I was moving back to the States.

Shelby: And I tell people this story all the time. I mean, you’re just talking to the hairdresser, chatting in the grocery line, and people are like, “Oh my gosh, you were a pregnant missionary.” Like everyone knows. Wow, that’s bad. They don’t even want to say it, but wow. And so it became really shameful. I mean-

Terry: So, that was a really dark period in your story then?

Shelby: Very dark. As much as I’d like to just put a bow on it and say, “It all turned out.” Like it was dark, it was hard because I think sin affects everyone, for sure, in a negative way. There are consequences to sin. But this was really unique because it was physical and it was transforming my life and it was like… I remember feeling I was wearing the Scarlet Letter because I couldn’t hide the sin. It was something I had to deal with. I wanted to just push it to the back of my head.

Shelby: It was like this is going to change your life and everyone’s going to know about it. And I now can thank God for that. But at that time I felt so ashamed, just full of guilt and shame and just desperately looking for somewhere to hide. But I couldn’t. So, definitely a valley. It was a long period. I mean, I think God planned nine months of pregnancy for the perfect reason. He knew we needed nine months to go through all of the almost stages of grief, of just dealing with what is this going to look like for my life? So, yeah. I was 19 I was pregnant and our family came to be essentially from that decision moving on. But then we went into like immigration, getting my husband here, he came on a Fiance Visa. Immigration was really difficult. It took months and months and months just to get him to be able to come to visit, let alone move here.

Shelby: So, I had our first daughter alone here in the States. He wasn’t able to make it. But at that time I could see God’s hand at work. I could see his grace. And it reminded me so much of the story in the Bible of the Israelites, God pursued them with his love. And even if that meant like painful times when they would mess up and bear the consequences of their decisions, it was all because he was like, “I love you so much, I want you and I want to be in a relationship with you and I want to care for you.” And I remember just that feeling of wanting to run and hide and he was like, “No. Stop hiding. I will do whatever it takes for you to know that you’re loved by me.” Even if that was that dark period of my life.

Terry: So, how did that become the pivot for you? Because clearly that’s a dark period. How did you kind of pivot out of that or how did that change your life?

Shelby: I think… Yeah. Well, it changed the logistics of my life for sure because I have no idea where my life would have gone had he not kind of grabbed me with that love. I probably would’ve gone down an even darker path and into a darker valley. But in that difficult, shameful period, he also gave me hope, our daughter Hope. Yeah. So…

Terry: Were there people around you, people who God used to kind of show you love?

Shelby: Yeah, absolutely. I was able to see, in the most real way, the church and someone who has Jesus in their heart, what their actions truly look like. Because I saw so many people who were just outrageously loving and generous, and “What can we do for you? If we can’t do anything, let’s just be next to you. I’m going to sit with you.”

Terry: So, even though you felt shameful about what you were going through, there were these people that just surrounded you and said, “No, how can we love on you?”

Shelby: Yeah. And they didn’t water down the reality that this is hard, and even like the hairdresser can say, “This is kind of a bad situation.” They didn’t water it down, but they said, “It’s okay. Love covers a multitude of sins and we love you and Jesus loves you and we’re going to show you on our actions.” So, I saw the church in action really well in small things like giving me hand me down clothes and big things like saying, “We’re going to celebrate this child and we’re going to throw a party when she’s born.” And so really like action, love, and action. It wasn’t just words. Saw a great response of love pouring out from people’s hearts.

Terry: That’s awesome.

Shelby: Yeah.

Terry: And then when your husband was able to join you, so your fiance at that point. But when he was able to join you here, how was his reception?

Shelby: It was good, from the same people who had loved us well, they really loved him and accepted him. But it was almost on a macro level, people adjusting to a different culture. Because I mean we’re here in Iowa and everyone’s Iowa nice. But then you have someone that doesn’t look like you and doesn’t act like you. And yeah, it was an adjustment, I think for everyone to get used to “Okay, this is how you live with someone with a different culture and a different upbringing and a different experience.” Even just hearing an immigrant story in real life and not just on the news. It was cool to see that almost as a collective, people going through that.

Terry: Well, and I would guess it’d be a huge culture shock for him.

Shelby: Yeah. He got here in, I want to say March, and he got out of the plane and he was like, “It’s white and it’s flat. Is this all there is?” I’m like, “Yeah, aren’t you excited?” So, it was definitely a culture shock.

Terry: Never seen snow?

Shelby: Nope. He had never seen snow before.

Terry: Wow. Okay. First impressions of snow.

Shelby: The excitement lasts for about two minutes and then you’re like, “Okay, done with that.” And I’m like, “Yeah, we’re on month five here in Iowa. We’re done with the winter too.” It was definitely a culture shock for him. I mean, he’s been here now five and a half years and there are still some things that it’s was just like, “I can’t get used to that about this culture.” But yeah, it was quite the brave, loving thing for him to come here too

Terry: Yeah. You mentioned God, and you mentioned how that helped you. How did your relationship with God help you with the transition, to trans… Kind of that story of redemption.

Shelby: Yeah, I guess I saw… My whole life I had grown in a Christian home, so I knew the foundational truths of the Bible and I knew all the right answers and I knew all the right things to do. But that was the first time that I saw God personally. I saw him as not this distant being, but as a father who loved me and was compassionate towards me and who wants good things for me, even in the little moment when it feels like this is the end of the world. He’s actually bringing good out of that.

Shelby: And yeah, he brought redemption to our story that I could have just spiraled, but he instead gave us such blessings and such undeserved love at that time. And just his character was more visibly seen because of my experience, and it was no longer just I know the right answers and I know the textbook stories, but I know this in my life, I know this to be a reality. And I just wish so often that everyone could experience not just knowing the word of God, but knowing that it applies to your everyday situations.

Terry: That’s beautiful. You talk about being authentic, and you really are. I mean, you’re sitting here and you’re opening up about your shame and about the things that you went through the darker times. How have you been able to be transparent with people and not just kind of cover that up and hide it?

Shelby: Like when I said how when I was pregnant, I couldn’t hide that I was pregnant. It’s continued. I mean, people always ask like, “Oh, your daughter. And how did you guys meet?” And so it comes up and I have that choice, almost every single day, to just rush by the story and kind of put a bow on it. Or to just be real and honest and say, “You know what? It wasn’t this fairy tale kind of story of how we came to be. It was really hard and that is why it is so precious and so beautiful and we’re so thankful for the family that we have.” So, we’ve been able to tell that story every day and be authentic and it’s a choice every day though. And some days I honestly am like I don’t really want to be open about everything. But then I think there’s someone else out there who needs to know that not everything is sunshine and rainbows, but it is still working together for the good.

Terry: Have you seen some of the positives that come out of your being transparent and authentic?

Shelby: Yeah, definitely. I think authenticity breeds authenticity. So, the more vulnerable you are, though it may be difficult, allows people to have space where they can be honest maybe for the first time, maybe sometimes even with themselves. I just think a lot of people, I don’t know if it’s American culture or Bolivian culture, or just culture in general, that we like to live kind of hidden lives. We just don’t want to go deep. We don’t want to open up. And there can be like years and years of not just being real about stuff. And so I have seen the fruit in other people’s lives of just being able to live in more freedom of being honest with other people, being honest with themselves and being honest with God.

Terry: Have there been some fear of being honest and open with people? Have you noticed any fear that… Fear of reprisal, fear of people not understanding, looking at you differently? Because I think that’s what people out there are thinking, “Oh my gosh, I can’t be transparent about this because…”

Shelby: Yeah, I think the biggest fear that I have in being transparent about my story is that it’s not done yet, and sometimes I’m afraid that people are going to want it to be wrapped up. They want it to be okay, well everything’s perfect now. And no, it’s not. When I honest, I have to be honest with today, too. I have to say, “Well, today is also a struggle.” Or, “Yesterday was a valley.” Or, “There’s been highs and lows this month.” Instead of just, “This was all in my past.” I think that’s been the fear of opening up and continuing to be honest about your story.

Terry: That sounds good. I think there’s a lot of people, and I know there are because I’ve talked with different people who they kind of go to church, they go to work, they go someplace and they wear this little mask and it’s got a smile on it. And it’s the I’m all put together mask, and we don’t tell others that we’re hurting and we don’t let people know sometimes that we’re going through something really tough. What advice would you give to somebody out there who’s doing that right now that might help them to kind of let down their mask and be authentic with somebody?

Shelby: I would say that I understand. I understand that fear. I understand it’s just easier for the time being, but in the long run, it’s not. It’s not going to do you any good to hide and put on a good face. That there is a real reward and there’s real freedom in being vulnerable. I think there’s wisdom in who to confide in and who to find community in. But I think that that is wired in our DNA to be in community. We are relational people and that it’s so good for you to speak up, speak with someone, be open. Because though it may feel good today to put on that mask, it’s going to catch up to you. And it’s in our DNA that we have to be in a relationship and talk about stuff.

Terry: I think that’s awesome. Just kind of, in summary, anything specific that you wished that people would walk away with from your message and your story today?

Shelby: I think it’s important to know that whether you are in a valley or you’re in a high or you’re putting on that face for now, that as it matters. Every little turn of every little day matters to God and he has a purpose behind it. Sometimes I like to think about a big beautiful tapestry and it’s got all these ornament details. And then you look on the back and it’s all the threads and it’s confusing, and sometimes we’re looking at the threads and we’re confused and we’re hurt. And that’s okay to be hurt and that’s okay to have all those emotions, but to always remember that on the other side God is putting something beautiful together with your story.

Terry: Yeah. I love that and I love that analogy.

Shelby: Yeah, it’s a good reminder for me every day.

Terry: Okay, well, thank you, Shelby. Until next time. I’ll close this now and thank you again for listening and we hope that you tune back in for another podcast of Journey coaching.

Thank you for listening. Tune in next time and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at journeycoaching.org and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at journeycoaching.org

Your life, your journey, starts now.


FAMILY TENSION

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode, we’re talking about helpful tips in navigating through family tension especially during the holidays.


Transcription of the Podcast coming


Terry: Focus on the supporting family members that you do have. If we just focus on the maybe the toxic person in your relationship, then it seems like everything is a waste. But if you realize, no, this other aunt has been amazingly supportive. My grandmother, I have no idea how long she’s going to be here. Let’s focus on her and honor her for this time.

Jeff: (singing).

Jeff: Welcome to The Journey podcast. This is Jeff and today we’re going to ask the question, how do you survive and believe it or not even thrive during the holidays when there’s family tension? Not that there’s ever a family tension. And you got to go to these family gatherings and you just dread going, what do you do?

Terry: I think that’s a great, great topic for today.

Jeff: So in the studio with me is Terry. Hello.

Terry: Hello.

Jeff: And as a mental health counselor, it’s always good to have you here and to toss out a few specific ideas. And this is something that’s on a lot of people’s minds this time of the year. So, yeah. Welcome

Terry: Well, thank you. I am happy to be able to talk to you today.

Jeff: Why does it seem like there are so many relationship problems during the holidays? You would think with all the falala and all the good tidings and all that that everybody would be happy and getting along.

Terry: You’d think so wouldn’t you? There are actually though, there are a lot of people who dread family get-togethers for various reasons. I remember growing up, it kind of gets to the reason why we get together with family at the holidays, somebody requests it, usually, it’s grandma or grandpa or the matriarch, the patriarch, and somebody says, “Oh, we’ve got to get everybody together.”

Jeff: Yes. I remember those days in Tulsa having to drive back on the ice.

Terry: Having to drive back on the ice to get home for Christmas.

Jeff: Yes, I remember that.

Terry: Because if we didn’t, people would be unhappy.

Jeff: The world would end.

Terry: A lot of times those are happy times and I remember coming back from Tulsa and meeting with family and stuff and then it was hard to leave and go back to school and work and stuff.

Jeff: We probably should point out that we are married. Because they’ll be like, “Why are these two people going back and forth to Tulsa together?”

Terry: This is true.

Jeff: So anyway, yes we did that together during the holidays.

Terry: I also remember going when we were kids and having to go over to aunts and uncles homes where most people got along but there was always somebody who had opinions about something political or something religious. And then it would just seem to become an undertone under the whole thing. And you learn to kind of avoid that aunt or uncle. Not in mine, my family was perfect.

Jeff: Yeah right. Well, can you give us just a sort of a rapid-fire, some things that we can do here to address this?

Terry: Well I think the first thing before the events ever happen, I think the first thing you really want to try to do is to anticipate possible triggers or stressors or situations and develop a plan. In some cases, your plan might be setting some boundaries. I’m just not going to talk about politics-

Jeff: Politics, right.

Terry: … With that uncle or that aunt. I’m going to maybe formulate some answers ahead of time to what I might want to say, even rehearse it if possible. If you know that every time you get together, this relative is always challenging you on your beliefs or your politics, think through, “How do I want to react?” Because what happens is when at the moment, if we don’t have a plan, then at the moment, our emotions may go rampant and then the plan goes out the window and we end up just spouting off or saying something that we later on regret.

Jeff: Yeah. And that can be a simple thing, right? It’s like, “Yeah, the politics thing. Yeah, that gets a little dicey. Let’s just table that for another time, right?” I mean, it can be something really simple.

Terry: Well and have a backup plan. If something does go haywire, what do you do? I think also check your expectations, what expectations are you having of the event? A lot of times people, get a fancy new dress or they’re doing something and they are expecting that “When I get there, everybody’s going to go ooh.” And when they get there, it’s easy to have hurt feelings because well nobody noticed your new dress or your new hairdo or your-

Jeff: Your whatever, yeah.

Terry: … Yeah, whatever that is. So check your expectations.

Jeff: Well, and going back real quick to things to discuss. A lot of our family are involved in business together, so that’s one of the things that we say going in, “Hey, we’re not going to talk about business during the family get together.”

Terry: And the last family gets together we had, oh my gosh, I think we said that we reminded everybody of that, what, 15 times?

Jeff: Well you did anyway. We just kind of kept to it. So we didn’t do really good at that boundary. But we’ll get better.

Terry: No. And when you’ve got two businesses and a ministry in between five people, it really can be hard to not talk about business.

Jeff: Right. Right. So again, it’s not perfect, but we try. But yeah, it is good to try to set those expectations, and at least to let people have an out and say, “Hey, yeah, let’s just table this for another day.” So what are some other things?

Terry: Well, I think if you’re going to a big family event or a work party or something where you’re feeling uncomfortable already, maybe find a buffer, take a friend, a partner, a family member, somebody who can, if things get tight, you can just turn and focus on that person or they can be a buffer between you aunt so-and-so. I think it’s also important to remember don’t use the holidays, and I’m going to emphasize this again, don’t use the holidays to bring up old grudges, old grievances with family members or people there. This isn’t the time or the place. It’s not going to have a good positive outcome and other people are just going to have hurt feelings. Use other times to address those things with people one-on-one. But don’t use holiday gatherings for that.

Jeff: Right, good point.

Terry: I think some other things you might do too, is to consider strategies to cope with unexpected things that come up as well. Your best-laid plans are going to have… they’re going to fall flat sometimes. You’re going to avoid aunt so-and-so until she finally tracks you down and challenges you about the fact that you’re either not married or you’re married or she’s just going to have some kind of a thing. Consider a strategy to cope with those kinds of issues. Sometimes it’s just taking some time away, getting away from there, taking some deep breaths, going out for a walk and just challenging that person who’s trying to pull you into a fight even and just say, “No, I’m not going to fight today. This is Thanksgiving. We’re here to celebrate, give thanks and celebrate family and we’re not going to fight today. Call me up tomorrow.”

Jeff: Right, right. And what are a few other things then that we can do?

Terry: I think first of all, or fifth of all maybe, to stay positive, focus on the supporting family members that you do have. If we just focus on the maybe the toxic person in your relationship, then it seems like everything is a waste. But if you realize, no, this other aunt has been amazingly supportive. My grandmother, I have no idea how long she’s going to be here. Let’s focus on her and honor her for this time. Who can I help? Sometimes you can avoid a conversation in the living room by getting up, picking up dishes and going in and starting to help wash dishes.

Jeff: Right. Right. Yeah. Which no shortage of dishes and during those holidays sometimes.

Terry: Exactly.

Jeff: And finally, anything you can leave us with then?

Terry: Well, I think it really goes back to something we said at another podcast, remember the reason for the gathering that we’re doing, if you’re getting together for a party to celebrate somebody’s shower, remember that that person is the person you’re honoring. It’s not about you, it’s about them. And what can you do to help honor that person? And the same thing at Christmas time and at Thanksgiving, realize there’s a reason why we’re getting together and try to stay focused on that.

Jeff: Right. Right. Yeah. The reason behind Thanksgiving is to give thanks, Christmas, the whole birth of Christ and a lot of people may be questioning that or trying to figure that out, but it’s still important to get back to those core things because it simplifies things. Well, thanks again for being with us and sharing some good thoughts.

Terry: Thank you.

Jeff: And yeah, so to everyone out there, Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and I appreciate you listening. Tune in again.

Terry: Bye

Jeff: Bye

Thank you for listening. Tune in next time and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at journeycoaching.org and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at journeycoaching.org. (singing)

Thriving Through Holiday Stress

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode, Jeff and Terry offer solutions to help you thrive during this holiday season.


Transcription of Podcast


Terry:

I’m trying to figure out why am I getting stressed out? Well, maybe it’s because I’m expecting too much of what I’m doing or too much of what other people are doing. You’re hosting a dinner party. Does everything have to be perfect?

Jeff: Welcome to the Journey podcast. This is Jeff. And today we’re going to ask the question, how can we survive holiday stress? In the studio with me this time is Terry. Hi, Terry.

Terry: Hi.

Jeff: She is a mental health counselor and I’m really glad that you’re here because holidays can be stressing. They can be fun, but they can also have a lot going on and really stress us out, so we could use a few good ideas on this topic.

Terry: Sure. Thank you. I’m excited to be able to be here today.

Jeff: So tell me about this a little bit. I mean, the holidays, when we think of holidays a lot of times they’re filled with happiness, good tidings, and joy, right?

Terry: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jeff: So families are getting together. Lots of good food and decorations. What’s this thing about stress and all that?

Terry: Well, you’d think it’d be all fun and joy. I mean, at least that’s what Norman Rockwell and Hallmark Channel want to make you think, is that everything’s all wrapped up neatly and tightly into a small little package.

Jeff: Well, and you talk about the Hallmark Channel and stuff. My background is in advertising and let’s face it, there’s a ton of time, money, and energy put out there, whether it’s the Hallmark Channel or whatever it might be. I mean, there’s a lot of time, money, and energy put out there to produce stuff, to sell stuff, and it’s just kind of overwhelming at times.

Terry: Right. Well, that’s one of the stresses and I think we’ll kind of talk about that today. There are other other issues, and we’ll have a couple of other podcasts coming up that talk about some of the family relationships. Family dynamics, loneliness and things like that. Definitely. I mean, the reality is that some of the people listening today may have no family at the holidays, or they’re part of a family that doesn’t get along very well. Even some toxic relationships.

Jeff: Yeah, that’s really rough, right? I mean-

Terry: Right. And so we’ll talk about those at some point too, because I think this is a bigger issue than just one podcast. But today what I’d like to talk about is, really the dealing with stress, the personal stress that goes along with the holidays. I think there’s a level where we kind of get into almost a chronic level of stress, starting about before Thanksgiving and then through the 1st of January and stuff. And I think that doesn’t necessarily have to be there.

Jeff: Right, right. Well, and I think even change of seasons to kind of combine this. I mean, we have less daylight. I mean, there’s just lots of … it gets colder in a lot of parts of the country. I mean, there’s just a lot of changes going on this time of the year. A lot of things going on.

Terry: And for those people who’ve lost somebody or they’re separated from someone that they love, holidays can be especially brutal. But apart from that, we also notice there’s a lot more personal stress. Fatigue, sadness, irritability, all increase over the winter months. Like you said, the winter season itself can be kind of stressful. You’ve got the extra cold and other things, especially you live in our part of the world.

Jeff: Right, right. Yeah, I think it was five degrees today. [crosstalk 00:03:33] drive it in so …

Terry: Yeah, exactly. And a lot of extra stress comes from the financial strain. Holidays are not cheap.

Jeff: So what can we do about it? What are some of the things that we can do to address this and to address it head on?

Terry: Well, I think one of the things to look at is kind of more from a general vantage point. We could look at each one of those different issues and really focus on any one of those and do them well. But I think for the purpose of today, let’s look at it from more of a general vantage point. If someone is having a particularly tough time with any of the issues discussed or if the sadness that they’re feeling, and this is the point I really want to point out, if the sadness you’re feeling interferes with your normal routine, has lasted more than a few days, I really encourage you to find some kind of professional help. Get a hold of a counselor or a therapist, a psychologist, a psychiatrist, somebody in your area, and let them know that you’re really struggling. Because that’s more than the usual stress for the holidays.

Jeff: Right, right. And you probably see, in your practice this time of the year, more people that are coming in with these kinds of concerns or just these kinds of things that are bothering them.

Terry: Yeah. Before the holidays we see people coming in saying, “I don’t know how I’m going to survive the holidays.” Afterwards we get people who have been stressed out so much that we’re dealing with some of the post stress.

Jeff: Right, right. Well, I think about, as we’re talking here on a little bit of a lighter note, the movie Vacation, the Chevy Chase Vacation movie.

Terry: Christmas Vacation.

Jeff: Christmas Vacation, yeah. And you’ve got all this stuff going on, and in a lighthearted way, I mean, it really does show all the mess that can can happen at the holiday. Again, what are some of those things, sort of those warning signs or those, even yellow light kinds of things flashing that say, “Hey, I might be stressing out over this stuff.”

Terry: Yeah, I think that’s a really good question. I think the first thing is just to really … I encourage people to really listen to what their body is telling them. That sounds kind of strange to somebody who’s not used to doing that. But knots in your stomach, chest, tension in your neck and shoulders. Those are all ways that our body is trying to get our attention. Some people, they get so many knots in their stomach they can’t eat, or they feel like they’re going to throw up. And those are all signs of tension. And there’s a lot of other things, headaches, just other kind of fatigue, irritability. Pay attention to those things. Our body’s trying to get our attention and saying, “Hey, wait a minute. This isn’t healthy.”

Jeff:Right, right.

Terry: I think, also, be aware of your own self-talk. Be aware of what’s going on. We all talk to ourselves on a regular basis. Our thoughts are going round and round about different things. Be aware of your own self-talk. First of all, examine your expectations. What am I expecting? Okay, I know I’m getting stressed out. I’m trying to figure out why am I getting stressed out? Well, maybe it’s because I’m expecting too much of what I’m doing or too much of what other people are doing. You’re hosting a dinner party. Does everything have to be perfect? What happens if somebody doesn’t have … you don’t have an equal number of pumpkin pie slices or something like that?

Jeff: Oh dear, not that.

Terry: Is that going to ruin the whole party? Just be realistic with your expectations. I think another thing to look at too is why am I doing what I’m doing? Am I trying to keep up with others? Do I have to have my house have at least two more strands of lights than the neighbor’s lights?

Jeff: Right. Right, exactly.

Terry: Just realizing, “I don’t have to keep up with others.” I think it helps to anticipate some of the other stressors that you might have coming up. What might some of the stressors be? If I’m having a family dinner and I know uncle Jeff is going to be there …

Jeff: Not uncle Jeff. No, no.

Terry: … and he sometimes causes a great deal of stress, anticipate that-

Jeff: Oh, no. That would never happen. Not anybody named Jeff, right?Never would happen.

Terry: … and then develop a plan. How am I going to deal with a stress? I know stress is inevitable. There are times when we have to have some … stress will happen. So what do you do with that? Come up with a plan on how I’m going to either distress or minimize the stress.

Jeff: Which would be how? I mean, what are a couple of examples?

Terry: Well, I think one of the ways to minimize the stress would be to stick to a budget, for instance. Financial stress can be really, really overwhelming at Christmas time. If you decide, I don’t want to spend more than X number of dollars on Christmas this year, and then divide out by how many people you have to buy for. And say, “You know what? Guess what? This is what we’re spending.” It kind of goes along with keeping up with others. Can you live with the fact that you only buy a $25 present and somebody gives you a $50 present? Does that cause stress?

Jeff: Well, the whole concept, January does come after December and credit card bills do come in January. So that will happen.

Terry: Well, and I think, like I said before, de-stressing is really, really important. What that means is after you’ve had a stressful event or you’ve had a stressful day or week, do something to distress. Usually that’s through some kind of relaxation, deep breathing exercises, meditation. It can also be through, go take a warm bubble bath if you’re that type of person. Or exercise. Burning off the stress can help a lot.

Jeff: Right. Right. Yeah. Just going a little deeper there. I mean, stress really is a thing, right? I mean, there’s some sort of science. I should mention, Terry’s background, besides being a counselor, is a RN, a registered nurse, so she’s got a little bit of sort of that medical background to some of this stuff too.

Terry: Well, yeah. I remember when I worked in the hospital that it seemed to me that a lot of people were there for preventable causes, and a lot of the prevention is dealing with stress. Stress causes us to wear out body parts. I think in some ways … I mean, I know there’s a genetic pattern to things like heart disease and stuff, but constant chronic stress can bring something like that on a lot faster.

Jeff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Terry: Think of your body as a stress bank, I guess is a good way to look at it. When we’re under stress, our body secretes hormones as a way of helping us cope. But if we don’t give ourselves time to distress or empty the stress bank, it will continue to fill, fill, fill, fill, and eventually the results of chronic overstress will become evident.

Jeff: Yeah. Huh. Interesting. What are some of the ways that stress kind of shows up? I mean, what …

Terry: Stress can actually feel good at first. We feel competent. We feel valued. We feel like we’re really accomplishing a lot of stuff, and in some ways we feel like we’re more important in some ways because we have a lot to do. But pretty soon we can start to feel some resentment towards people around us, especially if they’re a lot more relaxed than we are at the holidays. We may start to feel like, “If you’d just start picking up some of the slack I wouldn’t be so stressed and then I could be relaxed with you.” We start to blame them for some of our stress.

Jeff: Terry, what’s something then that we can do about this then?

Terry: Well, I think one of the first things you might want to do is find a friend. Get ahold of somebody. Find a coach, talk to a counselor, a therapist. It might be a good idea to just even kind of look into sharing some of these things that are stressing you out with someone else and get their perspective. Maybe they could give you some coach tips of, “Here’s some things I did over the holidays to make myself less stressed.”

Jeff: Right. Well, and we’ve said this before, and I say it tongue in cheek, that at Journey we’d love to put counselors out of business. And what that means is, not that counselors would ever go out of business, because there are times, like you said, when counseling is really, really good. But how many people could stay out of that counselor’s office if they had those intentional relationships. If they had those friends and just cultivated those friendships. I mean, how important is it that?

Terry: Right. Well, I wish I could give you an answer for that, I really don’t. I know that there are oftentimes situations that somebody will come in and they’ll say, “Well, I was really stressed out over such and such a time, but I handled it well. I talked to one of my friends.” Did they need to come into a counselor’s office over that? Probably not.

Jeff: Right, right. And so, friends matter. Another thing that we can do is to look at simplifying. So for instance, Thanksgiving. We talk about Thanksgiving, and the word that is front and center there is thanks. So what can help sometimes, and really at core of what Thanksgiving is about, is to give-

Terry: Thanks.

Jeff: Yeah, that’s right. Same with Christmas. I mean, we hear about Christmas and think, “Oh my gosh, Christmas is coming up.” We have these ideas like we had talked about. All these parties and all this, giving gifts and all these things happening. But if you look at the word Christmas. Christ, the birth of Christ. It’s easy to overlook that sometimes.

Jeff: And sometimes people think, “Well, yeah, but I don’t even really know if I believe this stuff about a little baby being born and Jesus and all this stuff.” But we kind of need to think, “Well, if there’s this holiday that is pegged into our calendar that’s about this event, that is Christ mass, aught we maybe spend some time around Christmas looking at that core event and saying, ‘Hey. How might this actually have happened and how can it be just a meaningful thing in my life?'”

Terry: Well, I’d like to go back to what you just said because I think what’s really important is, if you stop and look at what the real reason is, it can … Because the way you said it, it sounds a little bit like you’re adding stress to what people are doing. And I think what your real intention was, is to help them to de-stress by looking at the actual reason for what they’re getting … the purpose of the holiday and try to focus on that. And if you do that then you might not get as involved in as many of the decorations or lights or … your focus is going to be different and hopefully less stressful.

Jeff: Yeah. Right. Focus on the meaning behind Thanksgiving and behind Christmas.

Terry: Right. And the reason you’re there as opposed to …

Jeff: Yeah.

Terry: Okay.

Jeff: That sounds good. Cool. Well-

Terry: Actually, we’ve got another podcast kind of coming down the road here and we’re going to talk more about the specifics of dealing with either loneliness at the holidays or dealing with relationships that are actually adding more stress. And so, let’s kind of wrap this up today and then we will deal with those at another time.

Jeff: Right. And just say Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas to everyone. Right? Alrighty. Thanks for listening. Tune in next time.

TerryBye.

Thank you for listening. Tune in next time. And make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at journeycoaching.org and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at journeycoaching.org.

What If Someone Wants To Be A Coach?

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! On this episode of the podcast, Terry and Sarah are talking about what being a Journey Coach looks like and the general characteristics of a good coach.


Transcription of the Podcast


Sarah: Hello, hello. Welcome back to the Journey Podcast. I’m Sarah Banowetz and I have Terry Carlson her today, and we are talking about what it takes if you would like to be a Journey coach.

Sarah: Terry, can you answer that question?

Terry: I’ll give it a try. Basically what I think Sarah’s trying to get at is, if somebody out there that’s listening has kind of listened to some of the other podcasts, if you haven’t, I ask you to go back and kind of re-listen to. We’ve talked in other podcasts about how coaching is different from counseling, how coaching is different from life coaching, or how Journey coaching is different from life coaching. We’ve kind of distinguished it among some of the other things. And so if you’ve gone through and you’ve listened to that stuff and you say, “Yeah. This really strikes with me. I really think I’d like to be a part of Journey and I’d like to do some coaching,” then I would really encourage you give us a call or email us or text us or message us, any of those contact points that we have. We can kind of talk further about what that looks like

Terry: But I’ll give you some basics here. The very first thing I’ll ask if somebody talks to me on the phone is are you willing to be coached yourself? If you haven’t already gone through the Journey process, it’s a seven session process, typically, and in that time period you go through your own story, your strengths, your weaknesses. You’re looking at how you’re wired up. This is really a key part for a coach, partly because if you’re going… There are certain kind of characteristics that make somebody a better coach than others. And so you’ll want to know, first of all, is this something that’s in a strength area of mine. One of the things that Journey does is it helps you identify how are you matched or mismatched with your strengths and your weaknesses. And so we really want to encourage somebody to do the coaching, to be a coach if they feel like this is an area in their strengths.

Terry: Some of the things that you’re going to also kind of look at is what… One of the things about going through the coaching yourself is it helps you be a little bit more self aware of the things that are in your story and how that might pertain. It might make you a little more aware of how somebody else going through the coaching process might feel. There’s uncertainties. There’s some fears sometimes when you’re talking about strengths or weaknesses and if you’ve gone through it yourself you can say, “Hey, I understand. I totally understand that it’s a little difficult to talk about these things.”

Sarah: What about some characteristics of the coach?

Terry: Well I think the very first characteristic I would out in that category is good listening, good active listening skills. A coach is really somebody who listens. They’re not the expert. They’re just somebody else who’s been on a journey that’s similar and you want to be able to listen very carefully to what the person’s story is. And an active listener kind of shows that they are listening by the way that their body language is and by the questions that they ask in return to kind of encourage somebody.

Terry: So good listening skills. Someone who isn’t very, very quick to offer advice. It’s not your place to really offer advice, but it does help as you’re listening to kind of say, “Oh, that’s an interesting concept. It’s an interesting story.” You might take somebody, as you’re listening to the story, you might say something along the line of, “Oh, what strengths have you… That was an interesting event that you went through. Did you learn anything about yourself?” And so they’re kind of good at asking questions and not really quick to offer advice.

Terry: A good coach will be pretty non-judgemental. They’ll have an attitude of unconditional acceptance. There may be things that you’re listening to as a coach that other people may have a different lifestyle, a different worldview than you. Can you listen to somebody else’s perspective and ask questions or have conversations, but not be judgemental about them? A good coach will have pretty good relationship building skills. Being able to talk openly and freely with somebody that you don’t really know that well.

Terry: And I think the last one I’d like to point out here, and I know there’s more and again, if you contact us we’ll give you some more information, but the last one I would list here, today, is to build trust and to keep someone’s confidences and show their respect. All of that is a way of building that trust. If you can keep their confidence, if you’re hearing something, it’s kind of like what they say about Las Vegas, what’s said here stays here. A good coach keeps the person’s confidences and doesn’t share them with anybody outside of that relationship. It helps to build trust and it shows respect.

Sarah: Thank you for the insight, Terry. And if anyone is interested in talking more with someone about the potential of being a Journey coach, please reach out to Terry at journeycoaching.org. You can also find us at journeycoaching.org, on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. And yeah, so reach out to us and ask us questions and we will talk to you soon. Thank you. Bye.

Thank you for listening. Tune in next time and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at journeycoaching.org and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at journeycoaching.org

How It All began

By Terry C.

One idea that sparked Journey came from the observation that as our society becomes technologically advanced, people are becoming more and more lonely and isolated. Face-to-face relationships are rapidly being replaced by electronic “friends” or “snaps” that are poor substitutes for real connection. We are also seeing that as isolation increases so do mental health issues like depression, anxiety and even suicide. 

With this observation on the forefront of our minds, Journey Coaching officially started six years ago after my husband and I attended a leadership conference in Illinois. We met a pastor, Mike Calacci, who was also attending the conference. As we talked, we discovered that even though we each come from different perspectives (see our bios), we all had something in common, a passion for relationships and soul care, both within the local church and outside its doors. 

Often throughout history, when society problems arise churches step up and fill the needs in a big way. For instance, churches were instrumental in the creation of a great many hospitals and nursing facilities in our country during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. So we looked at how the churches might be equipped to meet this problem of increasing disconnection and isolation in society today. 

Churches provide large-group and small-group ministry programs, but unless people have a pathway to more intimate connection, their loneliness and isolation may not change. Plus, research by the Barna group and others demonstrates that people actually grow more through one-on-one connecting relationships. So how do we help individuals, regardless of whether they are involved in church or not, become more connected and grow? 

Over the next few months and years, Journey Coaching began to take shape. We decided it needed to be a process rather than a program, and one that facilitated conversations and discussion between individuals or two couples rather than more impersonal larger groups. We could see the need for intentional one-on-one mentoring type relationships if we are going to really help people grow, but we found the idea of mentoring was not as widely received as the concept of coaching. 

We believed that for this to be effective, Journey needed to be simple enough to be a peer-to-peer coaching ministry. We also realized that the initial coaching series needed to be a short 6-8 session commitment. So we started putting together the first Journey Participant’s guides to facilitate the process. We knew that in order to really get to know each other, Journey had to start with the opportunity for coach and participant to tell their stories to each other and then build from those stories. 

Once we had the basic framework, we went out and coached some people. We took their feedback and our own evaluation of the process and revised the workbooks, then started out again coaching more people. This was the longest part of the process. After about five years and ten revisions we reached the place where we are today. One of the biggest revisions we undertook was adding a section on worldview. We felt this was an important and often overlooked component in personal growth. 

It was also important to all of us that the Journey material be effective when used by other Christians, but also to be helpful to those who are not or who are questioning what they believe. For that reason, we revised each chapter to give the participant a chance to either complete or opt out of the focus of that chapter from a Christian perspective. That way when working on the concept of strength or worldview, for instance, readers would have the ability to compare their own perspective with a healthy Christian perspective, yet not feel pressured to do so. 

The response to Journey has been so favorable that this year Journey, Inc. became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, grown out of the desire to help bring a focus on connection, soul care and individual growth to the world around us. We have been encouraged by all the people who have joined us on this journey so far, and we hope you will join us on this journey too!

Coaching Made Personal

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode, we had the pleasure of having special guest, Don on the podcast. Don shares his journey to being an overcomer in a real and authentic way. From the purpose he found to the peace he is experiencing on this journey, their is encouragement for all.


Transcription of the Podcast


Don: I hope this journey never ends. I do not want this journey to end, and that’s one reason again that when you asked me to come and sit with you today and speak that I said, “Yeah, I would love to.” Because I want people to know what’s going on in the world and what they easily have access to with your podcast.

Your life, your journey, starts now.

Jeff: Hello everybody, this is Jeff. We’re here with another Journey Podcast and have a new good friend called Don and Don is here, Don Evans. And just glad to have him aboard. So welcome aboard to the podcast.

Don: Thank you Jeff. I appreciate the emphasis on good friend, because that means a lot to me personally because in my past I’ve not had a lot of good friends.

Jeff: Well it’s fun as Don and I have connected, I mean there’s some maybe personality traits or some wiring that maybe is close enough where I think we have had some good conversations and have connected and it’s been fun. Gosh, I think I met you what, about six months or so ago?

Don: Yeah.

Jeff: Something like that.

Don: Something like that.

Jeff: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, and one of the things, and we’re just going to do one of the things-

Don: Well it’s going to be laid back too, right?

Jeff: It will be laid back and sort of the one of the things that is really cool about Don podcast, so one of the things that’s really cool is just his openness, his realness and just combined with overcoming some stuff in his life. So I guess you really can’t unpack real, but you can unpack the overcomer part. So maybe talk about that a little bit. Kind of, what’s been happening in your life.

Don: Yeah, I would love to do that. But for your listeners, I just want to say this, we’re going to get something cleared up right away. Jeff uses the term unpack a lot. So right now we’re going to unpack a lot of stuff, because to be perfectly honest with everybody listening, when Jeff first met me, it was about a month or two later, he thought that I was something that I wasn’t, because of the way I carried myself and the way I spoke in public and acted. But truth be known, I have a good heart and I’m a good person, but I was a really odd person that nowadays by a lot of people is called a pretend-aholic.

Jeff: Well, can I just interrupt you one-

Don: Sure.

Jeff: … second here, because yeah, my first impression of Don was, well now you can tell by his voice, the deep voice and very, very authoritative-

Don: You have to work on it a little bit buddy.

Jeff: But I talked to him for five minutes. I’m like, “Wow, this guy’s like, maybe he could be a million … He could be like a multimillionaire. He just controls the room in the way he presents himself.” So, anyway.

Don: Oh, I appreciate that. But yeah, it’s just funny how we got started and my first impression to you was something that I wasn’t. I’ve struggled all my life with a lot of alcohol addictions and depression from that, just had a rough childhood. I don’t harbor any things like that. I don’t carry that with me. But see, there again, that’s where that word comes in, pretend-aholic. Because it really does bother even a rough guy like me. Bounced in bars. I’ve sang music in country bars. I’ve even danced on bars before. And no, I don’t know if the crowd thought I did pretty well, but that didn’t matter. It’s pointless. I just say that to be somewhat humorous because-

Jeff: I’ve now got that movie Coyote Ugly in my head.

Don: Yeah right. Well it was close to that. Some people said it was ugly, but the pictures I think were destroyed. But I just, I want to be honest with you Jeff, and let your listeners know that a rough character like me, and honestly I was, and I still am to a degree. I’m a big guy. I’m six foot, 250 pounds and God blessed me with this some sort of weird voice that everybody seems to like. So when I say that only to enhance the fact that please listen to what I have to say for the sole purpose of, if this thing can change me. This coaching thing has done so much for me that I just literally Jeff, I want the whole world to know about it. And I just, it so dramatically changes how I have viewed things on a day-to-day basis now.

Don: It’s just overwhelming to me that now I have a sense of more purpose and reasoning to just let people know that no matter where you’re at in life, I told you I was an alcoholic, but maybe you struggle with other issues, whoever you are that’s listing. And you don’t have to have problems to do this. I just simply want to clarify the fact that somebody that’s been through as much stuff as I have to come out on the other side and know that there’s hope for a better life, and I don’t have to keep spinning the little hamster wheel anymore.

Jeff: Well, that’s a good point because you have had life experience, been around the block a few times.

Don: Oh yeah.

Jeff: Been through some different connection points or programs or whatever it might be. What was the thing, if you had to core it down to like that one thing, what was the thing about coaching, about Journey Coaching that really was helpful?

Don: Oh that’s a really easy one now that you jogged my memory on that one. It was the day that I was going through my journaling that I’d written down the questions that I’d answered for that Wednesday meeting. We met every Wednesday, I don’t remember the other questions. There were boxes to check and there was only one empty box that I could not check to be honest. And that question I’ll never forget. It was, do you spend time daily reading and studying your Bible? And I was unable to check that box, even though I was always kind of a heathen, I’m at least honest about stuff like that.

Don: And I went into to this coaching thing to be honest and get my life straightened out and my coach immediately said, “We’d have to do something about that.” And we did. And that was just back in June Jeff, that was in the middle of June. And so my coach asked me very politely when I came back the following Wednesday, he said, “I want to know what chapter, what book you read in the Bible, and how much you read of it. And I’m going to encourage you that you do that starting today, every single day of your life.”

Don: And you know, I’m not a good reader, so I have a little audio that I follow along with my Bible, but anybody that does know things about the Bible, oh man, I’m telling you what. Once I cruised through the gospels as the truckers, I’ll say it for y’all truckers listing out there, I’m hammered down now, I’m just hammered down. So yeah, it’s been fun to dive into stuff like that and learn things that I just put aside.

Jeff: Right, right. Well, and I just want to throw it out there too. When you talk about reading your Bible, a lot of people listening may not have ever picked up a Bible before. And I think part of the coaching process, that’s good. I mean, if you just pick up a … I encourage everybody, pick up a Bible if you’ve never looked at one before. But it’s really helpful to have somebody alongside you that can help guide you through and like where to start.

Don: Absolutely.

Jeff: And you can bounce different ideas back and forth and that can be a really, really helpful thing is just not only have the Bible but that person that you can have alongside you through that whole thing, so.

Don: And that’s what my coach did for me. He was there, he knew the Bible very well and he was a reader of the Bible every day and still is. So he was able to share some things with me and places to start. And his theory was, just start with the gospels. Start with Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. A lot of information there because they not only were followers of Jesus but let’s … Now that I know this, that I can speak in this with authority, they hung out with Jesus. They followed him around. They did not only hear it, they saw it to validate it and once I got, even Luke was my most interesting chapter because this guy was like an Einstein back in ancient times. He was that brilliant of a man, but he just, he made all these scriptures and wrote all this stuff down and I’m just now a guy that’s on fire for knowledge and I don’t spend any time on Netflix or television or anything.

Don: I may be honest with people are going to laugh at me out there. You know, this guy’s addicted to YouTube. Now he was an alcoholic, but now he’s on YouTube all the time. Yes sir. Yes ma’am, I am. Because you know what, there’s a lot of knowledge there and there’s a lot of very smart people on there. If you want to move your life forward you doesn’t need to hook up with Don, I’ll tell you which places to go and what you need to listen to that will change your life. In a matter of a day you’ll go, “Wow, I’m inspired and I want to do something.” So please pay attention because the questions are going to get easier, I promise.

Jeff: Well, in that whole overcomer piece, and just as we’re wrapping this up, along with the Bible, along with … And you want to talk about your Bible, Matthew, Mark and so forth and hanging out with Jesus, that’s original coaching there, right?

Don: Yeah it is.

Jeff: The one on one, they were there. So it’s sort of that original coaching.

Don: Yeah, I call them my guys, Gary and Tom were there, and they would tell you about it.

Jeff: Yeah. Yeah. So it’s taking that same concept and having people in your life, real one on one opening up and that’s a game changer.

Don: Well, it is. And see, I’m envious now of my coaches for what they did for me. I envy those two gentlemen that took, we actually spent 13 weeks doing it. And I can tell you this honestly Jeff, maybe I haven’t, that about week five we weren’t getting anyways close to getting to the end of the book. We were about the third chapter still. And I questioned them. I’m like, “Guys, I know you’re donating your time,” because that’s the way the program works. And I said, “I just feel guilty that I’m not going fast enough.” And you know, it’s really rewarding when two guys in their 70s, I don’t know their age, I shouldn’t be telling it, y’all ain’t going to know them anyway.

Jeff: They’re actually 40 years old, but they look that old. Just kidding.

Don: I’ve got them hid in a closet, they’re mine. But when they said to me Jeff, this is really, really sunk deep into me that day. When those two simultaneously looked at each other and then looked back to me, they said, “Don, we have learned as much from you in three weeks, probably more than you’ve learned from us. We don’t care if it takes 90 days to do this because you inspire us to make us want to continue to do this.”

Don: And that really took me back. I’m like, “These two old guys are so much more lifestyle improved than I am.” So see, I was judging myself when in turn they’re there, learning from me. So that’s why, when you asked me if I’d want to come and sit and visit with you a little bit on this thing today, I’m like, “Yeah, absolutely. Because it needs to be heard what things are available to people.”

Jeff: Yeah, and you hit on a key point about the whole concept of coaching. I mean, it’s not one person’s like the mentor expert-

Don: No.

Jeff: … and the other person’s the person that doesn’t know anything. I mean, it’s equal. We’re all on this life’s journey together and if we can come alongside each other and help each other and grow together, how sweet is that? So …

Don: Right man, I’ll tell you if candidly, this just entered my little pointed brain. I hope this journey never ends. I do not want this journey to end. And that’s one reason again, that when you asked me to come and sit with you today and speak, that I said, “Yeah, I would love to.” Because I want people to know what’s going on in the world and what they easily have access to with your podcast. You can go to these and listen to these and then make your own informed decision. If you think that’s something that’s going to fit in your life, it doesn’t take very much time, you know?

Jeff: Yeah, yeah. No, that’s very cool. Well, thanks for listening. We’ll I’m sure here more of a Don in coming podcasts. See, he can talk a lot clearer than I can.

Don: You need not worry about that, see. You just think about yourself, then you get overwhelmed. Let me close by saying that also. Let me add just a little more to that. Again, I mentioned that a little bit earlier, but for your listeners out there, it’s immaterial to any of us what you think you are in public. It’s what you think about yourself and how much self-motivation you want to allow yourself to have to make life better and easier so that … And you know, we hear about peace in the Bible a lot. For the first time of my life since I got out of this in July and we’re just here in the first part of the middle of September.

Don: My life is 180 degrees different than it was. So anybody that thinks, “Not really sure what I heard here today. I don’t know if I want to listen to that again.” God bless you man. But there’s plenty more to come and make your own informed decision and I just hope that you reach out and at least listen to some more of what they offer to you, because it’s good stuff. Thank you so much for having me here today, Jeff.

Jeff: You bet ye, you bet ye, very fine. So yeah, just on your own journey. You’re certainly welcome to listen to more of these podcasts, but at some point just take a step, a small step and reach out, journeycoaching.org. There’s ways to connect with not only the sort of the material we have, the Seven Session Coaching Process, but also to help you find a coach that can just get you started to move forward. And so yeah, glad to everybody with us today and till next time. Thanks for listening.

Thank you for listening. Tune in next time and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at journeycoaching.org and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at journeycoaching.org.

Your life, your journey, starts now.

Encouragement from a Busy Mom of 9

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode, we had the pleasure of having special guest, Karlee on the podcast. Karlee shares her personal story with us on how she navigates a busy life from learning through trial and error to how she builds in margin time.


Transcription of the Podcast


Karlee: There are going to be things that don’t seem like they should have as much priority, but they are important.

Jeff: Okay, we’re back for another Journey podcast. This is Jeff, and I’m glad to be here with everybody today for another Journey podcast, and let’s jump right in.

Jeff: Not that this topic is at all relatable or identifiable with anybody, but the whole idea of busy. I mean, there’s a lot of busy out there in the world today. And so we have got Karlee here with us, and Karlee has maybe a few things to keep her busy. In fact, I’m looking at three busy kiddos out in the other room. So anyway, do you want to introduce yourself a little bit? And just, yeah.

Karlee: Yeah. I’m Karlee. I’ve been married 11 years. My husband Garrett and I have eight children, and one on the way.

Jeff: Congratulations.

Karlee: Thank you. Thank you. I stay at home with our three little boys currently, and our other five children are in elementary school.

Jeff: Wow. So just started school then, huh?

Karlee: Yes. Yep.

Jeff: So, that’s probably a little bit of that, “Whew,” after the summer, right?

Karlee: Yeah.

Jeff: Well, that’s exciting. And when your kiddos was came in, they’re just so sweet. I mean, just so sweet. But obviously high energy too, right?

Karlee: Very high energy. They are not shy little people, neither are any of our other children. They they love to be around just people in general, and they are not shy. None of them are.

Jeff: Before we started the podcast, I was saying to Karlee, it’s just interesting about how oftentimes busy takes over our lives, and that can be the case for even single people. A single person can go, “Well, I just have all these things competing for my time and there’s just so much going on.”

Jeff: We don’t like to really use the word expert when we’re doing the podcast, because we’re all on this journey together. We’re all really kind of taking a step at a time. But I do want to sort of position you a bit of an expert because you got a lot going on. There’re some of us that can make up excuses of busy, but you live in a a world of busy.

Jeff: So, we’re going to talk about being intentional to create some margin in our lives. I guess the first question is, so how have you found this whole act of balancing your to-do list, and the large family and the priorities and trying to navigate through all that?

Karlee: Through a lot of trial and error, and honestly, there have been plenty of times where I have failed, and I’m still definitely learning through just it all and the different seasons of life that we come into all the time. I used to be a … Well, I still am a list person, but my lists used to be a mile long, and I used to gauge the success of my day based on how much I could get done.

Jeff: So, you almost had to carve out some time for list making then?

Karlee: Yes, yes. Yeah. I realized that I was spending so much time doing all this other stuff, that while it was important, it wasn’t as important as what I was making it. So, just learning to really just step back and say what is actually important, and how do I go about that within my list to get it accomplished?

Jeff: Right. Right. So, it sounds like just, yeah, it’s trying some things and then just, what do they say? Sort of establishing a difference or deciding what’s urgent and what’s important kind of a thing. I mean, that’s got to be just that intentional step there to just go, “Yeah, these things are maybe something on my list that could wait or whatever,” but there’s just that prioritizing really seems to be key, I would guess.

Karlee: Yes. Definitely prioritizing, and also just talking to my husband about kind of our long term goals for our family. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up the short term stuff that needs to be done and realize they aren’t actually as important as the long term things that we need to be doing.

Jeff: Well, and those things can be really distracting, right?Just this last week we were planting some little bushes on the side of our house, and all of a sudden that became kind of a big project because we had to do the one call thing where you call and you find the buried cables and stuff and all this. It’s something that I thought would be probably about a two minute a kind of a thing, and it ended up to be a lot more than a two minute kind of a thing.

Jeff: Okay, so let’s move on into sort of, do you allow for margin time then? Because you’re taking care of all these people, you have to take care of you, right? So, do you have some margin time in your day, then? Some quiet time? Some time for you?

Karlee: Yes, I do. I try to always build it in. So today for example, knowing that I had to come here, and just knowing the outlook of our week and what I needed to get done today. And Mondays typically are more busy home days just because our kids are home during the weekend, and we try not to spend all of our time just cleaning the house and doing laundry and whatnot. So, I got up probably an hour earlier than normal just so I could have some time to myself and make sure that I got that done, because I knew it was important. It’s also important for just our family as a whole that they have a calmer mother.

Jeff: Right, right. So okay, so specifically, what does that look like? What’s the normal time to get up, and what’s an hour earlier then?

Karlee: During the school year I usually get up by 6:00, 6:30 and have my quiet time. So today, I got up at 5:30 and just went on a walk by myself.

Jeff: Wow.

Karlee: It was very foggy out.

Jeff: You just wander. Where am I at?

Karlee: Which I was not expecting. But yeah, just I spent some time in prayer during my walk, which was a wonderful way to start my day.

Jeff: Right. Yeah, well that’s cool. Yeah, and to reflect and just to really get centered, right?

Karlee: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jeff: And balanced. This is kind of an offsite or off … Are you naturally a morning person? Is it easy for you to get up at five, six o’clock in the morning kind of a thing?

Karlee: I’m a morning person, but not that early.

Jeff: That’s really morning, right? That’s hardcore morning.

Karlee: Yes. I would say since having kids I haven’t been able to, even if I tried, sleep past 7:00, but I’d say like 6:30 is pretty normal. So 5:30 though, feels early.

Jeff: Right. So anything else in terms of your margin time, that quiet time? So, today you said you went for a walk, you were praying. Anything else that … I’m just trying to unpack a little bit what a typical kind of quiet time looks like for you.

Karlee: So, usually my quiet time, if I’m not going for a walk, I just get my cup of coffee and turn on a light and read my Bible and spend time in God’s Word, and then praying through what I’ve read or people that I know who I need to be praying for.

Jeff: Right.

Karlee: And really taking that quiet time to focus my mind, instead of thinking that I’ll do it throughout the day. Which it’s possible, but I’m less focused and more easily distracted. And usually by the end of the day I’m like, “Did I really, really pray for that person? Or did I really understand what I read?”

Jeff: Right.

Karlee: Yeah, different things like that.

Jeff: And thinking here of people that may not even have a Bible, or they’re saying, “Well, geez, she sounds like a Christian. Oh, wow. Good for her, but I don’t even have a Bible. And pray, I don’t even know how to do that.” I just want to encourage people to start simple. God help me, right? You know?

Karlee: Yeah.

Jeff: Any books of the Bible, any parts of the Bible that somebody could pick up that maybe doesn’t even necessarily hasn’t crossed the line of faith, but just some real practical stuff that you’ve found? Because you know, like Proverbs and there’re some books in the Bible that can be really helpful even for people that are still kind of saying, “Is this for me?”, and it could be helpful. So, any thoughts there of just things that might be helpful to somebody that’s not only crossed the line of faith, but somebody that might be seeking it a bit?

Karlee: That is a … I would say for sure, Proverbs has just a lot of practical application.

Jeff: Yeah, there’s a lot of practical stuff, right?

Karlee: Yeah, for sure. And then what comes to mind is also Ecclesiastes. Just knowing that kind of what is important, and the things that we think are important aren’t usually as important as they are.

Jeff: Right. Yeah, so going back-

Karlee: If that makes sense.

Jeff: Well, it does. Because going back to planting those bushes last week, I could get really, really caught up in that, but at the end of the day there’s some bushes along the side of the house and I can only spend so much time on that. I can’t spend hours and hours and hours, so yeah.

Karlee: Yeah. But one book of the Bible that I tell people to read if they’re not a believer yet or have a lot of questions, is to read John.

Jeff: Oh, interesting. Okay.

Karlee: Just because I feel like it’s so … And read about who John was, too.

Jeff: Okay.

Karlee: So that you can really get a sense of the whole of that book.

Jeff: Yeah. Right. That’s cool.

Karlee: Yeah.

Jeff: Yeah. And it’s a matter of just, yeah, picking up a Bible and going to the front of it. So when we say John or Ecclesiastes or whatever, you just go to the front and you say, “Oh yeah, there’s the kind of the different books,” and you find them and you move forward. So, yeah. No, that’s very cool. That’s very cool.

Jeff: Any tips that you would give people who are struggling to make quiet time a priority? Because let’s face it, it’s a lot easier to not carve out some time than it is. It would have been a lot easier today if you did not get up an hour earlier, but any tips that you can give listeners who are kind of struggling to build that in?

Karlee: Definitely I would make a list of all the things that you do in a day. Like, pretty much everything. Even making the bed, showering, and then decide what has to be done. So if you go to work, probably taking a shower is very important.

Jeff: It could be.

Karlee: Yeah. But just those things, and know that those things do take up time.

Jeff: Right.

Karlee: And then also, just start numbering things. Like, what really has to be done? If I don’t do a load of laundry today, how will that really impact the rest of the week? So think bigger than just like today, too. What can be moved, what can’t? Because some days, laundry is very important. Like for me, laundry is very important.

Jeff: You’ve got to do the laundry.

Karlee: Yeah. I can’t always just put it off, and there are going to be things that don’t seem like they should have as much priority, but they are important, and to acknowledge that. And then also, just ask for, if you’re married, ask your spouse to help. If you have kids, they can help, too.

Jeff: Right.

Karlee: And let them all know, communicate with your family and say this is an important time for me to fill me up so I can pour it out. I do have some single friends who making quiet time is a priority. They talk about it as like setting a date with themselves, and just protecting that time, and being willing to say no to just like invitations to go out and do things because they’re setting that time aside.

Jeff: Right. Yeah, and this I would guess is not you Karlee, but there’s a lot of people out there, and I’m just being blunt and maybe this sounds a little judgmental, but it’s like how much binge watching of Netflix can we do? So again, not to be real judgemental, but I’m just saying you can maybe dial that back a little bit. Netflix is great, but maybe watch the first episode and then just not watch the other three that same day, or whatever.

Karlee: Well, even with I feel like smartphones, one thing my husband told me to start doing was just like looking at my … At the end of the week, my iPhone gives me a screen report and it tells me how many times I’ve touched my phone, picked it up, what apps I’ve opened, and how long I’ve spent with those apps.

Jeff: Yeah. That could be a surprising number maybe.

Karlee: Yes. The first time I looked at it I was like, “I don’t touch my phone that much.” And then once I realized, I was like, yeah, it was just a lot of mindless time that was not a good use and was definitely for entertainment, and did not do anything for me at all.

Jeff: Yeah, right. So finally as we’re wrapping up here, is there someone in your life, we use the word accountable sometimes, and that’s such a strong word. But is there someone in your life that sort of comes alongside you and just says, “Hey, how are you doing in this?” Because that’s what coaching is about. When we’re talking about Journey coaching, it really is a person coming alongside another person, a couple coming alongside another couple. Again, we’re all on the same journey of life together. It’s not that one person is better than the other, it’s not the one person is the expert, but it’s just another human being who can kind of come alongside you and say, “Hey, how’s that going for you?”

Jeff: Is there something in your life, when it comes down to this margin time or quiet time in your life, that is kind of alongside you?

Karlee: Besides my husband, who I will say does a fantastic job of just caring for me and caring for my soul, I would say one of my new friends, Erica and Theresa, they definitely keep me accountable. And Erica even will get up and go on walks with me, which has been-

Jeff: Wow, that early, huh?

Karlee: Yeah.

Jeff: Oh man, that’s a-

Karlee: Sometimes we’re both like, “Oh, this is so early,” but we always end and we’re like, “That was really good.”

Jeff: Yeah.

Karlee: But yeah, so just I’d say my friend Erica and Theresa, and if I share anything with them, what areas which I am struggling, they are the ones who speak into my life for those things.

Jeff: Right. Wow, that was cool. That is cool. Yeah, that’s what Journey is all about, is just having those relationships.

Jeff: Let me just unpack this real quick before we close. A couple of things that hit me there is, I mean it sounds like … I’m guessing you don’t have the perfect marriage, but you have a good marriage it sounds like.

Karlee: Yes. Yeah.

Jeff: And that’s huge because, in fact, I just talked to someone today who’s marriage is really going off the rails, and there’s a lot of that. I mean, a lot of folks in life just have those marriage relationships that are not healthy. So I mean, yay that yours is good. But even if yours is good, which it is, to have those people then outside and to have those friends that you can come alongside and just bounce things off of and to just do life with together. I mean, that’s got to be really a huge thing for everybody, right? I mean, you’re speaking into their life too, right?

Karlee: Yeah. Yeah.

Jeff: Yeah.

Karlee: Yeah, it is so important to have someone outside your spouse or significant other or whoever to be speaking into your life, just because they come from a different point of view and really can offer words of wisdom about a situation. Because even though me and my husband have a great relationship, there are still times where he frustrates me and I frustrate him, you know?

Jeff: Right.

Karlee: And I just need to ask advice about how to go about dealing with those frustrations, or to even just be told it wasn’t a big deal. You’re overreacting. Sometimes we all just need to hear that.

Jeff: Not as human beings we ever overreact, right?

Karlee: Oh no, never.

Jeff: Not that that ever happens.

Jeff: No, that’s very cool, very cool. So again, I’ve got to wrap my head around this one more time. So, how many kiddos are we talking about here?

Karlee: Once this baby is born we’ll have nine.

Jeff: Nine. Okay. So you know, I think Karlee, we’ve got to say that if you can do it, the rest of us can do it, right?

Jeff: So, just a couple of questions for people that are listening. First of all, do you allow margin time, personal, quiet time? And second of all, do you have someone in your life who can help to come alongside you? And if not, we encourage you to do that. And any way that we can help, we would love to at journeycoaching.org. You can get in contact with us through the website, and we would love to help you connect with others, and to grow.

Jeff: So, thanks for listening. Thanks for being here.

Karlee: Thank you.

Jeff: Take care.

Thank you for listening. Tune in next time, and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at journeycoaching.org, and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at journeycoaching.org.

Handling Difficult Conversations

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode Terry and Jeff discuss how to handle difficult conversations. From learning how to approach the difficult conversation to what to say in the middle of the conversation, there is something for everyone to learn.


Transcription of the Podcast


Terry: This world would be a much better place if everyone offered and received unconditional love and acceptance. Unconditional, think of that word. It means there are no conditions where our love or acceptance would stop.

(singing)

Jeff: We are back today with a another podcast talking with Terry. Hello Terry.

Terry: Hi.

Jeff: Terry is a licensed counselor. She talks with people all day about tough, heavy topics. I can only imagine, person after person, heavy topic after heavy topic. I mean it’s got to get a little heavy doesn’t it?

Terry: It can sometimes.

Jeff: But you have to know how to come alongside people and work through those heavy topics.

Terry: Yeah and I think the conversation today I was hoping is that it’s not just for counselors to have to deal with heavy topics. Everybody seems to. A lot of what I see sometimes, I see in the office is people will come in and say, “We’ve got to go to Christmas and Uncle Joe is going to be there and he is going to talk about, I just know he’s going to talk about it and then everybody’s going to be angry,” and so these things happen. I mean, as we go into the holidays, this is going to be on the minds of a lot of people.

Jeff: So yeah, it’s great to actually have you in here, Terry and get you out of the counseling office because there’s so many of us that need to just relate to these heavy topics and how to handle those.

Terry: Sure.

Jeff: So, yeah. So why is it so difficult to talk about things like politics and these kinds of subjects that are just tough with people that hold a different view than we hold?

Terry: Well, I think part of it is that whatever perspective we hold on a topic or issue, we’ve usually gotten from some specific vantage point. And we come to a conclusion in our own mind about whether something is right, wrong, good, bad and what should be done about it. At this point, once we’ve made that conclusion, we’ve kind of locked it in. What we what we have come to makes sense to us and from our worldview and how the world works.

Terry: When we meet someone with an opposite perspective, we’re left with some choices. Depending on the importance of the issue and how strongly we take a stand, we can listen to their rationale and maybe possibly accept their perspective as being right. We can agree to disagree and say, “No, this is my opinion. This is your position. I accept, kind of respectfully disagree,” or we can attempt to change their perspective to match our own by firing out all of our own rationale at us, which tends to be the perspective that, the direction most people go.

Jeff: Kind of like machine gun arguing right? It’s like shoot off these topics, shoot out these comments, shoot them out as fast as you can. If you shoot out with enough ideas fast enough, maybe you’ll win.

Terry: Well, I think it’s, yeah, it’s that feeling that “I have come to the most important decision on this and if everybody else knew the rationale that I came to, they would believe the same way I believe.” I think that’s the mindset that a lot of … At the heart of this. It’s also what leads to those toxic family feuds around the holidays.

Jeff: We did a podcast earlier that talked about just understanding that people are going to be different. We’re all different, we’re all made differently. But to look at those things that we have in common, those similarities, and that that really helps kick off these conversations, doesn’t it?

Terry: Well, I think it’s important to go back if you haven’t listened to the last podcast that we did on relating to people who are different from us. I think there’s a lot of good points in there that I don’t want to bring up here again, so if you get a chance to go back and listen to that one.

Jeff: So what can we do that will make it easier to relate to others who do hold different positions and values? Because that’s going to be a lot of people. We’re not all clones of each other. So when we decide, “Hey, it’s important to have a conversation,” which is probably a good point to decide, not at the holiday dinner with everybody around the table maybe to start that. So maybe you want to have coffee with the person and say, “Hey, let’s talk about this and such.” How do we do that then?

Terry: Well I think first of all we have to realize that we want to do it in such a way that we’re not setting off the danger signals in their heads. And when somebody comes at me or comes at you and says, “You’re wrong about this subject,” or at least has that, they may not say those actual words, but their mannerisms and their perspective, it’s like, “You need to look at this.” Anytime somebody uses the word need, you need to do something, we’re basically saying that they’re wrong. And that’s really likely to set off alarm signals in someone’s head because-

Jeff: So need. The word need you want to get out of the vocabulary for this kind of discussion.

Terry: Yeah. Because if you come up to somebody and say, “Hey, you need to look at it this way,” you’re going to set off their alarm signals. When those danger signals are activated, becoming defensive is an immediate response. It’s not something they necessarily feel like they choose. It just happens.

Jeff: Right, right. What else then is sort of a thing that is a … Because you’ve got to have this mindset. You’ve got to have this roadmap when you’re going into these conversations, right? So what’s the next thing that’s important?

Terry: I still want to go back to that part about the defensiveness because what happens when we get somebody defensive, when we say or do something that the other person is defensive about is logic and reasoning skills go out the window and our emotion’s running the show. Emotion is really the motion set of our brain is now responding to those those warning signals. At that point, the smartest next step is to just stop talking. Just to let that subject rest at that point until everybody is calmer and then come back to it if you feel like it’s safe. And then from that point on, I would say first of all, don’t argue. Arguing just sets off those alarm signals.

Jeff: Right. And that may involve just taking a pause. Hitting that pause button, stepping away from the conversation, is that correct?

Terry: Absolutely.

Jeff: Because you don’t have to solve the world’s problems in one luncheon.

Terry: Right. Then when you come back together again, the first thing I would say is listen. And I guess when I-

Jeff: What did you say?

Terry: What did I say? Did you hear me? I said, “Listen.”

Jeff: Oh, listen. I gotcha.

Terry: And what I mean is really listen with curiosity and openness to try to understand what the other person is coming from. You want to really listen to their perspective. You want to listen to their heart. And that’s a really hard thing to do. If we’re busy in our own head thinking of the next thing we want to say or the next argument we want to say. It’s really, really important to try to listen without focusing because our brains can only do one thing at a time. They can either listen or they can focus on what’s in your head that you want to say next. They can’t do both.

Jeff: Well and it’s really easy for people like me who have a little bit of that high energy perspective who have some specific thoughts in their head to say, “Oh, I just really want to get this out. I really want to get this out.” And it’s hard. I mean it really is that, “Okay, take a breath and just understand that that other person has some thoughts they want to get out too.” And it really is some intentional discipline. I mean it’s almost a like athletics in a way. I mean, if you’re going to run a race, you don’t just absolutely run the race. You have to do some training. So this is really maybe a bit of a listening training in a way?

Terry: Absolutely. The more you can do to train yourself to listen the better. Even when you’re watching TV, if you’re all alone and you’re watching TV, just focus on your listening skills. What are they really saying? A lot of times we’re watching TV and we’re multitasking at the same time, but really listen to and try to hear the heart of the speaker if you can.

Jeff: So a question then, and again, not to pull this into the counseling office too much because we would love to with Journey, and I say this kiddingly but close down counseling offices. Because people are so healthy and the communication is so good, they don’t even need counselors.

Terry: Yeah, careful with that.

Jeff: I know. There’s other issues in people’s lives. We love counselors. But yeah, it’s just to do this in a way that is healthy and sort of consistent. There’s just really, again, it just goes back to being intentional about it, doesn’t it?

Terry: It really does. And I think what’s happening in our society is we’re losing our ability to listen with our hearts. We have so much noise out there. We have information available in so many different directions. Not even at our fingertips. We don’t even have to type any more to get information off the internet. All we have to do is say, “Hey, Siri or Alexa,” and we’re linked into this virtual world of so much information.

Jeff: So just real quick, of the people that come into your office, what percentage would you say are really listening to each other? They’re really sitting down. They’ve had good conversations. They’re walking in and they are good listeners.

Terry: Yeah, that would be pretty low. Of course, I think what it is is when I get couples who come in, by the time they make it to a counseling office, typically they have had years of arguing, yelling back and forth. And when you get into that pattern of talking over each other, yelling over each other what’s happening is neither one of you is listening and both of you are just trying really hard to be heard and understood and yet the other person’s not listening.

Terry: And so one of the first things I really do is I listen to people. I try to understand their perspective and their heart in the matter. And then I make sure the other person’s heard that. It makes a difference when you hear the heart of the other person instead of now arguing over the little things. I mean you can have people who come in and argue over who squeezes the toothpaste tube in the middle, who leaves their dirty socks on the floor, those kind of things. It’s really not about those things. It’s about what does that mean about them, and to them, and how does that make them feel?

Jeff: And it’s so important. I had a really, it was a tough conversation. I mean on the level of tough, I don’t think it was a 10 but it was probably a seven of a heavy sort of topic of conversation with somebody last week. And after we got done, their response that I got was, “Hey, just thanks for listening and hearing what I had to say.” And it was a two hour deal. I thought it’d be 20 minutes. We talked for two hours. So kind of moving along. So you said don’t argue, listen. Anything else there in terms of what we need to do then?

Terry: Yeah. I think the third thing would be to apologize. And that’s a hard thing to do in our society. People feel like apologizing is weak. If I apologize, that means I’ve done something wrong. Well, yeah, you have, sorry. Own your own mistakes. Recognize your view of the subject may not cover all possibilities and own your things. And if maybe you don’t feel like you … Maybe you had a right to be angry, apologize for the way you treated the other person when you were angry and just say, “I was angry but I shouldn’t have said these things or done these things.” Own your pieces of whatever it is.

Jeff: Right. Right. Well, and I think there, and then tell me if this is close. It seems like a lot of times apologizing is hard because it’s like, well, we don’t think … It’s like we ran the car into the garage door kind of level of a hurt. I mean, it could be simply, “Hey, I was watching the game. I was really focused. It was the last quarter. I was really focused on this and I just didn’t, I ignored my spouse,” or whatever it might be. The person thinks, “Hey, that’s just a little, little tiny thing, but-“

Terry: Are you talking from experience?

Jeff: But the thing is, it’s still important to apologize because that other person, even though it seemed like a little thing to the one person, it could have been a bigger thing to another person. So apologies don’t have to be for running cars into garages. It can be for little things but a true apology too. Right?

Terry: Sure. Well, and when we do those things and we also look back at what we talked about before about the worldviews and accepting things that are different from us, we can become better at showing unconditional love and acceptance. And I think those are key. That’s a key thing right there. Unconditional love and acceptance is something you don’t hear a lot about.

Jeff: Right. Right, exactly. And that’s really undergirding this whole thing. I mean that’s really at the core of all this. It’s like why do we even want to bother? Because this is tough. It’s a lot easier to stay different, to not handle the heavy topics. It’s just a lot easier to keep things shallow. So this really goes to the point of why would we want to do these kinds of things? And it’s really all about …

Terry: Well, I think it comes back to the fact that when you think about something like unconditional love and acceptance, those words, love and even acceptance, are both feeling words but they’re also action words. And so I think what happens a lot of times is we may love our spouse and we may have that kind of a feeling from, but are we showing love? Are we doing something to show that love to the other person? Unconditional love and acceptance starts from the mindset that the person you meet has intrinsic value and worth. By intrinsic, I mean just that there’s nothing they can do or say that will either make you love them or take that away. They’re person, the value.

Jeff: Right. But why is it so hard? You know, what gets in the way of just showing this unconditional love to people?

Terry: Well, I think one of the things that gets in the way, probably mostly is fears. We have fear of the unknown, fear of being seen as condoning what we have identified as being bad or wrong and work to get rid of in our own lives. Also a fear that maybe something that they’re doing or their lifestyle would rub off on us a little bit. Or on our kids.

Jeff: Right. Again, it’s that differences, it’s like “Ooh, they’re different.” Or they’re coming at this subject from a different perspective and yeah, so the fear thing. It seems like fear is one of those things that just kind of permeates a lot of what we do, isn’t it?

Terry: Oh, I think so. And a lot of people are … Fear is one of those words that not only affects us in a lot of different ways, but we deny it, we turn it away because we think of fear as weak and we don’t want to be weak. Fear can cause us to look at the other person in a certain way. And then we don’t want to feel weak, so we do something to compensate for it.

Jeff: Yeah. Well, and when you talked about apologizing, I think sometimes for me it’s always been like, “Well, if I apologize, yeah, I’m going to kind of be like, come across as weak or it’s just not going to be really that cool of a thing.” So yeah, I think again, it’s one of those things where just stepping back and going, “You know what? Yeah, I can see this wasn’t quite on track. I just need to say I’m sorry,” and just pressing through that fear, that concern like, “Oh, I’m going to seem like a dweeb because I messed up.”

Terry: Yeah. I think being aware that being honest about your, not weaknesses, being honest about your mistakes and being honest about who you are, what your growth areas are. I like that word better. But being honest about those things makes us human not weak.

Jeff: Right.

Terry: And I think that being human like that makes us more approachable by other people or to other people. So in effect, I think what’s happening is by allowing ourselves to be human makes it easier for others to relate to us.

Jeff: So to wrap this up, why is all this important? Why is this stuff important?

Terry: Well, I think the short answer is because this world would be a much better place if everyone offered and received unconditional love and acceptance. Unconditional, think of that word. It means there are no conditions where our love or acceptance would stop. So for an example, I have three kids. They are not perfect. They have made mistakes. But there is nothing I could imagine them doing where I would no longer love them or accept them as my own child.

Terry: Longer answer, because when we’re coaching others, and if you go back to the coaching process, and this is one of the things that we talk about in the training for the coaches, when we’re coaching others, it’s important to see them as worthy of the same kind of unconditional regard. Let me try that sentence again.

Jeff: Take two. Hey, we can just do this.

Terry: When we’re coaching others, it’s important to see them as being worthy of the same kind of uncondition …

Jeff: See, it’s a tough word. It’s a tough word.

Terry: Sorry. I just got chocked up here. Try again. Take three. When we’re coaching others it’s important to see them as being worthy of the same kind of unconditional regard as we would want to be treated.

Jeff: Right. Right. Yeah, it is. This is just so important and so yeah, to wrap it up, this is what really coaching is about, and it’s one of those things where you just don’t hear this podcast and all of a sudden go out and go, “Okay, got it. I’m going to show unconditional love to people. I’m going to have those tough conversations. I’m going to listen better. I’m going to ask questions better. You know, I’m really going to learn how to apologize and boy, it’s just going to be like microwave instant kind of a thing.” That is not the case, correct? I mean, this takes practice.

Terry: It takes a lot of practice. And it means we’re not perfect. Practice means we’re not perfect. We’re not. The expectation is that as we practice, we’ll get better at this.

Jeff: So get out there folks, try this, understand that this is a marathon, not a sprint. That you will move forward. You’ll reach out to people. That you will feel like you’re getting stepped on, but that’s okay. Again, we love others, we move forward, we care for them. It’s not always easy. The coaching piece, Journey Coaching can help. We’re here to provide some supports and framework and you can find out more about all those kinds of things on the Journey website, journeycoaching.org. And again, just resources to help as we all move through life and as we all step out of our comfort zones and to try to love others and to help those conversations that will really help us to grow deeper. And yeah, it’s just some cool stuff. So thanks for being here Terry.

Terry: Well, thank you for asking me.

Jeff: Take care.

Terry: Bye.

Jeff: Bye.

Thank you for listening. Tune in next time and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at journeycoaching.org and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at journeycoaching.org.

(singing)

What is the Difference Between Coaching and Counseling?

By: Terry C.

Because I’m a licensed counselor and one of the developers of Journey Coaching, people often ask me, “What is the difference between coaching and counseling?” Just asking that question implies that there are a lot of similarities, enough to cause considerable confusion. Both are highly relational. Both work to bring insight and perspective to another’s life, and both coaches and counselors have a wide variety of experience to draw on. 

Since I’ve done both, I will try to explain the differences here. When I am in the counseling office, I am usually focused on helping someone heal. It may be from past or present emotional wounds, mental health issues such as anxiety or depression, difficult or broken relationships, or other life crisis and we work together to bring about healing. Coaching, on the other hand, is focused primarily on growth in one or more areas of a person’s life, usually at a time and place in their life where they are emotionally healthy enough for forward growth.

Because the needs of the individuals they are working with are greater, professional counselors have a minimum of a Master’s degree in counseling or social work and are typically licensed by the state or states they practice in. Counseling can be rather expensive and is often covered by insurance. 

As you might imagine, coaching is much more informal. There are a few training and certification options for someone who is interested in a coaching career where they work for a school or business, and earn a salary or charge for their services. On the other hand, a lot of peer-to-peer coaching is actually done on a volunteer basis and often spontaneous. For instance, you might go to a neighbor who is good at woodworking to ask him or her for advice on a project you are doing or you might consult a friend to coach you on your golf swing.

Journey Coaching is also peer-to-peer, but rather than a golf swing coach, Journey coaches are more like a “you” coach. What this means is that as you go through the Journey process your coach will help you identify your unique qualities. From helping you make sense of your own story, to identifying your strengths, growth areas, world view, and goals in life, your coach will help you identify the unique way that you fit into this world. Journey helps you look at the whole you: body, mind and soul. The Journey workbook was designed from a basic Christian worldview perspective, giving you an opportunity if you would like to reflect on how your own story might fit into God’s larger story.

Journey coaches are not career coaches. They are volunteers who have usually been through their own coaching process and are interested in helping others begin to grow more in understanding of themselves and the world around them. The goal for Journey Coaching is for people to grow to know themselves better, and to grow in healthy relationships with others as they do this. 
Hopefully this clarifies the differences for you between coaching and counseling, and also helps you better understand the specific focus of Journey Coaching. Information on how you can become involved with Journey through coaching or being coached: contact Terry@JourneyCoaching.org.

Reflection on Summit 2019

Reflection on Summit 2019

By Jeff C.

I want to encourage you to check out the content of the Global Leadership Summit!  It can change the trajectory of your life. It did mine!

After recently attending at a Cedar Rapids satellite site, it continues to amaze me how much of a leadership party this continues to be year after year.  I think it’s about perspective. To hear from such a wide variety of people who step out of their comfort zones to do something that matters, well that really matters.

For me, it was about a dozen years ago when I was rocked out of my orbit to do something different.  It was the spark that started Journey. While I’m a marketing guy in the marketplace, I’d been in church leadership for years.  But the model of people going to church once in week or once in a while and hoping to grow wasn’t working. And it was a source of holy discontent to me.  Something needed to be done that wasn’t being done in a way that was fresh. 1:1 coaching was key.  
There’s lots more to this story.  But that’s for another day. For now, please check out  https://globalleadership.org/global-leadership-summit/   Regardless if you think of yourself as a leader, EVERYONE has influence.  Your influence matters….

Is Journey Coaching Spiritual?

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode, Lianne, Terry and Sarah discuss how you don’t need to be spiritual or religious to go through Journey Coaching. The material was carefully created in a way that both spiritual and non-spiritual individuals can benefit and grow from coaching.

Transcription of Podcast

Lianne: Hi, welcome back to journey. We’re having a great conversation today. I’m here with Terry and Sarah, and I’m going to let Terry let us know what we’re going to talk about.

Automated: (singing) Your life, your journey starts now.

Terry: Oh, this is a really interesting conversation I think that we’re going to have today. I’m really excited about the way it lays out. One of the questions that we’ve been asked is, is Journey Coaching spiritual? Rather than answer it myself, I’m going to throw this over to Sarah see how you answer it.

Sarah: Thank you. Thank you. My answer to that question is that you do not need to be spiritual. You do not need to be a Christian to go through Journey Coaching. Journey Coaching was written because we saw pain points, and the society, or the authors, saw pain points in the society with connection and with connection with people, and that’s really key. Journey Coaching is very much about building intentional relationships and connecting with others, whether you are a Christian or not. Whether you believe in one god, multiple gods, you’re an atheist, agnostic, it does not matter. You can believe whatever you want to believe to go through Journey Coaching.

Terry: I think that’s a really good way of responding. When we were looking at developing the material, that was one of those things where when we said it’s written from a Christian perspective, it’s just our being honest. That’s our worldview. That’s the direction we come from. I don’t want to exclude people.

Terry: When Mike and I were going through this, and Jeff, and we were working on the outline for the material and for all the stuff that we were trying to decide, the goals that we wanted to accomplish, we said from the very beginning, we don’t want to make this about pushing our faith or our Christianity down anybody’s throats. We also felt like we didn’t want to leave it out either because it is part of a lot of people’s worldview.

Terry: For instance, one of the things you’ll notice as you go through the workbook, we have a disclaimer in every section where we talk about things from an everyday kind perspective, but then we get to something from the Christian worldview perspective, we’re talking about strengths from a Christian perspective, or weaknesses, or worldview. We give this little disclaimer and it says something like, if you’re interested in comparing your worldview with a healthy Christian perspective, this section will be helpful. If not, skip to the next steps section later in the session. If somebody says, “Nope, I’m really not going to go through that,” they’re not going to lose anything from the Journey Coaching.

Lianne: I have this question then, because I think that our listeners would have this question, why would you even bring up your Christian – You are a Christian, you have a Christian worldview. Side note: every single person on this planet has a worldview. It’s how you look at the world, so we all have a worldview. You have a Christian worldview. Why would you even mention that when you’re writing this? If you don’t want this to be just for Christians, and you want it for non-Christians too, why wouldn’t you write this without talking about your Christian worldview at all?

Terry: Well, I think there’s a benefit to both believers and nonbelievers, Christians, or people who have other faiths. There’s a lot of misconceptions out there when you can go through the internet and you can find all kinds of different misconceptions about Christianity, and obviously I can’t speak about other faiths, but I can speak about that one.

Terry: I think one of the things I wanted to do is is I wanted to give people a perspective that might help them someday. Let’s say you’re not a believer, you’re not a Christian, and you’re working with Christians. There’s a lot of people who’ve asked us what are they thinking? Where do they get this information? Why does a Christian believe this, or what do they believe? This book, if you want to, you can go through, and that’ll give you some insight on that. I think it’s great for Christians who are going through the material because it helps them to see that the world view that I have is not the only one out there. There’s a lot of people who believe that they’re Christians, and yet a lot of their world view is very secular. It’s very non-faith based.

Sarah: On the opposite side of that, I do think that a lot of agnostics and atheists do exhibit some Christian worldview, and it would be interesting to dive into that, for people to realize, wait a second, you know what? I don’t believe in this Jesus person, but … Not realizing, they’ll say, I really believe in taking care of people and serving people, that’s a Christian worldview right there. That’s from a Christian worldview. On page 47 here, after you go through things, one of the questions is how did your worldview line up with what you just read about? This is part of the workbook or whatever, so to dig into that, and to realize, wait a second, maybe I’m an …

Sarah: One of our earlier podcasts talked about risking new relationships and how if you dive into relationships with people who you might think that you would be friends with, you’ll actually be surprised. I do believe that people put up barriers with each other and argue with others who they think are different than them.I’m going to go on a passionate rant here. This happens all the time on social media, that people are fighting against each other, and they’re coming from the same exact place. I think that if we dive into relationships, and ask questions more, and dive into what your worldview is and how that compares with other people’s worldviews, you’ll realize that you’re coming from a very similar place.

Terry: You find a lot of times that there are more similarities than there are differences, if you really take the time to have those conversations. Journey is designed to facilitate those conversations. That’s really all it is.

Lianne: To both of your points, I’m chiming in. How many times right now do you get an opportunity to sit down with anyone who doesn’t think exactly like you are, slow down, and take the time to cover the ground to say, what do you think about this? What do you think about this? That’s interesting. We have this common ground here. We don’t have this common ground here. How many times do you get that opportunity? Probably not on Twitter, to you.

Sarah: No, but on longer forums, on Facebook too. I’m very much an extrovert. I have in-depth conversations with people on on Facebook and stuff. You’re right. How often do you get to sit face-to-face over coffee, over breakfast, over dinner, sitting down with someone in a safe atmosphere where you can ask those hard questions that you don’t know who to ask of because you’re concerned. Maybe you grew up in a Christian home, and you don’t think that you believe what your family believes, and yet you don’t know where to go to ask those questions. Journey Coaching is that safe place to do that.

Terry: We’ve kind of established that Journey Coaching is not a specific type a church, it’s not as spirituality. It has at it’s root some explanation of what some of the Christian worldview, and that sort of thing, is, but it was designed for anybody to go through it. You don’t have to be a believer in order to go through it. What do you think, Sarah, as far as how can we explain that to someone who hasn’t considered doing something like this because of their…

Sarah: The big question I think that people would have is, and I mentioned it earlier, why even bring up Christianity? If you don’t need to be a Christian to go through this, why even talk about it? The answer that I would give to that is, because of my Christian worldview, that I think is a biblical view. God really does care about people, and he loves people, and he wants people to be in intentional, close, deep relationships with each other, and he cares about relationships. He wants to be in relationship with us. He wants us to be in relationship with each other. Out of that Christian, biblical worldview, Journey was born, so it’s really hard to disengage the Christian worldview from the motive that is out of that.

Sarah: It would have been really hard for you to disengage those two from each other, but just because it was birthed out of a Christian worldview does not absolutely mean that you need to have a Christian worldview to go through it.

Terry: The fact that it’s listed in there the way that we’ve listed it is an attempt to be totally honest and transparent. This is a full disclosure that this is what our worldview is, those of us who wrote the book and the material. I don’t want it to look like a bait and switch or any of those kinds of things. This is just a full disclosure. This is where we’re coming from, but we want everyone to be able to gain and benefit from the Journey Coaching.

Sarah: I have to nail home again. I mentioned it earlier in the podcast, but you’re not a project when you’re going through. People are not projects when they’re going through Journey Coaching. I went through Journey Coaching last year with Leanne, who is on the podcast with us. I’m a Christian, and I went through it, and Christians go through it, non-Christians go through it. You’re not a project to Journey when you’re involved in Journey. It’s about intentional relationships and growing in your strengths.

Lianne: Thank you so much for exploring this topic today. It sounds like there’s more to be explored about it, but this catches the highlights of it.

Sarah: Feel free to reach out to us with any questions or anything. You can DM us on Instagram, or send us a message on Facebook, or email or anything like that.

Lianne: I’m going to throw it back to Sarah to close us out today. Bye. Thank you all for being with us.

Sarah: Follow us. You can find this journeycoaching.org, like I said, Instagram and Facebook. We will talk to you later. Bye.

Terry: Bye.

Automated: Thank you for listening. Tune in next time and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at journeycoaching.org, and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at journeycoaching.org.

Commonly Asked Questions

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode, Jeff, Terry and Sarah discuss commonly asked questions such as, “What is coaching and is it the same thing as a life coach?”

Transcription of Podcast

Sarah: Hey, hey, hey! Welcome back to the Journey Podcast. I’m Sarah Banowetz, and I have Jeff Carlson and Terry Carlson here. Yes, they are married. They also happen to be my parents.

Terry: Poor kid.

Jeff: Hi, daughter dear.

Sarah: Terry was one of the two authors with [Mike Kolachi 00:13:32] for Journey books, and Jeff Carlson is the instigator, leader behind pushing. I’m going to use that word, instigator.

Jeff: Just had a little spark and just went with it kind of thing.

Terry: In the original version of the website, I had put down, and I’m sure it’s not on there anymore, but I had put down an explanation of how we got started, and I said a pastor, a counselor, and a car dealer got together and decided to put this together.

Sarah: That’s awesome. That’s actually what happened. It really was a pastor, car dealer, and a counselor.

Terry: I was afraid it sounded too much like a joke. You know, a pastor, car dealer, and a counselor walk into a bar.

Sarah: And then, I’m involved because this isn’t just a family deal, even though it’s the family on this podcast. I got involved because I have my own marketing company, and so my company is helping to facilitate the podcast, and then they liked me being the narrator.

Terry: Moderator.

Sarah: Moderator.

Jeff: MC, whatever you want to call

Sarah: That likes to give my opinion sometimes too.

Terry: For sure.

Sarah: I’m a very opinionated person.

Sarah: Okay. Jumping in. Today we’re going to talk about and answer commonly asked questions, and we’re going to go through this really fast, because we want these podcasts to be pretty short. And this podcast actually might be set aside on one of our pages to give you a quick overview of Journey Coaching. Not necessarily in what it is, because we have other podcasts for that, but in just commonly asked questions.

Sarah: So, getting started. Why don’t you answer this one, Terry.

Terry: I’ll try.

Sarah: What is coaching, and is it the same as a life coach?

Terry: Yeah, that’s a real confusing one. When we decided to put together this process, we used the term coaching, because it seems very peer friendly. In this case, Journey Coaching is kind of a peer-to-peer type of coaching.

Terry: Life coach often has some expertise. They may have some training in coaching that goes beyond the normal level of just talking with one another, that sort of thing. There are life coaches out there I know who have had several courses in life coaching. This is a little bit different than that.

Terry: This is more of a peer-to-peer. It’s designed to give people a really good idea of what is their strengths, what are their weaknesses, what’s their worldview, how does all of that relate to how effective or ineffective they seem to be in their workplace or in their ministry, if they’re in church ministry or just in life in general. One of the things we try to do in about seven weeks sessions is just get someone to look at their own story, identify the different things. The coach just walks along beside you and helps you.

Terry: Sometimes it’s helpful to see your life through another person’s point of view. It’s fun when you work with somebody, and you’re talking to somebody, and you say, “Hey, this is what happened in my life.” And somebody says, “Oh well, that’s really interesting. What did you learn about yourself through that experience?” And sometimes you see things that you wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

Sarah: Let me ask this. How do I know if coaching is right for me? Jeff, do you want to answer that?

Jeff: You betcha.

Jeff: Well, if you are a living, breathing person, coaching is right for you. It’s kind of that simple. Now, will a hundred percent of everyone out there actually go through coaching? Well, probably not. We’ve got to have realistic expectations here.

Jeff: But it really is the kind of thing that we all need somebody in life, whether we want to acknowledge that or not, but somebody that can walk alongside us, someone we can open up to, someone that really will know us for who we are. And then, we can sit down and share our lives together, and we can look at where we’re at and where we sense we need to go, and then have someone who can encourage and challenge us as we move forward.

Jeff: You’ll know it’s right for you, first of all, if you just try it. And then, if you connect with a person who you feel comfortable with, that’s great. And then if not, just reconnect with another person until you find that person that you really resonate with and that can help you to grow.

Sarah: Another question we get is what is the difference between coaching and counseling? And I think Terry, you can answer this really well, because you are actually a professional counselor.

Terry: I am. There are some similarities between the two. There’s still kind of a one-on-one relationship. The difference is that a counselor is usually Master’s or further trained in what their skill set is all about. We are setting up a professional relationship where it’s really one-sided in the sense of you go in, and you talk to the counselor, and the counselor is listening to your story and hopefully helping you see your story through a professional perspective, asking the right kinds of questions. They’re trained in knowing how to sort between different kinds of things. Sometimes it’s like a puzzle. When I’m talking with somebody in my office, I feel like I’m trying to figure out what all the puzzle pieces are, and then how they might fit together, and to explaining why the person may be feeling depressed or anxious, but it’s more problem focused.

Terry: Whereas with coaching, it’s not problem focused in the sense of what you might see at a counselor’s office. But the coaching is more, you’re taking somebody who’s already fairly healthy, and they’re just wanting to grow and become even more healthier, go down that road a little bit farther.

Sarah: That makes sense.

Sarah: Is there a cost for being coached through Journey Coaching? And the answer is yes and no. So no, Journey is a nonprofit organization with a 501(c)(3) applied for. Yes, there is some cost for the participant guide that you go through. If that becomes an issue with anyone, then we can work that out. There’s scholarships available for that. The cost is very minimal, because it’s just for the cost of the book to go through it, the participant’s guide, so that is the answer to that.

Sarah: And then, how will I be set up with a coach? Terry, do you want to answer that question?

Terry: I think the first thing is just to contact us, and let us know, “I want to be coached.” We will do everything we can to try to match you with somebody who would be a good coach in your area. We are local here. Journey is a fairly young organization, and so we may not have coaches in some areas. It’s just a matter of getting in contact with us, and we’ll do what we can to try to match you with somebody who’s coaching at this time.

Sarah: And you say local. We are in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, so that is what Terry mentioned regarding being local.

Sarah: And what if I feel uncomfortable with my coach?

Terry: I think that’s a real easy one to answer. First of all, coaching is an important building, trusting relationships with somebody else. If you have a meeting with a coach, and you just really don’t feel like it’s a good fit for whatever reason. They may be a really good coach, but they just don’t fit your personality, or you’re not feeling comfortable enough to share the things that from your story that could be helpful to share. Then, I would just contact us back, and just say, “Hey, you know what, this person that I met with doesn’t feel like a good fit. Can I find somebody else?” And we’ll gladly try to find somebody else for you.

Sarah: I think that would be important that we actually would want to hear that feedback.

Terry: Absolutely.

Sarah: How long will I have a coach for?

Jeff: You’ll have a coach intentionally for seven sessions. The material was designed to take you through seven intentional sessions. We don’t say seven weeks, because sometimes it can take a lot more time than seven weeks, because again, you’re looking at schedules and what works and what flows. It’s probably two to three months. We’ve taken people through, and it’s been six months. It really depends on your situation, and your coach, and how you can schedule your time together.

Terry: I think, ideally, we tell people to plan on about an hour to an hour and a half per session and at least a week or so apart, maybe a week, maybe two weeks apart. It depends a lot on schedules. But there’s some homework to do in between the sessions where you answer some questions. Your commitment to be coached, would be about an hour, hour and a half a session for about seven sessions. I’m going to guess anywhere between 20 minutes to 60 minutes of homework in the in between time.

Sarah: Last question. I finished my coaching session. Now what?

Jeff: Well, there’s a couple of things that can happen. First of all, it’s really a healthy thing to then get together with other people. It’s kind of like if you’ve got a fire, and there’s a log in the fire, and that one log is burning red hot. But if that log just sits there by itself, and burns red hot, it doesn’t burn red hot for a long time. You need other chunks of wood alongside of it.

Jeff: Like in life, we need people around us, where we can just share our lives together. We were designed for that, and that is certainly a hope for Journey Coaching is that coached people get together in small groups, and then they continue to grow for the longterm. And then the other hope and the vision for Journey is that some people will then coach others. It’s the kind of thing where once you’ve been coached, and once you say to yourself, “Hey, this was good stuff, and I am not sure I could do this, but I think I could do this.” Step out, and take the chance, and go connect with another person and take them through the coaching.

Terry: I’d like to qualify that just a little bit. Not everybody is going to be wired up and gifted to be a coach. I think we need to recognize that from the beginning. Some people will say, “There’s no way I could do this.” And that’s fine. You don’t have to do that. The whole focus in the seven weeks is for you to get to know your story, learning your strengths, your weaknesses, learn about your worldview and how that affects the decisions you’re making and that sort of thing. And then, you come towards the end of the seven weeks, and the coach helps you set some kind of goals for some type of growth. The coach doesn’t tell you how to grow.

Terry: You are the one who discerns that. The last session is really a chance to get together and say, “Hey, wait a minute. How is my goal setting going? Is it working? Did the goals that I set, are they working out for me?” At that point, the coach and the person who’s being coached decide where do we go from here? Do we want to keep meeting and keep working on that particular goal? Setting some new goals. Do you want to try meeting with a different coach who might have a specialty in the area that you’re looking for? Do you want to get involved in a small group, a large group? There’s a whole bunch of different options at that point. And that’s the discussion to have with your coach in the seventh week.

Jeff: Right. And sort of to wrap it up. We’re all here on earth for a short time. We all are designed for purpose. So if we can individually just get in touch more with what we sense that is and if we can have some help doing that, how cool could that be? And really, the larger mission in serving the world is we link arms and move forward together.

Sarah: Awesome. Awesome.

Sarah: If you want to learn more about Journey Coaching, go to journeycoaching.org. Like and follow us on Twitter and Instagram and Facebook. And we would love to talk with you. Send us a DM, Instagram message, or Facebook message, and we will talk to you later. Bye.

Announcer: Thank you for listening. Tune in next time, and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at journeycoaching.org and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at journeycoaching.org.

Built For Connection

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode, Lianne, Annie and Sarah discuss the in’s and out’s of building connection. They also offer tips on how to connect with others.


Coaching Is Friendship That Facilitates Growth

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode, Lianne, Terry and Sarah talk about the difference between a coaching friendship and a traditional friendship. They explain how a coaching friendship is structured in nature with intentional goals in mind whereas a traditional friendship is more spontaneous.


Transcription of Podcast


Sarah: Welcome, welcome, welcome. Welcome back to the Journey podcast. I’m Sarah and I’m here with Terry and Lianne, I’m going to let you introduce this podcast.

Your life, your journey, starts now.

Lianne: So today we have an interesting topic. Journey is all about relationships, and Journey is also about an intentional relationship between a coach and someone else. And so I guess the question would be, what is the difference between a coaching relationship and a friendship relationship?

Terry: I think both of them are really important. They’re both… It’s very important that we have friendship-friendships, friendship kind of relationships. But I think it’s also important at times in our life especially, to have coaching type relationships.

Terry: The difference as I see it is, that a coaching relationship is a little bit more formal. It’s not like a mentoring relationship where there’s a person on the other side of the relationship that’s an expert and there’s kind of a change in the balance of power and that sort of thing. A coaching relationship is more… It’s kind of like an intentional friendship. I think it is something that helps people… There’s an anticipation of some kind of growth versus just two people talking to just have a friendship.

Lianne: Well I think one thing you could say for sure is that the Journey coaching is a structured kind of a situation. So you are having a pretty good quality conversation through it because it is structured and it’s kind of drawing out. Whereas a lot of times in friendship you’re just kind of… Things are happening spontaneously so it has a little bit different purpose and that may be one of the big differences.

Terry: Sure. I think when you talk about structure, I think the goals… Most of the time a coaching relationship has some kind of goals involved. You know, you’re setting the goal of learning more about each other, or you’re setting the goal… In Journey one of the first goals we set is to hear each other’s story or to understand the story that the person is coming in with. So much of what we find out about our own strengths and our own weaknesses and even our own worldview comes from the story our life has made… It’s kind of like each life is a book and the narrative or the story that goes along with what’s gotten us to this place. In coaching, there’s a goal to that, we’re not just telling the story. Our goal is to try to find something out about us that we may not have known before.

Sarah: And with Lianne being my coach, I think that what’s been really… I think what I would say about it being different between friendship and just general coaching is I have a fairly easy time making friends, but I feel like the word that I would describe the coaching situation with Lianne was safe. I felt safe in my relationship with Lianne. It’s kind of like I’m talking behind her back and she’s right here.

Lianne: I’m listening.

Terry: What was it about that relationship with Lianne as your coach that made you feel safe?

Sarah: Well, she was transparent with me. I think she was very nervous because… Was I one of the first people that you… You didn’t feel like… It almost is almost like you didn’t feel equipped to do it.

Lianne: Yeah, I think you’re right. I think I felt like I didn’t know how to do it, but as we went through it, I think I might have called Terry with a question about just one kind of bad habit I felt like I had, which is trying to make people feel like we all have these problems or whatever, you know, I wanted to do that, but that wasn’t really my role. My role was to listen and let you talk. So I think-

Sarah: Well and I really appreciate it because you always seemed embarrassed when you would tell me, “I don’t feel equipped to do this.” It was almost like you were like, “I’m not ready to do this and I don’t know if I’m the best person.” And I was like, “No, I really… I’m happy with this” and everything like that.

Sarah: I think that that transparency really was huge and helpful. And I don’t know if I’d say maybe it’s just my personality, but I think that that’s just life. On one of our other podcasts, we talk about building real relationships and you were really honest and real with me that this is out of my comfort zone and that transparency helped me be more transparent with you.

Sarah: I don’t really have that hard of a time being transparent with people. It made me trust you more because I felt like you would say what you really thought and then I didn’t feel like, “Well what is Lianne really thinking?” because I knew you would… I mean I feel like you would say it, and therefore I felt safe.

Terry: Well and I think that what you bring up, both of you brought up, is really an important piece that we may need to do another podcast on that specific thing of, you know, what if somebody feels like they might want to be a coach but they don’t really know if they’ve got what it takes or they don’t really feel equipped. We can have a whole other conversation or probably several conversations on answering that question.

Terry: I think it’s really neat that the very thing that you thought probably wasn’t going to make you a good coach was the very thing that helped Sarah feels safe in her role, in her relationship with you.

Lianne: Yeah.

Sarah: And then with the friendship, because it’s been a year now and so Lianne walks in here to podcast, we haven’t really talked very much in the last month or two since really around Christmas time or whatever. I’m just excited to see you again and you walk in and I’m like, “Lianne!” You know, and when you see me you’re like, “Hwy, Sarah!” and I just, I really appreciate that relationship. And the funny thing, what’s really cool about this, regarding the friendship thing, is I knew you for several years because you’re good friends with my parents, and they would always rave about you.

Sarah: It’s no secret that Terry Carlson is my mom and then my dad, Jeff Carlson is not recording with us right now, but he’s here in the room and he’s doing a little dance or whatever.

Sarah: So yeah, but they would rave about you. And it wasn’t until we had that relationship that we started building that relationship… I mean it was just… The relationship that you and I have would not exist if it were not for Journey coaching.

Terry: Well I think you’re kind of blurring the lines. Our topic today is what’s the difference? You’re kind of blurring the line between the two, but I think that’s a really good example of how coaching can become a friendship. You know, we’re not talking about counseling relationship where you have to maintain professional boundaries and all that stuff. Coaching is a much more peer-to-peer kind of a situation. I think it’s beautiful that you and Lianne have built a friendship out of the coaching relationship.

Lianne: I think that’s kind of really an important thing to emphasize, is that working with somebody with the coaching relationship. It’s reassuring to know that you are not expected to be the expert in the room as the coach and that the other person is just as much. It’s, it is very much an even relationship. That is where with even friendships aren’t always that way. So it’s designed specifically to be fairly even, reciprocal kind of a-

Sarah: I would not have had a great, I really don’t think I would have had as good of an experience with Journey if Lianne came across as like a professional.

Terry: Right. I think that’s a good point.

Sarah: Well, what were you going to say though?

Terry: Well, I think the coaches… But the analogy that I was going to use is, and we use the word Journey to describe this type of coaching for a reason.

Terry: It’s like somebody going along… it’s almost like Lianne has been, she took a journey to California and she came back and she said, “Hey Sarah, do you want to go to California? I’ve been there, let me show you how.”

Lianne: Yeah, exactly.

Sarah: Yeah.

Terry: And it’s not like she’s an expert on California, but at the same time she’s been down the road a little bit. She went through the coaching herself first.

Lianne: So one of the big important distinctions between just a casual friendship and a coaching relationship is the intentionality.

Sarah: Absolutely. I think that’s a really good way to describe it.

Lianne: And I actually felt like that was actually a surprising benefit for me because had I not had that intentional… I guess you can kind of get into friendships where you kind of chatter, you talk about things and that person reminds you of something else you were going to talk about and they have this interesting story. I feel like the intentionality kind of gave me a purpose, had me slow down and then to listen and I just felt like it just is a really high quality conversation that way, don’t you Sarah?

Sarah: I agree. And also another way I would describe this is kind of like the world quieted down for… I knew that we would have that one-on-one time. We went to a lot of coffee shops and restaurants or we’d be at my office where that time was set aside. You were very gracious that you came towards me because we live probably 45 minutes away, 30 minutes away from each other. Time just quieted down and it was dedicated time to just spend time together, think, and process things that have happened in my life, that happened in your life. Moving forward on things, working in our strengths instead of trying to fix all of our weaknesses but working in our strengths and stuff. It was just a really neat time.

Terry: Well, and I think the intentionality is really important because it’s where the intentionality comes in is kind of the goals. I’m not talking about really strict rigid goals, but the goal of coaching is to really facilitate or to encourage growth. If you think about it, I mean you really had, you had some insights into your own leadership skills and stuff by when you went through coaching.

Sarah: Yeah, and that was amazing too because I fought against doing coaching. My parents, you know… My mom’s the one who wrote Journey coaching with Mike. My dad’s the one that’s been pushing this and I thought, “I don’t need to do this. This is just how I was raised.” But I did, even as myself who pushed back against doing it for years, I still learned a lot. I still built a really great relationship with Lianne and it really was very worthwhile, especially as I was going through a lot of changes in my life last year at the same time too. So yeah, it was really good.

Terry: So I think facilitating growth is probably one of the biggest benefits of going through coaching versus just having a friendship.

Sarah: Yeah. And as someone who’s been on a growth, what would you say? Growth mindset, growth projectory, for years. I mean my mom who wrote the book has raised me this way, and it still helped push me forward. I think you never stop moving forward, right? I mean isn’t that the thing, as soon as you stop and you stand in one place, you’re going to go backwards instead of, you know.

Terry: Well, and I think you can even… I think there’s even a benefit. We haven’t actually had anybody to do this yet because Journey isn’t that old of a process. But I think it would be a benefit to maybe 5, 10, 20 years later going through the process again and just seeing how has my story changed, how has my journey changed? What do I want to set as new goals for growth in the future?

Sarah: That’s even long. I would say every year. I mean it’s been a year since I went through it and I’m kind of like, well I mean maybe I should take someone else through it because you kind of go through it at the same time together again. I probably should take someone through it now. I think it’s just… My dad’s over here nodding up and down really heavily or whatever. So-

Terry: One thing we know for sure is that each coaching relationship between a couple people, two couples, whatever, is going to be unique and it’s going to all be dependent on their needs and where they’re at. And so I think-

Sarah: And different personalities too.

Terry: …different personalities, combinations, chemistry, what part of the country are you from probably changes it even, so I would say that the differences… the intentionality we’ve talked about, we’ve talked about the growth. Also, there’s no reason they have to be mutually exclusive because you do develop a pretty good friendship once you realize the things you have in common. You develop a good friendship with the people you coach, that’s a fairly strong possibility.

Sarah: So we should probably wrap up this podcast. Thanks for listening in. Please like and subscribe. You can find us at journeycoaching.org you can also find us on Facebook and Instagram, Spotify, iTunes, and yeah, reach out to us. Give us a holler and tell us your thoughts. Maybe we’ll include your questions on another podcast.

Terry: That’s a great idea.

Sarah: Yeah in the future. So yeah, thanks for listening. We’ll talk to you later, bye.

Thank you for listening. Tune in next time and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at journeycoaching.org and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at journeycoaching.org.

Your life, your journey, starts now.

The Birth Of A New Concept From An Old Idea

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode Jeff and Sarah explore the topic of what coaching is all about. In this episode they discuss how they got to this point of developing the coaching, what it is and why it’s important.


Risking New Relationships

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode Sarah, Terry and Lianne encourage each individual to step out and risk building new relationships.


Transcription of Podcast


Sarah: Welcome back to the Journey Podcast. I’m Sarah Banowetz, and I’m here with Lianne Westcott and Terry Carlson and today our topic is risking new relationships.

(singing)

Sarah: This is a neat topic.

Lianne: Yeah, I think there’s a lot of possibility in that. People stepping out, risking new relationships. It seems like we can get stuck in wanting relationships where people are kind of like us and they think the same things as us. Sometimes when we spend a little bit longer with people, we find out we have a lot in common with them. It’s pretty awesome. At first you think, “Well, I don’t have that much in common,” but if you really take time, talk to somebody, learn about them, you can find that you have a lot of things in common and that’s how friendships are made.

Sarah: So why is it that… I’m an extrovert, so I have a hard time understanding this, so maybe you guys can give a little insight to me. Why is it that new relationships are risky?

Terry: I think there’s a lot of fear. I think there’s a lot of fear that they anticipate that the other person’s maybe not going to accept them, that they may not say things right, they may put their foot in the mouth, that sort of thing. At least that’s what I’ve heard at times is the fear.

Lianne: Well, we all have a comfort zone and some people, their comfort zone is in trying new things all the time. They want to go out and have adventures. Other people, their comfort zone is in a little bit of fear of the unknown. What if I come across to somebody else a certain way? What if they aren’t a type of person I really want to have a longterm relationship with? There’s just such a variety in what people are comfortable with.

Sarah: Yeah, that makes sense.

Terry: Well, I think that sometimes too, people come out of… A lot of our learning how to be social and learning how to be in relationship comes from our junior high or middle school and high school ages. And the problem is there’s a lot of cliques in that age and there’s a lot of different kind of things that go on that make it difficult to reach out and get new friends, make new friends. And then once we leave high school, it’s even harder because we don’t have that pool of peers to kind of draw on. And I think we just get busy in our lives, and so busyness can tend to be part of it. We may know a lot of people we work with, we may know a lot of people in college or whatever environment we’re in, but as far as just sitting down and having those one-on-one relationships or small group relationships with each other, it’s difficult.

Sarah: Yeah.

Lianne: I think one way to make relationships a little bit easier is to wade into them. So people talk about small talk. Can you get to know people through small talk? I think absolutely. Actually, that’s something we all could work on is maybe our skills of just being able to have a good conversation with somebody, But yet you don’t have to go to the TMI thing. You don’t have to really disclose a lot about yourself to get to know people better. I think just kind of walking down that path with somebody and keep… Start with the small talk, find out about them, and then just keep going down the path and get to know them a little bit deeper as you build trust and relationship. There can be a lot of reward to that.

Sarah: Do you guys have any insight into how to transition from small talk to slightly less small talk, like slightly deeper conversations, especially for someone who it doesn’t come naturally to?

Terry: I think some of it is just gradually getting to that place where you share a little bit of yourself at a time. Not necessarily going all the way deep, but saying, adding if you think this person might be somebody that you’d like to spend more time with, you can kind of ask them that, “Hey, do you want to have a cup of coffee? Do you want to… ” If the relationship is clicking, if you guys are having some things to talk about then, it just will naturally go deeper in a lot of ways. Some people end up going too fast, too deep, and then they get hurt. “Well, I gave somebody all this information about myself and then that person went and blabbed it all over.” That kind of thing tends to make people pull back and not trust people again. So giving little bits of information at a time and making sure the person’s trustworthy before you tell them a little bit deeper for a part of yourself.

Sarah: Well, and along that point, managing expectations too, because if you go too fast and too deep too fast, you may think that you know the other… Managing expectations, like you guys might end up hitting it off really well from a friendship level, but if you come on too strongly and stuff, then sometimes you just-

Terry: Scare them away.

Sarah: Scare them away or scare yourself, too, because you think that they’re someone else and you’re making that up in your mind that this is who this person is, and they’re really not that person. Then it could have been a great friendship, but it’s ruined because you had all these ideas of who they are and that’s not who they were. So instead ask a lot of questions and find out who this person is and what makes them tick and-

Lianne: Oh, I think that’s a great point because listening is probably the harder thing for people to do. We can talk a lot easier than we can listen. So maybe just slowing down, listening to people, building up conversation skills, how to ask good questions, and then see where it goes from there.

Sarah: I have had a lot of luck in asking questions when I’m meeting new people. I’m so curious about people and I want to know their backstory and everything. I want to know all about them, what makes them tick and stuff. Not because I’m… I don’t know, that’s just who I am. I think it’s the extrovert in me. And so I’m answering the question I asked earlier is how do you build those relationships? I think people do need to listen a lot and ask a lot of questions. Because then that’s where you can find out more about that person, make less assumptions about them, find out more information. And people do like to talk about themselves, too. I’ve had good luck with building friendships. My sister said I can make friends inside of a paper bag, and I think it’s just because I ask a lot of questions.

Lianne: Yeah, and I think that’s really hitting on maybe the focus is the reward. So the risk in relationships is that maybe concentrate more on the reward than the risk and just see what happens.

Sarah: So what would the reward be?

Lianne: Connection with people, getting to know more people, broadening your horizons, having just some interesting interactions and things to do.

Terry: Well, and I think connection. This again goes back to the mental health standpoint. When we connect with other people and we have these positive relationships, we have a better mental health picture. They’re looking, statistics are showing now that people who are not connected have a lot more depression and anxiety and other issues. So taking that risk to be connected with other people is a healthy thing.

Sarah: It is very healthy. Because I have a company and one thing that I had been looking into is this idea of, and we’re doing this like even with Journey, is that we can be connected to people via technology like Zoom and all of our Google products and stuff like this. So we don’t have to meet with people face-to-face in order to have working relationships with them. This has been a turning point in our world, not even just in our country, but in our world where a lot of people are working away from offices, and they’re working from their homes and they’re working from coffee shops and they’re traveling, which is exciting and they get to travel and meet new people, too. But there’s also a lot of people who are just working from home. 20 years ago you’d get those connections with at least your coworkers and such, and now your coworkers are spread out literally across the world.

Lianne: I was going to say the reward, if you can just get it down to just a little snapshot, to me would be, I remember when I was much younger and I was somewhere sitting and waiting in a mall or somewhere, and an older woman sat down and she just had some kind of a statement like she just isn’t happy now that she’s old. She just reminded me a lot of my grandma who had passed away, and I just wasn’t much of a conversationalist. So I thought of it internally how it would be really great to reach out and have a good conversation with her, but it was a little bit harder.

Lianne: So I think just as we reach out to each other, we’re maybe in a less connected world than we used to be. I don’t know if that’s true, but if we reach out to others, we can just help one person at a time or ourselves to be a little bit less lonely.

Sarah: What happened in that situation? Did you end up talking to her?

Lianne: It just kind of came and went, but learned, I’ve-

Sarah: So now you have-

Lianne: … I kept that with me and learned a lot from it.

Sarah: So now you’re keeping your… You have your eye out for that kind of situation now.

Lianne: Yeah, and now that I’ve been around a while, I’m a much better conversationalist so I could probably jump on that opportunity a little bit quicker than in the old days.

Sarah: That’s awesome.

Terry: Well, we’re in a society now that’s really technologically connected. When you think about how many Facebook friends most people have and connections on LinkedIn, and all of the other things, you know, social media, but yet we’re more and more and more disconnected from others individually in a personal sort of way.

Sarah: Yeah, and that’s deeper. That’s what I was trying to get at, the deeper sense, those close relationships where you’re really getting to know people really well and who, if there is a crisis moment, you can call on those people.

Terry: Well, I think the answer isn’t to get rid of the technology necessarily, but to find a balance between I can be technologically connected to people, but I can also be socially and personally connected to some.

Sarah: Because the technology that we have right now can aid in person interactions, even if it doesn’t have to, I mean sometimes spouses are overseas and stuff like that, but you can still have deep connections even through technology. It’s just making that intentional effort of having those deep conversations and opening yourself up to real relationships with people where they see who you really are.

Lianne: So I guess to wrap it up, we’ll say, yes, take risks in relationships.

Terry: The answer is yes.

Sarah: And to ask questions to help and just put yourself out there to get to that point where you can do that. So you’ve been listening to the Journey Coaching Podcast. We can be found on journeycoaching.org, also on Facebook, Instagram. Reach out to us, make sure you like and subscribe for more information. We’re all about creating connection with people and helping to facilitate that. So make sure you tune in and thanks for listening. Bye.

Terry: Bye.

Announcer: Thank you for listening. Tune in next time, and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at journeycoaching.org and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at journeycoaching.org.

(singing)

How Do You Handle Busyness?

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode, Travis, Jody, Terry and Sarah discuss how to effectively handle busyness. They also talk about what would happen if you built margin time into your life?

Transcription of Podcast

Terry: Welcome to The Journey Podcast. Today, the voices that I want to introduce are we’ve got Sarah coming back today.

Sarah: Hello.

Terry: And we’ve got Travis.

Travis: Hi, everybody.

Terry: And we have Jody.

Jody: Hey there.

Terry: And this is Terry. I guess I should have introduced myself to begin with.

Sarah: Hi Terry.

Terry: Hello.

Sarah: It’s weird to call you that, she’s my mom so…

Terry: Yeah well, that’s okay. One of the topics that we kind of decided on that we wanted to talk about today that seems really relevant for a lot of people is the topic of busyness. As I don’t suppose anyone of you guys have difficulty with that.

Travis: I have no problems with busyness whatsoever.

Sarah: No, not at all.

Travis: No.

Terry: You’re very happy being very busy?

Travis: No. No. No. Maybe where we start is we drop all of our reasons why we’re so incredibly busy. So I’ll just start. And so I work a full-time job which is a thing and then I also, we plant house churches on the side which is another thing, and then I have a wife and four kids and an adoptive daughter and so there is no end to business in that mix, most of the time. Okay. So now somebody else’s turn. Sarah, why are you so busy?

Sarah: Well, I have six kids, so let’s start right there. And a husband and two dogs and a business and friends, who I love. And family, who I love. So that’s why I’m busy. And I try to get to Ethiopia. So I’ve been four times and I’m waiting, it’s been a while. That’s actually a pretty big deal too so that’s all my busyness, yeah.

Travis: Yeah.

Jody: For me, we actually, my husband, Dan, and I have just one daughter so it’s kind of nice actually, to have a very a variation here among the three of us. So we have a daughter, her name is Tara and she’s 14 years old. Which, high school-

Travis: Oh my god, yeah.

Jody: … is an interesting thing but I think one of the elements that’s very real for us is that yeah, we only have four years, less than now, that we have with her, likely under our roof.

Terry: It goes by so fast.

Jody: Yeah. And I think that’s a perspective shifter too when it comes to this topic of business.

Terry: It seems like there’s a lot of urgency when you say that four years. It seems like such a lot of urgency in that we need to kind of make the most of those four years. And urgency can be a big time consumer. It’s like, “We’ve got this urgency and that’s one of the reasons why we keep busy because we’ve got to keep moving.”

Jody: Right. Yeah. And we don’t want to miss anything. That’s really important for me. That’s my whole life. I just don’t want to miss out on anything and so we feel we need to seize every and any opportunity that comes our way out of the risk of missing out on something. I’m also in full-time ministry so I’m a pastor in a church that’s got a lot going on. A fairly large church with lots of ministries and lots of things happening, there’s never a dull moment and so just that whole mix of whether it’s family or work, we just bring different things to this topic of busyness.

Terry: Well, and I think there’s a lot of upside to busyness, we get a lot done. We can accomplish a lot of the things we want to. What are some of the downsides of busyness?

Sarah: Stress and the effect it has on your body.

Terry: Sure.

Travis: Right. Yeah. I just got done with a really large project, a two year project at work and, I mean, on top of everything else, we were working extra hours and burning the candle at both ends and getting less sleep and eating less healthy and all of the… You don’t realize how much rest and not being busy has efficiency built into it. And so, as you become busier, you actually become, at least I noticed, I became less efficient in the process. I was getting less done even though I was trying to do more. And that was kind of hard to recognize, in multiple areas of my life.

Sarah: Yeah. Exactly. Actually I was with a bunch of business owners yesterday and one of them is a physical therapist and he was actually talking about that. He mentioned resiliency. Resiliency? Am I saying that correctly?

Travis: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yep. Yep.

Sarah: And I asked him, I said, “Well, what does that have to do with physical therapy and your health?” And he went off on that about how adrenaline and he talked about… He talked a lot about adrenaline, it’s made for a purpose but if we keep running on adrenaline, it lowers our immune system and we actually end up having issues with our body as a result. One being, there’s a lot of effects with pain and illness and stuff that runs when you’re running on adrenaline for too long.

Travis: Right.

Terry: I think another casualty of business is relationships. Sometimes it’s hard to have… We have important relationships but we can’t really get to them.

Jody: Yeah. We don’t invest in them in a important sort of intentional way and that can really take a toll over the long haul, right?

Terry: Absolutely.

Travis: I find too that when you’re busy, you don’t get to step back and make sure that you’re focusing on the most important things. So typically, when I get busy, one of the things that helps snap me out of it is realizing, okay, I’ve actually mis-prioritized a bunch of different thing sin my life because I’ve been focusing on keeping, to use the analogy we used in of the other podcasts, keep this one plate spinning. And I’m letting all these other plates that are spinning kind of wobble out of control. And so frequently mis-prioritizing things happens.

Terry: It seems like a lot of times we’re letting the urgent things crowd out the important things.

Travis: Exactly.

Terry: Some things are urgent but they’re not necessarily as important as some of the other things and yet, the things that are very important and not so urgent kind of get lost.

Sarah: I struggle with this with… So Ethiopian culture or African culture in general is very focused on relationships. And so I’ve studied a lot and have a lot of friends, both in… So there’s this warm climate culture and cold climate cultures. And cold climate cultures tend to be more focused on business and working and that’s how you support your family. Where as in warm climate culture tend to be more focused on relationships and that’s how you survive, is on the relationships that you have with everybody else.

Sarah: And so we live in Iowa which is a cold climate culture and I spend a significant amount of my time, energy and relationships in Ethiopia culture which is a warm climate culture and this is incredibly hard balance. Because right now I’m so busy with my business which is definitely cold climate culture focus and priorities, yet my warm climate culture relationships are actually suffering.

Sarah: I have African friends, not just Ethiopian but Congolese but Burundi friends who live in the Easter Iowa area and I know that my relationships with them are suffering and it would almost be like if you were doing a bad job at work, in our cold climate culture. We literally are doing something wrong if we’re doing a poor job at work. I’m literally doing something by having this poor relationship just because I’m so busy and it’s just really, it’s stress. It stresses me out because relationships are really important and there is this balance that you need to find between the relationships that you have and…

Sarah: I know that’s opening a whole other door about different cultures and stuff too.

Jody: I think another dynamic is that sometimes we lose track of what’s even happening in our own lives and it is a really great segway to journey coaching to have another person come alongside you or a couple other people come alongside you, weekly even, is possible or every other week, something like that, to hear what’s really going on and offer and outside perspective. Because sometimes things are just too close to us and maybe lament. We see, we hear, we feel the pain of something that needs our attention and we just can’t get to it.

Jody: But somebody, sometimes outside of us can say, “Well, have you thought about this?” Or they can ask some questions that help us get after how we need to evaluate that. Maybe even sometimes just an incremental shift in the way we spend our mornings that can open something up.

Terry: And what would happen if you built margin time into your life? And margin time, we haven’t really discussed that much but margin time is where you really put some time in and you don’t have… It’s a place on your calendar with, there’s nothing during your day or during your week. And what would that look like if you had margin time? The next time a friend ends up in the hospital and you are too busy to go up and see them, that margin time would make that possible.

Jody: Yeah. Absolutely.

Sarah: I think The Journey helps with that in terms of the fact that you can go off either extreme. In terms of time management and your relationships and what you take and what your priorities and everything like that. So what I like about Journey is that it helps create time for those relationships which in, quite frankly in… I was born and raised here so I don’t know much but from I am understanding about Eastern Iowa culture, because I’m so immersed in it is that we don’t focus on our… We’re so independent. We’re a farming a community. Even if we’re living in the city.

Sarah: Our ancestors, the traditions that were passed down to us, as people who are born and raised in Eastern Iowa is we’re very independent. We don’t need other people. We don’t need to sit down and spend time with a friend. But we do. But that’s the thing is, we don’t think we do but we do. And Journey opens the door for creating opportunities to have those relationships because we need to learn from other cultures. Like warm climate cultures. People who are very relational based. We can learn from that and fulfill our human needs for companionship and relationship and Godly ways, so.

Terry: So I guess, to summarize. What can, and again this is a Journey podcast so how can Journey help us with the idea of busyness?

Travis: Well, I think one of the things that’s really helpful is just to step back and look at what you’re giving your time and energy to because I think, we don’t talk about the end of the journey process, but one of the most helpful chapters, I think, for me, was how am I aligning my time with the things that I’m strongest in, probably the things that most of us around the table would say we’re called to, and give ourselves to? And I think that was, for me, what was one of the most important things, is okay, how can I weed out the things that maybe aren’t so crucial to life but I’ve kind of just let them…

Travis: It’s like a garden that you’ve let kind of overcrowd with weeds. It’s kind of sapping the life out of the soil. How can I weed some of those things out so that the things that I really want to grow in this garden, called my life actually, grow and flourish?

Terry: That’s a great way to say it.

Sarah: Yeah. And doing that in both… It’s twofold because in both taking the time to have that relationship with your coach to go through the journey participant guide together and having that time set aside where you’re meeting for coffee, or lunch or breakfast or whatever it is, you’re creating time there and then building that relationship. But then, in the process of what you’re actually looking at, while you’re doing it, while you’re actually going through the journey workbook, you’re talking about, like what Travis is talking about, your strengths and helping to…

Sarah: I heard a quote and I don’t know who it was but something about… As soon as I say this someone’s going to be to tell me who said this. But successful people say no and highly successful say no often. Or most of the time.

Travis: I’ve heard the quote. I can’t tell you who says it but I’ve heard it.

Sarah: So whoever’s listening to this can Google it and figure out who it was that said that but that’s the thing is-

Travis: Some really smart said…

Sarah: Someone really smart says that. And I think that going through the coaching process, you’re helping… It’s looking at who you are and what you’re gifted at, what your priorities are, what’s going on in your life and helping to make decisions based off of that. So I’d say twofold.

Jody: Yeah. And almost a flip, what you just said, in a cool way, probably successful, healthy, well-balanced people who are helping people know Jesus are people who say yes often.

Sarah: Yes.

Jody: What is it? And say yes a lot. Or how is it?

Sarah: Well, oh, yeah. Say yes-

Jody: But to the right things.

Sarah: Yeah to the right things. Yeah, that’s the other thing because when you’re saying yes to something, you’re saying no to something else and so going through the journey process, it helps you know what to say yes to and what to say not to so that you can really say yes to the things you really want to say.

Terry: That’s perfect. I think this is a good place for us to wrap it up for now. But that was a really good way of describing it. Thank you very much being here.

Sarah: Thank you for listening, you guys.

Travis: Yes.

Jody: Thank you.

Sarah: Tune in next time and we’ll see you soon. Bye.

Narrator: Thank you for listening. Tune in next time, and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at journeycoaching.org and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at journeycoachin.org.

How Did Journey Coaching Start?

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode Terry, Mike and Sarah explain how Journey Coaching started. It all started with the thought of what the historical church did to help people grow and how do we continue to do that today?

Transcription of Podcast

Sarah: Well, welcome back to Journey Podcast. We’re back with Mike and Terry and today we’re going to talk about how journey coaching started.

Music: Your life, your journey starts now.

Sarah: So Terry is an RN and has worked in church ministry and in business leadership. She’s also a licensed counselor. Mike is a consultant for both large and small churches and he has a master’s and PhD in education and is in the middle of working on his dissertation. Is that correct, Mike?

Mike: That’s correct, although it’s on hold at the moment, but so I’m kind of working.

Sarah: That stuff is hard stuff though.

Mike: Yes it is.

Sarah: I have a professor friend and that, yeah.

Mike: Yes.

Sarah: Okay, so these two, Mike and Terry, they are the writers of Journey Coaching, and so I just wanted ask you guys how did Journey come about? What is the story with this journey coaching?

Mike: Well, prior to, and we’ll talk about Jeff and you’ll meet him and in a podcast to come.

Sarah: Yes.

Mike: Jeff is Sarah’s dad and Terry’s husband. Prior to meeting Jeff, my dissertation work is on the subject of what happened historically in the church to help people grow. What did pastors do? What did the leaders of churches do to help their congregations mature, grow, whatever way that you think about that, and how do we do that today? Comparing and contrasting the two.

Mike: Certainly what I saw in history was a metaphor that in the church would be described as shepherding, and S everybody probably sees a shepherd with the staff on a hill and there’s a bunch of animals down there, and that actually, if I had more time to talk about it, is actually a role that a leader would take, and did take in a church that was very much come alongside, know their names and really help them individually.

Mike: That’s in the church what pastors did historically, and then today what do they do, and today’s church organization runs a little bit more like lots of programs to help people so that pastors don’t necessarily know everybody in their congregation, but they ensure that they bring people in to run programs to help serve them. It’s that distinction that I asked not saying which is right or which is wrong, but what are the pros and cons? Why was it done this way in the past and why is it done this way in the future? And a whole podcast could be spent on that, but to cut to the chase, it was a sense of what happened in the past that’s lost in the future needs to be recovered.

Mike: And the way that we’ve been thinking about it here is coaching. But when I think of shepherding and coaching, there are a lot of similarities, and I think what we mean by coaching is with one person coming alongside another person and helping them grow, that’s what pastors did historically. So I moved into this whole experience with that kind of sense of we need to recover that in the church.

Terry: I think shepherding is a good term to use alongside with coaching.

Mike: Yeah.

Terry: It’s a good picture.

Mike: Yeah. Terry and I will talk more about the particulars of coaching in podcasts that come, but anyway, with that kind of angst in me and having been a pastor for almost 30 years, so I’ve lived this and I’ve been the one who runs programs, and I’ve had the privilege of walking beside people as well, and having experienced that both. So I was working at the leadership summit one year coming out of all of my sense of what I’d been studying and my doctoral degree and that I felt like there was a missing piece in the church, and I was working at a large leadership summit. That’s where I was. I was working at a booth there and Jeff walked up to me, and we started a conversation and he had been feeling a similar sense of challenge with some things that were missing in the church and that scene growth.

Mike: So that spawned a relationship around wanting to do something about it, and he was married to Terry. I eventually get to meet her, and then the three of us really resonated with there’s a piece of this missing that we really feel like we need to do something about. So I think I’ll hand it over to Terry because she entered into this story along that road and her husband dragged her along to meet this crazy Mike guy.

Terry: I remember the first time sat around a table and we talked and it was just that, you know, sometimes you can just tell when things are clicking and there’s just, you could just tell that even though we came from different kinds of backgrounds, I came from a nursing background and yet our dream and our visions were all a lot about the same.

Mike: Yes.

Terry: And it was so much fun to talk with somebody else. And the more you do that, the more you talk with somebody who really is kind of speaking the same language and it’s like, oh my gosh, this is amazing. It was exciting.

Mike: It was exciting.

Terry: From my background, I come from a nursing background and I still am a nurse even though I don’t practice nursing. I went back and got my master’s degree in counseling and so I’ve got those two pieces together.

Terry: My focus has been, my passion has been on helping people be healthy. If you think of the same thing, that Mike was saying he wants to see people grow. I wanted to see people grow in a healthy sort of way. When I’m talking to clients or when I’m coaching or when I’m talking to other people, I kind of picture, if you can imagine a picture where there would be four circles and the circles would all kind of intersect. There’s the psychological part of the thinking with the cognition, what are we thinking about and how is our thinking affecting our health and our growth? There’s the social aspect. How is my relationship with other people, am I connected? Am I not connected? There’s the emotional part of it, we are emotional beings.

Terry: We have a lot of thinking, and I know our thoughts influence our feelings in a lot of ways. And how do I feel about something? That’s where our passions come in. We’re not just robots. We have this emotion that drives us. And then the last one is a spiritual thing. Even every one of those circles represents one of those things. And they all intersect into who we are in the middle. Even if you’re not a spiritual person or you don’t consider yourself a spiritual person, you still have to ask yourself the questions who am I, where am I here? How did I get here? Where am I, what’s my purpose in life? I mean, those are all really spiritual kind of questions.

Mike: Yeah.

Terry: So for me that was the passion is helping people grow in those ways.

Speaker 3: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. And then the three of us really shared that passion around what could we do to make a difference in the world of the church.

Terry: Right.

Speaker 3: We were all coming from that similar passion but from different backgrounds. And it was neat how God brought that together. And then we wondered what’s next, and then what’s next started evolving into some of the things that we’ve developed all together today, the curriculum and those pieces are evolving, and the whole concept of how to get people in a place where they’re in a relationship with another person to move forward. And we started brainstorming and thinking about what does that look like? What kind of things would they talk about?

Terry: It started to take shape and in the shape that it took, our conversations came around and we talked about how many sessions would you have for an initial coaching relationship. We decided 12 was too may, five was too few. We centered on seven or eight, and ultimately we came up with a seven session initial coaching process. The sessions are outlined, but they’re definitely not, it’s not rigid. There’s a lot of questions in this, there’s a workbook. The workbook just kind of guides people through the different questions about helping people to formulate and tell their story, and then talking about pulling their strengths out of their story. What are my strengths? We’ll talk about strengths, or we have talked about strengths in other podcasts.

Terry: I’m sure we’ll talk about them again. We also spend a time working on our weaknesses, or we call them growth areas. Some of our weaknesses, our growth areas. Some of them aren’t. Some of them, we kind of divide our weaknesses into two parts. What can we grow? What can we manage to change? I don’t like this about myself, how can I grow in that area? Other weaknesses or things we can’t overcome. I have asthma. That is a weakness in some ways. There are times when I just can’t do the things I want to do because my physical health isn’t good. I can improve it as much as possible, but that’s a weakness. How do we … So when we talk about weaknesses, are we talking about what can I change and how can I change them or do I need to accept and move on?

Terry: Do I need to reorganize my life based on the things I can do, not the things I can’t do.

Speaker 3: Yeah.

Terry: We get into direction, what direction do you want to go? What do you use as a roadmap in your life? We also talk about world view. How does that play into how I see the roadmap. Some people use the Bible as a road map. Some people use other things as a roadmap. Ultimately we come to the end of the seven weeks with helping people formulate some kind of a plan for their future, what am I going to change? Come down with one or up to two or three things that they want, the most important, two or three things they want to work on. Then the last session is a followup. The person comes back to us after we’ve been, they’ve had some time to try reaching out and doing some of the action steps to their goals.

Terry: How did that go? We don’t criticize if it didn’t go well, we just look at it as okay, what can we learn from what didn’t go well? You said you wanted to spend more time with doing dates with your husband or your wife. How did that go? Did you actually get a chance to do those things? What got in the way? And so we’re just really there to help people grow in the way that maybe they, or maybe God is moving them in. And so that’s how the workbook came about. We also put together a leaders guide. So when somebody decides they want to be a coach, we’ve got a real easy to read coach’s guide, and it talks about things, characteristics like how do you, what is listening skills, listening skills are out there? How do you build relationships?

Speaker 3: Yeah. And underneath all of it is the thing that resonates with all of us. It’s two human beings getting together, getting to know each other, one in particular serving another to help them move forward. And all of that’s incredibly important, but those are tools that we’ve created to help the relationship. And that’s the missing piece that we’re all striving to make a difference in, to try to help the church and the world move forward. People need somebody walking beside them, helping them move forward. And that’s really journey. Walking to people, walking on a journey together, one coaching and helping the other.

Sarah: Well, that’s what is so different about the programs.

Terry: Well you talk about churches, and there’s so many different kinds of churches out there. One of the things that we were very careful to do as we were sitting around the tables talking and trying to formulate this was to make sure that it was more, it wasn’t a denominational thing. We didn’t want it to be this denomination or that denomination. We wanted it to be something that would reach people wherever they were at.

Mike: Yeah.

Sarah: Let’s wrap up for today, and you guys introduced a lot of different things. I have a lot of questions, but we can dive into those on future podcasts, so thank you Mike. Thank you Terry.

Mike: Thanks.

Sarah: And we’ll talk to you guys later. Bye.

Terry: Bye.

Mike: Bye.

Speaker 5: Thank you for listening. Tune in next time and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at journeycoaching.org and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at journeycoaching.org

Your life, your journey starts now.

Why Coaching When Life Feels Fine?

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode, Mike, Terry and Lianne talk about why coaching is beneficial even if your life feels normal or fine. On this episode they discuss how coaching may help those areas of your life that you are not 100% happy.

Transcription of Podcast

Lianne: Hello. Welcome back to Journey Coaching. I’m Lianne. I’m here with Terry and Mike. And I have a question, and this is kind of a why coaching question. And it would be that a lot of us are adults and we’re dealing with our life. And especially if we’re fairly comfortable, why would we take the time out to go into introspection to really examine our life when we’re probably all able to handle our lives?

Speaker 2: Your life, your journey starts now.

Terry: Well, I think that’s a really, really good question and probably a common question that somebody listening might ask, “Why bother? Why go into all this?”

Terry: And I guess looking at it from a counseling perspective, because I’m a licensed counselor, I look at it as are you really happy with your life? Are you completely satisfied with the way things are going? There’s nothing else that you look back in your life and you say, “Okay, I’m happy if the rest of my life goes this way when I’m on my death bed.” Will I have any regrets?

Terry: And I think that’s a good question to ask yourself. Some people might actually say, “Nope, I’m good to go.” But I think for most of us, you are going find that there’s some areas in our life that we’re just really not 100% happy with. There’s some parts of our lives where we think, “Wow, I wish I had more friends,” or “I wish I had a different job,” or, “I don’t know.”

Terry: There’s just a lot of areas in our life where we just assume that this is as good as it’s going to get. And what Journey Coaching does is it comes along and says, “But maybe not. Maybe there’s some ways that you can improve your life in some ways.”

Terry: One of the things we try to do is we look at what are your strengths and what are your weaknesses. We have a person start with their story. What’s been going on in my life so far? I think it’s really good to look at our own stories in a way when we tell it to a coach we’re seeing it through our lens, but now we’re also hearing our story through that other person’s lens. And they may ask them questions that make us think about our lives in a different way.

Terry: We’ve got process in the in place where you look at, okay, now here’s your story. What can you identify as strengths out of your story? A lot of times people end up being misaligned where they’re working out of their weaknesses more than they’re working out of their strengths. And looking at it and just asking yourself that question, “Is my life lined up? Is my work? Is my ministry or the different things that I’m doing in life? Am I operating more out of my weaknesses or am I operating more of my strengths? And what can I do about that?”

Terry: And that’s where coaching comes alongside of it. No one’s telling you what to do. It’s more along the lines of, “Hey, have you ever thought about this? Have you ever looked at it from this perspective?” And it’s a value to the person to do that.

Mike: Yeah. And I would jump in and add a couple of things. One is it isn’t just about personal introspection. Life, whether a person believes in God or not, we do come from a perspective that there is a creator that made us and he made us a certain way, and that is in relationship to other people.

Mike: And when you’re doing introspection or thinking about yourself and you’re sharing that with another person, you are meeting a human need to connect with another person. So it isn’t just you sitting in your room by yourself having this personal introspection moment, though that’s part of it so that you have something to share. But journey coaching is about connecting with another human. And your ability to think about your own life and share that with another person in and of itself is fulfilling and healing and human no matter what you believe. That’s a very common experience for everyone.

Mike: So I would just add that I think, Terry, just to add into what you said.

Terry: Yeah, sure.

Lianne: Yeah, and it sounds like it’s all in the name, the journey. And so therefore taking a pause and getting another perspective from somebody else who’s extremely helpful is a good idea.

Lianne: Now, I also wonder, thinking from the perspective of somebody who does have a strong faith, and they may be saying to themselves, “Why not just get up in the morning, pray to be in God’s will, and then go about your day? Why take time out for a Journey Coaching type of experience?”

Mike: Sure. And I think I’m probably going to piggyback now because I gave away my answer. I think the answer applies to whether a person is a Christian or not, but certainly God has clearly created a community of people for himself, not just individuals who worship him. That’s why we don’t have our own churches, every individual one of us. We have a church that we’re a part of.

Mike: And so again, in order for two people to connect, they bring what they’re possibly interacting with God within their prayer closet and they process that with other people. And that’s part of the journey of the church or all of the church walking with that together. And Journey Coaching just says, “Hey, we’re going to find a way for that to at least happen between two people,” because what we find in all sociological studies in the church and outside of the church actually, and I don’t know exactly what these figures are, but it’s between 80 and 90% of people would call themselves lonely or they have nobody to connect with. So it’s not working in the culture or in the church to try to do something alone.

Mike: And this is a simple process where two people connect and start to do life together, whether you don’t know God or whether you do. But we would say in the church for sure, we have to get our people walking with God together, and that’s the crucial part of it.

Terry: One, I think that you brought up a really good point about the loneliness. And when you look at it from the research standpoint, they’re finding more and more issues that are coming up out of loneliness. People who are disconnected end up having higher levels of depression and anxiety. The suicide rate is off the charts.

Terry: And so just realizing how important it is that we do find ways to connect with others is so important mental health wise.

Mike: Yes. Well, and I would even add to it there’s a sense of arrogance to think that me by myself can know everything about myself with no help from anybody else. And that really doesn’t work if anybody’s tried that. And we need each other actually to even understand ourselves. We need each other to even grow in any way. And not that we can’t grow it all by ourselves, but it certainly multiplies the ability to grow when we have people in our life speaking into it and seeing things about us and reflecting things back to us about ourselves.

Mike: So if you truly want to grow, you really need other people inside or outside the church.

Terry: Well, and I think the neat thing about Journey when we look at over the last five years of developing it and piloting it with different individuals and stuff, and we honestly during that time, we haven’t had one person who’s gone through the coaching who said it was a waste of time. Every person, even people who have high degrees and people who’ve gone through different kinds of mentoring programs on their own, there’s something they’ve gotten out of it that they said that they absolutely believed was valuable.

Mike: What was also unique is most people had never done anything like this ever before.

Terry: Right.

Mike: Which speaks back to the what the studies tell us. We’re lonely.

Terry: Right.

Mike: We don’t have relationships, a lot of relationships like this in our life. So for people that we are surprised, we think, “Well, they’re going to be bored doing this again.” Certainly, they have all these friends where they’ve told their story to and never before had they told their story like this.

Terry: Right. And we may have talked about this in another podcast. I’m not sure if we have or not. But I just remember when we were sitting around in a coffee shop, mulling over what do we put in the books and how do we put this together and all this stuff, at some point about an hour or two into our conversation, this woman came from another table over and she said, Excuse me.” And we all looked at each other like, “Oh my gosh,” because in a coffee shop there a lot of people who are trying to study and quiet is the important thing.

Terry: And I thought, “Oh, surely she’s going to complain that we were being too noisy or she was going to say something about it.” And you remember what she said?

Mike: She was so excited about what we were talking about, what we were doing.

Terry: She said, “This is so necessary.” She said, “I wish it was in my church. I wish there was something going on locally where I could do this.” She said, “It is so needed.”

Terry: And so that was just really encouraging.

Mike: Yeah.

Lianne: Well, thank you, Mike and Terry, for that great conversation and thank you for joining us and see you next time in Journey.

Speaker 5: Thank you for listening. Tune in next time and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at JourneyCoaching.org and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at JourneyCoaching.org

Speaker 2: Your life, your journey starts now.

Finding Your Purpose

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode, Lianne, Terry and Sarah talk about finding your purpose in life. We also briefly touch on worldview (what does it mean and why we all have a worldview).


 

Transcription of Podcast


Sarah:
So, we are back with Journey Coaching. I’m Sarah Banowetz, and we have Lianne Westcott here and Terry Carlson. Our topic today is finding your focus or your purpose in life. 

Sarah:
Lianne, why don’t you jump in and… 

Lianne:
Well, I think the reason we’re talking about this is this was… One of the more important things for me when I went through the coaching myself… Which, I have gone through coaching as a couple with my husband, and also coached other people. But one thing is, that I… It was a great takeaway, and that was finding out how I can uniquely serve, how I have a purpose that’s different from everybody else’s, and how I can maybe impact the world just in the strengths and the things that I already do.

Terry:
I think that what you said is great, because it’s really the core of what journey is. It’s not just journey. That’s kind of the essence of kind of where we connect with God, I think, in a lot of ways, if you want to go that far. 

Lianne:
Journey is just trying… It’s just an attempt to try to bring that out in each person, to help you see your own purpose and your own direction. Everyone is uniquely wired up in a different way. You may even have some of the same characteristics as somebody next door. There’s different personality tests you can take, and some of them are listed in the book, as far as helping you try to identify some of those things. But two people can have almost identical personality test results, and still be totally different, because your passion and your temperament is different, and the goals that you have in life, and the journey that you’ve been on so far to this point is different. 

Sarah:
My husband and I went through the coaching with Terry and Jeff. One of the tools that we used was strengths finders, and that was really eye opening. Because a lot of those tests, my husband and I are kind of weirdly close on a lot of the things, except he’s different than I am, and I always am hoping to learn something different about him. But going through the strengths finders, it’s kind of like a real detailed description of what your strengths are, and so I did learn quite a bit from that one. 

Terry:
I really loved doing the coaching with you guys and your husband. It was so neat to see some of the characteristics come out. Your husband is very quiet, and he is very private in a lot of ways. And so, when he opened up and shared some of his things, and you got so excited to hear some of the things, and yet you’ve been married for how long?

Sarah:
At that point, probably about 30 years. 

Terry:
So I just thought that was so much fun, to see that even after 30 years, there’s still some things about each other that we didn’t know.

Sarah:
Well, then I should mention… And we’ve talked about this before, but… So, Terry and Jeff, who was on the podcast, coached Lianne and her husband. So, that’s what Terry’s referencing here. 

Terry:
And then Lianne went on to coach me, so…

Lianne:
Yeah. 

Terry:
Yeah.

Lianne:
So, we all know each other. You can say that.

Terry:
Well, in journey, the start, the very first couple of sessions is to develop your story. Your story’s already there, the story of your journey in life. And so, what we try to do is encourage people to kind of put it together in some sense of a… Oh. Some people might draw it out in a diagram. Some people might write it in… I think your husband wrote like three bullet points on his.

Lianne:
Right.

Terry:
You know, other people have a narrative that they write. But somehow putting together, in some sense, something that makes sense to themselves, of what is my story to this date? What are some of the positives that have happened? What are some of the negatives that happened? What kind of things have happened, the circumstances outside of my control? What kind of choices have I made? What kind of direction have I gone? Again, kind of looking at some of those different perspectives, like the psychological aspects of our thinking, and our cognitive part of it. How we think, and how we process things. But also our emotions, and how do we feel about the different things. But I think it’s really neat to go through and tell your story to somebody else.

Lianne:
Right, and you don’t find yourself doing that on a daily basis, like on… For example, Facebook, Instagram, whatever. Social media. We pretty much put out there snippets of our life. But to really sit down just face to face with somebody, and hear yourself talk about the things that are important, or the things that you do well, or those things that you hear back from other people that they appreciate about you… I think once you have time to… It’s kind of like putting that all together in one. Putting it together into one story that goes over the six or seven weeks, when you’re doing journey coaching, that really kind of brings to light some things. And all the sudden you’re like, you know, “There’s some things that I’m doing that used to be really fun, or that I used to be really good at. And I just think it’s time to move on, and focus on some other things, and maybe some things might start coming to light.” You might be talking about a dream of yours, and then all of the sudden in your mind, for the first time it seems like something that could really happen. That you really could put some time into without losing a whole lot. And so, being able to talk about it out loud to other people, I think is part of the beauty of what happens in journey coaching.

Terry:
I think sometimes we hear ourselves talking out loud, and even if it’s not seeing it reflected back in the other person, it’s just saying something out loud sounds different than having it said in your head. 

Sarah:
Right.

Terry:
And I think it’s sometimes helpful to just speak those things out loud. What I like about journey coaching is that it helps to process, where have I been on the journey so far? Where am I at today? What has my background been like? What am I like today? What are my goals and hopes and dreams for the future, and how do those things all relate, the past, the present, and the future? I love to help people kind of explore the past. Sometimes people will say, “Oh, well I didn’t have a very good childhood,” or, “I didn’t have a very good experience with my first marriage,” or something like that. And what I try to find out is, okay, so that’s true. There were some dark parts in your story. But what did you learn about yourself through that? Sometimes we learn the best things about ourselves, going through those dark times in life. We learn those things about ourselves. You know, “I’m more resilient than I thought I was,” or, “I learned to be stronger in this way.” Sometimes that’s important to learn, and we don’t really necessarily notice it all the time.

Sarah:
Wow. It’s fascinating to sit here and listen to the two of you talk, but we should end this podcast. And so, yeah. Great conversation, and we’ll continue with the next podcast.

Terry:
Yeah. Thank you, Sarah.

Sarah:
So, tune in.

Lianne:
Thanks, Sarah.

Speaker 5:
Thank you for listening. Tune in next time, and make sure you like and subscribe. Check us out on Facebook and Instagram.

Leader’s Leading: Everything Rises & Falls on Leadership

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode Jeff, Lianne and Annie discuss why it is so important that leader’s lead in their area of giftedness.


Transcription of Podcast


Jeff: One of the things we want to talk to today’s topic about is really about leaders leading. It’s something that is a topic that is so important. Everything does rise and fall on leadership. We’ll unpack that a little bit and do that with Annie, and talk about this whole concept of leaders leading.

Lianne: Welcome to Journey. Welcome back. Today, we’re going to have another interesting conversation. I’m sitting here. This is Lianne. I’m sitting here with Jeff and Annie. First, we want to welcome Jeff because I’m quite interested to hear about the topic today. Can you share a little bit about your background? What led you to this topic?

Jeff: Well, this is actually a topic about life and ministry and relational growth and all that stuff, which is a weird topic for me because I’m a marketing guy. You think, “Well, what is marketing having to do with Journey Coaching or relationships or people growing in their emotional and spiritual and physical health?” I guess the common thing with marketing and the definition of marketing is you’re trying to meet the needs of a consumer. Well, if you take the word consumer out of there, and you say, “Well, in marketing, we’re trying to meet the needs of people, and what greater need do people have than healthy relationships?”

Jeff: There’s not many. Really just a quick synopsis of my background, I grew up in the car business. I swore I’d never get into the car business. I went away and got a degree in marketing. I worked at a very large ad agency. I worked in radio and TV media. I had a marketing consulting company and got back into the car business. That was 27 years ago. It seems like seven years ago, but 27 years ago. Through all this, even though my day job was in these different marketing arenas, I’ve always had a heart for the local church and for Jesus.

Jeff: It was an easy sell. It’s like when I was a kid, I even remember, “There’s a God. I’m not it, and Jesus is who He says He was.” I got that. I get it, there’s a lot of people out there that really have a lot of questions and they haven’t crossed the line of faith, but I was that easy, simple line of faith crosser at an early age. Anyway, in terms of my background then, so I’ve been around church world for a long time, and so one app that was opened in my life was this marketing thing. The other app that was opened in my life is church world, and these things came together and collided. That’s where this stuff is bubbled up to the surface, and where I just have helped Journey have been birthed over the last five plus years.

Lianne: Let me interrupt you real quick. Now we’re talking about marketing and we’re talking about things like this and car dealerships, but the big surprise here is that we’re really going to be talking to pastors today, so pastors, church leaders, we’re inviting you to lean in and hear a little more about the topic. I’ll leave that up to you to introduce it.

Jeff: Well, and before I introduce that, maybe we should introduce Annie here who I’ve gotten to know, and my wife and I have gotten to know over the last probably, what, six, seven, eight months. Annie brings a perspective of… Well, I’ll let Annie introduce herself. She can tell her own perspective.

Annie: Tell a little bit about myself, I too have a heart for the people, God’s people and the church, but being a church person myself, I’ve recognized that there’s something that there’s a hole that needs to be filled where connection has been lost or missed. It’s something that in the church world we’re craving just like the rest of us are craving. It’s just the desire for connection and desire for fulfillment, being around God’s people.

Lianne: Awesome. Welcome Annie as well.

Annie: Thank you.

Jeff: One of the things then that’s really been on my heart over the years is just a love and a care for people, because, again, whether it’s marketing, whether it’s church, whatever, I mean people do matter. One of the things we want to talk to today’s topic about is really about leaders leading. It’s something that is a topic that is so important. Everything does rise and fall on leadership. We’ll unpack that a little bit and do that with Annie, and talk about this whole concept of leaders leading.

Annie: That sounds like a great topic. I’m ready to get going on that. Let’s talk about what leadership is talking about different kind of leadership. Can you break down the difference between leadership and pastoring?

Jeff: Right. This, again, is something that if you’re not a church person, hang in there because you may get insights on how the church can be better and how it might attract you more. Maybe it might even help you to understand why maybe you’ve walked away from the church a little bit. Let’s unpack this a little bit. It’s between leadership and pastoring. There’s a lot of really, really sweet, a lot of really good hearted, a lot of really wonderful pastors out in the world. Most pastors feel the call, and they go into the ministry because they might be teachers. They might be more of that mercy, have that mercy gift, that caring gift where they say, “Boy, we really want to come alongside people in their hurt,” more of that shepherding gift.

Jeff: You’ve got these teachers. You’ve got these shepherds. They get into local churches, and then they’re also required to be organizational leaders. They don’t do a lot of teaching about that in seminary. In fact, most seminaries do very little teaching about that. On the other hand, in the marketplace, you’ve got some very strong organizational leaders.

Annie: One thing that I’ve heard it said, the difference between shepherding, pastoring and leadership is that pastors are really focused on soul care and the care of individuals, the care of people. However, leaders are focused on organizational care or structure where they take on the organization, the things that need to get done, and they’re the driving force behind that. They’re driving almost in two separate directions. One is focused on soul and one is focused on task.

Jeff: Exactly. Exactly. There’s another challenge that comes into play there is if you’ve got a very strong organizational leader, they’re looking at mission. It’s like, “What is the next big hill that we’re going to identify and then build a team around and then move forward on?” That’s very different than that pastoral shepherd person. They’re going to look at each person and look at their hurts. You come down to… You’ve got these very two different personalities. God’s wired these two different people very differently. How do they serve together?

Annie: By wiring, you mean strengths?

Jeff: Well, I just mean overall wiring, and so the strengths, the weaknesses. I’ve heard it said that’s cool is I would love a pastor there after the battle’s over, but I don’t want the pastor leading me in the battle. It’s how does that organizational leader who’s ready to go into that next battle or reach to that next initiative and really move that out well? How do those people work together? That’s a real challenge.

Annie: What do you think that means when somebody says, “I don’t necessarily want a pastor to lead me into battle?” What does that look like practically?

Jeff: Well, the reality is if you look at most churches out there, we, as people that go to church, pay pastors to lead and to do a lot of things, because it’s like, “Okay, pastor, teach me, care for me, marry me, bury me, baptize me. Lead me. Administrate all of this stuff that’s going on.” It’s about a 150-hour week job if it’s done well, which is a little hard to do for one person.

Lianne: Not only is that 150-hour a week job, it also draws on such diverse skill sets is what you’re saying-

Jeff: Exactly.

Lianne: … that it’s difficult for one person to traverse the whole entire skill set that that needs to have happen.

Jeff: That’s the model, but, again, in the world, that’s the model that typically keeps being worked, and so for the people out there that don’t go to church and they’re continuing to drive by these church buildings, it’s just showing that it’s not really working that well. I mean, we’d have to be leadership starts with defining reality. The reality is if you take a city, like we’re in here, the size of our communities, probably let’s say the surrounding community, 150,000 people, and if you take the number of churches, and if your church has 50 or 100 people and you add them all up, you ain’t going to get anywhere near 150,000 people are engaged actively in their churches.

Jeff: I mean, it’s maybe 10 or 15 or 20. It’s not the majority, let’s put it that way. I think what the call to action here is, “Okay guys, well, let’s look at doing something differently to better go reach people and help them grow. Again, going back to this marketing thing, if there’s a need, let’s try to meet it and do something about it. Let’s do something differently if we want something different to happen.

Annie: Practical speaking, what does it look like if a leader is leading in the church so that the pastor is shepherding? What do those two roles look like if they are worked out in action?

Jeff: Well, a leader is an interesting thing because a leader is one of these people that doesn’t do any one thing super well when you think about it other than lead. Let’s just look at a simple thing. For instance, if you are leading an organization and that organization has a building, and you walk into the building and the doors are falling off of it, the windows are falling off. The doors are locked, whatever. That’s not good, right? Well, he doesn’t necessarily or she doesn’t have to go and unlock the door and make sure everything’s in its proper place and the windows actually function, the air conditioning works, but you need that person that’s really has that skillset that can do that.

Jeff: It is about building. It is about building teams, and it’s just a very key thing that that person is able to build teams very well and to encourage and motivate. I forgot what the question was.

Annie: Practical speaking, what is leaders leading and shepherd like pastors shepherding.

Jeff: It also comes down to the fact that we have to look at, let’s say, that a pastor who is working lots and lots of hours. How do we help that person out? Well, there’s a lot of us, and I hope some of you out there really connect with this right now because there’s a lot of us, not necessarily marketing, but a lot of those marketplace guys out there who have sat in pews for a lot of years and listen to a lot of messages and patted a lot of pastors on the back and said, “Hey, nice job,” and maybe if they’ve been fortunate enough to be well resourced, given lots of money to churches and to hire more staff, but it’s like, “Well, ought we not change that model and ought then a few?”

Jeff: There’s probably not a lot out there, but there’s a few people who have the spiritual gift of leadership who have a proven marketplace experience. I mean, you can tell they just… When they ask people to move, people move. They have people around them, right? They’re growing things and they’ve got healthy families, because that’s another thing that this model can fall down all of a sudden, this hypothesis thought of leaders leading. This pilot thing we’re looking at can fall down.

Jeff: You can think of people right now, nationally known people, and they can take that next mountain. They can move that next initiative, but you look at their personal life at their character, and it’s just a wreck. That’s not good.

Annie: I think that’s biblical too. You look at examples in the Bible or the elders. What are they doing? What does their home life look like? What does their relationship with their spouse look like?

Jeff: Exactly.

Annie: Then they’re the ideal spot for the leaders who have managing their family well.

Jeff: There’s a sweetness about how they act and interact with people. There’s a sweetness there. Well, the call to action here is then for those gentlemen to step out of the pews and into that leadership role, again, it’s the difference. People go, “Well, we don’t do that. We just, again, we pay.” There’s some of these proven people that they can just do this on a volunteer basis. They’re resourced well enough. They have time. I know a guy. Actually, he’s had his own business for years, decades. His name is Tom. Tom, if you’re listening, get on board, man, let’s go. Tom gets done more.

Jeff: I mean, he goes in the morning. He’s done by 12:00 or 1:00 every day. He runs a multimillion dollar business, and he does it part-time. A lot of these folks have that margin where they can actually go and they can serve a church in other organization, a ministry, and do it really well and do it really well. That’s really the first step. That organizational leader needs to step out and say, “Ah, I’m really going to utilize the gifts that God has given me for the local church, which is just so needed.”

Annie: I think it comes back to we’re supposed to be the body of Christ and we’re supposed to be in that body of Christ. We’re working out of our strengths and our God-given gifts and talents. One of a God given gift or talent is the gift of leadership. Whereas, the gift of shepherding is a different gift. If we’re all in the body of Christ and we’re all utilizing our God given spiritual gifts that He’s given us, we are working together to be the body of Christ. We’re not one person is carrying the whole weight because not everybody can be the head or the arms or the feet. We all need to stand up and the gifts were given, and utilize those so that the church is a good example of Christ.

Jeff: Now, here’s the challenge though is as I’ve been starting to cast out this vision and talk to different people about it, and it’s… The concept overall is get into the game, the game of using your gifts to give a life, really get into the game, right? Well, right now, the model says the pastor is really carrying that ball. If you imagine this football and the pastor has it, he’s got it, right? He’s been hired. He’s a seminary guy. He’s gone to a lot of school, and he’s got the ball. I remember this one conversation. This is a years and years ago.

Jeff: We were offering to do this one event for a pastor to help him out because he couldn’t. It just didn’t work out. It was like, “We’ll do this.” Much of us started talking and laid out, “Well, we can do this and then this could happen,” but halfway through that conversation, he was like, “No, I can do it.” It was really his first. “I can do it.” He’s just grabbing that ball back. You guys hired me to do this. I’ll make it work. I was like, “Oh, rats.” It’s like, “Rats.” The thing is the path for this to work, the pastors have to be willing to pass the ball, and then that organizational leader needs to actually catch the ball and run with it well, but it’s that team thing there.

Jeff: You’ve gotta have both happening, because I can’t go up to a pastor, grab the ball away and say, “Guess what? I’m going to lead this thing really well,” and he goes, “Excuse me?”

Lianne: We’ve talked a lot about trust being something that you develop. It’s not something that maybe happens right at the first instance, but developing trust. Probably, it sounds like the people that are caring about that pastor and doesn’t want the pastor to go through the burnout and the stress of all the things being laid on their shoulders, so it sounds like the people of the church, those that maybe have the skill for leadership, but even other people can help and come in and just encourage and say, “This is something because we care about you. We care about all the people of the church, and maybe you’re stretched thin and we want you to be able to work to your strengths.”

Lianne: “So maybe let’s talk for a minute about the gains that the pastor and therefore all the people that the pastor would be serving my gain from having.” You were talking about football analogy, so I have to hit my head. I gotta picture. You said you got the one guy carrying the ball. The other guy carrying the ball. I don’t know much about rugby but I always see pictures and they’re all carrying the ball down the field. That’s the picture you gave me when you were talking about that.

Jeff: That’s a great point. I mean, a couple of great points there, Lianne. One is for others that come around the pastor and say… because, I think, sometimes, and again it’s just the mindset, it’s the mindset of the model. The mindset says if you lay this out that somebody else is going to take over point leadership organizationally. I’m not talking about executive pastor. That’s a role that I’m not talking about. I’m talking about point leadership of the church. If you’re talking to people in existing models and the pastors, they’re like, “Whoa, what am I doing wrong?”

Jeff: It’s like, “Okay, I’ll work 90 hours a week then. I’ll just buckle off [inaudible 00:20:38].” It’s like, “No, no. No. How about instead of maybe working even 40, why don’t you budget in like 28 to work?” Here’s the thing about being a pastor. If you budget in 20 hours to work with all the stuff that how life happens, things are going to come up. Somebody’s going to get sick. Somebody’s going to die. Somebody is going to have a crisis, some situation. To have that margin built into your life as somebody that’s always caring for people, frontline soul care things, let’s not budget pastors out at 60 hoping for 80.

Jeff: Let’s budget pastors at 20 hoping that maybe they can functionally handle 40 or 45.

Lianne: This is a call to action too for people that maybe have the gifts of leadership within the church that are sitting on the sidelines. It’s a call to say, “Hey, there’s a spot for you within the church to use your God given gifts of leadership to take off some of the weight that the pastor’s carrying so that they can truly focus more on soul care, and the people with the gifts of leadership can focus on leadership and organizational care.”

Jeff: Again, so biblical. I mean, you talked about the body of Christ and the hands and feet. We can talk about how Journey fits into that a little bit. Lianne, I want to go back to your comments there about how good they were of people need. I think this really does start with people that the pastor trusts, people coming around that pastor and just saying, “Hey, this is something different we’re talking about here. This is a hypothesis that needs to be tested. It’s not based on just butterflies and unicorns. It’s based on the Bible. Like, how can we live out the Bible today? Romans 12 kinds of things, leaders lead. Teachers teach.”

Jeff: To have those conversations and just say, “We care about you, but here’s how it could look if an organizational leader ran point, and let’s at least start the discussion. Let’s start talking about that.” That’s a really good point you make is just to have those conversations and not as hammers like, “You’re not doing a good job,” but as, “Hey, we all need to come together and serve out of our strengths and to do this well, because at the end of the day, this isn’t about just an organization. It’s not just about marketing and making more money. This is about God’s church and how we can steward and care for that in a healthy way.”

Lianne: I am anxious to know how Journey ties in with all this.

Jeff: Well, here’s the tie. Again, I want to go back now if by some miracle, there is still somebody listening that hasn’t crossed the line of faith and they’re like, “Man, okay, that’s nice all that church talk and pastoral talk and leadership talk, but I’m the guy or gal that keeps driving by the churches. I have really no interest in this whole topic at all.” Well, here’s where hopefully the interest is you have a wonderful life that’s been given to you, and it is a limited time here on earth. Whether you believe in God as the creator or not, I think we can all agree, we all have a limited time here on earth.

Jeff: Anybody listening to this, wherever they’re at on their faith walk or lack of faith walk, can jump into coaching and they can jump in with somebody else, and just start where they are starting at, wherever that is, and share their story, look at their strengths, look at their weaknesses, and they can just begin that conversation to say, “Okay, how has God wired me up? Even if I don’t believe God maybe wired me up, what are my strengths? What are some limitations or weaknesses? What’s my view of the world? What’s a healthy Christian view of the world?” Then to take a step and say, “Okay, what are one, two, or three next steps then that I can take?”

Jeff: It’s that very relational one-on-one step. That would be the first thing that somebody can do.

Lianne: Purpose, you have a purpose here. Your life is for a reason.

Jeff: Exactly, and getting a sense of that. That’s the first step. The second step then becomes this coaching champion. People who have crossed with a lot of faith, they’re healthy. They’re solid. They’re growing. They say, “Wow, this coaching thing, this is really neat, seven sessions getting together with somebody. I want to do more of that.” They’re like this coaching champion, so they take this out and they share it with other people and they coach another person in the next six months and then somebody else and somebody else.

Jeff: All of a sudden, they’re just coaching a lot of people. They’re this coaching champion. They’re like, “Wow, I’m just going to come alongside people, and I’m not the expert. I don’t have… We’re all on this journey together. I’m not this expert, but at least I’m willing to listen.” There’s this process that you we’ve put out there that people can follow. That’s the next step is that coaching champion. The third step would be these leaders lead this person, this guy that was saying, “Okay, I’m going to really step up and look at being that point person at a church big or small,” because there’s a lot of organizational leaders out there that have had organizational leadership experience with smaller kinds of organizations, so that might fit better.”

Jeff: Well, maybe not, but it might fit better with a smaller church. There are some really big churches out there, right? There are some what we call mega churches, but there are some organizational leaders that have had very effective, proven results with huge business marketing outside the church organizations. It could even be the guys who run a chapter of the United Way had 200 staff that he supervise, so smaller organizational leader, bigger organizational leader. Either way, they can apply that acumen to that small, medium, large church.

Lianne: Let’s say that I have the gifts of leadership, but I don’t know how to get started with church. Where do I fit in? Where should I go and how should I get started?

Jeff: Well, and this will probably sound like a broken record as we do more and more podcasts, but it’s a boring next step, but reach out however you reach out, through the Journey website, through… I think there’s a phone number on there, through whatever, reach out, and let’s talk about you, the person who is now going through the coaching. I had a conversation today. What people tend to do is a lot of people, and I’m not saying everybody, a lot of people look at the material and go, “Oh wow, this is like these.”

Jeff: It’s not huge, right? It’s like 80 pages or something like that. There’s these seven sessions like, “Oh yeah, this is really neat, and I’ll go look at it.” I say to people, “Well, that’s fine. You can go look at it, but then bring it back and either give it back to me or experience the coaching. Don’t just put it on a shelf because we don’t write this material so that somebody can put it on the shelf and it can be on their big bookshelf with the other 800 books there.” This is really the experience in it.

Jeff: The specific answer that will be always the answer when somebody asks what do you do next is go through the coaching with somebody, experience it, and take that chance. It’s something that I was sitting here listening when we were doing an earlier podcast where there is talking about sharing stories. I don’t think I’ve ever talked to anybody who has said, “Hmm, sat down with you, Jeff. Shared my story. Oh, I’ve been there, done that. I’ve done that so many times throughout my life. It’s just what’s different about this journey thing than anything else I’ve gone through?”

Jeff: I mean, that’s zero. People just don’t have the opportunity to sit down with another person and actually have them with open ears listen to their story. I mean, that’s a pretty cool thing in and of itself. Even if you don’t go through the whole thing, you don’t have to make it like nobody here today needs to make a commitment for the next decade to lead their church. Nobody needs to make a long-term commitment to lead other people into coaching. Nobody listening even has to make a commitment to accept Christ or even become a Christian. Don’t even…

Jeff: Forget about all of that stuff. Just make a call. Find out more about the coaching and just sit down for that initial time where you just hear that person’s story, what coaching is about and then go from there. Take it a step at a time.

Lianne: Awesome. Our time is coming to an end so we’ll wrap it up. We have a few things left to do. One of them is I want to thank Jeff for bringing this topic and sharing insights that you have, and Annie for taking time out and being part of this conversation. I’d like to continue the conversation after we even go off the air. I have a couple of questions to ponder. The first one is are you a pastor carrying the weight of leading in all areas of your church? The second question is are you a leader and do you have talents and gifts that you can share and maybe step in and come alongside your pastor and step up and offer to be a leader?

Lianne: If you’re in either of those two categories, it might be nice to just do a little exercise. Make two columns. One of them would be pastoring or shepherding, and one of them would be leader or administration. Maybe separate out some duties and start to look at what types of things could be carried in a community manner rather than just piling on to one person. The third thing is if you are interested in Journey Coaching in either of those two categories or you are a listener out there who just is interested in Journey Coaching, please reach out to us and find out more.

Lianne: It’s been great having this conversation today and having you listening. Bye.

Jeff: Bye.

Announcer: Thank you for listening. Tune in next time and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at journeycoaching.org, and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at journeycoaching.org.

Why Coaching?

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode, Lianne and Sarah discuss why you might want to go through Journey Coaching.


Transcription of Podcast


Sarah: So we’re back with Journey Coaching. This is Sarah Banowetz and I have Lianne Wescott here. And today’s topic is,… Lianne, why don’t you introduce today’s topic?

Lianne: Why would you want to go through Journey Coaching?

♪ Your life ♪ ♪ Your journey ♪ ♪ Starts now ♪ ♪ Ba da ba da ♪

Sarah: Ba da boom. That’s a drumroll. Deep questions. So what do you think about that, Lianne?

Lianne: Well, I feel like one of the reasons that I went through it was to just kind of hone in, like, what are some of the things that I can contribute, that I can do, spend my time doing that only I can do? Contributing to the world, making the world a little bit of a better place. Fitting in the things that I’m naturally good at or that I naturally am drawn to, do more of them and stop doing some of the things that maybe are not a good use of time anymore. I feel like each person probably has their own unique thing that they are meant to do, that is their purpose, that only they can do and a lot of people don’t even know that.

Sarah: Yeah, it’s like working in your strengths, instead of your, that was one of the big takeaways for me, I’ve mentioned before, is. What was that part in Journey where it talked about, like how, if you try to work on your weaknesses to make them better, you’re only going to go so far. But if you work on your strengths to make those better, you are really going to succeed a lot more. I’m not saying that very clearly, but.

Lianne: Well, let’s imagine that you’re an eight out of ten in some strength that you have. Very high, way up over the 50% line. And then let’s say that there’s something where you’re at 40%, under the 50% line. If you work, and you work, and you work, you can improve yourself maybe 4%. So now you’ve just gone from, or 5%, let’s say. And now you’ve just gone from an 80 to an 85, at your strength, but you’re not even to the 50% line on your weakness. So it really is a better use of your time just to go with your strengths, do the things you’re good at, and not spend a lot of time trying to correct things that are really.

Sarah: Well I’m trying to be someone else. Like, we look, admire people, and we should. I mean, we should be really joyful and thankful for who other people are, but when we try to be like those people, we’re not going to, we can’t be that person. We’ve got to be ourselves and we have our own unique giftings and talents, and to, our God-given talents, and to really grow in the, to really walk in those God-given talents produces some good fruit.

Lianne: Right, so yeah, for looking around and trying to see what other people are doing, it’s better just to maybe sit down and do the coaching. And then, people, maybe that person’s reflecting back to you some things that you hadn’t thought about. Like, I’m really good at those things, maybe I can apply ’em in this way or do that? So, aside from relationship building, I think that’s my number one purpose that I’ve found in the Journey Coaching.

Sarah: Lianne, what might be another reason why someone might wanna, would wanna do coaching?

Lianne: Well I think we all get to points at our life that we’re transitioning that might be a time of different stage of life. Kids are a different stage of life, maybe changing in jobs, adding, reducing hours, things like that. I also think there’s a time in life when everything was working for awhile but maybe we kind of lose our focus. And I felt kind of that way, like I was a little bit on a plateau and I just didn’t know where to go next, and that’s important to some people. Other people, maybe they’re new to an area and they just want to feel like, how do I plug in?

Sarah: Oh yeah, that’s next in the thought too, is, you know, the relationship building and.

Lianne: Mhmm, so anyway, but I feel like for me the number one reason is just, you know, finding that purpose, finding a little bit of focus. And for me it was how to serve because I just, again, looking around and seeing what other people were doing but was my way that I was going to uniquely serve? And I just think it was well worth spending that time thinking about that and talking about that.

Sarah: Well, and I do want to revisit the fact that, Lianne, you were both coached and you coached. So you were a coach and you were also a coachee, is that the right?

Lianne: I think that’s a good term, we’ll go with that one.

Sarah: So you were coached first before you became a coach?

Lianne: Yes, my husband and I went through it with Jeff and Teri, and they call us the guinea pigs. We were kind of early on but it was a good experience for me and I’ve enjoyed coaching a few other people, including you, Sarah.

Sarah: And so that’s another good point because when I, when you coached me, it was just you and me, but when you were coached, it was you and your husband, so it was two coaching two.

Lianne: Yeah, yes.

Sarah: So, and how is that different? So, not to like, let anything that you talked about out, but how is, is there much of a change between two people coaching two people and one person coaching one person?

Lianne: Well it doubles the amount of answers that you have.

Sarah: Or is it longer?

Lianne: You have to be a little more efficient. It was kind of fun to not try to answer question on behalf of your spouse, things like that. So Jeff and Terry, and Terry being a professional counselor, helped a lot. But we enjoyed it, and half the time we, even though we had twice the answers, Jeff is real good at, “how is your week,” and all that and so we did spend a lot of time talking about other things but, I’m sure that each coaching relationship is different anyway.

Sarah: Yeah, depending on different personalities and people.

Lianne: Right. So.

Sarah: Well, it was good to talk with you Lianne.

Lianne: Yeah, I enjoyed that very much.

Sarah: Yeah, so we, stayed tuned for the next podcast, the next Journey podcast when we talk more about these topics about coaching, and life, and strengths, and working in your strengths, and everything else that Journey is all about. So stay tuned for the next one, bye.

Narrator: Thank you for listening. Tune in next time and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at JourneyCoaching.org and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at JourneyCoaching.org.


♪Your life ♪ ♪ Your journey ♪ ♪ Starts now ♪ ♪ Ba da ba da ♪

Real Friendships Matter

Welcome back to the Journey Coaching podcast! In this episode, David, Terry and Sarah talk about what Journey Coaching is all about.

Terry: Welcome to the Journey Podcast. I’m Terry, and today we have David and Sarah. For our topic today, what I thought would be interesting is if we … There’s so many people out there that, or would maybe consider coaching, maybe consider having somebody come alongside them and coach them. What would you tell them? What kind of things could you say to them to help them understand what it’s about?

♪ Your life ♪ ♪ Your journey ♪ ♪ Starts now ♪ ♪ Ba da ba da ♪

Terry: Sarah, do you have any ideas?

Sarah: I would say that it’s about friendship and just being … having relationships with people. Not being scared of going outside of your comfort zone and just making friends with people. Yesterday, I was talking with … I have a marketing business and I was talking with a business owner and we were talking about networking, not directly, but just indirectly about who we … I don’t know how to say this but, I think we tend to … We were talking about networking with other marketing people and I was like, I don’t really try to network with marketing people. I mean, it would be easy to do because I’m in marketing, but I try to network with business owners which is my target audience or whatever, I guess.

Sarah: I think it’s about friendship and about building relationships with people both on either side of it, whether you are the one that is being coached, or you are the coach. Either position is a difficult and outside of the box, scary position. We tend to gravitate to people who are like us, so we network. I mean, there’s a lot of people don’t like the word network, but that’s what essentially it is, is as adults we network with people naturally and we tend to network with people that we’re like. So like, for example, if you are like my … I’m in marketing, so a lot of marketing people will hang out together and they’ll do stuff together and it’s harder to get outside of your comfort zone and start networking with business owners who might actually be interested in your services.

Terry: Let me try this. Both you and David, both you, Sarah and David, were coached. What was that like for you when you first sat down with someone and started talking about your story?

Sarah: When I first sat down it was nice and easy, but it took several years to get to that point because I didn’t want to do it at first.

Terry: Can you get kind of get back into what that was?

Sarah: Well, for one reason and this probably wouldn’t resonate with a lot of people, but I already have a counselor. I’ve been seeing a counselor for five years, ever since I started traveling to Ethiopia, and it’s really helped me. There’s a bible verse that says, “For a lack of counselors … for a lack of counsel, plans fail.” And I really found that having, I mean, really that’s talking about, it doesn’t have to be a professional counselor, but I found that in my situation that’s one of the many voices of counsel in my life is my paid counselor. I started [inaudible 00:03:16] anxiety and stuff and it’s worked really well, and so I didn’t want to do coaching because I had felt like I used my counselor as a coach. I feel like I’ve been able to do a lot of big things in my life because I’ve had this counselor that I see. So I thought, oh, I don’t need coaching because I’m already doing it.

Sarah: But then, I did do both at the same exact time so it was this spring when I started doing coaching with [Leann 00:03:43] who you guys have heard on the podcast before. And so I was doing counseling and I did both at the same exact time and I will say that it wasn’t a waste. It was very much about building relationships. I became friends with Leann, I still had my counselor, and they’re different people. It really helped. I was starting my third business, my marketing company, at the same exact time that I was both getting counseled regularly and also doing coaching. It was just nice to have that … it felt like a … both feel like a breath of fresh air. Especially if you have someone who’s kind and encouraging. Both Susan and Leann are.

Terry: David, you’ve coached people before informally, a lot, and being a pastor and so on. What was it like for you to then say, to agree, yeah, okay, I’ll be coached?

David: Oh, I was excited about it because it’s … One, it was a friend. Coaching begins with friendship and Jeff was my friend and when he came and said, “Hey, we’re thinking about doing this and that, would you mind sitting down and can we go through some things together?” Hey, it meant I got time to spend time with my friend. Then as we began to go into the topic, we now also have a topic that we’re both very interested in.

Terry: Right.

David: For me then to start out by telling my story to him and then Jeff told me his story, and the journey was off and running. I just think it’s very, very fun to do something where you’re learning about yourself and others are … And you’re learning about somebody else at the same time. Sometimes we don’t want to get to know ourselves.

Terry: For either one of you, was there any kind of insight that you guys gained from being coached that you wouldn’t have [inaudible 00:05:29] you didn’t get from other sources?

Sarah: Yes.

David: I think one of the things was … usually when we think of coaching, we think of it in a negative way. Here’s the way you can strengthen this, improve that. When in reality, lot of this coaching in the time with Jeff, really became a time when we would talk about things that were my strengths. And they may not even be strengths that I even recognized or thought they were even strengths. And yet, Jeff would say, “Yes, it is.” And the other person that we were with in our group, it was very, very encouraging. I look forward to it every time we can get together.

Sarah: That was the same for me too. That’s funny that you say that. I don’t know if it just comes across. I don’t know how many other people ’cause, you know … My biggest takeaway was the strengths too, was working in your strengths instead of trying to improve your weaknesses. Now, that’s not to say that there aren’t things that we need to fix in our lives, by any means, but it did mean you work in your strengths. And I have, as a result of that, seen a huge change in my life in the last 6 months or so since I did the coaching with Leann because of that, because I made decisions. We talked about world view on the podcast one time. I make decisions based off this world view that God loves me and that he’s taking care of me, and that he created me, with good things in mind. To walk in those God given strengths and the reaction that I get from people in walking in those strengths is amazing. Instead of trying to be like someone else, or [crosstalk 00:07:10]

Terry: Who you are.

Sarah: Yeah. Being who I am and then really diving deep in that. And as I said, I was starting a business at the time, so when you’re starting a business and it’s a made from scratch business, not a franchise or anything like that, or someone else’s business, you’re creating a business from scratch. You get to sit there and it’s like a blank canvass. You get to decide what kind of business you’re going to have, what kind of offerings you’re going to have. And to choose to make intentional decisions about your business and what it’s going to look like based off of your strengths, instead of what you think that you should be?

Terry: One of the things I’ve watched you do with your strengths is that you’ve recognized, okay, I have these strengths. For some reason when we have … when we know what our strengths are, we’re more able to handle our weaknesses.Our topic today is on what would people get out of this. In other words, what would people expect to get from Journey Coaching, and so one of the things you’re saying, you both were saying, is you got a better chance to know yourself, and you got a better chance to understand your strengths. What else would you say that people would get out of Journey Coaching?

Sarah: Friendship.

David: Definitely friendship. Yup. You get to know people.

Terry: In both cases, you felt like the friendship grew?

David: Yup. ‘Cause there are levels of friendship. At least it’s the way I operate in my life that there’s levels of friendship. Number one is if you just say hi to people. Number two is if you just talk about subjects and things you like. Number three is, hey, here’s my convictions or my opinions on this. In other words, those are my convictions. But when you can get into Journey and now you can begin to get beyond just the factual and cliché type things and get down to, here’s what really makes sense to me, or this is what touches me, and to share that with somebody else and to find that they’re interested, that just makes Journey Coaching just phenomenal.

Sarah: And it’s so not … Our culture does not do this. Our American culture, we do not get close to people like this and to intentionally do it, it’s outside of our comfort zone, but it’s really good. Then … There was one more point that I was going to bring up too, besides friendship, was … Oh, a chance to talk about these things that we’re all thinking and that we all struggle with and we don’t know who to talk to about. So, deep topics that you wanted to have someone to talk to about, but you don’t feel like you can go to a friend of yours, like a good work friend or whatever, and feel like, hey, can I really talk to you about worldview? Can I really talk to you about my hopes and dreams and what I should do for next steps? You can do that in coaching.

David: And you trust that person and you develop that relationship.

Sarah: And I’m really struggling with this concept. Like, hey, you know what? I go to church every Sunday, but I’m really struggling with the idea of who God is. Who can you talk to about that in real life? I don’t know I’m making a huge generalization here, but we as Americans don’t have those conversations and we give it a chance, but that’s a whole other topic for another time. We should probably wrap for today.

Terry: I think also, as we’re wrapping up, ’cause I think this has been a really good conversation, I think for another topic that we need to get into at some point is also we’ve been talking a lot about strength but we also have a section … There’s a week or a section in there on weaknesses, and what does that look like. Some people go into that one with dread and …

Sarah: That was a hard one. That was a heavy chapter.

Terry: And then so, talking about … maybe we need to have another session where we talk about what are we looking for in weaknesses and why is it important to go there. But for now, I think we’ll wrap this up and we’ll do that at another time.

Sarah: Yes.

Terry: Okay? Thank you very much.

David: See you.

Terry: Bye.

Narrator: Thank you for listening. Tune in next time and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at journeycoaching.org and check us out on Facebook and Instagram.

Start your own journey at journeycoaching.org.

What is Worldview?

In this episode, we will discuss what ‘worldview’ is, and how we use worldview in the Journey Coaching curriculum. We also discuss how everyone has some type of view of the world.

Sarah: Welcome to the Journey podcast. I’m Sarah, and I have Mike, and David, and Terry here, and our topic today is coming straight from the Journey Workbook.

♪ Your life ♪ ♪ Your journey ♪ ♪ Starts now ♪ ♪ Ba da ba da ♪

Sarah: I’m going to read a little bit of this. “Journey coaching was developed from a Christian perspective. To participate you don’t need to follow those beliefs. But throughout the material you will have an opportunity to compare your personal philosophy or worldview with a basic understanding of the healthy Christian point of view. That perspective which teaches us to serve everyone, love everyone, and care for everyone. Everyone regardless of their worldview was modeled by Jesus.” So that’s what we’re talking about today with The Journey podcast. Who wants to start here? I’m just going to draw a number. I’m just going to pick.

Mike: Pick number four.

Sarah: Yes, Mike, you’re up. Mike, you’ve got the mic. That’s the second time I’ve said that. It’s going to get old.

Mike: I think that this is an important topic because we could be easily misunderstood here. And that’s a concern that we all have. We love Christians, and we love those who have not come to believe in Jesus yet. But those who have not come to believe in Jesus yet, we want to introduce them to Jesus. The leading edge of this is to help people regardless as you or as you heard there, we’re helping people understand their strengths, we’re helping people understand their weaknesses and their worldview, but while they’re doing that, we’re helping them understand the Christian worldview. So it is a great benefit just to help people move forward in life. And if we serve them in that way, we have great joy in that because Jesus did that.

Sarah: Mike, can you explain worldview a little bit?

Mike: I sure can. A worldview is the way that a person answers kind of the big questions, where did I come from, why am I here, what is my purpose. So people have ways of thinking about what their purpose is, why they’re here, what they’re doing, where they came from, and that shapes kind of how they think about their world and how they make decisions every day.

Sarah: And everyone has a worldview, right? We all have a worldview.

Terry: We all have some kind of a worldview. And I think that worldview tends to become the lens by which we look at everything, how we see. If we believe that we were just made by accident, that’s the lens by which we see all the things that happened around us.

Mike: And it is a huge service. I think a lot of people walk around and they don’t, they haven’t summarized, they don’t understand what their worldview is. They make decisions. Everybody makes decisions out of a worldview, whether they know what it is or not, and we want to help them articulate it and we want to help them understand what a Christian one is.

Sarah: What’s the benefit then of articulating, knowing your worldview? Because you have it. Why will that benefit your life if you know what it is, if you bring it to the forefront of your brain? David, you might be able to answer this one?

David: Well, it could too, right. Worldview, I taught a class for seven and eighth graders one year on worldview. And talk about worldview. Seven and eighth graders have got some phenomenal worldviews and the way they see the world around them and their world that they’re in. But I think there’s a difference between the word culture and a worldview. So often we try to bring people to a point where sometimes they think we’re talking about culture. You’re an American. You must be talking about this or that. When in reality the worldview has to do with who Jesus Christ is and his perspective in the world and beginning to adapt our worldview to his view.

Terry: Well, I think you’re right. I think there is a … There’s a bleed over in the way culture is and worldview though. I mean, I believe sometimes our culture is part of our worldview, but you’re right, it’s not an either or.

David: Right, it can be a blend. But for some people, they don’t want, especially if it’s a Christian culture to come into … or the Christian worldview, they don’t want that to come into their culture. They try to keep them separated. But it’s just interesting to live around people, especially Iowa city where there’s such a huge blend of worldviews, and so all over the place.

Terry: Right, because you’ve got people coming in from all over the world into the university, correct. When you think about worldview too, I think one of the things that I think about from a counseling perspective, we often talk to people about their core beliefs, what are your core beliefs, because those core beliefs become a filter to what you, how you see the world. If you have a core belief, an underlying belief that I’m capable and I’m confident and I can do the things I want to do, you’re going to set out and do more things. If you have a core belief that says I’m worthless, and some people do have that core belief that I’m worthless, then that filter is a lot of the things, getting a job, they may not try for certain jobs because they don’t feel like they can get it. Our worldview kind of encompasses part of that too, who do we believe that we are.

Mike: And when you’re disconnected from that, you’re making decisions and you don’t know why you are. And you may think that you’re walking down a path the way thinking that it’s being driven by one thing, when really it’s being driven by another. I’ve had people that I’ve sat down with who’ve said, “I believe I want to go this direction, but I believe x,” and x leads a different direction, and they don’t see the disconnect. If you’re a Christian out there, that happens very often because the bible teaches us certain kind of worldview, yet you’re making a decision. I’ll sit down with someone and say, “This decision is actually based on a different worldview,” and they actually don’t even know it. If you don’t know what your worldview is, you can live in or you can think you’re doing one thing and live inconsistently with it. That’s really important to have that connection.

Terry: There are a lot of people out there who believe that they have a Christian worldview, but yeah, when you really get down to look at it and analyze it, a lot of their worldview is coming from secular areas, it’s coming from just other places growing up.

Mike: For sure.

David: Yeah, I found that a lot of people have their worldviews from religions. Their church teaches them this or that. And so then they try to become what the church is dictating in their lives, this is what it means to be a Christian. When in reality we need to have a biblical worldview. What does the bible say? Who does Jesus say when he says, “I am the way, the truth, the life,” what is that life? It’s not just a religious that he is the savior, but he also comes with a type of life and a culture and a worldview that we need to then become an imitator of, and that’s what he talks about in becoming a disciple, is that you become, and that’s why that word Jesus comes from, a little Jesus. Well how do you make your worldview similar to who Jesus is?

Mike: Yeah, and the difficulty is carrying out, living out something that you don’t understand, you can’t do that. So the reason why it’s so important for us to come from a Christian perspective it’s because we believe that God ordered the world to work in a certain way, and the best and happiest way to live is outside of that worldview. We want people to know that worldview, not so that they are constrained by our rules, but so they’re set free to live the way God designed them to live. We don’t apologize from coming from a Christian perspective because we believe that is what’s best for everyone and not constraining but it’s freeing.

Sarah: Can you give an example of that Mike?

Mike: Yeah. I think when you’re trying to move, when you’re trying to make a decision in life that is guided by a certain principle, so if you truly are trying to connect with this is what I believe, this is what comes from a Christian perspective, and then this is what I’m trying to do, if you don’t, if you’re connected with that piece …

David: Talking about a worldview, as we’re talking about it, this verse comes to mind. “For God so loved the world.” Talk about a worldview. He looked at the world past, present, and future, and people, not as a creation and as a material thing, but as us as people.

Terry: And we’re not always lovable.

David: No, but yet for God so loved. And that word loved is the deepest, most radical, fantastic love in the world, and that’s the way he looks at us.

Sarah: And so when someone is living inside that worldview, and entering the … interacting with people with that worldview on their brain and their heart, what happens?

David: You end up seeing that you want to help people get to know who Jesus is and see his view of things and how he loves them, rather than trying to manipulate or to change or direct, coach even, and there might be a wrong term, in the wrong direction. You want to make sure that they are moving towards who Jesus is. I think that’s what we’re here doing and coaching. It’s not about us or about a Christian philosophy or our worldview. It’s about what is Jesus’ worldview, how does he see it? What’s his plan for us? It’s interesting, God, Jesus has a plan for everyone of our lives, if we’ll follow it.

Mike: Thank you David. That was actually a great example. But the one that’s been on my heart probably for six months is something like marriage. Worldview that says the goal of finding a partner is somebody who can satisfy me. That’s what the culture says. That’s what a worldview. I’m looking for a mate that meets my needs. In the end will backfire on you because it’s built on selfishness which is the opposite of what God designed marriage to be [crosstalk]

Terry: Well, yeah, and the other person is going into marriage for the same reason.

Mike: Exactly.

Terry: And both people are standing there, trying to expect the other person to meet their needs.

Mike: Absolutely. That worldview is destructive. God created a mechanism or a worldview around how that’s supposed to work that actually will be beautiful and work for people and give them a happy life. When two people die to themselves and give their life for the other and they’re both doing that for each other, they will get their needs met, versus trying to take what they want from the other person will just irritate that person and turn into this spiral. So that’s-

Terry: That is a great example-

Mike: … probably the most common way where worldview gets people in trouble if they get it from the culture versus if they get it from the bible, from a Christian worldview.

Terry: I think there’s a lot of those kind of examples we could use at different times. But I think that’s a really good example.

Sarah: And I think that we are done for today. And next time …

David: Wow, this is going to be good.

Mike: Thanks for giving me time for that. Sarah, you were great in this.

Sarah: So keep listening to The Journey podcast and we’ll talk to you later. Bye.

Announcer: Thank you for listening. Tune in next time and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at journeycoaching.org and check us out on Facebook and Instagram.

Start your own journey at journeycoaching.org.