Terry

Staying Calm When the World Around You is in Chaos

Staying calm inside when the world around you seems chaotic can be very difficult. For anyone who recently bought a year’s worth of toilet paper in response to the latest crisis, this may apply to you. A little diligence is reasonable, but anxiety seems to be at an all time high and that can be followed by depression if we are not careful.

What can we do to keep a sense of inner peace? Well, first of all, it isn’t to deny the issues and bury our heads in the sand. That only creates a false sense of security for most people. All of our emotions are there for a reason. All of them, including anxiety and fear. Take a few minutes and explore what emotions you have about the events that are happening around you. Is it worry? Okay, accept that. Don’t tell yourself you shouldn’t have that feeling. You do. It’s normal. Once we accept our emotions, that part of our brain can rest and we can begin looking at the situation from a more logical problem-solving perspective. It’s when we deny or invalidate our own inner experience that we have problems letting negative emotions go. It’s as if the warning system in our brain has to get louder and louder in order to get our attention.

Second, once you’ve recognized and accepted the things you are feeling, ask yourself some basic questions. “What is the evidence that I or my family is in danger right now or in the very near future?” If the answer is “ very high”, do something to protect yourself now. If the tornado sirens are sounding and there is a giant funnel in the sky, immediately get to a safe spot in the lowest part of your house and stay there until the answer to your question is “low”. But if the original answer to your question is “low” then take a deep breath and ask yourself some more questions, such as: “What is the worst case scenario?” “What is the best case scenario?” “What is the most likely outcome?” “If the worst case scenario were to happen, what would I do next to cope?” And also “How many times in my life has the worst case scenario I’ve worried about actually come true?” If you are like most people, the answer should bring you some comfort.

Third, stop watching the news reports and social media that predict nothing but gloom and doom. All of those things are skewed to the sensational. They only highlight the worst case scenarios, and as a result add to the panic and fear. It is like a plane crash. If you stay focused on the hundred or so people who died you may never fly again and you miss the reality that thousands of flights and millions of people fly every day without a hitch. Avoid the sensationalized media that gains money from advertising revenue and benefit the most when more people sign on or log in.

And mostly, stay connected. Don’t isolate yourself from other people who can help you process what you are dealing with. Chances are others are facing some of the same fears you are, or at least they may have in the past. “Social distancing” is the phrase that comes up in relation to illnesses that are highly contagious, and it makes sense from a physical sense. But don’t socially and emotionally distance yourself from others. Keep connected to those supportive relationships in your life. That is one of the best things about our electronic age. If you are isolated because you haven’t been investing in authentic relationships until today, consider how Journey Coaching can help. Our passion is for helping people grow and connect. 

By: Terry C.

Relationship WorkShop: Disagreements

On this episode of the podcast, Jeff and Terry host a mini relationship workshop focusing on disagreements within our relationships. In this workshop, you will learn that you get to choose your response to a disagreement. They also offer insight on how to choose a response when all you want to do is react.


Transcription of the Podcast


Jeff:

Again, I’m looking out here at a beautiful blue sky. Now I can look at that blue sky and I can say a couple of things. I can say, “It is gorgeous out there, it’s a bright sunny day.” Or I can look at this flag waving in the background going, “Oh, I can tell by the direction that flag is waving, there is a cold north wind out there,” and I can pick, right? I can go, “Wow! I’m going to go outside and I’m going to freeze because it’s really cold out,” or I can go outside and go, “Wow! It’s a bright sunny day.”

Jeff:

(singing)

Jeff:

Hey, welcome back to another Journey Podcast and we are excited to talk about relationships today. In fact, we’re going to do a little relationship workshop because relationships are important. My name is Jeff. I’ve got Terry here. Terry is a licensed full-time counselor-

Terry:

Hi.

Jeff:

And deals with… Tell us a little bit about the sort of what you do during… What is your day job? You’re dealing with a lot of people walking in and they have some really deep weeds, relational stuff going on, right?

Terry:

Oh, yeah. I would say 90% of the time it’s a relationship workshop in my office.

Jeff:

Right.

Terry:

We’re working on different kinds of relationship issues that show up. We may have other things we’re talking about like addictions and affairs and things like that, but ultimately, it’s about relationships. It’s about that sticky icky kind of stuff that happens between two or more people.

Jeff:

Well, and the thing is for you and other counselors, the thing that I always sort of find interesting sitting back on the sidelines is that, and tell me if I’m off base on this, but a lot of people really wait and really get into a lot of hurt and a lot of struggle and it’s like, “Oh, what is the very last thing I can do on the planet to do… Oh, okay, I’ll go to a counselor.” Right?

Terry:

I had a couple come in one time years ago and one of them said… I asked what brought them here and they said, “Well, we sat down with a phone book,” how long has it been since we had phone books, right?

Jeff:

Yeah.

Terry:

They sat down with a phone book and they had one page open to counselors and they had one page open to divorce lawyers and they were trying to decide which page to look at.

Jeff:

Wow! Wow!

Terry:

It had gotten that far in their relationship. And so I think you’re right. I think in a lot of cases it gets to that point where we have tried everything we can possibly think of, nothing’s working, we either have to reach out for somebody or we have to break it off.

Jeff:

Right. Right. So the hope is here with the Journey, and there’s a lot of hopes that we have around Journey, but one of the hopes is that people will engage with these podcasts and that they can actually get some good counsel, although this isn’t counseling, this is coaching. But if we have people like you on the podcast, we can actually get some very good tips and some help to navigate some of these relational issues.

Jeff:

So yeah, let’s dive in here. And like I say, just sort of have this as a little mini relationship workshop here and talk to folks that hopefully aren’t in the deep weeds yet. So why don’t we start out, Terry, why really would we even want to address our relationships? Why would we want to be kind, gracious, to one another? After all, if I’m here and you’re there, why don’t we just go at each other and the last one standing wins?

Terry:

Well, yeah, you could try that. How’s that working for you?

Jeff:

Not real good, right. So…

Terry:

No, I think that’s the approach a lot of people have is they’re at such loggerheads by the time they walk in that there’s so much anger and there’s so much negativity and there’s so much… there’s just a lot of hurt underneath the anger. I tell people, I see anger as a secondary response, the secondary emotion. We don’t get angry usually unless we’re hurt and we feel somebody is responsible and those are the components that make us really, really angry.

Terry:

And then anger is a defense mechanism. It’s something we try to do to regain some of the power we feel like we’ve lost by being hurt. And so we get angry and it’s kind of like… One example I’ve used a lot of times, it’s just using anger, especially in a marriage or in a tight relationship, a good relationship, or a relationship you’re trying to make healthy, it’s kind of like using a hammer as the only tool in your toolbox.

Jeff:

Ouch!

Terry:

If you had to replace a light switch, would you grab the hammer?

Jeff:

Right, no.

Terry:

Well, no. You [crosstalk 00:04:45]-

Jeff:

Well, that’s right. Because I’m so terrible with tools I wouldn’t even know what to do with… But, yeah, right. You want to start-

Terry:

You want to start with a screwdriver-

Jeff:

Right, the right tool for that.

Terry:

You want to find another tool. A lot of times by the time people come into counseling they don’t have any other tools, the only tool they have in their toolbox is hammer. And that’s just not working.

Jeff:

Right. Right. And so healthy relationships, and let me just underline this here. We could just land on this and then just hit the pause button. But really healthy relationships are so important. If you’re not in one now, if you can think back to when you were and just the joy that comes from that and the energy that’s gathered versus the bucket draining-ness of unhealthy relationships, this is really important.

Terry:

Right.

Jeff:

Really important stuff.

Terry:

Well, and I think what happens a lot of times when two people, whether it’s a man and wife or whether it’s a brother and sister, it’s a parent and a child, when two people come in to talk about their relationship, a lot of times what I see is a lot of finger pointing. If he would just change, if she would just do something different, if he would just stop doing something, then this would be okay. And a lot of times I feel like one person is dragging another one in and they’re saying, “Here, change her, change him.”

Terry:

The reality is it takes two people to make this relationship work or not work. And it’s not just one thing or another, it really gets down to kind of what we’ve talked about is how do you talk to each other? Do you use that hammer of anger? Are you feeling justified in just being angry all the time? And how is that working for you? How’s that affecting the other person and how are you feeling? When you spend a lot of time being angry, I’ll just ask you back, “When you spend a lot of time angry, how do you feel? Energized or worn out?”

Jeff:

Right. Exactly. Well, and I think as you’re talking, it’s really easy and it always has been easy to avoid healthy relationships, right? It’s really, really easy to just be mad and move on kind of thing. And especially with social media, it’s made it a lot easier to just sort of get that jab out there.

Terry:

Right.

Jeff:

And so it seems like, and this is just what I found in my own life, is I’ve got to really put that relational piece as a priority and say, “Yeah, it really is worth the energy that it’s going to take to do this, but it is going to take some energy and it’s going to take some time.”

Terry:

Right. Well, you have to answer for yourself that question of, why do I even want to do that? Why not be angry? Why not be compassionate? At least I gain respect. If I’m angry, it feels like people are respecting me. But the reality is they’re not, they’re just avoiding you because you’re angry.

Jeff:

So what can you do if you’re angry, if someone’s angry consistently, but they don’t know how to change. That’s just their mindset, that’s just their life, right? They’re just an angry person. What are some tips there?

Terry:

Well, I think it depends a lot. If somebody comes into my office and that’s the situation, I have to do a lot of assessments. So the counselor in me just kind of do a little alarm thing that says, “Hey, we’re not going to be able to solve that here.” If somebody is as angry as you’re talking about, I really suggest that they find somebody to meet with, find a licensed counselor, a therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, whoever you want, but really sit down and say, “Hey, I am angry all the time and I don’t know what to do about it.”

Jeff:

So really it’s that conversation before the conversation that you’ve talked about in the past, right? To really kind of come to a point where you can sit down with somebody else and to start having some healthy conversations.

Terry:

Right. If somebody is just feeling angry a lot and it hasn’t gotten to that point, I guess my encouragement would be, do something about it now because it will get to that point. It becomes a habit and it becomes a way. Our brain has pathways to it and the more we do something, it’s like a muscle. If you exercise one arm and not the other, what would happen?

Jeff:

It’ll be a little lopsided-

Terry:

You’d be lopsided. One arm would be a lot bigger and the other arm would get smaller. The brain neurons kind of work like muscles do too. You use them or you lose them.

Jeff:

Right.

Terry:

And so the more angry we are, the more angry we become. And so I think it’s really, really important for people to take notice of that and say, “No, wait a minute. I’m finding a pattern here. I’m getting more and more angry when I watch TV or when I talk to this person or when I do that.” And, again, if anger is a secondary response, anger management really doesn’t work. You can sit there and say, “Okay, I’m not going to act out in my anger,” but ultimately the anger is just going to keep eating you up inside. You’ve got to find out what’s causing that anger.

Jeff:

Right. Now, I’m just going to go a little shallow dive here. Terry, takes a deeper dive. I’m going to go a little more shallow dive is, I would just point out from, again, a simple perspective, if you’re angry, if there are things bothering you, if you are always sort of looking at the bucket of being half empty, half full, half empty. Again, I’m looking out here at a beautiful blue sky. Now I can look at that blue sky and I can say a couple of things. I can say, “It is gorgeous out there, it’s a bright sunny day.” Or I can look at this flag waving in the background and going, “Oh, I can tell by the direction that flag is waving, there is a cold north wind out there.” And I can pick, right? I can go, “Wow! I’m going to go outside and I’m going to freeze because it’s really cold out,” or I can go outside and go, “Wow! It’s a bright sunny day.” And so that’s just something that I do because it’s like you can pick, right?

Terry:

Right. And I think that’s a key point that you’ve said is you’re aware of your ability to choose. A lot of people aren’t. A lot of people don’t realize that. They just react to the anger. They just see it the one way and they don’t realize there are other ways to see it.

Jeff:

Right. Right. Well, and let’s hit that point and land on that for a minute. That people do have the ability to choose, right? You can pick that emotion.

Terry:

Right.

Jeff:

Yeah.

Terry:

And a lot of times people don’t understand that. Now, if the anger is coming from some deep hurts and there are some deep hurts out there, then I would encourage people to address those. We don’t want to. And I tell some of my clients, “Emotional hurts, emotional wounds feel the same way to our brain as physical ones.” And so when I’m asking somebody to kind of dive into that emotional hurt and figure out, “Why does that hurt me so much? Why is that bothering me?” In a sense, it’s kind of like if I told you to put your hand on the stove and then to keep it there, I know it hurts, but keep it there and try to figure out why it hurts.

Jeff:

Right.

Terry:

You wouldn’t do that. That would be stupid. Please don’t do that. But if you think about it, as far as your brain is concerned, I’m asking you to do that with the emotional hurt. It’s like typically we have something that really, really hurts us. We’re bothered because somebody said something unkind or they didn’t say they loved you before they walked out, we’re really hurt by something. And instead of staying with that hurt and figuring out, “Why that bothers us so much,” we jump into anger and then we try to get them back or we try to do something to rectify the situation, but it’s not working.

Jeff:

Right. Right. So how does somebody choose? So we can choose, that’s an option, we can pick. How do we choose when we just don’t feel like it?

Terry:

I think the first thing is to remind yourself there is a choice. I have chosen to be angry. Why did I choose to be angry? A lot of times we just feel like it’s we’re just reacting versus responding. I think that’s a really key point when we’re looking at things. When something happens, ask yourself, “Am I reacting or am I responding?” Responding takes a few minutes longer, a few seconds longer. A response is what I want to do, a reaction is what happens. Just kind of, it’s almost that animal instinct in us that comes out. A response is something we take a little bit of time for and we choose a decision, we choose a response, versus I just reacted angrily or a knee jerk kind of reaction.

Jeff:

So what if you’re in a conversation with somebody, and this could be about anything. It could be about politics. We had a podcast on politics here a while back. It could be about just something that’s going on in your life, whatever, but you’re responding with anger. What can you do?

Terry:

So you’re feeling the anger inside.

Jeff:

Right.

Terry:

You just had a conversation with somebody. Let’s say you’re talking with your husband or your wife or your somebody, your significant other, and this person has now said something that has offended you. A reaction would be maybe to kick them under the table. That’s not a good idea.

Jeff:

Bruised shins [crosstalk 00:00:13:57]-

Terry:

Because you’re angry, you’re angry. A response would be to say, “Whoa!” Again, this is an internal dialogue and you’re saying, “Whoa, wait a minute. Man, I’m really getting angry about something that they said. Where is that coming from?” Well, again, it only takes a second or two to kind of do that internal processing, that internal dialogue. And then my response might be, “Oh yeah, when he said, or she said, this, I took offense at it because I felt like it was a slam. I felt like it was an insult to me.” So-

Jeff:

So slowing down, right? Because it’s almost like a tit-for-tat sometimes, and it’s just slowing down, a little breath, taking a few seconds. It could be uncomfortable because it hasn’t been done before, it’s not that tit-for-tat. It’s just going, “Okay, let me get a little perspective here, a little breathing room, a little sense of where to move on next.”

Terry:

Right. Well, and then the reaction might be, “Okay, I don’t want to come across angry. That’s a decision I’ve made in my head. I want to come across as I’m curious.” So what I tell my clients is, it’s really, really hard to be angry and curious. Try it sometime. If you’re angry, it’s usually because you’ve come to a decision you’re not curious anymore. So it’s really hard to be angry and curious. So get curious and say, “I’m wondering why that affected me so badly. I’m wondering why he said it or she said it,” and then out of the curiosity then form your question and the question or the comment you might want to make back to that person is, “Wow! That really hurt. It sounds like you’re just really… that was quite the insult.”

Jeff:

Right.

Terry:

You’re telling that person the stuff that’s underneath the anger, you’re telling that person, “This is what happened.” You’re not giving it to them out of anger, you’re giving it to them out of curiosity. “Hey, why didn’t you just say that? That really hurt.” What do you think your response would be if somebody said that to you?

Jeff:

Well, yeah, you’re going to be like, “Oh, okay. Well… ” I mean, there’s just more of that sort of a fertile ground to cultivate some discussion.

Terry:

Right. Because then as a receiver on that end of it, you’re probably going to lean in and go, “Oh wow! I didn’t… ” Half the time it might be, “Why didn’t you?” “No, I never meant that. That was a slip of the tongue. I’m so sorry.” Or it might be a rare thing where you might say, “Yeah, I kind of did because I was angry about something else.” And then you get into this discussion about what’s really going on under the surface.

Jeff:

So a key word is curiosity, isn’t it?

Terry:

Yeah. Because otherwise a reaction might be, I get angry and say something back to you and you get angry at me and now we’ve got our fight or flight syndrome going between the two of us and we’re going to get into a really good fight.

Jeff:

Right. So a little curiosity, a few deep breaths can do amazing things, right?

Terry:

Absolutely. I think that works on a lot of different levels. We talked before on another podcast about politics and what happens, and I think this is one of those things, again, staying curious is one of the best ways to stay out of the anger zone.

Jeff:

Right. Right. And, yeah, and we don’t have as much as we think sometimes we have got the solution for the problem. There’s curiosity getting more input to be open. That really is a sign of maturity, right?

Terry:

Oh, sure.

Jeff:

Higher emotional intelligence and maturity, and it seems like we would all like to be a little bit more mature and…

Terry:

Well, it helps us to respond rather than react.

Jeff:

Right. Right. Well, thanks for joining us today on this podcast. Again, we want to talk about those topics that are really important to talk about and at the core of Journey are healthy relationships. At the core of Journey is that seven session coaching process where you can find someone, a guy to guy, girl to girl, couple to couple, and sit down and just start having some very good conversations to really focus on yourself as you look at yourself in the mirror and say, “Hey, how can I bring a better version of myself to the world?” And we will promise you, promise, promise, that if you do the work, it’s worth it. That your bucket will be filled, that you will be happier, healthier, find more peace, patience and joy and that the people around you will also find more peace, patience and joy.

Jeff:

Yeah, so plug in to Journey and it’s a start to start building those relationships. You can contact us in many different ways and just reach out to us through the website at journeycoaching.org, and we appreciate you listening. And Terry, thank you so much for coming out of the counseling office and sharing some insights that… Again, you’re seen every day, right?

Terry:

Oh, yeah, and I love doing this. I love being able to kind of share some things with people on a broad scale so they can kind of work on their relationships. So I can only see one person at a time.

Jeff:

Yeah, that’s right. That’s right. So let’s do the coaching thing. Again, counseling is great, but a lot of us do the coaching thing so we might not have to necessarily go into the counseling office.

Terry:

There you go-

Jeff:

All right.

Terry:

Trying to put us out of business.

Jeff:

There you go. Thanks for listening.

Jeff:

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.

Jeff:

(singing).

Negative Political Climate

The idea of 2 parties wrestling through politics isn’t a hard image to visualize. What is going on in the political sphere is creating this dichotomy of unrest in our nation with both parties seeing their own way as the only solution to the problems our nation is facing. In the face of a gloomy political climate, Jeff and Terry offer encouragement to those who are bombarded by the negatives.


Transcription of the Podcast


Jeff:

If we’ve got an issue going on, if I’ve got a business issue and I have got a situation where there’s something I’ve got to solve, I bring people around the table and we sit down and we come up with solutions for that. Welcome to another Journey Podcast. Today we are going to take a deep dive into politics but in a way that’s maybe a little different because we all know that there is a huge, huge negative vibe out there. And what we want to do with this podcast in the midst of all this political unrest feuding, is really offer some encouragement to family and friends that may be on opposing sides to maybe offer encouragement to people that are just bombarded by the negatives that are going on.

Jeff:

So yeah, we’re going to do that today. We’ve actually got Terry Carlson here and Terry is a licensed full time counselor and we thought maybe that would be a good perspective to have because really we can draw some parallels between the whole political climate and sometimes in marriage where you have couples that are fighting. So we thought we try to draw some parallels there and-

Terry:

Oh yeah, definitely.

Jeff:

… some things. So welcome Terry.

Terry:

Hi. Well, and I think you’ve got a really good point there. It’s really difficult when family and friends are on opposing sides. I remember growing up my mom and dad would go voting and they always talked about canceling each other’s votes out because one would vote for one party and one would vote for the other, but they’d still go do it and they smile and laugh as they did that. But I think you’re right, I think there’s just a lot of negativity out there now.

Jeff:

Right, right. Well, and I think years ago we could almost smile and laugh about some of those things and I think it seems to have gotten to a level now where the tone is just so deeply negative that the hope is here that today we can offer a little bit of constructive and positive solutions and ideas for addressing some of these things. So yeah, why don’t we dive in? I think one of the things that we have to say is that oftentimes… And you tell me if this is on target off target or somewhere in the middle, but oftentimes we look at differences, but don’t we really need to look at what we have in common, whether you’re dealing with couples or whether we are trying to solve problems from a political standpoint.

Terry:

Absolutely. I think sometimes if you can get down to what do we have in common and what do we really want at core? I think a lot of times what happens is we fight over, we come up with a solution to the problems that we think are out there and we fight over or we argue over those solutions. This is the right solution, that’s the right solution.

Jeff:

Our individual solution. Right?

Terry:

Our individual solutions. Instead of coming together and trying to solve problems as a team and saying, “Hey, how do we identify the question, what’s the problem and can we agree on the nature of the problem first before we start talking about what possible solutions are out?”

Jeff:

And here’s what’s crazy, just as an example that I noticed during the last State of The Union Address, the call went out that lower drug prices… We need to get lower drug prices and half of the chamber was like, “Oh yeah, great.” They’re standing and cheering. The other half of the chamber was like, “Oh yeah, there’s sombering.” So I think it’s gone down to a level that we’re missing the underlying mission where in this case it was lower drug prices. So we all not get excited about who lower drug prices. That’s the thing that we have in common that we would all like. Well, I guess 99.9% except I guess if you’re on the receiving end of the drug company, but the vast majority, right? We want lower drug prices. So, is that sort of it trying to find that common point that we can look at, tune out all the noise and then go, “Oh, let’s get after this. Let’s get all about this solution to this problem.”

Terry:

Right. I think… But again, as I said before, I think it’s important to identify what’s the real issue, what’s the real problem underlying all of it. It may be like you said, lower drug prices. It may be something totally different and that may be the reasons why the other side didn’t really clap and cheer and all that stuff because they’re seeing the problem from a different lens. And I think just getting to that place where we talk about what’s the lens I’m seeing the problem through? How do I define the problem? When I’ve worked with couples in my office, a lot of times I’ll ask them, can you both agree on the problem, name the problem and make sure that you’re both agreeing on that first. The next step I have them do is brainstorm. I say, before you come up with a solution, I want you to brainstorm all the possible solutions out there. Don’t, don’t pick out one and say, this is my favorite solution. Just what are all the possible solutions?

Terry:

Sit down with a notepad and say, “Okay, well we could do this or we could do that or we could do this or somebody else could do this.” And list out all the different ones, even if they sound stupid when you say them. Don’t even go through trying to problem solve until you’ve listed all the different possible solutions. Once you’ve thought of the solutions, then start talking about each one of them and the pros and cons of each possible solution. Once you’ve done that, you can kind get to a place where you can vote on your favorite solutions. And a lot of times your number one, two and three are going to look different than my number one, two and three. But we may both agree on the two. “Hey, maybe we’ve got an actual solution that would work there to both of our satisfaction.

Jeff:

All right, right. How do you know when to… And now we’re talking about more of, again in family situations and so forth. How do you know when to speak up and when to keep your mouth shut?

Terry:

That’s a great question. When in doubt keep your mouth shut.

Jeff:

Oh, okay.

Terry:

I tell some of my couples too, God gave us two ears and one mouth and I think that means we’re supposed to listen twice as much as we speak.

Jeff:

Right? Right. Well, and to hear what the other person is saying. So for instance, when I’m talking with somebody, I try to seek their view and really get their heart on it. Where are they coming from?

Terry:

That’s a really good idea.

Jeff:

Because maybe their solution isn’t necessarily the solution I would have at first pass, but… And I’m thinking about somebody in particular when they’re talking about the whole healthcare thing. It’s like, “Well, he has a great heart for people. He really wants to help people.” So again, what can we find in common and how can we get to that common ground? Something also to point out here is sort of the… I guess it’s a perspective thing maybe.

Terry:

Sure.

Jeff:

Everybody’s vote matters. It really does, right? We live in a democracy and it’s really great that we can go out and we can cast a vote, but I think the perspective of matters here to that our votes are one out of millions and that matters, but what really matters, is your life and your one-on-one interactions with people. And so maybe we can dive into that a little bit here because there is a lot of armchair quarterback and if you compare it to sports, we all have our teams, right? Let’s go Iowa, go Cyclones, go Hawks. But at the end of the day, we’re not playing in that game. We’re just cheering them on. And so like the political arena, we can cheer on our favorite politician, but we kind of step back from armchair quarterbacking and look ourselves in the mirror and say, “What can I do? What can I do?” For instance, talk about human rights things or homelessness or whatever.

Jeff:

“What can I do for instance, in terms of homelessness? Where can I get involved?” And I think that’s something that perspective thing, there’s just… And let me just toss this out and see if you agree or disagree Terry. But I just see a lot of lost human potential armchair quarterbacking where we could take that energy and oftentimes very deep energy and really go out and do something with that. So, another question that comes up here is, what do you do when you feel strongly that how someone else votes can negatively affect the direction of the country? You’re passionate about this issue and you’re talking to someone and you’re like, “Oh, why are they…” They’re not getting it. They’re just not getting it.

Terry:

Right. No. I think the question you just asked, it really gets to the heart of why the political climate is such a terrible thing for most people. A lot of people are… You’re sweating this, this is huge. There’s this really, really strong feeling that if you vote the wrong direction and if enough of you’s out there vote the wrong direction, then my country is going to suffer from this. And the perspective and the passion. You’ve got people who… I think if our son and how he really, really dives into this and researches something and he picks the best solution in his mind and it feels like if somebody isn’t going to… If the rest of the world or if somebody else votes the wrong way, then our country is going downhill really, really fast. And I think that’s a really important piece of this whole thing. And what I would say in response to that is to just be aware of how much it plays in the polarizing effect of the media and the news that’s out there.

Terry:

It’s really… When I talk about… When I’m talking with couples, a lot of times what I’m really struggled against with individual couples is this all or nothing thinking that it’s all one thing or it’s all another thing. It’s that all or nothing thinking that gets us into a lot of trouble. What happens with all or nothing thinking, is that it takes a grain of truth, is there a possibility that something bad could happen? Yes, but it takes a grain of truth, but it blows it up to 100%. And it’s saying, “Oh my gosh, if this person gets into the White House or into the Senate or whatever, oh, my gosh our world is ending as we know it kind of feeling. And the reality is that most things are not all or nothing. Most things.

Terry:

If we can just kind of back down a little bit and say, “No, wait a minute.” I think one of the best things to ask yourself is what’s the worst case scenario? What’s the absolute worst case scenario? And then play that forward and ask yourself if that worst case scenario, if this politician gets elected or if this politician gets elected, what’s the worst thing that I can imagine happening and play that forward and ask yourself, how would I survive that or what’s next or what would happen then? We may find that when you play that tape forward in your mind, you find that, “Oh, okay, so the world doesn’t end, the sky’s falling, it may not be my favorite thing, but in another two or four years we can reelect somebody who comes in and fixes things back.” I think it’s just reminding ourselves that the worst case scenarios rarely ever happen.

Jeff:

Right, right. And to keep in perspective, unless you just get raw here for a minute, there’s just a lot of media coverage out there that is just absolutely fueling this and it’s big money, it’s on different media that’s out there and it’s just a lot of talk that sort of fuel for the fire, right? You take the problems, but then you sort of toss this gas that media tosses on this and it really inflames that. Right?

Terry:

And if you step back and ask yourself, what’s the motive for a lot of these things? Whether it’s the news media or it’s the stuff you see on Facebook. Ask yourself, what’s the motive there? In a lot of the cases it’s to sell more advertising. It’s not to get a certain person or a certain idea or to get the country to come together. I’m guessing that most… CNN and Fox and all the other ones that we could name, I’m guessing that they don’t really get a lot of money when everybody speaks nice to each other-

Jeff:

And everybody agrees and-

Terry:

Everybody agrees.

Jeff:

… [inaudible 00:13:21] get along.

Terry:

Right. So, they get more money by more advertisers because they’ve got more viewers because people are inflamed and they encourage that kind of thing. If we just back away from that ourselves individually and say, “I’m not going to keep buying into that, I’m going to listen to both Fox and CNN. I’m going to try to find out, I’m going to try to just read the actual laws that are being passed, I’m going to try to make my own opinions from things.” We don’t get into that black and white thinking.

Jeff:

Well, I think… I come from business world and I think we need to learn something. And really… I learned some of it, it really put our business hats on when we go into the political realm. And that doesn’t say a business person has to be a politician. I’m not saying that, but there are some business principles which really evolve around and focus on solving the problem. Right? If we’ve got an issue going on, if I’ve got a business issue and I have got a situation where there’s something I’ve got to solve, I bring people around the table and we sit down and we come up with solutions for that.

Terry:

Sure. And a lot of that’s happening in our politicians. We don’t realize it because they don’t hit the news. But there are hundreds of bills that get passed that are bi-partisan, they both-

Jeff:

Why?

Terry:

They come around the table, they solve the problems, they meet the needs of the people out there and those things don’t hit the news.

Jeff:

And when they do, they start to get overlooked. And just to raise one up here, specifically, in the last year, the prison reform, that was something that you had people on both sides of the aisle go on, this is really a good step and this has taken years to move that forward. And this is really a positive stuff. So, let’s say, yay. Let’s do more of those kinds of things.

Terry:

When we just look at the negatives, that’s all we see. We go to bed at night with that terrible taste in the back of our stomach. When we try to look at what’s good and what’s bad. A lot of times we have a better outlook.

Jeff:

Right, right. Well, I’m going back to our family members and stuff. Our son and… At the end of the day, my relationship with him is top priority. So, we can see things differently politically, but I have a just locked and loaded in my mind that that relationship is above anything else. So, I think it’s going into that discussion, going into that… If you are a politician, going into that room and sitting around the table and saying relationships are really important here. This mission is really important, but let’s get together and roll up our sleeves and get about doing what we’re here to do in a way that honors each other.

Terry:

In that case, you’re talking two different levels, you’re talking about just around the table, you and your son and then the politicians around the table.

Jeff:

Exactly, yeah.

Terry:

And I think both of them can benefit from that advice.

Jeff:

Both of those. Right, right. Sometimes maybe us folks, us voters need to maybe model this and encourage our politicians to do what could be healthy and helpful. But yeah, politics is temporary and there’s going to be Republicans leading at times, there’s going to be Democrats leading at times, maybe some independents at times. Whatever the party is, but that will change… But really beyond the whole political climate is that eternal perspective and the spiritual matters and the whole reality that there is a spiritual part to our life that we’re only here for a short time and God is in control and people will hear that and go, “Well, yeah, but I don’t really believe that,” but lean into that for a little bit. Just go, “Okay, the sun will come up tomorrow.”

Terry:

Well, we hope so.

Jeff:

We hope so. So, as we’re wrapping up today, let’s tie this back to journey and what we’re here to help with in Journey coaching. Again, Journey coaching is all about intentional healthy relationships. And Terry, did you just want to throw out a thought there of just… The other thing that we should mention here is Terry helped to… And really was instrumental in writing the seventh session coaching workbook for Journey. And just how you see that workbook and people sitting down one-on-one tying into this whole negative political climate and how it might be helpful.

Terry:

Oh, absolutely. I think where it can come in handy is if you’re a person who has been kind of isolated from other people, you’ve been just sitting in front of the TV or just in front of your screen somehow and getting more and more upset over the political climate. Find somebody, find a friend, talk to… Get away from the screen, talk to somebody else from different opinions, get a coach, find somebody who’s willing to sit down with you. We’ve got this really great coaching process, it’s seven sessions where you learn how your story fits in with everybody else’s story and you learn about your strengths and maybe your weaknesses.

Terry:

And you put them all together and try to decide, Basically how do I move forward myself? And it takes your eyes off of the bigger thing, the political climate that’s out there and it gets it back onto how do I work on my own personal relationships and how do I build myself? It really comes down to the relationships we have and how we interact with them on a one on one basis that matters more to our lives than what’s going on in the bigger picture.

Jeff:

Well, that’s a great point Terry, because I think sometimes and we’ve talked about this before, you sort of have to have the discussion before the discussion. I think oftentimes we could all use some help of just how to sit down with another person, another couple, because again, Journey Coaching, do it one-on-one or couple to couple, but just how to have good open, honest conversations, right?

Terry:

Right.

Jeff:

That’s huge.

Terry:

And we’re going to talk about this more in another podcast. We’ve got some ideas coming up and how do we handle disagreements without beating each other up, that sort of thing.

Jeff:

Right,

Terry:

So, I’m looking forward to diving more into that topic-

Jeff:

Right, exactly.

Terry:

… time.

Jeff:

Well, and you talked about… In just closing here, you talked about a journey starts with sharing our stories with each other. And when we look at politics, we are in unison together all Americans. That’s the common thread we have here when we share our stories. And as-

Terry:

Unless you’re listening to this from another country.

Jeff:

That’s right. Would that be fun? But… So yeah, as we’re just trying to navigate this climate, let’s start there realizing that we are all Americans and let’s just talk well and humbly and with patience and to just pull the joy that we do have out of living in this really wonderful country. So, thanks again for listening, we appreciate that. As always, let us know how we can serve you. You can reach out to us in a variety of different ways and you can just check us out on The Journey website, thejourneycoaching.org. Thanks.

Speaker 2:

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

The Problem with Porn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Terry Carlson, RN CADC LMHC

Loneliness Hurts

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


Transcription of the Podcast


Transcript of the Podcast:

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

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

Don: Hi Sarah.

Sarah: Thanks for being here with us.

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

Sarah: And we have Terry Carlson.

Terry: Hi.

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

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

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

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

Sarah: Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don: Yes.

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

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

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

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

Terry: Yeah, just reach out.

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

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

Don: Seems to be, yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Terry: That’s an excellent idea.

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

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

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

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

Terry: Sure.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Terry: Oh absolutely.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Terry: Bye.

Don: Bye.

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


Difficult to Healthy

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

Transcription of the Podcast

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

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

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

Hi. 

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

Not too many.

Not too many at all. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yeah, that’s a tough one. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

That doesn’t ever happen. 

Guess what happened to that relationship. 

Not good. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yeah. If you’re uncle so-and-so?

Yeah. If I’m Uncle Joe. 

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

What’s that? Okay. 

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

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

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

Right. 

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

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

Right.

Relating With People Who are different Than Us

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

Transcription of Podcast

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

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

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

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

Jeff: Like, every day?

Terry: Every day, okay.

Jeff: Every hour.

Terry: Maybe every hour, not so much.

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

Terry: Oh, yeah.

Jeff: Correct?

Terry: For sure.

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

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

Jeff: Right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jeff: Oh, those dreaded middle school-

Terry: Yeah.

Jeff: Oh, no. Not that!

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

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

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

Terry:

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

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

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

Terry: For sure.

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

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

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

Jeff: Right.

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

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

Terry: For sure.

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

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

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

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

Terry: For sure, yes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jeff: Unpack that a little bit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Terry: Sure.

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

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

Terry: Right.

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

Terry: Right.

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

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

Jeff: Yeah.

Terry: Come on, come on, it’s time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Terry: Ah, there you go.

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

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

Jeff: Yeah, just reach out.

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

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

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

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

Jeff: See you next time.

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



When Finding Joy Is a Struggle

By Terry C.

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

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

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

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

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

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

IOWA TO BOLIVIA

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


Transcription of the Podcast

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Terry: Sure.

Shelby: So.

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

Shelby: Well, I think God had that idea.

Terry: Okay

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Terry: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

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

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

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

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

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

Terry: Yeah.

Shelby: So.

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

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

Terry: Sure.

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

Terry: Sure.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Terry: Here I come to save the day.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shelby: Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Freedom Through Honesty

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


Transcription of the Podcast

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

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

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

Your life, your journey, starts now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Terry: That’s awesome.

Shelby: Yeah.

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

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

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

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

Terry: Never seen snow?

Shelby: Nope. He had never seen snow before.

Terry: Wow. Okay. First impressions of snow.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your life, your journey, starts now.


FAMILY TENSION

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


Transcription of the Podcast coming


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

Jeff: (singing).

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

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

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

Terry: Hello.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jeff: Yes, I remember that.

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

Jeff: The world would end.

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

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

Terry: This is true.

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

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

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

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

Jeff: Politics, right.

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

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

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

Jeff: Your whatever, yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jeff: Right, good point.

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

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

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

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

Terry: Exactly.

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

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

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

Terry: Thank you.

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

Terry: Bye

Jeff: Bye

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

Thriving Through Holiday Stress

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


Transcription of Podcast


Terry:

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

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

Terry: Hi.

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

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

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

Terry: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Terry: Christmas Vacation.

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

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

Jeff:Right, right.

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

Jeff: Oh dear, not that.

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

Jeff: Right. Right, exactly.

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

Jeff: Not uncle Jeff. No, no.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jeff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Terry: Thanks.

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

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

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

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

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

Jeff: Yeah.

Terry: Okay.

Jeff: That sounds good. Cool. Well-

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

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

TerryBye.

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

What If Someone Wants To Be A Coach?

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


Transcription of the Podcast


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

Sarah: Terry, can you answer that question?

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

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

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

Sarah: What about some characteristics of the coach?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Handling Difficult Conversations

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode Terry and Jeff discuss how to handle difficult conversations. From learning how to approach the difficult conversation to what to say in the middle of the conversation, there is something for everyone to learn.


Transcription of the Podcast


Terry: This world would be a much better place if everyone offered and received unconditional love and acceptance. Unconditional, think of that word. It means there are no conditions where our love or acceptance would stop.

(singing)

Jeff: We are back today with a another podcast talking with Terry. Hello Terry.

Terry: Hi.

Jeff: Terry is a licensed counselor. She talks with people all day about tough, heavy topics. I can only imagine, person after person, heavy topic after heavy topic. I mean it’s got to get a little heavy doesn’t it?

Terry: It can sometimes.

Jeff: But you have to know how to come alongside people and work through those heavy topics.

Terry: Yeah and I think the conversation today I was hoping is that it’s not just for counselors to have to deal with heavy topics. Everybody seems to. A lot of what I see sometimes, I see in the office is people will come in and say, “We’ve got to go to Christmas and Uncle Joe is going to be there and he is going to talk about, I just know he’s going to talk about it and then everybody’s going to be angry,” and so these things happen. I mean, as we go into the holidays, this is going to be on the minds of a lot of people.

Jeff: So yeah, it’s great to actually have you in here, Terry and get you out of the counseling office because there’s so many of us that need to just relate to these heavy topics and how to handle those.

Terry: Sure.

Jeff: So, yeah. So why is it so difficult to talk about things like politics and these kinds of subjects that are just tough with people that hold a different view than we hold?

Terry: Well, I think part of it is that whatever perspective we hold on a topic or issue, we’ve usually gotten from some specific vantage point. And we come to a conclusion in our own mind about whether something is right, wrong, good, bad and what should be done about it. At this point, once we’ve made that conclusion, we’ve kind of locked it in. What we what we have come to makes sense to us and from our worldview and how the world works.

Terry: When we meet someone with an opposite perspective, we’re left with some choices. Depending on the importance of the issue and how strongly we take a stand, we can listen to their rationale and maybe possibly accept their perspective as being right. We can agree to disagree and say, “No, this is my opinion. This is your position. I accept, kind of respectfully disagree,” or we can attempt to change their perspective to match our own by firing out all of our own rationale at us, which tends to be the perspective that, the direction most people go.

Jeff: Kind of like machine gun arguing right? It’s like shoot off these topics, shoot out these comments, shoot them out as fast as you can. If you shoot out with enough ideas fast enough, maybe you’ll win.

Terry: Well, I think it’s, yeah, it’s that feeling that “I have come to the most important decision on this and if everybody else knew the rationale that I came to, they would believe the same way I believe.” I think that’s the mindset that a lot of … At the heart of this. It’s also what leads to those toxic family feuds around the holidays.

Jeff: We did a podcast earlier that talked about just understanding that people are going to be different. We’re all different, we’re all made differently. But to look at those things that we have in common, those similarities, and that that really helps kick off these conversations, doesn’t it?

Terry: Well, I think it’s important to go back if you haven’t listened to the last podcast that we did on relating to people who are different from us. I think there’s a lot of good points in there that I don’t want to bring up here again, so if you get a chance to go back and listen to that one.

Jeff: So what can we do that will make it easier to relate to others who do hold different positions and values? Because that’s going to be a lot of people. We’re not all clones of each other. So when we decide, “Hey, it’s important to have a conversation,” which is probably a good point to decide, not at the holiday dinner with everybody around the table maybe to start that. So maybe you want to have coffee with the person and say, “Hey, let’s talk about this and such.” How do we do that then?

Terry: Well I think first of all we have to realize that we want to do it in such a way that we’re not setting off the danger signals in their heads. And when somebody comes at me or comes at you and says, “You’re wrong about this subject,” or at least has that, they may not say those actual words, but their mannerisms and their perspective, it’s like, “You need to look at this.” Anytime somebody uses the word need, you need to do something, we’re basically saying that they’re wrong. And that’s really likely to set off alarm signals in someone’s head because-

Jeff: So need. The word need you want to get out of the vocabulary for this kind of discussion.

Terry: Yeah. Because if you come up to somebody and say, “Hey, you need to look at it this way,” you’re going to set off their alarm signals. When those danger signals are activated, becoming defensive is an immediate response. It’s not something they necessarily feel like they choose. It just happens.

Jeff: Right, right. What else then is sort of a thing that is a … Because you’ve got to have this mindset. You’ve got to have this roadmap when you’re going into these conversations, right? So what’s the next thing that’s important?

Terry: I still want to go back to that part about the defensiveness because what happens when we get somebody defensive, when we say or do something that the other person is defensive about is logic and reasoning skills go out the window and our emotion’s running the show. Emotion is really the motion set of our brain is now responding to those those warning signals. At that point, the smartest next step is to just stop talking. Just to let that subject rest at that point until everybody is calmer and then come back to it if you feel like it’s safe. And then from that point on, I would say first of all, don’t argue. Arguing just sets off those alarm signals.

Jeff: Right. And that may involve just taking a pause. Hitting that pause button, stepping away from the conversation, is that correct?

Terry: Absolutely.

Jeff: Because you don’t have to solve the world’s problems in one luncheon.

Terry: Right. Then when you come back together again, the first thing I would say is listen. And I guess when I-

Jeff: What did you say?

Terry: What did I say? Did you hear me? I said, “Listen.”

Jeff: Oh, listen. I gotcha.

Terry: And what I mean is really listen with curiosity and openness to try to understand what the other person is coming from. You want to really listen to their perspective. You want to listen to their heart. And that’s a really hard thing to do. If we’re busy in our own head thinking of the next thing we want to say or the next argument we want to say. It’s really, really important to try to listen without focusing because our brains can only do one thing at a time. They can either listen or they can focus on what’s in your head that you want to say next. They can’t do both.

Jeff: Well and it’s really easy for people like me who have a little bit of that high energy perspective who have some specific thoughts in their head to say, “Oh, I just really want to get this out. I really want to get this out.” And it’s hard. I mean it really is that, “Okay, take a breath and just understand that that other person has some thoughts they want to get out too.” And it really is some intentional discipline. I mean it’s almost a like athletics in a way. I mean, if you’re going to run a race, you don’t just absolutely run the race. You have to do some training. So this is really maybe a bit of a listening training in a way?

Terry: Absolutely. The more you can do to train yourself to listen the better. Even when you’re watching TV, if you’re all alone and you’re watching TV, just focus on your listening skills. What are they really saying? A lot of times we’re watching TV and we’re multitasking at the same time, but really listen to and try to hear the heart of the speaker if you can.

Jeff: So a question then, and again, not to pull this into the counseling office too much because we would love to with Journey, and I say this kiddingly but close down counseling offices. Because people are so healthy and the communication is so good, they don’t even need counselors.

Terry: Yeah, careful with that.

Jeff: I know. There’s other issues in people’s lives. We love counselors. But yeah, it’s just to do this in a way that is healthy and sort of consistent. There’s just really, again, it just goes back to being intentional about it, doesn’t it?

Terry: It really does. And I think what’s happening in our society is we’re losing our ability to listen with our hearts. We have so much noise out there. We have information available in so many different directions. Not even at our fingertips. We don’t even have to type any more to get information off the internet. All we have to do is say, “Hey, Siri or Alexa,” and we’re linked into this virtual world of so much information.

Jeff: So just real quick, of the people that come into your office, what percentage would you say are really listening to each other? They’re really sitting down. They’ve had good conversations. They’re walking in and they are good listeners.

Terry: Yeah, that would be pretty low. Of course, I think what it is is when I get couples who come in, by the time they make it to a counseling office, typically they have had years of arguing, yelling back and forth. And when you get into that pattern of talking over each other, yelling over each other what’s happening is neither one of you is listening and both of you are just trying really hard to be heard and understood and yet the other person’s not listening.

Terry: And so one of the first things I really do is I listen to people. I try to understand their perspective and their heart in the matter. And then I make sure the other person’s heard that. It makes a difference when you hear the heart of the other person instead of now arguing over the little things. I mean you can have people who come in and argue over who squeezes the toothpaste tube in the middle, who leaves their dirty socks on the floor, those kind of things. It’s really not about those things. It’s about what does that mean about them, and to them, and how does that make them feel?

Jeff: And it’s so important. I had a really, it was a tough conversation. I mean on the level of tough, I don’t think it was a 10 but it was probably a seven of a heavy sort of topic of conversation with somebody last week. And after we got done, their response that I got was, “Hey, just thanks for listening and hearing what I had to say.” And it was a two hour deal. I thought it’d be 20 minutes. We talked for two hours. So kind of moving along. So you said don’t argue, listen. Anything else there in terms of what we need to do then?

Terry: Yeah. I think the third thing would be to apologize. And that’s a hard thing to do in our society. People feel like apologizing is weak. If I apologize, that means I’ve done something wrong. Well, yeah, you have, sorry. Own your own mistakes. Recognize your view of the subject may not cover all possibilities and own your things. And if maybe you don’t feel like you … Maybe you had a right to be angry, apologize for the way you treated the other person when you were angry and just say, “I was angry but I shouldn’t have said these things or done these things.” Own your pieces of whatever it is.

Jeff: Right. Right. Well, and I think there, and then tell me if this is close. It seems like a lot of times apologizing is hard because it’s like, well, we don’t think … It’s like we ran the car into the garage door kind of level of a hurt. I mean, it could be simply, “Hey, I was watching the game. I was really focused. It was the last quarter. I was really focused on this and I just didn’t, I ignored my spouse,” or whatever it might be. The person thinks, “Hey, that’s just a little, little tiny thing, but-“

Terry: Are you talking from experience?

Jeff: But the thing is, it’s still important to apologize because that other person, even though it seemed like a little thing to the one person, it could have been a bigger thing to another person. So apologies don’t have to be for running cars into garages. It can be for little things but a true apology too. Right?

Terry: Sure. Well, and when we do those things and we also look back at what we talked about before about the worldviews and accepting things that are different from us, we can become better at showing unconditional love and acceptance. And I think those are key. That’s a key thing right there. Unconditional love and acceptance is something you don’t hear a lot about.

Jeff: Right. Right, exactly. And that’s really undergirding this whole thing. I mean that’s really at the core of all this. It’s like why do we even want to bother? Because this is tough. It’s a lot easier to stay different, to not handle the heavy topics. It’s just a lot easier to keep things shallow. So this really goes to the point of why would we want to do these kinds of things? And it’s really all about …

Terry: Well, I think it comes back to the fact that when you think about something like unconditional love and acceptance, those words, love and even acceptance, are both feeling words but they’re also action words. And so I think what happens a lot of times is we may love our spouse and we may have that kind of a feeling from, but are we showing love? Are we doing something to show that love to the other person? Unconditional love and acceptance starts from the mindset that the person you meet has intrinsic value and worth. By intrinsic, I mean just that there’s nothing they can do or say that will either make you love them or take that away. They’re person, the value.

Jeff: Right. But why is it so hard? You know, what gets in the way of just showing this unconditional love to people?

Terry: Well, I think one of the things that gets in the way, probably mostly is fears. We have fear of the unknown, fear of being seen as condoning what we have identified as being bad or wrong and work to get rid of in our own lives. Also a fear that maybe something that they’re doing or their lifestyle would rub off on us a little bit. Or on our kids.

Jeff: Right. Again, it’s that differences, it’s like “Ooh, they’re different.” Or they’re coming at this subject from a different perspective and yeah, so the fear thing. It seems like fear is one of those things that just kind of permeates a lot of what we do, isn’t it?

Terry: Oh, I think so. And a lot of people are … Fear is one of those words that not only affects us in a lot of different ways, but we deny it, we turn it away because we think of fear as weak and we don’t want to be weak. Fear can cause us to look at the other person in a certain way. And then we don’t want to feel weak, so we do something to compensate for it.

Jeff: Yeah. Well, and when you talked about apologizing, I think sometimes for me it’s always been like, “Well, if I apologize, yeah, I’m going to kind of be like, come across as weak or it’s just not going to be really that cool of a thing.” So yeah, I think again, it’s one of those things where just stepping back and going, “You know what? Yeah, I can see this wasn’t quite on track. I just need to say I’m sorry,” and just pressing through that fear, that concern like, “Oh, I’m going to seem like a dweeb because I messed up.”

Terry: Yeah. I think being aware that being honest about your, not weaknesses, being honest about your mistakes and being honest about who you are, what your growth areas are. I like that word better. But being honest about those things makes us human not weak.

Jeff: Right.

Terry: And I think that being human like that makes us more approachable by other people or to other people. So in effect, I think what’s happening is by allowing ourselves to be human makes it easier for others to relate to us.

Jeff: So to wrap this up, why is all this important? Why is this stuff important?

Terry: Well, I think the short answer is because this world would be a much better place if everyone offered and received unconditional love and acceptance. Unconditional, think of that word. It means there are no conditions where our love or acceptance would stop. So for an example, I have three kids. They are not perfect. They have made mistakes. But there is nothing I could imagine them doing where I would no longer love them or accept them as my own child.

Terry: Longer answer, because when we’re coaching others, and if you go back to the coaching process, and this is one of the things that we talk about in the training for the coaches, when we’re coaching others, it’s important to see them as worthy of the same kind of unconditional regard. Let me try that sentence again.

Jeff: Take two. Hey, we can just do this.

Terry: When we’re coaching others, it’s important to see them as being worthy of the same kind of uncondition …

Jeff: See, it’s a tough word. It’s a tough word.

Terry: Sorry. I just got chocked up here. Try again. Take three. When we’re coaching others it’s important to see them as being worthy of the same kind of unconditional regard as we would want to be treated.

Jeff: Right. Right. Yeah, it is. This is just so important and so yeah, to wrap it up, this is what really coaching is about, and it’s one of those things where you just don’t hear this podcast and all of a sudden go out and go, “Okay, got it. I’m going to show unconditional love to people. I’m going to have those tough conversations. I’m going to listen better. I’m going to ask questions better. You know, I’m really going to learn how to apologize and boy, it’s just going to be like microwave instant kind of a thing.” That is not the case, correct? I mean, this takes practice.

Terry: It takes a lot of practice. And it means we’re not perfect. Practice means we’re not perfect. We’re not. The expectation is that as we practice, we’ll get better at this.

Jeff: So get out there folks, try this, understand that this is a marathon, not a sprint. That you will move forward. You’ll reach out to people. That you will feel like you’re getting stepped on, but that’s okay. Again, we love others, we move forward, we care for them. It’s not always easy. The coaching piece, Journey Coaching can help. We’re here to provide some supports and framework and you can find out more about all those kinds of things on the Journey website, journeycoaching.org. And again, just resources to help as we all move through life and as we all step out of our comfort zones and to try to love others and to help those conversations that will really help us to grow deeper. And yeah, it’s just some cool stuff. So thanks for being here Terry.

Terry: Well, thank you for asking me.

Jeff: Take care.

Terry: Bye.

Jeff: Bye.

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

(singing)

What is the Difference Between Coaching and Counseling?

By: Terry C.

Because I’m a licensed counselor and one of the developers of Journey Coaching, people often ask me, “What is the difference between coaching and counseling?” Just asking that question implies that there are a lot of similarities, enough to cause considerable confusion. Both are highly relational. Both work to bring insight and perspective to another’s life, and both coaches and counselors have a wide variety of experience to draw on. 

Since I’ve done both, I will try to explain the differences here. When I am in the counseling office, I am usually focused on helping someone heal. It may be from past or present emotional wounds, mental health issues such as anxiety or depression, difficult or broken relationships, or other life crisis and we work together to bring about healing. Coaching, on the other hand, is focused primarily on growth in one or more areas of a person’s life, usually at a time and place in their life where they are emotionally healthy enough for forward growth.

Because the needs of the individuals they are working with are greater, professional counselors have a minimum of a Master’s degree in counseling or social work and are typically licensed by the state or states they practice in. Counseling can be rather expensive and is often covered by insurance. 

As you might imagine, coaching is much more informal. There are a few training and certification options for someone who is interested in a coaching career where they work for a school or business, and earn a salary or charge for their services. On the other hand, a lot of peer-to-peer coaching is actually done on a volunteer basis and often spontaneous. For instance, you might go to a neighbor who is good at woodworking to ask him or her for advice on a project you are doing or you might consult a friend to coach you on your golf swing.

Journey Coaching is also peer-to-peer, but rather than a golf swing coach, Journey coaches are more like a “you” coach. What this means is that as you go through the Journey process your coach will help you identify your unique qualities. From helping you make sense of your own story, to identifying your strengths, growth areas, world view, and goals in life, your coach will help you identify the unique way that you fit into this world. Journey helps you look at the whole you: body, mind and soul. The Journey workbook was designed from a basic Christian worldview perspective, giving you an opportunity if you would like to reflect on how your own story might fit into God’s larger story.

Journey coaches are not career coaches. They are volunteers who have usually been through their own coaching process and are interested in helping others begin to grow more in understanding of themselves and the world around them. The goal for Journey Coaching is for people to grow to know themselves better, and to grow in healthy relationships with others as they do this. 
Hopefully this clarifies the differences for you between coaching and counseling, and also helps you better understand the specific focus of Journey Coaching. Information on how you can become involved with Journey through coaching or being coached: contact Terry@JourneyCoaching.org.

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.

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.

Risking New Relationships

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


Transcription of Podcast


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

(singing)

Sarah: This is a neat topic.

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

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

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

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

Sarah: Yeah, that makes sense.

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

Sarah: Yeah.

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

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

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

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

Terry: Scare them away.

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

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

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

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

Sarah: So what would the reward be?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sarah: So now you have-

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

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

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

Sarah: That’s awesome.

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

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

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

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

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

Terry: The answer is yes.

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

Terry: Bye.

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

(singing)

How Do You Handle Busyness?

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

Transcription of Podcast

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

Sarah: Hello.

Terry: And we’ve got Travis.

Travis: Hi, everybody.

Terry: And we have Jody.

Jody: Hey there.

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

Sarah: Hi Terry.

Terry: Hello.

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

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

Travis: I have no problems with busyness whatsoever.

Sarah: No, not at all.

Travis: No.

Terry: You’re very happy being very busy?

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

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

Travis: Yeah.

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

Travis: Oh my god, yeah.

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

Terry: It goes by so fast.

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

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

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

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

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

Terry: Sure.

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

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

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

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

Travis: Right.

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

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

Terry: Absolutely.

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

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

Travis: Exactly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jody: Yeah. Absolutely.

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

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

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

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

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

Terry: That’s a great way to say it.

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

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

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

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

Travis: Some really smart said…

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

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

Sarah: Yes.

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

Sarah: Well, oh, yeah. Say yes-

Jody: But to the right things.

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

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

Sarah: Thank you for listening, you guys.

Travis: Yes.

Jody: Thank you.

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

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

How Did Journey Coaching Start?

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

Transcription of Podcast

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

Music: Your life, your journey starts now.

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

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

Sarah: That stuff is hard stuff though.

Mike: Yes it is.

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

Mike: Yes.

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

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

Sarah: Yes.

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

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

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

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

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

Mike: Yeah.

Terry: It’s a good picture.

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

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

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

Mike: Yes.

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

Mike: It was exciting.

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

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

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

Mike: Yeah.

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

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

Terry: Right.

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

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

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

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

Speaker 3: Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

Mike: Yeah.

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

Mike: Thanks.

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

Terry: Bye.

Mike: Bye.

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

Your life, your journey starts now.

Why Coaching When Life Feels Fine?

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode, Mike, Terry and Lianne talk about why coaching is beneficial even if your life feels normal or fine. On this episode they discuss how coaching may help those areas of your life that you are not 100% happy.

Transcription of Podcast

Lianne: Hello. Welcome back to Journey Coaching. I’m Lianne. I’m here with Terry and Mike. And I have a question, and this is kind of a why coaching question. And it would be that a lot of us are adults and we’re dealing with our life. And especially if we’re fairly comfortable, why would we take the time out to go into introspection to really examine our life when we’re probably all able to handle our lives?

Speaker 2: Your life, your journey starts now.

Terry: Well, I think that’s a really, really good question and probably a common question that somebody listening might ask, “Why bother? Why go into all this?”

Terry: And I guess looking at it from a counseling perspective, because I’m a licensed counselor, I look at it as are you really happy with your life? Are you completely satisfied with the way things are going? There’s nothing else that you look back in your life and you say, “Okay, I’m happy if the rest of my life goes this way when I’m on my death bed.” Will I have any regrets?

Terry: And I think that’s a good question to ask yourself. Some people might actually say, “Nope, I’m good to go.” But I think for most of us, you are going find that there’s some areas in our life that we’re just really not 100% happy with. There’s some parts of our lives where we think, “Wow, I wish I had more friends,” or “I wish I had a different job,” or, “I don’t know.”

Terry: There’s just a lot of areas in our life where we just assume that this is as good as it’s going to get. And what Journey Coaching does is it comes along and says, “But maybe not. Maybe there’s some ways that you can improve your life in some ways.”

Terry: One of the things we try to do is we look at what are your strengths and what are your weaknesses. We have a person start with their story. What’s been going on in my life so far? I think it’s really good to look at our own stories in a way when we tell it to a coach we’re seeing it through our lens, but now we’re also hearing our story through that other person’s lens. And they may ask them questions that make us think about our lives in a different way.

Terry: We’ve got process in the in place where you look at, okay, now here’s your story. What can you identify as strengths out of your story? A lot of times people end up being misaligned where they’re working out of their weaknesses more than they’re working out of their strengths. And looking at it and just asking yourself that question, “Is my life lined up? Is my work? Is my ministry or the different things that I’m doing in life? Am I operating more out of my weaknesses or am I operating more of my strengths? And what can I do about that?”

Terry: And that’s where coaching comes alongside of it. No one’s telling you what to do. It’s more along the lines of, “Hey, have you ever thought about this? Have you ever looked at it from this perspective?” And it’s a value to the person to do that.

Mike: Yeah. And I would jump in and add a couple of things. One is it isn’t just about personal introspection. Life, whether a person believes in God or not, we do come from a perspective that there is a creator that made us and he made us a certain way, and that is in relationship to other people.

Mike: And when you’re doing introspection or thinking about yourself and you’re sharing that with another person, you are meeting a human need to connect with another person. So it isn’t just you sitting in your room by yourself having this personal introspection moment, though that’s part of it so that you have something to share. But journey coaching is about connecting with another human. And your ability to think about your own life and share that with another person in and of itself is fulfilling and healing and human no matter what you believe. That’s a very common experience for everyone.

Mike: So I would just add that I think, Terry, just to add into what you said.

Terry: Yeah, sure.

Lianne: Yeah, and it sounds like it’s all in the name, the journey. And so therefore taking a pause and getting another perspective from somebody else who’s extremely helpful is a good idea.

Lianne: Now, I also wonder, thinking from the perspective of somebody who does have a strong faith, and they may be saying to themselves, “Why not just get up in the morning, pray to be in God’s will, and then go about your day? Why take time out for a Journey Coaching type of experience?”

Mike: Sure. And I think I’m probably going to piggyback now because I gave away my answer. I think the answer applies to whether a person is a Christian or not, but certainly God has clearly created a community of people for himself, not just individuals who worship him. That’s why we don’t have our own churches, every individual one of us. We have a church that we’re a part of.

Mike: And so again, in order for two people to connect, they bring what they’re possibly interacting with God within their prayer closet and they process that with other people. And that’s part of the journey of the church or all of the church walking with that together. And Journey Coaching just says, “Hey, we’re going to find a way for that to at least happen between two people,” because what we find in all sociological studies in the church and outside of the church actually, and I don’t know exactly what these figures are, but it’s between 80 and 90% of people would call themselves lonely or they have nobody to connect with. So it’s not working in the culture or in the church to try to do something alone.

Mike: And this is a simple process where two people connect and start to do life together, whether you don’t know God or whether you do. But we would say in the church for sure, we have to get our people walking with God together, and that’s the crucial part of it.

Terry: One, I think that you brought up a really good point about the loneliness. And when you look at it from the research standpoint, they’re finding more and more issues that are coming up out of loneliness. People who are disconnected end up having higher levels of depression and anxiety. The suicide rate is off the charts.

Terry: And so just realizing how important it is that we do find ways to connect with others is so important mental health wise.

Mike: Yes. Well, and I would even add to it there’s a sense of arrogance to think that me by myself can know everything about myself with no help from anybody else. And that really doesn’t work if anybody’s tried that. And we need each other actually to even understand ourselves. We need each other to even grow in any way. And not that we can’t grow it all by ourselves, but it certainly multiplies the ability to grow when we have people in our life speaking into it and seeing things about us and reflecting things back to us about ourselves.

Mike: So if you truly want to grow, you really need other people inside or outside the church.

Terry: Well, and I think the neat thing about Journey when we look at over the last five years of developing it and piloting it with different individuals and stuff, and we honestly during that time, we haven’t had one person who’s gone through the coaching who said it was a waste of time. Every person, even people who have high degrees and people who’ve gone through different kinds of mentoring programs on their own, there’s something they’ve gotten out of it that they said that they absolutely believed was valuable.

Mike: What was also unique is most people had never done anything like this ever before.

Terry: Right.

Mike: Which speaks back to the what the studies tell us. We’re lonely.

Terry: Right.

Mike: We don’t have relationships, a lot of relationships like this in our life. So for people that we are surprised, we think, “Well, they’re going to be bored doing this again.” Certainly, they have all these friends where they’ve told their story to and never before had they told their story like this.

Terry: Right. And we may have talked about this in another podcast. I’m not sure if we have or not. But I just remember when we were sitting around in a coffee shop, mulling over what do we put in the books and how do we put this together and all this stuff, at some point about an hour or two into our conversation, this woman came from another table over and she said, Excuse me.” And we all looked at each other like, “Oh my gosh,” because in a coffee shop there a lot of people who are trying to study and quiet is the important thing.

Terry: And I thought, “Oh, surely she’s going to complain that we were being too noisy or she was going to say something about it.” And you remember what she said?

Mike: She was so excited about what we were talking about, what we were doing.

Terry: She said, “This is so necessary.” She said, “I wish it was in my church. I wish there was something going on locally where I could do this.” She said, “It is so needed.”

Terry: And so that was just really encouraging.

Mike: Yeah.

Lianne: Well, thank you, Mike and Terry, for that great conversation and thank you for joining us and see you next time in Journey.

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

Speaker 2: Your life, your journey starts now.

Finding Your Purpose

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


 

Transcription of Podcast


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sarah:
At that point, probably about 30 years. 

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

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

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

Lianne:
Yeah. 

Terry:
Yeah.

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

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

Lianne:
Right.

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

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

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

Sarah:
Right.

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

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

Terry:
Yeah. Thank you, Sarah.

Sarah:
So, tune in.

Lianne:
Thanks, Sarah.

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

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.