Jeff

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).

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].

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.

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.



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.

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)

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….

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.

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.


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.