Sarah

ENCOURAGEMENT FOR THE BUSINESS OWNERS WHO WANT TO SHARE THEIR FAITH AT WORK.

Have you stopped to think about the legacy you are creating? Part of the legacy that we are leaving is how we talk about God in the environments that we are in the most. Today on the podcast, Jeff, Don, Doug and Sarah offer encouragement to business leaders who want to share their faith at work but aren’t sure where to start.


Transcription of the Podcast


Doug:

It’s not about that. And that’s the sad thing is that getting people to have this grand understanding that it’s not about what we have here today. It’s not about what we have five years from now. It’s about the legacy that you’re creating and where you are going to be when all of this is over with.

Speaker 2:

Your life, your journey starts now.

Doug:

My name’s Doug Wagner, your guest host for this edition of the podcast, sitting with Jeff Carlson. Jeff, good afternoon.

Jeff:

Good afternoon.

Doug:

Thanks for allowing me to take this chair.

Jeff:

Thank you for just jumping into that chair.

Doug:

This is a wonderful idea. Don Evans along with us as well. One of the most fabulous voices I’ve ever heard. Don.

Don:

How you’re doing today, Doug?

Doug:

Wonderful.

Don:

Glad to be here, which I hope to learn some stuff.

Doug:

Could you say the alphabet to me?

Don:

A, B, C, D, E, F, G.

Doug:

And that’s the show, right there. That’s all it is. And Sarah Banowetz, whose studios we’re in, Banowetz Marketing and Communications. Thanks for freeing up your studios.

Sarah:

Thanks for being here.

Doug:

Well, okay, it’s something, especially this time of year when we get toward the big game, you have national championship games. March Madness is right around the corner. You have lots of athletes. You’re going out there and these athletes at the end of the game, they say, “Well, first of all, I want to thank my Lord and savior, Jesus Christ for helping me become the person that I am today.” And you get a lot of people kind of look funny at them. They used to look more funny at them until Tim Tebow came along.

Don:

Amen.

Doug:

Saw somebody who is really kind of the real deal. The question that we’re dealing with in this podcast today is, what if you took that same passion for Christ and you transferred it into a boardroom or into a business setting? Now, we were talking before about being at a conference where you had a number of people up on stage talking about what makes their company special or different, things like that. And the one thing that didn’t come up, Jeff, was…

Jeff:

The whole spiritual part, because I was really looking forward to this. This was a conference. It was about a very short compressed like hour and a half.

Doug:

Right, right.

Jeff:

It had all these-

Doug:

Panel talk.

Jeff:

Yeah, panel talk. All of these successful business people and I’m like, “Oh, this’ll be great.” We get to the end and there’s like zero mention of anyone’s faith or their spiritual walk or anything like that. And I’m like, “Well, somebody’s got to have something there.”

Doug:

Do you think it’s absent from what their life is or do you think it’s just something they may be scared of saying?

Jeff:

My sense is, it is something that people are just scared of. We don’t all have the spiritual gift of evangelism, like Sarah, so. But even beyond that, I think sometimes, there’s just so much noise out there on social media and people get attacked. And so, I think some of us, we just maybe get scared.

Doug:

Right.

Don:

Could be some men kind of feel inferior over it and just don’t want to… It’s been rough for me being a roughneck to lean into that based on all the people that I grew up with and around. They’re like, “What do you mean, Don’s going all this Jesus thing now.” And I get that a lot and I’m like, “Yeah, well, it’s pretty cool. You ought to try it.”

Sarah:

Wait, what do you mean by inferior though?

Doug:

Yeah, that’s what I was going to ask you. Explain what you mean.

Don:

Confidence.

Doug:

They feel that you’re inferior?

Don:

No. I think we do. I think we are afraid. When I first started being very public about my Christianity, even as forward as I am, I struggled with it, Doug. I mean, I just like, yeah, I don’t want to tell everybody. I mean, it’s just going to shock the whole world. But once you do it for a little bit, it’s like anything. It’d be like we talked about this morning. Now, it’s just become a habit. So now, I’m codependent on Jesus. I think that’s pretty cool.

Doug:

That’s not a bad spot to be.

Don:

Yeah, I think we’re good with that, right?

Doug:

Exactly. Sarah, what are the two things that we’re taught not to talk about in polite company?

Sarah:

Politics and religion.

Doug:

Okay. You think that might be part of it and it’s just being, that’s polite company at that point? Or is there, I mean, is there a place in the corporate environment for maybe evangelism or sharing one’s belief in Christ?

Sarah:

I think people might, business owners might be concerned that they will get sued too, in our day and age. I don’t think anyone really knows what the rules are. There is that talk about the separation of church and government, and we use that in schools. And how does that translate into the working world? I mean…

Doug:

Yeah.

Sarah:

Yeah.

Doug:

Legally, I mean, that’s a completely different proposition. It’s that whole concept of the first amendment as freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. I think so many people have interpreted it as it’s freedom from religion. So, they think everywhere they go, they could be free from somebody pushing it on them. But in a corporate environment, have you been around people who have said, “Hey, let’s take the opportunity to have a moment in prayer?” Or even something as benign as, “A moment of reflection so we can open up our minds and our hearts to what we’re doing today.” Have you ever been in a situation like that, Sarah?

Sarah:

I have done that at Banowetz Marketing.

Doug:

Okay.

Sarah:

I also know that… I’m part of EntreLeadership, which is Dave Ramsey’s business leadership program. And I know that at-

Doug:

Never heard of him.

Sarah:

I know that-

Jeff:

He’s on your station, man.

Sarah:

I know that Dave Ramsey does that with his company.

Doug:

Oh, that guy, he’s going places.

Jeff:

Yeah, right.

Sarah:

But otherwise, I don’t really have experience with that.

Doug:

For you, Jeff, what about you? You can maybe… And I know where you stand personally, but have you been in environments where it’s available, it’s an opening?

Jeff:

Other than my own business that I’ve… This’ll be our 28th year. We’ve certainly incorporated, very intentionally, being open to God’s leading with the people that work there, and even some outreach things. In fact, a few years ago, I don’t know if you’re familiar with Andy Stanley, but he’s got some very good teaching. And we actually invited people in to listen to some of his little teaching segments, so. But no, other than the company I own and run, no, I haven’t.

Sarah:

Well, have you? I mean…

Doug:

Yes.

Sarah:

Okay.

Doug:

Oh, yes, definitely. There’s a couple of different areas, in fact. As a leader of a nonprofit housing agency, I was… One of the things we did is, we had that act of prayer. But in addition to that, go into places where people had moved out or people were going to move in, pray for the people who left, pray for the people who came in, and this was something that was very reflective. Don, wanted to come back to you real quick because this is something where I worked with what you called yourself. I worked with roughnecks when I worked at an affordable housing agency. It took a while of seeing that, but what your experience was in corporate farming, was that a place where it was welcome at all or-

Don:

No.

Doug:

It was not something-

Don:

When I was in corporate America, in the agriculture business, all through the ’80s, ’90s and even the 2. The last go around with that was in 2012. There was nothing involved with any prayer of any kind there, just excessive amounts of drinking after work. It was horrible. If you even mentioned the word Jesus around there, you got the deer in the headlights look.

Doug:

Exactly. Well, the only way somebody would is that, “Oh, Jesus, I’ve got a headache.” And that’s when they came, from the hangover the next day. So, how do we do something about them? Is it something that we should be doing something about, is finding a way to bring spirituality into the boardroom, into the business environment? Or is it just a matter, Jeff, of saying, “I’m going to be an example for what Jesus can do in my life and by living that example, people can see it.”

Jeff:

Oh, yeah, that’s a great question. So, one of the things that I have drawn a line on is, we do not want to use Jesus to sell cars. I’m in the car business. Because I think too oftentimes then, in these kind of settings, we sort of put our faith out there and we wear it on our sleeve. And it’s like, “Well, gee, I am a good person. I’m a Christian. See? I’ve got my Jesus fish on the wall. Buy from me.” And I think that is, you really got to be careful there. For me, I’ve just drawn a line in the sand and I… In fact, people come in some time and they’ll say, “Well, Jeff, we’ve heard you run a Christian business.” And I go, “Oh, hang on here a second. If you hear that, still do your due diligence. Still walk in with eyes wide open because we don’t sell the perfect car. There isn’t that perfect car out there. You still need to do your due diligence, get it checked out,” so on and so forth.

Jeff:

So, I do think we have to be careful when and how, but I think we need to be open to those promptings. And for me, it’s after that sale’s been done or with employees and staff, to sort of sense, “Okay, what might be an opening here? And what opening might I actually walk through and be bold and clear?”

Sarah:

And I think one of the concerns that I have as I’m sitting here thinking about this is, we write the paychecks. So, how can we say, “Oh, you guys, it’s not mandatory, but we’re going to do a Bible study every Tuesday at lunchtime” or whatever. But then, I mean, you do realize that the employees are sitting there thinking, “Oh, well, that person writes my check.”

Doug:

They sign the paycheck.

Sarah:

Yeah. And so, I don’t want to manipulate or force anyone to do something that they’re not comfortable with it.

Doug:

Yeah. I think that’s some of actually, the court cases that have been in the past and they’ve had decisions one way and then they’ve had decisions another. What about, Sarah, just the whole concept of saying, “You know what? We are a Christian-based business.” Like Jeff said, “We don’t sell the biblically perfect car, but we’re going to do like every other failing Christian, which we all are. We’re going to do the best that we can to live within the rules set by the tenets of Christianity.” And regardless of the Bible study, is that fair game for employers? Is that fair game for small businesses?

Sarah:

What would that look in practical, in practice?

Doug:

In practicality?

Sarah:

Yeah.

Doug:

Okay. Walk into the office. Do you have a cross up? Do you have a religious or faith-based poster? Is it something where you do have a Bible on your desk and a Bible study that you do, whether it’s with other people in the office somewhere? Just, you do it, you example it, but you don’t make a big to-do about it.

Sarah:

Exactly. And that is what that is. I agree with that. I mean, we hit two years for Banowetz Marketing last week and we went out for-

Doug:

Congratulations.

Sarah:

Thank you, I appreciate that. We went out for brunch together. And I did, it was, I mean, the first two years of a business is incredibly difficult and I did feel compelled that we should pray over our meal. And so, I asked one of my employees to do that and she did. But even that felt like walking the line because you’re in a public place and everyone’s bowing their head and stuff and I don’t know what the beliefs are of all of my team members, nor do I ask them. But that felt like walking the line. But yeah, I mean, I have a Bible in my office and…

Doug:

And Don, I mean, when we’re taking a look at something like this, when you look at the ability for it, people are individuals. You’re also a truck driver. You have a completely different atmosphere in which to do that as well. Because there are some long-haul truck drivers I know. They’re the most competent, faithful Christians I’ve ever met because they have a lot of study time on the road that they take advantage of. And how do you, I mean, how can you on the road, how can you be an example for other people? Maybe not in a corporate atmosphere, but say for example, if you’ve got a group of people that run roughly the same route, and you see them over and over again, can you figure out a way to work Jesus into the conversation, where you’re not beating them about the head and neck with the Bible?

Don:

Oh, yeah. It was pretty simple. I’d done it for years, even before I would be what I would consider myself now, a follower of Jesus Christ. And I mean, I’ve said it in podcasts before, Doug, I’m on the Jesus train. I hear people, farmers back in the day, before I’ve gotten this devoted to Christianity, and as recently as now in the last week when his name is used in vain, and we’re not going to say it, but we all know what it is, the listeners do too, is just say, “No, he didn’t. He walked on water.” And they’re just like, “What?” I’m like, “No, think about what you just said. You used his name in vain, but the man walked on water and he died on a cross for us. So, could we just kind of skip over that from now on?” And luckily enough, based on my body size and my voice, I have not got any pushback on that other than-

Doug:

No.

Don:

They just turn and walk by me and go, “Okay, whatever, boss.”

Doug:

It’s definitely understandable. Definitely understandable. One of the things that you brought up, I think, that really sort of is, I guess, the concept, when you’re taking a look at people, the way that popular culture has denigrated, not just Christianity, but most other faiths too, in they’ve just completely diluted it down to something where people, if you say, “Well, Jesus Christ had walked on water,” “Well, that’s just because he didn’t know how to swim.” They tried to make him imperfect. With the point comes down it’s like, we’re imperfect beings as followers of Christ, and you admitted that. I admit that. But there’s an expectation, I think, of people who are Christians, who do believe that they live by the red letters. They’ve got to follow those red letters right down to the T and if you don’t, then you’re a hypocrite. What’s the difference between a hypocrite and a sinner? I mean, in reality, what is the difference between a hypocrite and a sinner?

Sarah:

Nothing, except for the fact that the hypocrite says that they’re not a sinner.

Doug:

There you go.

Don:

Yeah. Because we’re all sinners. I mean, the whole world gets the fact that we’re a sinner. Our pastor at church, our interim pastor, everybody noticed it right away. He opens every sermon in prayer, Doug. And right in the very beginning of the prayer he said, “Lord, forgive me because I know that I too am a sinner and I just hope that you open up the hearts of everybody.” He admits it every single week, four times a weekend, that “I am a sinner.” And we all are. And going back to what you said about Tim Tebow, and take the Kurt Warners of the world-

Doug:

Oh, yeah.

Don:

From Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I’ve watched Kurt, I’ve seen him in person. I shook his hand. So, what I would say and what I’ve been trying to do since October of last year, late teen, is be bold about it, and not be afraid of it. Because what do I got to lose? If there is no heaven and I’m walking around telling people about Jesus, then it doesn’t work out. At least I’ve had a lot of hope. And like Jeff says, about using Andy Stanley. I mean, I hope everybody in the world hears this. If a guy can predict his own death and resurrection in three days and pull it off, how are you going to deny that he’s not Jesus Christ, our Lord?

Doug:

Exactly.

Don:

It just blows my mind.

Doug:

Yeah. Well, let’s bring it back to the beginning here real quick. Talking with Don Evans, with Sarah Banowetz and Jeff Carlson, the original posit that we had out there was this concept that, why are businesses, why are business leaders maybe hesitant or reticent to address their spiritual relationship when they’re talking about the things that help them in their business, formulate what they do on a daily base, when you’re talking a best of kind of panel? I’m going to throw this out there and see what you think about it.

Doug:

Every business leader is expected to be perfect within their business. You look at Boeing, the big mistakes that were made here over the past year with regard to the 737 Max and some other things. They’re expected to be absolutely bulletproof. Maybe the idea that by stating your Christian principles that you are not standing on your own, but you’re standing on the shoulders of a risen savior, that makes you a little bit weaker, like you were talking about. What do you think about that idea from the outside looking in? Could that be a possibility, of why individuals are not interested because they’re not taking responsibility for their own actions? They’re leading at the foot of the cross.

Jeff:

Yeah.

Don:

Well, let’s go a step further, Doug. Let’s be honest. Totally honest. I just had a meeting with a quote-unquote leader, not a church leader, but a leader in a church atmosphere.

Doug:

Right.

Don:

We had this conversation and his comment to me was, “I don’t know that I’m based in the question you’re asking me, Don. I know I’m not really sure that I’m probably leading quite as well as I should be.” And I said, “I know.” Since I’ve been a young boy, I had been taught by old farmers. Some lead, some follow, and some just get the heck out of the way. And I just feel that leaders in corporate America don’t properly know how to lead. And they’re too afraid to step up and say, “No, this is what we’re going to do. This is the way it’s going to be. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. We’re going to lead this way. This is how I want my company to run.”

Don:

You’re doing it with your people, praying over lunch. And there’s a few athletes out there, they’re doing it. And I don’t know why everybody’s afraid to just say it. It’s just like it’s killing people to say, “Jesus Christ is my Lord and savior, and without him, we’re all dust.” You can’t work your show and do what you do without Christ. I know you can’t. I don’t even know if you’re a believer. I just met you today.

Doug:

But here’s the thing. Some people, they don’t believe it. Or if they believe it, they just, it’s kind of in the periphery of what they do. It’s not the core of what they do. And I think that’s a big part of it.

Jeff:

Amen.

Don:

They like to pick and choose what they want to follow.

Doug:

You’re right. And we can’t stop them from doing that. That’s, I mean… So then, the question is, again, when you have individuals like that, is there something that we can do as individuals to help raise them up? Is there something we can do as individuals around them in order to empower them? Or is this just, you give them a direction, you pray, and then let Christ do what Christ does? Jeff?

Jeff:

Well, and I think a couple of things there, Doug. One is, to your point, as a first step to realize, none of us are perfect. So, if I’m a business leader and I’m out there giving a presentation on what has made me quote-unquote successful, I need to realize if I stand up and talk about my faith, I’m not perfect. There’s no perfect business person out there. So, I think just realizing that is helpful. And then the other thing is, just what Don talked about, the fear thing too, right? I mean, there’s just that fear of, okay, if I mention something spiritual, if I sort of blur the line of this separation, as much as that’s been mis-queued and mis-skewed, mis-talked about, separation of church and state.

Jeff:

But as long as I’m willing to step into that and blur that a little bit and say, “Well, this is a part of who I am, emotional, physical, and spiritual,” it’s all important. And if I’m willing to just step out there and in some appropriate way communicate that, I need to, “Okay, deep breath.” Yeah, might be a little scary. It might be. I don’t have the gift of evangelism, I just don’t do it naturally, but ought I not think about, “Yeah, I can do that. I can do that.” First couple of times, it might be a little scary.

Sarah:

Well, I think the piece that’s missing from this conversation is the why. Why would… Our business leaders doing it, why or why not? But the big why, which is, why would it even be needed that a business owner would need to say anything at all? And I had just gotten back from… Jeff made me… He is my father. So, although I’m in my late 30s, he still makes me do things.

Jeff:

It ain’t easy, though.

Jeff:

Here’s how I make Sarah do something. I say, “Sarah, don’t go do that.” “No, I’m going to help you.”

Sarah:

So, he sent me off to a leaders…

Don:

I have witnessed this happen.

Sarah:

Yeah, Don knows our relationship, Jeff and I, our relationship very well. So, Jeff sent me off to Chicago in December, this last month. And it was about city catalyst movements. Essentially, business leadership, and mixing business leadership and Christianity and impacting society as a result. And one of the speakers said that, and I did not know this, but when we’re talking about actual fishing, 90% of the world’s fish that we consume and use for products and stuff are caught in 10% of the world’s bodies of water.

Sarah:

So, let’s just say that again. 90% of the world’s fish that we use are caught in 10% of the world’s bodies of water. And so, what good fishermen know is that they go where the fish are at. So, they don’t fish where there’s not fish. And so, they were essentially saying that in today’s day and age, the fish, and this was two pastors. The speech was two pastors that I was just there at and they said that that’s where the… What would I say?

Doug:

Go to where the fertile soil is.

Sarah:

Yeah, go where the fertile soil is. And they were just calling to action pastors and saying, “You really do need to pay attention to the businesses in your church body, because you get to talk with your congregation on Sunday morning. But the business leaders are leaving your congregation on Sunday morning. And they are the ones that are interacting with the community where the fish are at, where the fertile soil is, the rest of the week. And so, you really need to take those business leaders seriously.” As a result, the global leadership summit started years ago. How many years ago, Dad?

Jeff:

Oh, my golly, yeah, decades.

Sarah:

It started as a training to train up pastors, and what it has morphed into is training for business leaders and their teams. And so, this is a nice plug for the upcoming global leadership summit in August, where business leaders can bring their teams and hear Craig Groeschel, Lysa TerKeurst, just some big names in the secular world, and in the Christian world, to teach their leadership teams and just their staff on solid leadership principles.

Doug:

Making faith a seven-day-a-week object and enterprise.

Sarah:

Yes. Yes.

Doug:

I mean, really, that’s… I mean, I guess that’s really the big thing is pulling this from the middle of this conversation is taking faith out of just a one-day-a-week on Sunday or the two-day-a-week Sunday and Wednesday, and making it seven days a week, so that not only are you exampling but you’re also creating an environment in which it can grow.

Sarah:

And Doug, I’m going to throw a question back at you then.

Doug:

Yeah.

Sarah:

Why is that important? Why is it important that we have human beings living out a Christian faith seven days a week?

Doug:

Because you have examples everywhere you go.

Sarah:

But what does that do for humans?

Doug:

What does it do for you? It gives them the ability… Well, it does a number that I could sit here. That’s a 30-minute program [crosstalk 00:23:21] itself.

Jeff:

That’s another podcast.

Doug:

Yeah. That’s a whole nother [crosstalk 00:00:23:23].

Doug:

No, but what that does is, it gives them the opportunity to not only learn but also become mentors, so that they can spread this and other people can learn. And you also can draw one another together in community because we are meant to be a people of community in Christ. That’s the whole point of it is that you can worship on your own. You ask any… John McCain, great example, that the folks who were in those cages in Vietnam, they worshiped on their own, figured out a way to worship in community by tapping out in Morse code Sunday services. And then pretty soon, it became more than Sunday services.

Doug:

We need that kind of community. We need to be able to do that, as brother and sisterhood in Christ, because that brings us closer to our creator, closer to our maker. That brings us closer to the ideals that we want to example, not only for the people that we work with, but also for the people that we live with, walk down the street with, the people that I honked the horn at because they were stopped on a green arrow and they were driving through a red light.

Jeff:

Those people.

Doug:

I am so sorry about that. I do feel bad, but it’s like I was like, “Man, I’m really going to do this right now, and I just did that.” So, yeah, I-

Don:

You never prayed they’d go to heaven, but real soon?

Doug:

So, for me, that’s it. I don’t know if that was a right or wrong answer.

Sarah:

Well, no. And Don, the community that Doug was talking about, what has that meant to you?

Don:

The community?

Sarah:

The community.

Don:

The people around me?

Sarah:

Yeah, the community and people around you and living for Christ seven days a week.

Don:

Just the raining of blessings. That’s why I’m so on fire to share the word of Christ with everybody, because not just 14 or 15 months ago, you could have considered me a homeless person, and I was in solitude. Our current message up right now is loneliness that you and Terry and I did. I just listened to it for the first night since it’s been aired, but… And here’s something that I want to throw out, not to get any sympathy, and only Jeff and Sarah know this, Doug. I physically… Andy Stanley, we use him a lot and we’re going to, I think, in Journey. The coaches that coached me, Doug, go into the Mount Pleasant prison. I’ve got certified, I can go in there with them now. And we watch Andy Stanley messages. He talks about all the time that people that are young, getting out of college, “Oh, I’ve got to hurry up, I got to get married. I got to do this because time is not in my favor.”

Don:

And he said, “You’re wrong. Time is in your favor.” I’m circling back. So, bear with me. Okay, in my case, to be very candidly and not wanting sympathy from nobody, time is not in Don’s favor because of the way I’ve abused my health. It’s very, very poor. So, I share at meetings, recovery meetings, “Please, I beg of you, don’t wait so long to quit and break your addictions.” Because then I have to go contrary to what Andy Stanley says, and tell everybody that you don’t want to be me, that time is no longer in my favor. So, what time I have left, I want to utilize that to the best of my ability, and let anyone I can touch know that I’ve had blessings. I’ve reunited with my kids two weeks ago, 13-year gap. There’s just been all kinds of stuff to answer, why I want to tell everybody. Do I to need to say anymore? There’s so many things you can receive.

Sarah:

There is. Well, and if anyone-

Don:

And we get taught in church all the time, the more you sow, the more you reap. I’m a farmer. If we planted right, we got more bushels. The more people I touch with Jesus Christ, I just keep getting more blessings. So, let’s, it’s-

Sarah:

And there are lots of episodes of the Journey podcasts where… Go on the website, search for Don, and listen to several of the podcasts that he’s talked about. He dives into that deeper.

Doug:

Now, mind you, and we’re going to wrap there. We’re not going to Wrap on a negative note, but we do have to say is that in all realism, is that, Don, it is a blessing what’s happened with you. But even if none of that happened and you still are a follower of Jesus, those blessings, the ultimate blessings are in the hereafter.

Don:

Amen.

Doug:

Where you know that you are going to be in the presence of and the glory of Jesus, right? And that’s the big one, is there are a lot of people who say, “Well, what about those Christians that don’t get those blessings? What about if I’m a business leader and I throw my whole lot in with Jesus Christ and my business goes belly up and I’m homeless and I lose my wife, my kids, and my cars, and their education, their whole future?” It’s not about that. And that’s the sad thing is that getting people to have this grand understanding that it’s not about what we have here today. It’s not about what we have five years from now. It’s about the legacy that you’re creating and where you are going to be when all of this is over with.

Don:

Well, we were never promised there weren’t going to be storms in our lives, and we’re supposed to learn from the storms and the trials that we go through.

Doug:

Absolutely.

Don:

And so, there’s a lot of ways to look at that.

Doug:

So, Jeff, what’s the best way as business leaders, when you go back to a place like that and you have these business leaders sitting in front of you, what would you like to hear when they ask, best practices, within your life, within your companies?

Jeff:

Nothing pushed, nothing forced. Just open, honest, “Hey, here’s the spiritual part of my life.” Just incorporate it in. It doesn’t have to be a hundred percent of your talk, but at least have something there, if it’s there, and just share that clearly and boldly.

Doug:

All right. If you’re listening, you’re getting a good coaching right here, because this is the kind of stuff that you’re probably looking for. Take this to heart. These are words that are just off the cuff. None of this stuff has been rehearsed. My name’s Doug Wagner. I’ve been sitting here with Sarah Banowetz, Jeff Carlson, and Don Evans. And thank you for inviting me on this edition of the journey. I really appreciate it.

Jeff:

Well, thank you so much.

Don:

Thank you, Doug. I appreciate you being here.

Sarah:

Thanks for being on.

Sarah:

You’ve listened to another episode of the Journey podcast. We’re glad that you are with us. Feel free to like and subscribe on your favorite channels. And we will talk to you later. Thank you.

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.

Speaker 2:

Your life, your journey starts now.

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)

Overcoming the Fear of Discouragement

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


Transcription of the Podcast


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

Don: Right.

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

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

JoJo: Good sir. How are you doing?

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

JoJo: Above average, thank you.

Don: That a girl.

JoJo: Happy to be here.

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

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

Sarah: Licensed massage therapist.

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

Sarah: Very excellent, but awesome.

Don: Good for you.

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

JoJo: Yes.

Sarah: Doing all that as a single mom.

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

JoJo: Give it up Don.

Sarah: Yeah Don, give us a quick overview.

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

JoJo: Awesome.

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

Don: No ma’am.

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

JoJo: Yes.

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

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

Sarah: You’ve heard about it?

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

JoJo: I’m trying to give up cheese.

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

JoJo: That’s actually one of my goals.

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

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

JoJo: No, one of my goals is vegetarian.

Sarah: Wow.

JoJo: Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

Sarah: What do you mean by that?

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

Sarah: That’s a good point.

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

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

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

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

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

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

JoJo: Yes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JoJo: Thank you.

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

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

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

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

Sarah: Oh that’s right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JoJo: Sure.

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

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

Don: Right, but she’s-

Sarah: She’s in the thick of it.

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

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

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

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

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

JoJo: Hmm, driven.

Sarah: You are very driven.

JoJo: Well Sarah, you have definitely mentored me.

Sarah: Okay.

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

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

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

Sarah: Well, and JoJo is very creative.

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

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

JoJo: Thank you.

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

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

Sarah: Yes.

JoJo: And you bring them to the table.

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

Don: Have you been through Journey Coaching already?

JoJo: I’m sorry?

Don: Have you been through Journey Coaching already?

JoJo: No.

Don: Okay, sounds like you have/

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

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

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

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

JoJo: I can’t help it.

Don: No ma’am. That a girl.

JoJo: It’s just how I roll.

Sarah: Well thanks for being on the Journey Podcast.

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

JoJo: Nice to meet you Don.

Don: You too, it’s a pleasure.

JoJo: Yeah. Nice to-

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

JoJo: Okay, I will.

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

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

Loneliness Hurts

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


Transcription of the Podcast


Transcript of the Podcast:

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

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

Don: Hi Sarah.

Sarah: Thanks for being here with us.

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

Sarah: And we have Terry Carlson.

Terry: Hi.

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

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

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

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

Sarah: Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don: Yes.

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

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

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

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

Terry: Yeah, just reach out.

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

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

Don: Seems to be, yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Terry: That’s an excellent idea.

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

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

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

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

Terry: Sure.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Terry: Oh absolutely.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Terry: Bye.

Don: Bye.

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


Don’s Story of God’s Grace

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

Transcription of the Podcast

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

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

Don: Hi Sarah.

Sarah: How are you?

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

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

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

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

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

Sarah: I know, I got to make you…

Don: Let’s just keep this cool.

Sarah: I got to put you at ease.

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

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

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

Sarah: Winging it.

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

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

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

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

Don: But I’ll keep going.

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

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

Sarah: I almost want to ask both with.

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

Sarah: And it was dealing with the loneliness?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sarah: And how did you find a church?

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

Sarah: And was that class through the church?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sarah: They were Don.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What If Someone Wants To Be A Coach?

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


Transcription of the Podcast


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

Sarah: Terry, can you answer that question?

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

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

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

Sarah: What about some characteristics of the coach?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is Journey Coaching Spiritual?

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode, Lianne, Terry and Sarah discuss how you don’t need to be spiritual or religious to go through Journey Coaching. The material was carefully created in a way that both spiritual and non-spiritual individuals can benefit and grow from coaching.

Transcription of Podcast

Lianne: Hi, welcome back to journey. We’re having a great conversation today. I’m here with Terry and Sarah, and I’m going to let Terry let us know what we’re going to talk about.

Automated: (singing) Your life, your journey starts now.

Terry: Oh, this is a really interesting conversation I think that we’re going to have today. I’m really excited about the way it lays out. One of the questions that we’ve been asked is, is Journey Coaching spiritual? Rather than answer it myself, I’m going to throw this over to Sarah see how you answer it.

Sarah: Thank you. Thank you. My answer to that question is that you do not need to be spiritual. You do not need to be a Christian to go through Journey Coaching. Journey Coaching was written because we saw pain points, and the society, or the authors, saw pain points in the society with connection and with connection with people, and that’s really key. Journey Coaching is very much about building intentional relationships and connecting with others, whether you are a Christian or not. Whether you believe in one god, multiple gods, you’re an atheist, agnostic, it does not matter. You can believe whatever you want to believe to go through Journey Coaching.

Terry: I think that’s a really good way of responding. When we were looking at developing the material, that was one of those things where when we said it’s written from a Christian perspective, it’s just our being honest. That’s our worldview. That’s the direction we come from. I don’t want to exclude people.

Terry: When Mike and I were going through this, and Jeff, and we were working on the outline for the material and for all the stuff that we were trying to decide, the goals that we wanted to accomplish, we said from the very beginning, we don’t want to make this about pushing our faith or our Christianity down anybody’s throats. We also felt like we didn’t want to leave it out either because it is part of a lot of people’s worldview.

Terry: For instance, one of the things you’ll notice as you go through the workbook, we have a disclaimer in every section where we talk about things from an everyday kind perspective, but then we get to something from the Christian worldview perspective, we’re talking about strengths from a Christian perspective, or weaknesses, or worldview. We give this little disclaimer and it says something like, if you’re interested in comparing your worldview with a healthy Christian perspective, this section will be helpful. If not, skip to the next steps section later in the session. If somebody says, “Nope, I’m really not going to go through that,” they’re not going to lose anything from the Journey Coaching.

Lianne: I have this question then, because I think that our listeners would have this question, why would you even bring up your Christian – You are a Christian, you have a Christian worldview. Side note: every single person on this planet has a worldview. It’s how you look at the world, so we all have a worldview. You have a Christian worldview. Why would you even mention that when you’re writing this? If you don’t want this to be just for Christians, and you want it for non-Christians too, why wouldn’t you write this without talking about your Christian worldview at all?

Terry: Well, I think there’s a benefit to both believers and nonbelievers, Christians, or people who have other faiths. There’s a lot of misconceptions out there when you can go through the internet and you can find all kinds of different misconceptions about Christianity, and obviously I can’t speak about other faiths, but I can speak about that one.

Terry: I think one of the things I wanted to do is is I wanted to give people a perspective that might help them someday. Let’s say you’re not a believer, you’re not a Christian, and you’re working with Christians. There’s a lot of people who’ve asked us what are they thinking? Where do they get this information? Why does a Christian believe this, or what do they believe? This book, if you want to, you can go through, and that’ll give you some insight on that. I think it’s great for Christians who are going through the material because it helps them to see that the world view that I have is not the only one out there. There’s a lot of people who believe that they’re Christians, and yet a lot of their world view is very secular. It’s very non-faith based.

Sarah: On the opposite side of that, I do think that a lot of agnostics and atheists do exhibit some Christian worldview, and it would be interesting to dive into that, for people to realize, wait a second, you know what? I don’t believe in this Jesus person, but … Not realizing, they’ll say, I really believe in taking care of people and serving people, that’s a Christian worldview right there. That’s from a Christian worldview. On page 47 here, after you go through things, one of the questions is how did your worldview line up with what you just read about? This is part of the workbook or whatever, so to dig into that, and to realize, wait a second, maybe I’m an …

Sarah: One of our earlier podcasts talked about risking new relationships and how if you dive into relationships with people who you might think that you would be friends with, you’ll actually be surprised. I do believe that people put up barriers with each other and argue with others who they think are different than them.I’m going to go on a passionate rant here. This happens all the time on social media, that people are fighting against each other, and they’re coming from the same exact place. I think that if we dive into relationships, and ask questions more, and dive into what your worldview is and how that compares with other people’s worldviews, you’ll realize that you’re coming from a very similar place.

Terry: You find a lot of times that there are more similarities than there are differences, if you really take the time to have those conversations. Journey is designed to facilitate those conversations. That’s really all it is.

Lianne: To both of your points, I’m chiming in. How many times right now do you get an opportunity to sit down with anyone who doesn’t think exactly like you are, slow down, and take the time to cover the ground to say, what do you think about this? What do you think about this? That’s interesting. We have this common ground here. We don’t have this common ground here. How many times do you get that opportunity? Probably not on Twitter, to you.

Sarah: No, but on longer forums, on Facebook too. I’m very much an extrovert. I have in-depth conversations with people on on Facebook and stuff. You’re right. How often do you get to sit face-to-face over coffee, over breakfast, over dinner, sitting down with someone in a safe atmosphere where you can ask those hard questions that you don’t know who to ask of because you’re concerned. Maybe you grew up in a Christian home, and you don’t think that you believe what your family believes, and yet you don’t know where to go to ask those questions. Journey Coaching is that safe place to do that.

Terry: We’ve kind of established that Journey Coaching is not a specific type a church, it’s not as spirituality. It has at it’s root some explanation of what some of the Christian worldview, and that sort of thing, is, but it was designed for anybody to go through it. You don’t have to be a believer in order to go through it. What do you think, Sarah, as far as how can we explain that to someone who hasn’t considered doing something like this because of their…

Sarah: The big question I think that people would have is, and I mentioned it earlier, why even bring up Christianity? If you don’t need to be a Christian to go through this, why even talk about it? The answer that I would give to that is, because of my Christian worldview, that I think is a biblical view. God really does care about people, and he loves people, and he wants people to be in intentional, close, deep relationships with each other, and he cares about relationships. He wants to be in relationship with us. He wants us to be in relationship with each other. Out of that Christian, biblical worldview, Journey was born, so it’s really hard to disengage the Christian worldview from the motive that is out of that.

Sarah: It would have been really hard for you to disengage those two from each other, but just because it was birthed out of a Christian worldview does not absolutely mean that you need to have a Christian worldview to go through it.

Terry: The fact that it’s listed in there the way that we’ve listed it is an attempt to be totally honest and transparent. This is a full disclosure that this is what our worldview is, those of us who wrote the book and the material. I don’t want it to look like a bait and switch or any of those kinds of things. This is just a full disclosure. This is where we’re coming from, but we want everyone to be able to gain and benefit from the Journey Coaching.

Sarah: I have to nail home again. I mentioned it earlier in the podcast, but you’re not a project when you’re going through. People are not projects when they’re going through Journey Coaching. I went through Journey Coaching last year with Leanne, who is on the podcast with us. I’m a Christian, and I went through it, and Christians go through it, non-Christians go through it. You’re not a project to Journey when you’re involved in Journey. It’s about intentional relationships and growing in your strengths.

Lianne: Thank you so much for exploring this topic today. It sounds like there’s more to be explored about it, but this catches the highlights of it.

Sarah: Feel free to reach out to us with any questions or anything. You can DM us on Instagram, or send us a message on Facebook, or email or anything like that.

Lianne: I’m going to throw it back to Sarah to close us out today. Bye. Thank you all for being with us.

Sarah: Follow us. You can find this journeycoaching.org, like I said, Instagram and Facebook. We will talk to you later. Bye.

Terry: Bye.

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

Commonly Asked Questions

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode, Jeff, Terry and Sarah discuss commonly asked questions such as, “What is coaching and is it the same thing as a life coach?”

Transcription of Podcast

Sarah: Hey, hey, hey! Welcome back to the Journey Podcast. I’m Sarah Banowetz, and I have Jeff Carlson and Terry Carlson here. Yes, they are married. They also happen to be my parents.

Terry: Poor kid.

Jeff: Hi, daughter dear.

Sarah: Terry was one of the two authors with [Mike Kolachi 00:13:32] for Journey books, and Jeff Carlson is the instigator, leader behind pushing. I’m going to use that word, instigator.

Jeff: Just had a little spark and just went with it kind of thing.

Terry: In the original version of the website, I had put down, and I’m sure it’s not on there anymore, but I had put down an explanation of how we got started, and I said a pastor, a counselor, and a car dealer got together and decided to put this together.

Sarah: That’s awesome. That’s actually what happened. It really was a pastor, car dealer, and a counselor.

Terry: I was afraid it sounded too much like a joke. You know, a pastor, car dealer, and a counselor walk into a bar.

Sarah: And then, I’m involved because this isn’t just a family deal, even though it’s the family on this podcast. I got involved because I have my own marketing company, and so my company is helping to facilitate the podcast, and then they liked me being the narrator.

Terry: Moderator.

Sarah: Moderator.

Jeff: MC, whatever you want to call

Sarah: That likes to give my opinion sometimes too.

Terry: For sure.

Sarah: I’m a very opinionated person.

Sarah: Okay. Jumping in. Today we’re going to talk about and answer commonly asked questions, and we’re going to go through this really fast, because we want these podcasts to be pretty short. And this podcast actually might be set aside on one of our pages to give you a quick overview of Journey Coaching. Not necessarily in what it is, because we have other podcasts for that, but in just commonly asked questions.

Sarah: So, getting started. Why don’t you answer this one, Terry.

Terry: I’ll try.

Sarah: What is coaching, and is it the same as a life coach?

Terry: Yeah, that’s a real confusing one. When we decided to put together this process, we used the term coaching, because it seems very peer friendly. In this case, Journey Coaching is kind of a peer-to-peer type of coaching.

Terry: Life coach often has some expertise. They may have some training in coaching that goes beyond the normal level of just talking with one another, that sort of thing. There are life coaches out there I know who have had several courses in life coaching. This is a little bit different than that.

Terry: This is more of a peer-to-peer. It’s designed to give people a really good idea of what is their strengths, what are their weaknesses, what’s their worldview, how does all of that relate to how effective or ineffective they seem to be in their workplace or in their ministry, if they’re in church ministry or just in life in general. One of the things we try to do in about seven weeks sessions is just get someone to look at their own story, identify the different things. The coach just walks along beside you and helps you.

Terry: Sometimes it’s helpful to see your life through another person’s point of view. It’s fun when you work with somebody, and you’re talking to somebody, and you say, “Hey, this is what happened in my life.” And somebody says, “Oh well, that’s really interesting. What did you learn about yourself through that experience?” And sometimes you see things that you wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

Sarah: Let me ask this. How do I know if coaching is right for me? Jeff, do you want to answer that?

Jeff: You betcha.

Jeff: Well, if you are a living, breathing person, coaching is right for you. It’s kind of that simple. Now, will a hundred percent of everyone out there actually go through coaching? Well, probably not. We’ve got to have realistic expectations here.

Jeff: But it really is the kind of thing that we all need somebody in life, whether we want to acknowledge that or not, but somebody that can walk alongside us, someone we can open up to, someone that really will know us for who we are. And then, we can sit down and share our lives together, and we can look at where we’re at and where we sense we need to go, and then have someone who can encourage and challenge us as we move forward.

Jeff: You’ll know it’s right for you, first of all, if you just try it. And then, if you connect with a person who you feel comfortable with, that’s great. And then if not, just reconnect with another person until you find that person that you really resonate with and that can help you to grow.

Sarah: Another question we get is what is the difference between coaching and counseling? And I think Terry, you can answer this really well, because you are actually a professional counselor.

Terry: I am. There are some similarities between the two. There’s still kind of a one-on-one relationship. The difference is that a counselor is usually Master’s or further trained in what their skill set is all about. We are setting up a professional relationship where it’s really one-sided in the sense of you go in, and you talk to the counselor, and the counselor is listening to your story and hopefully helping you see your story through a professional perspective, asking the right kinds of questions. They’re trained in knowing how to sort between different kinds of things. Sometimes it’s like a puzzle. When I’m talking with somebody in my office, I feel like I’m trying to figure out what all the puzzle pieces are, and then how they might fit together, and to explaining why the person may be feeling depressed or anxious, but it’s more problem focused.

Terry: Whereas with coaching, it’s not problem focused in the sense of what you might see at a counselor’s office. But the coaching is more, you’re taking somebody who’s already fairly healthy, and they’re just wanting to grow and become even more healthier, go down that road a little bit farther.

Sarah: That makes sense.

Sarah: Is there a cost for being coached through Journey Coaching? And the answer is yes and no. So no, Journey is a nonprofit organization with a 501(c)(3) applied for. Yes, there is some cost for the participant guide that you go through. If that becomes an issue with anyone, then we can work that out. There’s scholarships available for that. The cost is very minimal, because it’s just for the cost of the book to go through it, the participant’s guide, so that is the answer to that.

Sarah: And then, how will I be set up with a coach? Terry, do you want to answer that question?

Terry: I think the first thing is just to contact us, and let us know, “I want to be coached.” We will do everything we can to try to match you with somebody who would be a good coach in your area. We are local here. Journey is a fairly young organization, and so we may not have coaches in some areas. It’s just a matter of getting in contact with us, and we’ll do what we can to try to match you with somebody who’s coaching at this time.

Sarah: And you say local. We are in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, so that is what Terry mentioned regarding being local.

Sarah: And what if I feel uncomfortable with my coach?

Terry: I think that’s a real easy one to answer. First of all, coaching is an important building, trusting relationships with somebody else. If you have a meeting with a coach, and you just really don’t feel like it’s a good fit for whatever reason. They may be a really good coach, but they just don’t fit your personality, or you’re not feeling comfortable enough to share the things that from your story that could be helpful to share. Then, I would just contact us back, and just say, “Hey, you know what, this person that I met with doesn’t feel like a good fit. Can I find somebody else?” And we’ll gladly try to find somebody else for you.

Sarah: I think that would be important that we actually would want to hear that feedback.

Terry: Absolutely.

Sarah: How long will I have a coach for?

Jeff: You’ll have a coach intentionally for seven sessions. The material was designed to take you through seven intentional sessions. We don’t say seven weeks, because sometimes it can take a lot more time than seven weeks, because again, you’re looking at schedules and what works and what flows. It’s probably two to three months. We’ve taken people through, and it’s been six months. It really depends on your situation, and your coach, and how you can schedule your time together.

Terry: I think, ideally, we tell people to plan on about an hour to an hour and a half per session and at least a week or so apart, maybe a week, maybe two weeks apart. It depends a lot on schedules. But there’s some homework to do in between the sessions where you answer some questions. Your commitment to be coached, would be about an hour, hour and a half a session for about seven sessions. I’m going to guess anywhere between 20 minutes to 60 minutes of homework in the in between time.

Sarah: Last question. I finished my coaching session. Now what?

Jeff: Well, there’s a couple of things that can happen. First of all, it’s really a healthy thing to then get together with other people. It’s kind of like if you’ve got a fire, and there’s a log in the fire, and that one log is burning red hot. But if that log just sits there by itself, and burns red hot, it doesn’t burn red hot for a long time. You need other chunks of wood alongside of it.

Jeff: Like in life, we need people around us, where we can just share our lives together. We were designed for that, and that is certainly a hope for Journey Coaching is that coached people get together in small groups, and then they continue to grow for the longterm. And then the other hope and the vision for Journey is that some people will then coach others. It’s the kind of thing where once you’ve been coached, and once you say to yourself, “Hey, this was good stuff, and I am not sure I could do this, but I think I could do this.” Step out, and take the chance, and go connect with another person and take them through the coaching.

Terry: I’d like to qualify that just a little bit. Not everybody is going to be wired up and gifted to be a coach. I think we need to recognize that from the beginning. Some people will say, “There’s no way I could do this.” And that’s fine. You don’t have to do that. The whole focus in the seven weeks is for you to get to know your story, learning your strengths, your weaknesses, learn about your worldview and how that affects the decisions you’re making and that sort of thing. And then, you come towards the end of the seven weeks, and the coach helps you set some kind of goals for some type of growth. The coach doesn’t tell you how to grow.

Terry: You are the one who discerns that. The last session is really a chance to get together and say, “Hey, wait a minute. How is my goal setting going? Is it working? Did the goals that I set, are they working out for me?” At that point, the coach and the person who’s being coached decide where do we go from here? Do we want to keep meeting and keep working on that particular goal? Setting some new goals. Do you want to try meeting with a different coach who might have a specialty in the area that you’re looking for? Do you want to get involved in a small group, a large group? There’s a whole bunch of different options at that point. And that’s the discussion to have with your coach in the seventh week.

Jeff: Right. And sort of to wrap it up. We’re all here on earth for a short time. We all are designed for purpose. So if we can individually just get in touch more with what we sense that is and if we can have some help doing that, how cool could that be? And really, the larger mission in serving the world is we link arms and move forward together.

Sarah: Awesome. Awesome.

Sarah: If you want to learn more about Journey Coaching, go to journeycoaching.org. Like and follow us on Twitter and Instagram and Facebook. And we would love to talk with you. Send us a DM, Instagram message, or Facebook message, and we will talk to you later. Bye.

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

Built For Connection

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode, Lianne, Annie and Sarah discuss the in’s and out’s of building connection. They also offer tips on how to connect with others.


Coaching Is Friendship That Facilitates Growth

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode, Lianne, Terry and Sarah talk about the difference between a coaching friendship and a traditional friendship. They explain how a coaching friendship is structured in nature with intentional goals in mind whereas a traditional friendship is more spontaneous.


Transcription of Podcast


Sarah: Welcome, welcome, welcome. Welcome back to the Journey podcast. I’m Sarah and I’m here with Terry and Lianne, I’m going to let you introduce this podcast.

Your life, your journey, starts now.

Lianne: So today we have an interesting topic. Journey is all about relationships, and Journey is also about an intentional relationship between a coach and someone else. And so I guess the question would be, what is the difference between a coaching relationship and a friendship relationship?

Terry: I think both of them are really important. They’re both… It’s very important that we have friendship-friendships, friendship kind of relationships. But I think it’s also important at times in our life especially, to have coaching type relationships.

Terry: The difference as I see it is, that a coaching relationship is a little bit more formal. It’s not like a mentoring relationship where there’s a person on the other side of the relationship that’s an expert and there’s kind of a change in the balance of power and that sort of thing. A coaching relationship is more… It’s kind of like an intentional friendship. I think it is something that helps people… There’s an anticipation of some kind of growth versus just two people talking to just have a friendship.

Lianne: Well I think one thing you could say for sure is that the Journey coaching is a structured kind of a situation. So you are having a pretty good quality conversation through it because it is structured and it’s kind of drawing out. Whereas a lot of times in friendship you’re just kind of… Things are happening spontaneously so it has a little bit different purpose and that may be one of the big differences.

Terry: Sure. I think when you talk about structure, I think the goals… Most of the time a coaching relationship has some kind of goals involved. You know, you’re setting the goal of learning more about each other, or you’re setting the goal… In Journey one of the first goals we set is to hear each other’s story or to understand the story that the person is coming in with. So much of what we find out about our own strengths and our own weaknesses and even our own worldview comes from the story our life has made… It’s kind of like each life is a book and the narrative or the story that goes along with what’s gotten us to this place. In coaching, there’s a goal to that, we’re not just telling the story. Our goal is to try to find something out about us that we may not have known before.

Sarah: And with Lianne being my coach, I think that what’s been really… I think what I would say about it being different between friendship and just general coaching is I have a fairly easy time making friends, but I feel like the word that I would describe the coaching situation with Lianne was safe. I felt safe in my relationship with Lianne. It’s kind of like I’m talking behind her back and she’s right here.

Lianne: I’m listening.

Terry: What was it about that relationship with Lianne as your coach that made you feel safe?

Sarah: Well, she was transparent with me. I think she was very nervous because… Was I one of the first people that you… You didn’t feel like… It almost is almost like you didn’t feel equipped to do it.

Lianne: Yeah, I think you’re right. I think I felt like I didn’t know how to do it, but as we went through it, I think I might have called Terry with a question about just one kind of bad habit I felt like I had, which is trying to make people feel like we all have these problems or whatever, you know, I wanted to do that, but that wasn’t really my role. My role was to listen and let you talk. So I think-

Sarah: Well and I really appreciate it because you always seemed embarrassed when you would tell me, “I don’t feel equipped to do this.” It was almost like you were like, “I’m not ready to do this and I don’t know if I’m the best person.” And I was like, “No, I really… I’m happy with this” and everything like that.

Sarah: I think that that transparency really was huge and helpful. And I don’t know if I’d say maybe it’s just my personality, but I think that that’s just life. On one of our other podcasts, we talk about building real relationships and you were really honest and real with me that this is out of my comfort zone and that transparency helped me be more transparent with you.

Sarah: I don’t really have that hard of a time being transparent with people. It made me trust you more because I felt like you would say what you really thought and then I didn’t feel like, “Well what is Lianne really thinking?” because I knew you would… I mean I feel like you would say it, and therefore I felt safe.

Terry: Well and I think that what you bring up, both of you brought up, is really an important piece that we may need to do another podcast on that specific thing of, you know, what if somebody feels like they might want to be a coach but they don’t really know if they’ve got what it takes or they don’t really feel equipped. We can have a whole other conversation or probably several conversations on answering that question.

Terry: I think it’s really neat that the very thing that you thought probably wasn’t going to make you a good coach was the very thing that helped Sarah feels safe in her role, in her relationship with you.

Lianne: Yeah.

Sarah: And then with the friendship, because it’s been a year now and so Lianne walks in here to podcast, we haven’t really talked very much in the last month or two since really around Christmas time or whatever. I’m just excited to see you again and you walk in and I’m like, “Lianne!” You know, and when you see me you’re like, “Hwy, Sarah!” and I just, I really appreciate that relationship. And the funny thing, what’s really cool about this, regarding the friendship thing, is I knew you for several years because you’re good friends with my parents, and they would always rave about you.

Sarah: It’s no secret that Terry Carlson is my mom and then my dad, Jeff Carlson is not recording with us right now, but he’s here in the room and he’s doing a little dance or whatever.

Sarah: So yeah, but they would rave about you. And it wasn’t until we had that relationship that we started building that relationship… I mean it was just… The relationship that you and I have would not exist if it were not for Journey coaching.

Terry: Well I think you’re kind of blurring the lines. Our topic today is what’s the difference? You’re kind of blurring the line between the two, but I think that’s a really good example of how coaching can become a friendship. You know, we’re not talking about counseling relationship where you have to maintain professional boundaries and all that stuff. Coaching is a much more peer-to-peer kind of a situation. I think it’s beautiful that you and Lianne have built a friendship out of the coaching relationship.

Lianne: I think that’s kind of really an important thing to emphasize, is that working with somebody with the coaching relationship. It’s reassuring to know that you are not expected to be the expert in the room as the coach and that the other person is just as much. It’s, it is very much an even relationship. That is where with even friendships aren’t always that way. So it’s designed specifically to be fairly even, reciprocal kind of a-

Sarah: I would not have had a great, I really don’t think I would have had as good of an experience with Journey if Lianne came across as like a professional.

Terry: Right. I think that’s a good point.

Sarah: Well, what were you going to say though?

Terry: Well, I think the coaches… But the analogy that I was going to use is, and we use the word Journey to describe this type of coaching for a reason.

Terry: It’s like somebody going along… it’s almost like Lianne has been, she took a journey to California and she came back and she said, “Hey Sarah, do you want to go to California? I’ve been there, let me show you how.”

Lianne: Yeah, exactly.

Sarah: Yeah.

Terry: And it’s not like she’s an expert on California, but at the same time she’s been down the road a little bit. She went through the coaching herself first.

Lianne: So one of the big important distinctions between just a casual friendship and a coaching relationship is the intentionality.

Sarah: Absolutely. I think that’s a really good way to describe it.

Lianne: And I actually felt like that was actually a surprising benefit for me because had I not had that intentional… I guess you can kind of get into friendships where you kind of chatter, you talk about things and that person reminds you of something else you were going to talk about and they have this interesting story. I feel like the intentionality kind of gave me a purpose, had me slow down and then to listen and I just felt like it just is a really high quality conversation that way, don’t you Sarah?

Sarah: I agree. And also another way I would describe this is kind of like the world quieted down for… I knew that we would have that one-on-one time. We went to a lot of coffee shops and restaurants or we’d be at my office where that time was set aside. You were very gracious that you came towards me because we live probably 45 minutes away, 30 minutes away from each other. Time just quieted down and it was dedicated time to just spend time together, think, and process things that have happened in my life, that happened in your life. Moving forward on things, working in our strengths instead of trying to fix all of our weaknesses but working in our strengths and stuff. It was just a really neat time.

Terry: Well, and I think the intentionality is really important because it’s where the intentionality comes in is kind of the goals. I’m not talking about really strict rigid goals, but the goal of coaching is to really facilitate or to encourage growth. If you think about it, I mean you really had, you had some insights into your own leadership skills and stuff by when you went through coaching.

Sarah: Yeah, and that was amazing too because I fought against doing coaching. My parents, you know… My mom’s the one who wrote Journey coaching with Mike. My dad’s the one that’s been pushing this and I thought, “I don’t need to do this. This is just how I was raised.” But I did, even as myself who pushed back against doing it for years, I still learned a lot. I still built a really great relationship with Lianne and it really was very worthwhile, especially as I was going through a lot of changes in my life last year at the same time too. So yeah, it was really good.

Terry: So I think facilitating growth is probably one of the biggest benefits of going through coaching versus just having a friendship.

Sarah: Yeah. And as someone who’s been on a growth, what would you say? Growth mindset, growth projectory, for years. I mean my mom who wrote the book has raised me this way, and it still helped push me forward. I think you never stop moving forward, right? I mean isn’t that the thing, as soon as you stop and you stand in one place, you’re going to go backwards instead of, you know.

Terry: Well, and I think you can even… I think there’s even a benefit. We haven’t actually had anybody to do this yet because Journey isn’t that old of a process. But I think it would be a benefit to maybe 5, 10, 20 years later going through the process again and just seeing how has my story changed, how has my journey changed? What do I want to set as new goals for growth in the future?

Sarah: That’s even long. I would say every year. I mean it’s been a year since I went through it and I’m kind of like, well I mean maybe I should take someone else through it because you kind of go through it at the same time together again. I probably should take someone through it now. I think it’s just… My dad’s over here nodding up and down really heavily or whatever. So-

Terry: One thing we know for sure is that each coaching relationship between a couple people, two couples, whatever, is going to be unique and it’s going to all be dependent on their needs and where they’re at. And so I think-

Sarah: And different personalities too.

Terry: …different personalities, combinations, chemistry, what part of the country are you from probably changes it even, so I would say that the differences… the intentionality we’ve talked about, we’ve talked about the growth. Also, there’s no reason they have to be mutually exclusive because you do develop a pretty good friendship once you realize the things you have in common. You develop a good friendship with the people you coach, that’s a fairly strong possibility.

Sarah: So we should probably wrap up this podcast. Thanks for listening in. Please like and subscribe. You can find us at journeycoaching.org you can also find us on Facebook and Instagram, Spotify, iTunes, and yeah, reach out to us. Give us a holler and tell us your thoughts. Maybe we’ll include your questions on another podcast.

Terry: That’s a great idea.

Sarah: Yeah in the future. So yeah, thanks for listening. We’ll talk to you later, bye.

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

Your life, your journey, starts now.

The Birth Of A New Concept From An Old Idea

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode Jeff and Sarah explore the topic of what coaching is all about. In this episode they discuss how they got to this point of developing the coaching, what it is and why it’s important.


Risking New Relationships

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode Sarah, Terry and Lianne encourage each individual to step out and risk building new relationships.


Transcription of Podcast


Sarah: Welcome back to the Journey Podcast. I’m Sarah Banowetz, and I’m here with Lianne Westcott and Terry Carlson and today our topic is risking new relationships.

(singing)

Sarah: This is a neat topic.

Lianne: Yeah, I think there’s a lot of possibility in that. People stepping out, risking new relationships. It seems like we can get stuck in wanting relationships where people are kind of like us and they think the same things as us. Sometimes when we spend a little bit longer with people, we find out we have a lot in common with them. It’s pretty awesome. At first you think, “Well, I don’t have that much in common,” but if you really take time, talk to somebody, learn about them, you can find that you have a lot of things in common and that’s how friendships are made.

Sarah: So why is it that… I’m an extrovert, so I have a hard time understanding this, so maybe you guys can give a little insight to me. Why is it that new relationships are risky?

Terry: I think there’s a lot of fear. I think there’s a lot of fear that they anticipate that the other person’s maybe not going to accept them, that they may not say things right, they may put their foot in the mouth, that sort of thing. At least that’s what I’ve heard at times is the fear.

Lianne: Well, we all have a comfort zone and some people, their comfort zone is in trying new things all the time. They want to go out and have adventures. Other people, their comfort zone is in a little bit of fear of the unknown. What if I come across to somebody else a certain way? What if they aren’t a type of person I really want to have a longterm relationship with? There’s just such a variety in what people are comfortable with.

Sarah: Yeah, that makes sense.

Terry: Well, I think that sometimes too, people come out of… A lot of our learning how to be social and learning how to be in relationship comes from our junior high or middle school and high school ages. And the problem is there’s a lot of cliques in that age and there’s a lot of different kind of things that go on that make it difficult to reach out and get new friends, make new friends. And then once we leave high school, it’s even harder because we don’t have that pool of peers to kind of draw on. And I think we just get busy in our lives, and so busyness can tend to be part of it. We may know a lot of people we work with, we may know a lot of people in college or whatever environment we’re in, but as far as just sitting down and having those one-on-one relationships or small group relationships with each other, it’s difficult.

Sarah: Yeah.

Lianne: I think one way to make relationships a little bit easier is to wade into them. So people talk about small talk. Can you get to know people through small talk? I think absolutely. Actually, that’s something we all could work on is maybe our skills of just being able to have a good conversation with somebody, But yet you don’t have to go to the TMI thing. You don’t have to really disclose a lot about yourself to get to know people better. I think just kind of walking down that path with somebody and keep… Start with the small talk, find out about them, and then just keep going down the path and get to know them a little bit deeper as you build trust and relationship. There can be a lot of reward to that.

Sarah: Do you guys have any insight into how to transition from small talk to slightly less small talk, like slightly deeper conversations, especially for someone who it doesn’t come naturally to?

Terry: I think some of it is just gradually getting to that place where you share a little bit of yourself at a time. Not necessarily going all the way deep, but saying, adding if you think this person might be somebody that you’d like to spend more time with, you can kind of ask them that, “Hey, do you want to have a cup of coffee? Do you want to… ” If the relationship is clicking, if you guys are having some things to talk about then, it just will naturally go deeper in a lot of ways. Some people end up going too fast, too deep, and then they get hurt. “Well, I gave somebody all this information about myself and then that person went and blabbed it all over.” That kind of thing tends to make people pull back and not trust people again. So giving little bits of information at a time and making sure the person’s trustworthy before you tell them a little bit deeper for a part of yourself.

Sarah: Well, and along that point, managing expectations too, because if you go too fast and too deep too fast, you may think that you know the other… Managing expectations, like you guys might end up hitting it off really well from a friendship level, but if you come on too strongly and stuff, then sometimes you just-

Terry: Scare them away.

Sarah: Scare them away or scare yourself, too, because you think that they’re someone else and you’re making that up in your mind that this is who this person is, and they’re really not that person. Then it could have been a great friendship, but it’s ruined because you had all these ideas of who they are and that’s not who they were. So instead ask a lot of questions and find out who this person is and what makes them tick and-

Lianne: Oh, I think that’s a great point because listening is probably the harder thing for people to do. We can talk a lot easier than we can listen. So maybe just slowing down, listening to people, building up conversation skills, how to ask good questions, and then see where it goes from there.

Sarah: I have had a lot of luck in asking questions when I’m meeting new people. I’m so curious about people and I want to know their backstory and everything. I want to know all about them, what makes them tick and stuff. Not because I’m… I don’t know, that’s just who I am. I think it’s the extrovert in me. And so I’m answering the question I asked earlier is how do you build those relationships? I think people do need to listen a lot and ask a lot of questions. Because then that’s where you can find out more about that person, make less assumptions about them, find out more information. And people do like to talk about themselves, too. I’ve had good luck with building friendships. My sister said I can make friends inside of a paper bag, and I think it’s just because I ask a lot of questions.

Lianne: Yeah, and I think that’s really hitting on maybe the focus is the reward. So the risk in relationships is that maybe concentrate more on the reward than the risk and just see what happens.

Sarah: So what would the reward be?

Lianne: Connection with people, getting to know more people, broadening your horizons, having just some interesting interactions and things to do.

Terry: Well, and I think connection. This again goes back to the mental health standpoint. When we connect with other people and we have these positive relationships, we have a better mental health picture. They’re looking, statistics are showing now that people who are not connected have a lot more depression and anxiety and other issues. So taking that risk to be connected with other people is a healthy thing.

Sarah: It is very healthy. Because I have a company and one thing that I had been looking into is this idea of, and we’re doing this like even with Journey, is that we can be connected to people via technology like Zoom and all of our Google products and stuff like this. So we don’t have to meet with people face-to-face in order to have working relationships with them. This has been a turning point in our world, not even just in our country, but in our world where a lot of people are working away from offices, and they’re working from their homes and they’re working from coffee shops and they’re traveling, which is exciting and they get to travel and meet new people, too. But there’s also a lot of people who are just working from home. 20 years ago you’d get those connections with at least your coworkers and such, and now your coworkers are spread out literally across the world.

Lianne: I was going to say the reward, if you can just get it down to just a little snapshot, to me would be, I remember when I was much younger and I was somewhere sitting and waiting in a mall or somewhere, and an older woman sat down and she just had some kind of a statement like she just isn’t happy now that she’s old. She just reminded me a lot of my grandma who had passed away, and I just wasn’t much of a conversationalist. So I thought of it internally how it would be really great to reach out and have a good conversation with her, but it was a little bit harder.

Lianne: So I think just as we reach out to each other, we’re maybe in a less connected world than we used to be. I don’t know if that’s true, but if we reach out to others, we can just help one person at a time or ourselves to be a little bit less lonely.

Sarah: What happened in that situation? Did you end up talking to her?

Lianne: It just kind of came and went, but learned, I’ve-

Sarah: So now you have-

Lianne: … I kept that with me and learned a lot from it.

Sarah: So now you’re keeping your… You have your eye out for that kind of situation now.

Lianne: Yeah, and now that I’ve been around a while, I’m a much better conversationalist so I could probably jump on that opportunity a little bit quicker than in the old days.

Sarah: That’s awesome.

Terry: Well, we’re in a society now that’s really technologically connected. When you think about how many Facebook friends most people have and connections on LinkedIn, and all of the other things, you know, social media, but yet we’re more and more and more disconnected from others individually in a personal sort of way.

Sarah: Yeah, and that’s deeper. That’s what I was trying to get at, the deeper sense, those close relationships where you’re really getting to know people really well and who, if there is a crisis moment, you can call on those people.

Terry: Well, I think the answer isn’t to get rid of the technology necessarily, but to find a balance between I can be technologically connected to people, but I can also be socially and personally connected to some.

Sarah: Because the technology that we have right now can aid in person interactions, even if it doesn’t have to, I mean sometimes spouses are overseas and stuff like that, but you can still have deep connections even through technology. It’s just making that intentional effort of having those deep conversations and opening yourself up to real relationships with people where they see who you really are.

Lianne: So I guess to wrap it up, we’ll say, yes, take risks in relationships.

Terry: The answer is yes.

Sarah: And to ask questions to help and just put yourself out there to get to that point where you can do that. So you’ve been listening to the Journey Coaching Podcast. We can be found on journeycoaching.org, also on Facebook, Instagram. Reach out to us, make sure you like and subscribe for more information. We’re all about creating connection with people and helping to facilitate that. So make sure you tune in and thanks for listening. Bye.

Terry: Bye.

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

(singing)

How Do You Handle Busyness?

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode, Travis, Jody, Terry and Sarah discuss how to effectively handle busyness. They also talk about what would happen if you built margin time into your life?

Transcription of Podcast

Terry: Welcome to The Journey Podcast. Today, the voices that I want to introduce are we’ve got Sarah coming back today.

Sarah: Hello.

Terry: And we’ve got Travis.

Travis: Hi, everybody.

Terry: And we have Jody.

Jody: Hey there.

Terry: And this is Terry. I guess I should have introduced myself to begin with.

Sarah: Hi Terry.

Terry: Hello.

Sarah: It’s weird to call you that, she’s my mom so…

Terry: Yeah well, that’s okay. One of the topics that we kind of decided on that we wanted to talk about today that seems really relevant for a lot of people is the topic of busyness. As I don’t suppose anyone of you guys have difficulty with that.

Travis: I have no problems with busyness whatsoever.

Sarah: No, not at all.

Travis: No.

Terry: You’re very happy being very busy?

Travis: No. No. No. Maybe where we start is we drop all of our reasons why we’re so incredibly busy. So I’ll just start. And so I work a full-time job which is a thing and then I also, we plant house churches on the side which is another thing, and then I have a wife and four kids and an adoptive daughter and so there is no end to business in that mix, most of the time. Okay. So now somebody else’s turn. Sarah, why are you so busy?

Sarah: Well, I have six kids, so let’s start right there. And a husband and two dogs and a business and friends, who I love. And family, who I love. So that’s why I’m busy. And I try to get to Ethiopia. So I’ve been four times and I’m waiting, it’s been a while. That’s actually a pretty big deal too so that’s all my busyness, yeah.

Travis: Yeah.

Jody: For me, we actually, my husband, Dan, and I have just one daughter so it’s kind of nice actually, to have a very a variation here among the three of us. So we have a daughter, her name is Tara and she’s 14 years old. Which, high school-

Travis: Oh my god, yeah.

Jody: … is an interesting thing but I think one of the elements that’s very real for us is that yeah, we only have four years, less than now, that we have with her, likely under our roof.

Terry: It goes by so fast.

Jody: Yeah. And I think that’s a perspective shifter too when it comes to this topic of business.

Terry: It seems like there’s a lot of urgency when you say that four years. It seems like such a lot of urgency in that we need to kind of make the most of those four years. And urgency can be a big time consumer. It’s like, “We’ve got this urgency and that’s one of the reasons why we keep busy because we’ve got to keep moving.”

Jody: Right. Yeah. And we don’t want to miss anything. That’s really important for me. That’s my whole life. I just don’t want to miss out on anything and so we feel we need to seize every and any opportunity that comes our way out of the risk of missing out on something. I’m also in full-time ministry so I’m a pastor in a church that’s got a lot going on. A fairly large church with lots of ministries and lots of things happening, there’s never a dull moment and so just that whole mix of whether it’s family or work, we just bring different things to this topic of busyness.

Terry: Well, and I think there’s a lot of upside to busyness, we get a lot done. We can accomplish a lot of the things we want to. What are some of the downsides of busyness?

Sarah: Stress and the effect it has on your body.

Terry: Sure.

Travis: Right. Yeah. I just got done with a really large project, a two year project at work and, I mean, on top of everything else, we were working extra hours and burning the candle at both ends and getting less sleep and eating less healthy and all of the… You don’t realize how much rest and not being busy has efficiency built into it. And so, as you become busier, you actually become, at least I noticed, I became less efficient in the process. I was getting less done even though I was trying to do more. And that was kind of hard to recognize, in multiple areas of my life.

Sarah: Yeah. Exactly. Actually I was with a bunch of business owners yesterday and one of them is a physical therapist and he was actually talking about that. He mentioned resiliency. Resiliency? Am I saying that correctly?

Travis: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yep. Yep.

Sarah: And I asked him, I said, “Well, what does that have to do with physical therapy and your health?” And he went off on that about how adrenaline and he talked about… He talked a lot about adrenaline, it’s made for a purpose but if we keep running on adrenaline, it lowers our immune system and we actually end up having issues with our body as a result. One being, there’s a lot of effects with pain and illness and stuff that runs when you’re running on adrenaline for too long.

Travis: Right.

Terry: I think another casualty of business is relationships. Sometimes it’s hard to have… We have important relationships but we can’t really get to them.

Jody: Yeah. We don’t invest in them in a important sort of intentional way and that can really take a toll over the long haul, right?

Terry: Absolutely.

Travis: I find too that when you’re busy, you don’t get to step back and make sure that you’re focusing on the most important things. So typically, when I get busy, one of the things that helps snap me out of it is realizing, okay, I’ve actually mis-prioritized a bunch of different thing sin my life because I’ve been focusing on keeping, to use the analogy we used in of the other podcasts, keep this one plate spinning. And I’m letting all these other plates that are spinning kind of wobble out of control. And so frequently mis-prioritizing things happens.

Terry: It seems like a lot of times we’re letting the urgent things crowd out the important things.

Travis: Exactly.

Terry: Some things are urgent but they’re not necessarily as important as some of the other things and yet, the things that are very important and not so urgent kind of get lost.

Sarah: I struggle with this with… So Ethiopian culture or African culture in general is very focused on relationships. And so I’ve studied a lot and have a lot of friends, both in… So there’s this warm climate culture and cold climate cultures. And cold climate cultures tend to be more focused on business and working and that’s how you support your family. Where as in warm climate culture tend to be more focused on relationships and that’s how you survive, is on the relationships that you have with everybody else.

Sarah: And so we live in Iowa which is a cold climate culture and I spend a significant amount of my time, energy and relationships in Ethiopia culture which is a warm climate culture and this is incredibly hard balance. Because right now I’m so busy with my business which is definitely cold climate culture focus and priorities, yet my warm climate culture relationships are actually suffering.

Sarah: I have African friends, not just Ethiopian but Congolese but Burundi friends who live in the Easter Iowa area and I know that my relationships with them are suffering and it would almost be like if you were doing a bad job at work, in our cold climate culture. We literally are doing something wrong if we’re doing a poor job at work. I’m literally doing something by having this poor relationship just because I’m so busy and it’s just really, it’s stress. It stresses me out because relationships are really important and there is this balance that you need to find between the relationships that you have and…

Sarah: I know that’s opening a whole other door about different cultures and stuff too.

Jody: I think another dynamic is that sometimes we lose track of what’s even happening in our own lives and it is a really great segway to journey coaching to have another person come alongside you or a couple other people come alongside you, weekly even, is possible or every other week, something like that, to hear what’s really going on and offer and outside perspective. Because sometimes things are just too close to us and maybe lament. We see, we hear, we feel the pain of something that needs our attention and we just can’t get to it.

Jody: But somebody, sometimes outside of us can say, “Well, have you thought about this?” Or they can ask some questions that help us get after how we need to evaluate that. Maybe even sometimes just an incremental shift in the way we spend our mornings that can open something up.

Terry: And what would happen if you built margin time into your life? And margin time, we haven’t really discussed that much but margin time is where you really put some time in and you don’t have… It’s a place on your calendar with, there’s nothing during your day or during your week. And what would that look like if you had margin time? The next time a friend ends up in the hospital and you are too busy to go up and see them, that margin time would make that possible.

Jody: Yeah. Absolutely.

Sarah: I think The Journey helps with that in terms of the fact that you can go off either extreme. In terms of time management and your relationships and what you take and what your priorities and everything like that. So what I like about Journey is that it helps create time for those relationships which in, quite frankly in… I was born and raised here so I don’t know much but from I am understanding about Eastern Iowa culture, because I’m so immersed in it is that we don’t focus on our… We’re so independent. We’re a farming a community. Even if we’re living in the city.

Sarah: Our ancestors, the traditions that were passed down to us, as people who are born and raised in Eastern Iowa is we’re very independent. We don’t need other people. We don’t need to sit down and spend time with a friend. But we do. But that’s the thing is, we don’t think we do but we do. And Journey opens the door for creating opportunities to have those relationships because we need to learn from other cultures. Like warm climate cultures. People who are very relational based. We can learn from that and fulfill our human needs for companionship and relationship and Godly ways, so.

Terry: So I guess, to summarize. What can, and again this is a Journey podcast so how can Journey help us with the idea of busyness?

Travis: Well, I think one of the things that’s really helpful is just to step back and look at what you’re giving your time and energy to because I think, we don’t talk about the end of the journey process, but one of the most helpful chapters, I think, for me, was how am I aligning my time with the things that I’m strongest in, probably the things that most of us around the table would say we’re called to, and give ourselves to? And I think that was, for me, what was one of the most important things, is okay, how can I weed out the things that maybe aren’t so crucial to life but I’ve kind of just let them…

Travis: It’s like a garden that you’ve let kind of overcrowd with weeds. It’s kind of sapping the life out of the soil. How can I weed some of those things out so that the things that I really want to grow in this garden, called my life actually, grow and flourish?

Terry: That’s a great way to say it.

Sarah: Yeah. And doing that in both… It’s twofold because in both taking the time to have that relationship with your coach to go through the journey participant guide together and having that time set aside where you’re meeting for coffee, or lunch or breakfast or whatever it is, you’re creating time there and then building that relationship. But then, in the process of what you’re actually looking at, while you’re doing it, while you’re actually going through the journey workbook, you’re talking about, like what Travis is talking about, your strengths and helping to…

Sarah: I heard a quote and I don’t know who it was but something about… As soon as I say this someone’s going to be to tell me who said this. But successful people say no and highly successful say no often. Or most of the time.

Travis: I’ve heard the quote. I can’t tell you who says it but I’ve heard it.

Sarah: So whoever’s listening to this can Google it and figure out who it was that said that but that’s the thing is-

Travis: Some really smart said…

Sarah: Someone really smart says that. And I think that going through the coaching process, you’re helping… It’s looking at who you are and what you’re gifted at, what your priorities are, what’s going on in your life and helping to make decisions based off of that. So I’d say twofold.

Jody: Yeah. And almost a flip, what you just said, in a cool way, probably successful, healthy, well-balanced people who are helping people know Jesus are people who say yes often.

Sarah: Yes.

Jody: What is it? And say yes a lot. Or how is it?

Sarah: Well, oh, yeah. Say yes-

Jody: But to the right things.

Sarah: Yeah to the right things. Yeah, that’s the other thing because when you’re saying yes to something, you’re saying no to something else and so going through the journey process, it helps you know what to say yes to and what to say not to so that you can really say yes to the things you really want to say.

Terry: That’s perfect. I think this is a good place for us to wrap it up for now. But that was a really good way of describing it. Thank you very much being here.

Sarah: Thank you for listening, you guys.

Travis: Yes.

Jody: Thank you.

Sarah: Tune in next time and we’ll see you soon. Bye.

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

How Did Journey Coaching Start?

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode Terry, Mike and Sarah explain how Journey Coaching started. It all started with the thought of what the historical church did to help people grow and how do we continue to do that today?

Transcription of Podcast

Sarah: Well, welcome back to Journey Podcast. We’re back with Mike and Terry and today we’re going to talk about how journey coaching started.

Music: Your life, your journey starts now.

Sarah: So Terry is an RN and has worked in church ministry and in business leadership. She’s also a licensed counselor. Mike is a consultant for both large and small churches and he has a master’s and PhD in education and is in the middle of working on his dissertation. Is that correct, Mike?

Mike: That’s correct, although it’s on hold at the moment, but so I’m kind of working.

Sarah: That stuff is hard stuff though.

Mike: Yes it is.

Sarah: I have a professor friend and that, yeah.

Mike: Yes.

Sarah: Okay, so these two, Mike and Terry, they are the writers of Journey Coaching, and so I just wanted ask you guys how did Journey come about? What is the story with this journey coaching?

Mike: Well, prior to, and we’ll talk about Jeff and you’ll meet him and in a podcast to come.

Sarah: Yes.

Mike: Jeff is Sarah’s dad and Terry’s husband. Prior to meeting Jeff, my dissertation work is on the subject of what happened historically in the church to help people grow. What did pastors do? What did the leaders of churches do to help their congregations mature, grow, whatever way that you think about that, and how do we do that today? Comparing and contrasting the two.

Mike: Certainly what I saw in history was a metaphor that in the church would be described as shepherding, and S everybody probably sees a shepherd with the staff on a hill and there’s a bunch of animals down there, and that actually, if I had more time to talk about it, is actually a role that a leader would take, and did take in a church that was very much come alongside, know their names and really help them individually.

Mike: That’s in the church what pastors did historically, and then today what do they do, and today’s church organization runs a little bit more like lots of programs to help people so that pastors don’t necessarily know everybody in their congregation, but they ensure that they bring people in to run programs to help serve them. It’s that distinction that I asked not saying which is right or which is wrong, but what are the pros and cons? Why was it done this way in the past and why is it done this way in the future? And a whole podcast could be spent on that, but to cut to the chase, it was a sense of what happened in the past that’s lost in the future needs to be recovered.

Mike: And the way that we’ve been thinking about it here is coaching. But when I think of shepherding and coaching, there are a lot of similarities, and I think what we mean by coaching is with one person coming alongside another person and helping them grow, that’s what pastors did historically. So I moved into this whole experience with that kind of sense of we need to recover that in the church.

Terry: I think shepherding is a good term to use alongside with coaching.

Mike: Yeah.

Terry: It’s a good picture.

Mike: Yeah. Terry and I will talk more about the particulars of coaching in podcasts that come, but anyway, with that kind of angst in me and having been a pastor for almost 30 years, so I’ve lived this and I’ve been the one who runs programs, and I’ve had the privilege of walking beside people as well, and having experienced that both. So I was working at the leadership summit one year coming out of all of my sense of what I’d been studying and my doctoral degree and that I felt like there was a missing piece in the church, and I was working at a large leadership summit. That’s where I was. I was working at a booth there and Jeff walked up to me, and we started a conversation and he had been feeling a similar sense of challenge with some things that were missing in the church and that scene growth.

Mike: So that spawned a relationship around wanting to do something about it, and he was married to Terry. I eventually get to meet her, and then the three of us really resonated with there’s a piece of this missing that we really feel like we need to do something about. So I think I’ll hand it over to Terry because she entered into this story along that road and her husband dragged her along to meet this crazy Mike guy.

Terry: I remember the first time sat around a table and we talked and it was just that, you know, sometimes you can just tell when things are clicking and there’s just, you could just tell that even though we came from different kinds of backgrounds, I came from a nursing background and yet our dream and our visions were all a lot about the same.

Mike: Yes.

Terry: And it was so much fun to talk with somebody else. And the more you do that, the more you talk with somebody who really is kind of speaking the same language and it’s like, oh my gosh, this is amazing. It was exciting.

Mike: It was exciting.

Terry: From my background, I come from a nursing background and I still am a nurse even though I don’t practice nursing. I went back and got my master’s degree in counseling and so I’ve got those two pieces together.

Terry: My focus has been, my passion has been on helping people be healthy. If you think of the same thing, that Mike was saying he wants to see people grow. I wanted to see people grow in a healthy sort of way. When I’m talking to clients or when I’m coaching or when I’m talking to other people, I kind of picture, if you can imagine a picture where there would be four circles and the circles would all kind of intersect. There’s the psychological part of the thinking with the cognition, what are we thinking about and how is our thinking affecting our health and our growth? There’s the social aspect. How is my relationship with other people, am I connected? Am I not connected? There’s the emotional part of it, we are emotional beings.

Terry: We have a lot of thinking, and I know our thoughts influence our feelings in a lot of ways. And how do I feel about something? That’s where our passions come in. We’re not just robots. We have this emotion that drives us. And then the last one is a spiritual thing. Even every one of those circles represents one of those things. And they all intersect into who we are in the middle. Even if you’re not a spiritual person or you don’t consider yourself a spiritual person, you still have to ask yourself the questions who am I, where am I here? How did I get here? Where am I, what’s my purpose in life? I mean, those are all really spiritual kind of questions.

Mike: Yeah.

Terry: So for me that was the passion is helping people grow in those ways.

Speaker 3: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. And then the three of us really shared that passion around what could we do to make a difference in the world of the church.

Terry: Right.

Speaker 3: We were all coming from that similar passion but from different backgrounds. And it was neat how God brought that together. And then we wondered what’s next, and then what’s next started evolving into some of the things that we’ve developed all together today, the curriculum and those pieces are evolving, and the whole concept of how to get people in a place where they’re in a relationship with another person to move forward. And we started brainstorming and thinking about what does that look like? What kind of things would they talk about?

Terry: It started to take shape and in the shape that it took, our conversations came around and we talked about how many sessions would you have for an initial coaching relationship. We decided 12 was too may, five was too few. We centered on seven or eight, and ultimately we came up with a seven session initial coaching process. The sessions are outlined, but they’re definitely not, it’s not rigid. There’s a lot of questions in this, there’s a workbook. The workbook just kind of guides people through the different questions about helping people to formulate and tell their story, and then talking about pulling their strengths out of their story. What are my strengths? We’ll talk about strengths, or we have talked about strengths in other podcasts.

Terry: I’m sure we’ll talk about them again. We also spend a time working on our weaknesses, or we call them growth areas. Some of our weaknesses, our growth areas. Some of them aren’t. Some of them, we kind of divide our weaknesses into two parts. What can we grow? What can we manage to change? I don’t like this about myself, how can I grow in that area? Other weaknesses or things we can’t overcome. I have asthma. That is a weakness in some ways. There are times when I just can’t do the things I want to do because my physical health isn’t good. I can improve it as much as possible, but that’s a weakness. How do we … So when we talk about weaknesses, are we talking about what can I change and how can I change them or do I need to accept and move on?

Terry: Do I need to reorganize my life based on the things I can do, not the things I can’t do.

Speaker 3: Yeah.

Terry: We get into direction, what direction do you want to go? What do you use as a roadmap in your life? We also talk about world view. How does that play into how I see the roadmap. Some people use the Bible as a road map. Some people use other things as a roadmap. Ultimately we come to the end of the seven weeks with helping people formulate some kind of a plan for their future, what am I going to change? Come down with one or up to two or three things that they want, the most important, two or three things they want to work on. Then the last session is a followup. The person comes back to us after we’ve been, they’ve had some time to try reaching out and doing some of the action steps to their goals.

Terry: How did that go? We don’t criticize if it didn’t go well, we just look at it as okay, what can we learn from what didn’t go well? You said you wanted to spend more time with doing dates with your husband or your wife. How did that go? Did you actually get a chance to do those things? What got in the way? And so we’re just really there to help people grow in the way that maybe they, or maybe God is moving them in. And so that’s how the workbook came about. We also put together a leaders guide. So when somebody decides they want to be a coach, we’ve got a real easy to read coach’s guide, and it talks about things, characteristics like how do you, what is listening skills, listening skills are out there? How do you build relationships?

Speaker 3: Yeah. And underneath all of it is the thing that resonates with all of us. It’s two human beings getting together, getting to know each other, one in particular serving another to help them move forward. And all of that’s incredibly important, but those are tools that we’ve created to help the relationship. And that’s the missing piece that we’re all striving to make a difference in, to try to help the church and the world move forward. People need somebody walking beside them, helping them move forward. And that’s really journey. Walking to people, walking on a journey together, one coaching and helping the other.

Sarah: Well, that’s what is so different about the programs.

Terry: Well you talk about churches, and there’s so many different kinds of churches out there. One of the things that we were very careful to do as we were sitting around the tables talking and trying to formulate this was to make sure that it was more, it wasn’t a denominational thing. We didn’t want it to be this denomination or that denomination. We wanted it to be something that would reach people wherever they were at.

Mike: Yeah.

Sarah: Let’s wrap up for today, and you guys introduced a lot of different things. I have a lot of questions, but we can dive into those on future podcasts, so thank you Mike. Thank you Terry.

Mike: Thanks.

Sarah: And we’ll talk to you guys later. Bye.

Terry: Bye.

Mike: Bye.

Speaker 5: Thank you for listening. Tune in next time and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at journeycoaching.org and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at journeycoaching.org

Your life, your journey starts now.

Finding Your Purpose

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode, Lianne, Terry and Sarah talk about finding your purpose in life. We also briefly touch on worldview (what does it mean and why we all have a worldview).


 

Transcription of Podcast


Sarah:
So, we are back with Journey Coaching. I’m Sarah Banowetz, and we have Lianne Westcott here and Terry Carlson. Our topic today is finding your focus or your purpose in life. 

Sarah:
Lianne, why don’t you jump in and… 

Lianne:
Well, I think the reason we’re talking about this is this was… One of the more important things for me when I went through the coaching myself… Which, I have gone through coaching as a couple with my husband, and also coached other people. But one thing is, that I… It was a great takeaway, and that was finding out how I can uniquely serve, how I have a purpose that’s different from everybody else’s, and how I can maybe impact the world just in the strengths and the things that I already do.

Terry:
I think that what you said is great, because it’s really the core of what journey is. It’s not just journey. That’s kind of the essence of kind of where we connect with God, I think, in a lot of ways, if you want to go that far. 

Lianne:
Journey is just trying… It’s just an attempt to try to bring that out in each person, to help you see your own purpose and your own direction. Everyone is uniquely wired up in a different way. You may even have some of the same characteristics as somebody next door. There’s different personality tests you can take, and some of them are listed in the book, as far as helping you try to identify some of those things. But two people can have almost identical personality test results, and still be totally different, because your passion and your temperament is different, and the goals that you have in life, and the journey that you’ve been on so far to this point is different. 

Sarah:
My husband and I went through the coaching with Terry and Jeff. One of the tools that we used was strengths finders, and that was really eye opening. Because a lot of those tests, my husband and I are kind of weirdly close on a lot of the things, except he’s different than I am, and I always am hoping to learn something different about him. But going through the strengths finders, it’s kind of like a real detailed description of what your strengths are, and so I did learn quite a bit from that one. 

Terry:
I really loved doing the coaching with you guys and your husband. It was so neat to see some of the characteristics come out. Your husband is very quiet, and he is very private in a lot of ways. And so, when he opened up and shared some of his things, and you got so excited to hear some of the things, and yet you’ve been married for how long?

Sarah:
At that point, probably about 30 years. 

Terry:
So I just thought that was so much fun, to see that even after 30 years, there’s still some things about each other that we didn’t know.

Sarah:
Well, then I should mention… And we’ve talked about this before, but… So, Terry and Jeff, who was on the podcast, coached Lianne and her husband. So, that’s what Terry’s referencing here. 

Terry:
And then Lianne went on to coach me, so…

Lianne:
Yeah. 

Terry:
Yeah.

Lianne:
So, we all know each other. You can say that.

Terry:
Well, in journey, the start, the very first couple of sessions is to develop your story. Your story’s already there, the story of your journey in life. And so, what we try to do is encourage people to kind of put it together in some sense of a… Oh. Some people might draw it out in a diagram. Some people might write it in… I think your husband wrote like three bullet points on his.

Lianne:
Right.

Terry:
You know, other people have a narrative that they write. But somehow putting together, in some sense, something that makes sense to themselves, of what is my story to this date? What are some of the positives that have happened? What are some of the negatives that happened? What kind of things have happened, the circumstances outside of my control? What kind of choices have I made? What kind of direction have I gone? Again, kind of looking at some of those different perspectives, like the psychological aspects of our thinking, and our cognitive part of it. How we think, and how we process things. But also our emotions, and how do we feel about the different things. But I think it’s really neat to go through and tell your story to somebody else.

Lianne:
Right, and you don’t find yourself doing that on a daily basis, like on… For example, Facebook, Instagram, whatever. Social media. We pretty much put out there snippets of our life. But to really sit down just face to face with somebody, and hear yourself talk about the things that are important, or the things that you do well, or those things that you hear back from other people that they appreciate about you… I think once you have time to… It’s kind of like putting that all together in one. Putting it together into one story that goes over the six or seven weeks, when you’re doing journey coaching, that really kind of brings to light some things. And all the sudden you’re like, you know, “There’s some things that I’m doing that used to be really fun, or that I used to be really good at. And I just think it’s time to move on, and focus on some other things, and maybe some things might start coming to light.” You might be talking about a dream of yours, and then all of the sudden in your mind, for the first time it seems like something that could really happen. That you really could put some time into without losing a whole lot. And so, being able to talk about it out loud to other people, I think is part of the beauty of what happens in journey coaching.

Terry:
I think sometimes we hear ourselves talking out loud, and even if it’s not seeing it reflected back in the other person, it’s just saying something out loud sounds different than having it said in your head. 

Sarah:
Right.

Terry:
And I think it’s sometimes helpful to just speak those things out loud. What I like about journey coaching is that it helps to process, where have I been on the journey so far? Where am I at today? What has my background been like? What am I like today? What are my goals and hopes and dreams for the future, and how do those things all relate, the past, the present, and the future? I love to help people kind of explore the past. Sometimes people will say, “Oh, well I didn’t have a very good childhood,” or, “I didn’t have a very good experience with my first marriage,” or something like that. And what I try to find out is, okay, so that’s true. There were some dark parts in your story. But what did you learn about yourself through that? Sometimes we learn the best things about ourselves, going through those dark times in life. We learn those things about ourselves. You know, “I’m more resilient than I thought I was,” or, “I learned to be stronger in this way.” Sometimes that’s important to learn, and we don’t really necessarily notice it all the time.

Sarah:
Wow. It’s fascinating to sit here and listen to the two of you talk, but we should end this podcast. And so, yeah. Great conversation, and we’ll continue with the next podcast.

Terry:
Yeah. Thank you, Sarah.

Sarah:
So, tune in.

Lianne:
Thanks, Sarah.

Speaker 5:
Thank you for listening. Tune in next time, and make sure you like and subscribe. Check us out on Facebook and Instagram.

Why Coaching?

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode, Lianne and Sarah discuss why you might want to go through Journey Coaching.


Transcription of Podcast


Sarah: So we’re back with Journey Coaching. This is Sarah Banowetz and I have Lianne Wescott here. And today’s topic is,… Lianne, why don’t you introduce today’s topic?

Lianne: Why would you want to go through Journey Coaching?

♪ Your life ♪ ♪ Your journey ♪ ♪ Starts now ♪ ♪ Ba da ba da ♪

Sarah: Ba da boom. That’s a drumroll. Deep questions. So what do you think about that, Lianne?

Lianne: Well, I feel like one of the reasons that I went through it was to just kind of hone in, like, what are some of the things that I can contribute, that I can do, spend my time doing that only I can do? Contributing to the world, making the world a little bit of a better place. Fitting in the things that I’m naturally good at or that I naturally am drawn to, do more of them and stop doing some of the things that maybe are not a good use of time anymore. I feel like each person probably has their own unique thing that they are meant to do, that is their purpose, that only they can do and a lot of people don’t even know that.

Sarah: Yeah, it’s like working in your strengths, instead of your, that was one of the big takeaways for me, I’ve mentioned before, is. What was that part in Journey where it talked about, like how, if you try to work on your weaknesses to make them better, you’re only going to go so far. But if you work on your strengths to make those better, you are really going to succeed a lot more. I’m not saying that very clearly, but.

Lianne: Well, let’s imagine that you’re an eight out of ten in some strength that you have. Very high, way up over the 50% line. And then let’s say that there’s something where you’re at 40%, under the 50% line. If you work, and you work, and you work, you can improve yourself maybe 4%. So now you’ve just gone from, or 5%, let’s say. And now you’ve just gone from an 80 to an 85, at your strength, but you’re not even to the 50% line on your weakness. So it really is a better use of your time just to go with your strengths, do the things you’re good at, and not spend a lot of time trying to correct things that are really.

Sarah: Well I’m trying to be someone else. Like, we look, admire people, and we should. I mean, we should be really joyful and thankful for who other people are, but when we try to be like those people, we’re not going to, we can’t be that person. We’ve got to be ourselves and we have our own unique giftings and talents, and to, our God-given talents, and to really grow in the, to really walk in those God-given talents produces some good fruit.

Lianne: Right, so yeah, for looking around and trying to see what other people are doing, it’s better just to maybe sit down and do the coaching. And then, people, maybe that person’s reflecting back to you some things that you hadn’t thought about. Like, I’m really good at those things, maybe I can apply ’em in this way or do that? So, aside from relationship building, I think that’s my number one purpose that I’ve found in the Journey Coaching.

Sarah: Lianne, what might be another reason why someone might wanna, would wanna do coaching?

Lianne: Well I think we all get to points at our life that we’re transitioning that might be a time of different stage of life. Kids are a different stage of life, maybe changing in jobs, adding, reducing hours, things like that. I also think there’s a time in life when everything was working for awhile but maybe we kind of lose our focus. And I felt kind of that way, like I was a little bit on a plateau and I just didn’t know where to go next, and that’s important to some people. Other people, maybe they’re new to an area and they just want to feel like, how do I plug in?

Sarah: Oh yeah, that’s next in the thought too, is, you know, the relationship building and.

Lianne: Mhmm, so anyway, but I feel like for me the number one reason is just, you know, finding that purpose, finding a little bit of focus. And for me it was how to serve because I just, again, looking around and seeing what other people were doing but was my way that I was going to uniquely serve? And I just think it was well worth spending that time thinking about that and talking about that.

Sarah: Well, and I do want to revisit the fact that, Lianne, you were both coached and you coached. So you were a coach and you were also a coachee, is that the right?

Lianne: I think that’s a good term, we’ll go with that one.

Sarah: So you were coached first before you became a coach?

Lianne: Yes, my husband and I went through it with Jeff and Teri, and they call us the guinea pigs. We were kind of early on but it was a good experience for me and I’ve enjoyed coaching a few other people, including you, Sarah.

Sarah: And so that’s another good point because when I, when you coached me, it was just you and me, but when you were coached, it was you and your husband, so it was two coaching two.

Lianne: Yeah, yes.

Sarah: So, and how is that different? So, not to like, let anything that you talked about out, but how is, is there much of a change between two people coaching two people and one person coaching one person?

Lianne: Well it doubles the amount of answers that you have.

Sarah: Or is it longer?

Lianne: You have to be a little more efficient. It was kind of fun to not try to answer question on behalf of your spouse, things like that. So Jeff and Terry, and Terry being a professional counselor, helped a lot. But we enjoyed it, and half the time we, even though we had twice the answers, Jeff is real good at, “how is your week,” and all that and so we did spend a lot of time talking about other things but, I’m sure that each coaching relationship is different anyway.

Sarah: Yeah, depending on different personalities and people.

Lianne: Right. So.

Sarah: Well, it was good to talk with you Lianne.

Lianne: Yeah, I enjoyed that very much.

Sarah: Yeah, so we, stayed tuned for the next podcast, the next Journey podcast when we talk more about these topics about coaching, and life, and strengths, and working in your strengths, and everything else that Journey is all about. So stay tuned for the next one, bye.

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


♪Your life ♪ ♪ Your journey ♪ ♪ Starts now ♪ ♪ Ba da ba da ♪

Real Friendships Matter

Welcome back to the Journey Coaching podcast! In this episode, David, Terry and Sarah talk about what Journey Coaching is all about.

Terry: Welcome to the Journey Podcast. I’m Terry, and today we have David and Sarah. For our topic today, what I thought would be interesting is if we … There’s so many people out there that, or would maybe consider coaching, maybe consider having somebody come alongside them and coach them. What would you tell them? What kind of things could you say to them to help them understand what it’s about?

♪ Your life ♪ ♪ Your journey ♪ ♪ Starts now ♪ ♪ Ba da ba da ♪

Terry: Sarah, do you have any ideas?

Sarah: I would say that it’s about friendship and just being … having relationships with people. Not being scared of going outside of your comfort zone and just making friends with people. Yesterday, I was talking with … I have a marketing business and I was talking with a business owner and we were talking about networking, not directly, but just indirectly about who we … I don’t know how to say this but, I think we tend to … We were talking about networking with other marketing people and I was like, I don’t really try to network with marketing people. I mean, it would be easy to do because I’m in marketing, but I try to network with business owners which is my target audience or whatever, I guess.

Sarah: I think it’s about friendship and about building relationships with people both on either side of it, whether you are the one that is being coached, or you are the coach. Either position is a difficult and outside of the box, scary position. We tend to gravitate to people who are like us, so we network. I mean, there’s a lot of people don’t like the word network, but that’s what essentially it is, is as adults we network with people naturally and we tend to network with people that we’re like. So like, for example, if you are like my … I’m in marketing, so a lot of marketing people will hang out together and they’ll do stuff together and it’s harder to get outside of your comfort zone and start networking with business owners who might actually be interested in your services.

Terry: Let me try this. Both you and David, both you, Sarah and David, were coached. What was that like for you when you first sat down with someone and started talking about your story?

Sarah: When I first sat down it was nice and easy, but it took several years to get to that point because I didn’t want to do it at first.

Terry: Can you get kind of get back into what that was?

Sarah: Well, for one reason and this probably wouldn’t resonate with a lot of people, but I already have a counselor. I’ve been seeing a counselor for five years, ever since I started traveling to Ethiopia, and it’s really helped me. There’s a bible verse that says, “For a lack of counselors … for a lack of counsel, plans fail.” And I really found that having, I mean, really that’s talking about, it doesn’t have to be a professional counselor, but I found that in my situation that’s one of the many voices of counsel in my life is my paid counselor. I started [inaudible 00:03:16] anxiety and stuff and it’s worked really well, and so I didn’t want to do coaching because I had felt like I used my counselor as a coach. I feel like I’ve been able to do a lot of big things in my life because I’ve had this counselor that I see. So I thought, oh, I don’t need coaching because I’m already doing it.

Sarah: But then, I did do both at the same exact time so it was this spring when I started doing coaching with [Leann 00:03:43] who you guys have heard on the podcast before. And so I was doing counseling and I did both at the same exact time and I will say that it wasn’t a waste. It was very much about building relationships. I became friends with Leann, I still had my counselor, and they’re different people. It really helped. I was starting my third business, my marketing company, at the same exact time that I was both getting counseled regularly and also doing coaching. It was just nice to have that … it felt like a … both feel like a breath of fresh air. Especially if you have someone who’s kind and encouraging. Both Susan and Leann are.

Terry: David, you’ve coached people before informally, a lot, and being a pastor and so on. What was it like for you to then say, to agree, yeah, okay, I’ll be coached?

David: Oh, I was excited about it because it’s … One, it was a friend. Coaching begins with friendship and Jeff was my friend and when he came and said, “Hey, we’re thinking about doing this and that, would you mind sitting down and can we go through some things together?” Hey, it meant I got time to spend time with my friend. Then as we began to go into the topic, we now also have a topic that we’re both very interested in.

Terry: Right.

David: For me then to start out by telling my story to him and then Jeff told me his story, and the journey was off and running. I just think it’s very, very fun to do something where you’re learning about yourself and others are … And you’re learning about somebody else at the same time. Sometimes we don’t want to get to know ourselves.

Terry: For either one of you, was there any kind of insight that you guys gained from being coached that you wouldn’t have [inaudible 00:05:29] you didn’t get from other sources?

Sarah: Yes.

David: I think one of the things was … usually when we think of coaching, we think of it in a negative way. Here’s the way you can strengthen this, improve that. When in reality, lot of this coaching in the time with Jeff, really became a time when we would talk about things that were my strengths. And they may not even be strengths that I even recognized or thought they were even strengths. And yet, Jeff would say, “Yes, it is.” And the other person that we were with in our group, it was very, very encouraging. I look forward to it every time we can get together.

Sarah: That was the same for me too. That’s funny that you say that. I don’t know if it just comes across. I don’t know how many other people ’cause, you know … My biggest takeaway was the strengths too, was working in your strengths instead of trying to improve your weaknesses. Now, that’s not to say that there aren’t things that we need to fix in our lives, by any means, but it did mean you work in your strengths. And I have, as a result of that, seen a huge change in my life in the last 6 months or so since I did the coaching with Leann because of that, because I made decisions. We talked about world view on the podcast one time. I make decisions based off this world view that God loves me and that he’s taking care of me, and that he created me, with good things in mind. To walk in those God given strengths and the reaction that I get from people in walking in those strengths is amazing. Instead of trying to be like someone else, or [crosstalk 00:07:10]

Terry: Who you are.

Sarah: Yeah. Being who I am and then really diving deep in that. And as I said, I was starting a business at the time, so when you’re starting a business and it’s a made from scratch business, not a franchise or anything like that, or someone else’s business, you’re creating a business from scratch. You get to sit there and it’s like a blank canvass. You get to decide what kind of business you’re going to have, what kind of offerings you’re going to have. And to choose to make intentional decisions about your business and what it’s going to look like based off of your strengths, instead of what you think that you should be?

Terry: One of the things I’ve watched you do with your strengths is that you’ve recognized, okay, I have these strengths. For some reason when we have … when we know what our strengths are, we’re more able to handle our weaknesses.Our topic today is on what would people get out of this. In other words, what would people expect to get from Journey Coaching, and so one of the things you’re saying, you both were saying, is you got a better chance to know yourself, and you got a better chance to understand your strengths. What else would you say that people would get out of Journey Coaching?

Sarah: Friendship.

David: Definitely friendship. Yup. You get to know people.

Terry: In both cases, you felt like the friendship grew?

David: Yup. ‘Cause there are levels of friendship. At least it’s the way I operate in my life that there’s levels of friendship. Number one is if you just say hi to people. Number two is if you just talk about subjects and things you like. Number three is, hey, here’s my convictions or my opinions on this. In other words, those are my convictions. But when you can get into Journey and now you can begin to get beyond just the factual and cliché type things and get down to, here’s what really makes sense to me, or this is what touches me, and to share that with somebody else and to find that they’re interested, that just makes Journey Coaching just phenomenal.

Sarah: And it’s so not … Our culture does not do this. Our American culture, we do not get close to people like this and to intentionally do it, it’s outside of our comfort zone, but it’s really good. Then … There was one more point that I was going to bring up too, besides friendship, was … Oh, a chance to talk about these things that we’re all thinking and that we all struggle with and we don’t know who to talk to about. So, deep topics that you wanted to have someone to talk to about, but you don’t feel like you can go to a friend of yours, like a good work friend or whatever, and feel like, hey, can I really talk to you about worldview? Can I really talk to you about my hopes and dreams and what I should do for next steps? You can do that in coaching.

David: And you trust that person and you develop that relationship.

Sarah: And I’m really struggling with this concept. Like, hey, you know what? I go to church every Sunday, but I’m really struggling with the idea of who God is. Who can you talk to about that in real life? I don’t know I’m making a huge generalization here, but we as Americans don’t have those conversations and we give it a chance, but that’s a whole other topic for another time. We should probably wrap for today.

Terry: I think also, as we’re wrapping up, ’cause I think this has been a really good conversation, I think for another topic that we need to get into at some point is also we’ve been talking a lot about strength but we also have a section … There’s a week or a section in there on weaknesses, and what does that look like. Some people go into that one with dread and …

Sarah: That was a hard one. That was a heavy chapter.

Terry: And then so, talking about … maybe we need to have another session where we talk about what are we looking for in weaknesses and why is it important to go there. But for now, I think we’ll wrap this up and we’ll do that at another time.

Sarah: Yes.

Terry: Okay? Thank you very much.

David: See you.

Terry: Bye.

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

Start your own journey at journeycoaching.org.