In this Voice Studio episode, Andrea discusses the one thing you need to be sure to bring to every conversation of intentional friendship.
Mentioned in this episode:
Episode 21: How to Find People to Challenge You to be Your Best with Laurie Hock
In this Voice Studio episode, Andrea discusses the one thing you need to be sure to bring to every conversation of intentional friendship.
Mentioned in this episode:
Episode 21: How to Find People to Challenge You to be Your Best with Laurie Hock
Laurie Hock’s coaching credentials through Gallup and the John Maxwell Team define her specialization of helping people stop living life, and start leading it. Through her company, Growing Points, she creates and delivers individual and group growth experiences purposed to “set the caged bird free and empower those already flying to soar higher.
Laurie is a personal friend and one of the many powerful things we discuss on this episode is how we started and developed our own friendship to challenge and encourage one another to be our best.
Find Laurie at www.lauriehock.com and sign up for her monthly video series.
Hey, hey! It’s Andrea and welcome to the Voice of Influence podcast. Today, I have my friend, Laurie Hock on the line. And Laurie is somebody that is really into her calling and who she is kind of continuing to grow and develop her own self as well as the offerings that she makes the to the world.
Andrea: So Laurie, I’m so thrilled to have you on the Voice of Influence podcast.
Laurie: Thank you! It’s a total joy to be here with you!
Andrea: Well, Laurie and I have been friends for a couple of years. I don’t know how long have we been friends, maybe about three or four years?
Laurie: Yeah, probably around there.
Andrea: Something like that and she lives in North Platte where I live. A few years ago, we’re in the same bible study, small group kind of thing and Laurie took off on some trip and she came back and was like ready to go with this whole new purpose in her life and it was just amazing. And since then, she has really grown and she has really inspired me to look at what I offer as something that could be done as a business. I don’t know, we just had quite a little journey together, Laurie.
Laurie: That’s right. Yeah, it’s fun to think about as each of us grew individually; we also grew together as well. What a beautiful thing.
Andrea: Yeah. So Laurie, why don’t you tell the Influencers listening what it is that you do right now?
Laurie: Right now, I have found my true sweet spots and some of these will probably be described as our conversation continues, but moving from working with people one-on-one primarily to creating growth experiences. And I’m both a coach, speaker, facilitator; I’d feel probably describes me best as I get to come alongside people in their growth journey and help them really navigate their way from where they are to where they want to be and getting in touch with the core of their true self.
Being able to celebrate what’s great about them and really creating this kind of transformation in the context of community and relationship with others, which is what I think is one of the greatest and most significant aspects and elements of any growth. So I serve people locally. I serve people in different states as well. Much of what I do can be done virtually or in person, so there’s really no geographical limits and there are needs all over the world. It’s a wonderful, wonderful exciting privilege of watching other people really come alive and step into their greatness.
Andrea: And you have a couple of credentials really behind you. That credentials and also these influences tools that these things have offered you which would be like the John Maxwell Team and the Gallup StrengthsFinder. Do you want to tell us just briefly about those?
Laurie: Sure! Yeah, I’m very privileged to be able to be connected with really some of the global experts on the planet in the field of personal development and what really started this journey for me several years ago as becoming a coach and speaker with the John Maxwell Team. John is by far and has been for years the world expert on leadership. He is the number one leadership guru and I get to be affiliated with him. He really has been on a mission in his later years of his career of wanting to leverage his name and his influence to give other speakers and coaches a platform to open opportunities for them.
So he’s been a big influence in my life. I use some of his materials in what I do and his ideas have helped me shape my own ideas around what it means to be a leader. I continue to stay connected with the team on many levels. So there’s that and then also the privilege. The experience you mentioned in the introduction was when I went to Gallup to be trained as a Certified Strengths Coach and that’s really about leveraging their Clifton Strengths Assessment. To help people identify what they do best and their innate talents and strengths that really indicates where their greatest potential lies and how they can develop that to achieve the greatest results and sense of fulfillment and satisfaction and success in their lives.
So I have some really amazing tools that both of those affiliations gave me that the true joy in finding my voice of influence has been, not just in speaking from one of those lanes or the other, but allowing them to marinate and come together within me. And then speaking my truth of how those blend and how I find my own voice and make my own ideas from that foundation of how I can best serve and support clients, friends, peers, family, and all the people in my life.
Andrea: Hmm I love that idea of wanting these other influences and letting them saturate and become like really a synthesis and I guess to come out as your own voice. Yeah, that’s really cool!
Laurie: Yeah, exactly!
Andrea: I know that I you didn’t start out your career path with this particular thing in mind. If you want take us back to what you were doing that moment that you knew that you wanted to move in this direction of finding business and developing your voice of influence in the space where you can really utilize your own strengths and offer that to other people?
Laurie: Yes. I will give you a brief insight into my life in 2007 that’s really where this revelation started and then it’s been a process over the last 10 years. Oh actually, let me go farther back even than that. In sixth grade, I really set my sight and got very clear for some specific reasons that I wanted to be a dietitian, a nutritionist in terms of how I understood it then. So I pressed on with that in pursuing all my educational requirements to be a registered dietitian. And everything that I aspired to do in that, I now see the motivation underneath that is the same thing I am doing now. It was just going to be expressed toward helping people create positive changes in their health and developing healthy lifestyles. What wasn’t correct in that fate was the specific industry that I was applying that in.
And so as passionate as I was to help other people to create positive change, I felt a lot of limitations in that particular career path of being a dietitian that wasn’t going to allow me to do that the most fully and in a way that made me feel most alive and engaged. I had great coworkers and colleagues there but it felt like it wasn’t the right fit. And I came to that revelation in 2008 or so that I needed to really be willing to lay down that part of me and being able to create and new way forward.
That was a really huge identity crisis in every sense of everything I thought I was was no more in the sense that if I lay down that career path, I knew in my heart it wasn’t the right fit anymore. It would be a disservice to stay there knowing that just because I had all my educational investment and requirements met there, it would be a disservice to not only my own destiny but to the lives that my life is purposed to speak into. There were too many limitations and restrictions in that industry for my voice to be most heard.
And so I had to find out who is Laurie Hock without that career. Who’s Laurie on her own? Who’s Laurie without any sort of work-related attachments to it? And I think that’s a question very few people ask themselves and that begin a very deep soul searching journey for me because I didn’t have the answer to that. I knew different things I enjoy and was good at but I’d never thought just who I was at the core of my identity without anything else defining that.
So it took several years to come into that but the biggest decision and that turning point was making the intentional choice to create a new way forward that I could redefine myself. I could find my deeper truth that I didn’t have to stay with what it was or who I had been to that point, but that I could define who I was going to be outside of what I did.
Andrea: Hmmm. Laurie, was there anything in particular that helped you to realize that you didn’t have to stay there, that you could be something new? Do you remember?
Laurie: You know at that point, I didn’t have a lot of community. I didn’t have a coach I was working with. I was totally unaware of this whole personal development industry and all the opportunities of working with people that are experts at this. I remember I started going to the library. We were living in San Antonio at the time and I picked up a few John Maxwell’s books actually.
And I began to feel that there was something greater within me that was begging to be awakened. And through the practice of reading some of these leadership-related materials and paired with journaling to really get in touch with the deeper things going on inside me. This restlessness, this cry for more when I could sit and really allow those feelings from within to be exposed and surfaced and expressed in the form of my nightly journaling, wow, I just heard such a longing in me. That even if I didn’t know what it was and as risky as it felt to lay that other piece down, I knew it was far riskier to stay. And so it was just this light-bulb moment. It’s a combination of all those. Does that make sense?
Andrea: Sure! So really, I mean John Maxwell has a huge impact on you from the get-go.
Laurie: Yeah. I think this is true for all of us that there are certain voices that the spirit within us just clings to and it resonates with us so richly and so deeply even if it’s far beyond that we can’t understand in the moment. It speaks to us and it awakens something inside that knows it’s going to continue to unlock more of our potential and more opportunities for what’s ahead.
Andrea: Yeah that’s cool! Okay, so what happened after you kind of had this light-bulb moment like “Wait a second; I don’t have to go down this path that I was going down. I could choose this other path.”
Laurie: Yeah, it came with a lot of tears. I’ll be honest, I feel a lot of grieving and searching and then from just the decision to find a new way to create a new way, it probably took about five years actually. My husband had a job changed. We relocated back to Nebraska. I sensed heavily then that I wasn’t to look for a position here in North Platte as dietitian. I had left that in the past life and so I had some times. We started a family. I had some years with some kids all the while doing intensive searching within me and that’s a real discipline.
It takes time to truly find who we are but in that, the fruit of that is within over that compounding effort, the voice of influence we carry becomes clear. So yeah, I encourage everyone listening to this to give yourself the space, the time, and the freedom to enjoy the process. This cannot be manufactured overnight. It’s not an overnight success. It is something that really takes consistent commitment. And I believe we find our message when we first find ourselves.
Andrea: Yeah I like that. I really like that! We find our message when we find ourselves and we have to enjoy the process and kind of let it just set it in and keep moving. I love that. Yeah, because five years that’s a long time and it’s hard when you have little kids. That was definitely a struggle for me to try to understand who I was in the middle of having kids. But you were really processing all of that in the midst of that. At what point then did you decide it was time to move forward that you found yourself, you found your message?
Laurie: Yeah, I’d say the awakening really became clear, I was in some other leadership roles in our community but was feeling like in those situations, people were looking to me for the answers and I was wondering who can I look to for the answers. I know I was too young in my journey to have all the answers. I needed someone that could lead me so that I could lead them and that came through this incredible process of then discovering that John Maxwell had a team of people he was training and equipping and credentialing to be leadership coaches and speakers.
So I joined and made the investment in myself to join his team strictly for personal growth. That was back in 2013 with no intentions of it becoming anything more than just me growing as a leader so that I could feel this bigger call in my life, this leadership mandate. Even though I had no idea what’s that look like, I could sense it that I needed to be equipped and grow as a leader to be able to carry out my life’s mission.
So I found out that you can join the Maxwell Team. I did it for personal growth. I went to my first live event in 2014 with John in Orlando and it was rather unexpected but I really looked back at that moment and now see that I received my life calling there in the middle of one particular session.
It just became incredibly clear through a lot of just emotional eruption of joy and gladness and tears and all sorts of things that God was really calling me to make a business that would empower leaders and help them understand and recognize their true potential to be alongside in this journey and developing it. To call out who they really are so they can step forward more boldly and confidently and to fulfill their life’s purpose.
And it was just very clear that this is my time. This is my time and I didn’t have a clue that business was on my radar at all. It was so clear in that moment. Of course, I said yes immediately and everything shifted in that moment. Even before going to that event, I remember sitting out by the pool before the first session and I love to journal my thoughts before going in to some experience like that and just really putting out there “I’m expecting this to change my life. I’m coming to be transformed.”
And I remember just this _____ before going into that first day was that I wrote down in my journal “Your whole life has been leading up to this moment.” So I felt then like “This is my voice” and it’s been a process in the years since of finding what it looks like to do that and to be that but that day changed everything for me.
Andrea: Yeah. I remember you coming back from that experience and coming into this little small group of a number of basically stay-at-home moms and saying “I’m supposed to start a business.” Your joy, your excitement, it was such a clear picture of how affirmed you felt in that decision, in that call.
Laurie: Yeah. It felt like everything had been leading up to that moment and what I thought was _____ so that I can grow others and it can go a pinnacle in receiving that calling and then coming home thinking “I’m doing this no matter what.” It’s so obvious to me even though it’s so unknown. It cannot be bought. It’s so clear and so unknown at the same time. I think so the big picture vision is so clear and how to get there is the unknown but we find that one day at a time.
Andrea: Yes, yes, so true! Yes, I love that because you knew it was ahead but you didn’t know exactly what steps to take, what does it mean to run a business, and all those things. But that vision you had seems to be really motivating you to be able to keep your nose to the grinding and keep figuring that out even if you don’t know what’s next.
Laurie: Because we know the why. See I got my why that day in Orlando. The how is negotiable. The how doesn’t matter in the big picture when we’re connected to that why that’s what drive us forward. That’s what’s drive our influence is the why, our why.
Andrea: Definitely! Then basically you started this business and it’s kind of turned into what it is today over the course of a few years. Do you want to say anything else about that transformation of your business?
Laurie: I think what has been really critical for me in that and this is truly a main message I would love to emphasize to your audience is that it really takes the help and support of other people for us to find our voice however that’s expressed. If it’s in terms of business or personal things in terms of your relationship and the influence you have with other people in your life. I believe we can’t find our voice on our own.
So when things begin to get really clear of what I’m best at and what my business is most effective at doing and how it can meet the needs of the people around me that my voice is called to reach. That clarity all came from the context of being in relationship and connection with other likeminded peers and experiencing the benefit of really feeling support, and I’ll define support in just a moment, for people to help me clarify my own value.
We don’t understand what we’re best at or where we really shine because it’s so familiar to us. The same work I do with strengths. People don’t recognize their strengths or that significant because they’ve always been there. They’re so normal to them. We don’t realize that it’s exceptional to others. And so in the context of me being a participant in several masterminds with my colleagues and peers that are in the same industry really allowed me to get clear on what my voice can best accomplish.
Andrea: So what is that look like for you in terms of finding those other voices, those other people in your life that could give you that kind of feedback?
Laurie: I know. Isn’t that powerful that in order to find our voice, we need the voice of others? I think that’s so perfect of how we’ve been designed to need and really have to depend on one another but it’s a _____ to depend on one another. So what is that look like to find people? I think what that’s really look like for me and what I would encourage your listeners to consider as well is really finding the people that are willing to challenge you. When I began to experience this environment of support, I discovered that supporting one another doesn’t mean agreeing with one another.
Andrea: Hmmm yes!
Laurie: When we think of “Oh I support you in that,” or when we think of people supporting us, we think of kind of people maybe standing and applauding with us or celebrating us in some way and really _____ in a way that means they’re probably agreeing with us, encouraging us, and behind us sort of thing in what we’re pursuing. But what I have found as the strongest support that I can both receive and that I can give is the support that means I stand for your best, I stand for you. I stand with you, for you, and your highest good no matter what it costs me or what it cost you and being willing to really play all in on behalf of the best interest of others.
The support that I found has been instrumental to me really owning my voice of influence is embracing my role as a challenger. I feel like that best describes it where the best way I can support others and I encourage you as you’re looking for what kind of voice that could speak into you and help you define your message and your sphere of influence and your life mission. Who’s going to be willing to disagree with you or to risk your approval to speak your higher truths and speak into you and show you your best assets, your blind spots, and some of the other things that we have to have that outside perspective to do for us.
When I began experiencing that through this peer connection, I begin to grow faster than I ever grown before. It was truly and epic exhilaration of explosive growth when I had people and it’s a handful. It’s not multitudes that are willing to speak with us and be with us in our journey like this; it’s a handful of a select few that are willing to walk that road for us.
But I think in your heart of hearts if you begin to look around and see who you’re naturally drawn to, who inspires you in some way and being able to kind of mind what it is that draws me to them and what I admire in them and show me something I need to grow in in my own life that’s what happened for me is that some people that I admired were exceptional setting boundaries and being very clear and very direct in a loving way.
But that was radically different from what I’ve experienced or really taking a strong stand in letting their voice be expressed no matter how it was received when given from that place of care. But I realized “Wow, I’m admiring that in him because I need more of that in me.”
Andrea: Yeah. This is making me think about how really when we hear, and I’ve seen this in my relationship with you and my relationship with other people but as you have expressed a certain kind of style or voice, tone, or challenge; when you see that in other people and you see that there’s something in you, it almost gives you permission or you start to realize that you can do that too.
It may not be the same as the other person but I’ve noticed that for myself for sure that as I’ve seen that in you and other people, it’s just different things, confidence, whatever it might be that “Gosh, you know what, I could step into my confidence too.” And I think that what you’re saying about being in a community like that in an environment where somebody would be willing to push you and challenge you most certainly I can see how that would help the actual leader that’s involved and that put themselves in that position that they would then get some of those attributes for themselves as well where it awaken those in them.
Laurie: Yes, exactly! I think we all have people in our lives that support us in the traditional sense of love and celebrate who we are and what we do. But the rare jewels are those that are willing to tell us what other people either can’t see or unwilling to say. Those of them are the most meaningful relationships in my life in helping shape my voice in a way that nothing else could of those ones that are really willing to say the hard things and stand with us through that.
Andrea: And you know when someone is in a position of leadership, which I know that you’re working with people who are in positions of leadership, when they’re in that position, it’s very uncommon for other people to feel like they can or want to or want to risk that idea of challenging that leader in any sort of way. I can see how that would be incredibly valuable for that person to find it outside of their normal environment. I guess, by coming to a group like yours or the sort of community that you seem to be talking about.
Laurie: Exactly. I have two distinct programs right now and that’s really the sole purpose that were gathered together to be a group for women, women rising above the lies that limits us and helping us overcome those things that are holding us back from speaking and being our true authentic self and being willing to challenge one another in that. And a group for company leaders called Catalyst where again it’s a community thing. But what I wanted to share just for a bit though is about the process.
I love how you said “we have to give ourselves permission to kind of go there with people.” And I think giving myself permission to really embrace my role as challenger took a while. That was months in the making. It just becomes really clear in the last year. It’s been unfolding over the past year actually of realizing I’d always seen myself and this relates to what I shared a few minutes ago about the traditional way where we understand support.
I’ve always seen myself as the cheerleader and this natural encourager that came so easily for me and people really seem to appreciate and be inspired by how I could really instill belief in them through the encouraging words that just very effortless for me to give but very sincere and genuine. But when I began to recognize that there was a deeper part of me that was waiting to be discovered in this challenge or piece, it felt very unsafe initially.
And I really had to wrestle through “But I’ve always been a cheerleader” like I’m not sure if it’s okay for me to really stand in that place of what seemed to me, to conflict with celebrating and honoring who they were. So I’d always limiting beliefs I had to work out which is true in most cases. That’s why I feel like I’ve gotten very good at identifying limiting beliefs in the people I work with because I’ve gone so much practice on myself. Being able to hear the ways by limiting beliefs and talking about the things that we’re believing either on the conscious or unconscious level, but how I define this are really beliefs that limit our present ability and restrict our future potential.
So this belief I had, “It’s not okay to be a challenger like I am cheerleader. I’m nice. I’m friendly. People call me smiley wherever I go and they have my whole life sort of thing.” This whole persona that I had wrapped around that but was not going to allow me to tap into this challenge or piece of me that’s really the challengers where my true voice of influence is.
Andrea: Oh Laurie that is really cool and I certainly see that. When you talk about a persona that’s the kind of thing that does not come down easily, a persona is something that you know we really construct around ourselves that is there for a reason and can often…I don’t know be really painful to let go of. Did you find that for yourself that it was hard to let go of the ones so that you could embrace the other?
Laurie: It took probably at least six months of working on myself and just a lot of reflection, a lot of writing and processing, and trying to figure out what always going within me. A lot of conversation with my peers and working with my coach, a lot of conversations and really examining how I was showing up in my life and what things indicated where limiting beliefs was hiding or holding me back. But what I realized in that was that I didn’t realize…I thought the smile was me and it is…hear me on that, it is. When I smile, it is sincere. It’s who I am. It’s the expression of my DNA and all that I am.
I didn’t realize how much I was hiding behind it as well that it was actually, yeah to some degree this a mask or this persona that there was deeper truths inside me. But because I felt I had to maintain this smiley demeanor because that was who I am, right? And that’s what people expected me to be that if not Laurie starts poking people from a place of love but still poking them in the sense of calling them to more and saying “I disagree with that. You’re making an excuse for yourself there. You’re lying to yourself. You’re putting below your means,” whatever that looks like.
Yeah, that took a lot of work, internal work I’m talking about to be able to say, you know it’s grounded in care when my voice comes from a stand of love and they can see my heart in that. I have the power. I have the authority. I have the commissioning, the call to speak into those things that my eyes have been gifted to see and call forth the things within them that they can’t see in themselves, to call out those limiting beliefs and help them discover the higher truth. To be able to identify those things and to create new life in them by challenging their perspective or their way of beings so that they can become more and who they’re designed to be.
When I began to see that my heart _____ in that of calling them to do their best and helping develop their potential, it doesn’t always look like nice. But I don’t think any of us want nice more than we want growth and to really sense that someone is willing to advocate for our best no matter what, that’s where the real value is. That’s what my clients experienced with me. They say that means more than anything else. That they don’t find that in other relationships in their lives because most people have too many insecurities to allow them to speak freely and directly and fiercely like that. But you got to hear me; it’s from the grounding of love that allows my true heart to come forth and for it to be able to be received in a place that others see as a gift not a threat.
Andrea: Yeah that’s like the surgeons’ merciful knife. It’s not malicious. It’s what the purpose of destroying of building up and yeah…
Laurie: Yeah, strengthening.
Andrea: And restoring yeah. That’s really refreshing to have somebody come in and say “Hold on a minute.
Laurie: Yes. I think we’re all starving for those voices in our lives whether we realize it or not and that’s why they were so meaningful when I begin to find a few challengers in my life to be able to really experience the value of that and that gave me the courage to really be able to take my stand and own that that’s what my voice says “I am the challenger.” And as terrifying as it felt at first, it feels so free now. I’ve never felt more at peace with myself and more powerful in the sense that this is my purpose.
Andrea: I’ve really appreciated our relationship. I feel like we should share a little bit about just the way that we have interacted a little bit because I think that it could be really beneficial to other people who are looking for other people that they could walk through this journey with. And while I think it’s really beneficial to have a coach, it’s also beneficial to have peers. And so how would you describe our relationship in the way that we have pursued this?
Laurie: You are a priceless gift to me, Andrea. You have brought so much value into my life by you being who you are and freely expressing and generously giving your gifts through our conversation has been really key to me sharpening my voice, my clarity, my stand that I wish that for everybody that they would be able to find a peer, a friend, a true support. And I believe it takes time because I’ve longed for a friendship like this for a long time and someone that could really get me and that could hold all of me.
And you’re big enough, you’re great enough, you’re grand enough and all of your power to be able to hold all of me because for all of these influencers here, man, we have a big call on our life, right? I believe everybody on the planet has unlimited potential but they’re not all accessing it. They’re not all engaging it. They’re not stepping forward in an intentional way to do something truly remarkable, globally remarkable for that matter.
But I believe that’s your thrive, Andrea. That’s the people you’re attracting of this incredible stellar global leaders and I would say, keep your eyes open and be persistent. I’ve had to try on several different relationships to explore and see what space that friendship would allow me to have and I think we all are aware that we have different levels of relationships, different flavors of relationships in our lives.
But for you and I, I think we’re we both come together anytime we’re in a conversation or in experience together. There’s just such mutual respect for one another, such clarity on the great things that are happening now and the bigger things that are to come. There’s not a sense of competition or comparison I think that can sabotage relationships very quickly, but just this expectation that both of us are creating our own unique journey. And it’s going to look so differently even though we’re called to such similar things.
The way it’s going play out, it’s going to be very unique and individualized to us being able to come together to celebrate that and to show each other what one of us can’t see. And being able to just provide both kind of equal measure encouragement and balance, I think that’s truly what makes the recipe for a very fruitful intentional friendship. And wow, being able to also stay consistently engaged with that that it not be something that we know is there but that we’re not intentionally continuing to nurture.
And as you and I tried to be as diligent with getting together and catching up and regrouping and speaking into one another on a regular basis because a lot of life happens in between a week or two or a month. And when we can lose sight on the intricacies of one another’s journey, we have less leveraged to really speak into them because we’re less aware of where they’re at. So yeah, I’ll pause here. What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear from you too.
Andrea: Yeah, that was such a great description and I want to highlight one of the things that you said the comparison and competition thing because when we first…well, first of all you were the one that initiated the relationship, I would say that. And I think what other people, an influencer listening, what you probably should take away from this is # 1 – you start out with figuring out what you have to offer somebody else because Laurie came to me and she said she had the strengths training that she was going through and she wanted to invite me to participate to take the assessment and to do a little bit of coaching with that and I was like “OK we’ll let’s try that.” So I feel like we’re really kind of started to take the turn, don’t you Laurie?
Laurie: I do and can I go back a little bit further than that?
Laurie: Sometimes, we really have to be diligent to pursue the people that we want bring into our life and be in relationship with. I observed you speaking at one of the Mocks meeting a few years, can you hear me?
Laurie: Prior to that, the message you gave spoke to me. And I thought “I need to meet this woman. She speaks my language. We are deep. We are likeminded. I could just feel, even though I probably don’t have all those words in that moment, but I just knew like “Hmm, there’s some rich connection here.” But you had a lot going on in your life and it was a matter of trying to kind of figure out, “How could I initiate some sort of friendship or some level of connection here?”
And it really required me coming to you, kind of on your terms, I guess might be the easiest way to say it. But then in the right time and in the right season, it truly blossomed. So don’t lose heart along the way. If there’s people you’re drawn to that you really feel or to be voice in your life and critical to you developing your voice, don’t lose heart. Keep engaging and yeah, I love how you said figure out what you can offer them instead of wondering what it could bring to you.
Andrea: You know, I remember you’re using that way to describe how you come into me in my terms before. You actually said that to me one time and I was like “What?” You know, I didn’t know what to do with that but basically what that meant was and practically speaking was that you joined my small group, those small groups that I was leading. And in that sense, it was like an opportunity to start cultivating that relationship and then came that moment when you were ready to offer…we had a relationship there but it just wasn’t the same as you know up to the notch, a few notches.
Laurie: Yes that’s true.
Andrea: And really, you came and started speaking into my life at the time when I really desperately needed it because I was in a frustrated mood of being because I knew and I felt that I had more to offer. But I did not know how exactly I was supposed to do that so you brought strength to me at that time and opened my eyes. Maybe the way that I thought that I was maybe wasn’t exactly who I am.
And so just as you found your challenging voice, I found my kind of strategic voice in learning about the StrengthsFinder and what I had to offer and thinking that I was supposed to be mostly empathetic and mostly helping to develop people when I started to realize that “Oh, I actually really able to see the big picture and know which way to head next. That was life changing for me and it also helped release in me the idea and challenge that limiting belief in your words that I couldn’t write. I really didn’t think I could.
You helped call that out of me and I could see that “Oh gosh, you know what, I do have what it takes to make a decision, to make a decision about what I’m going to write about and how to formulate arguments and whatever. I just need the time and space in my head to get it done.” So that was huge for me. I mean, that was the very pivotal time for me and we just kept going and going and going and going and going.
And another thing that really hit me about that was when we were first talking about this “What are we called to?” “What am I called to?” “What are you called to?” “How are we different?” Became one of the questions that I was really interested in answering because I felt like our messages were so similar, but yet I knew that we didn’t need to be competing with one another. So in my head, I knew that but at the same time there’s that like “What do we do with the fact that we’re so similar. What do we do with that?”
And so for me, one of the greatest benefits since then has been to really kind of dissect who we are and see that “Gosh, Laurie is so good at this and I’m good at that.” And the way that this message that’s very similar inside of us is coming out of us has so much to do with who we are in our gifting, in our strengths, in our personalities and that sort of thing, in our experiences and what we’re drawn to. It’s actually coming out in very different forms but yet so similar at the core so that has been super helpful for me.
Laurie: So there again in context of relationship and support of others, we get clear on who we are.
Andrea: Yes. Yes, yes, yes! OK so also practically speaking, I mean we get together maybe once every two or four weeks, I would venture to say. And when we do get together, it’s not for an hour.
Laurie: Yeah, a minimum of three hours.
Andrea: Yeah. And really, I think this is interesting too. We don’t talk a whole lot about our day-to-day lives. We don’t talk a whole lot about our families. We’re really concentrated focus on our personal growth and development of our messages, our voices, and our business which I think is interesting.
Laurie: Yes. It’s not the surface level day-to-day grind stuff. Yeah, I don’t think we really give any attention to that honestly. It’s the deeper things because that’s the rare gift we can give one another. Most other people in our lives don’t want to or unable to relate at that level.
Andrea: Uh-hmm. I think there’s so much value in both of them. I think about different people in my life who… gosh, we have such a different kind of relationship and I love them. I love them all but this is the kind of thing that when it comes to developing your voice of influence, if you’re wanting to do that, this is one of those relationships that you need to be looking for and pursuing like Laurie said and really intentionally pursuing it.
Laurie: Yeah. You can’t wait for it to happen to you. You need to go and create it.
Andrea: Yeah, so true! Do you have any other suggestions for people that are listening for how they could pursue other avenues that would give them those relationships like maybe they have a friend like you and I kind of have this relationship. Maybe they have something like that or maybe they don’t, but what other kinds of ways can people cultivate, find that support, and challenge in their lives?
Laurie: I think you need to enroll whoever is in your life currently with the fact that you want to grow and giving other people access to speak into you. If it’s a sibling, a spouse whatever that looks like or a boss for that matter, but when you can first make yourself available to being open and willing to receive that then you’re giving them permission to be their voice and inviting that to come into your freely.
As we look at our relationships, people probably, I don’t know what percentage of time there actually, honestly reflecting and expressing what’s going on inside of them with us. But if we take away those barriers of “What are they gonna think? Are they gonna upset with me?” Whatever that looks like even friends in a marriage if you’re able to say to your spouse “You know what, will help you see where I’m falling short?” Or “Will help you see the blind spot of where I can’t see that I’m getting in my own way?”
I just had an amazing conversation with my husband last night about that of sharing something I was struggling with and he said, “I tried to tell you that last week but you didn’t hear it you know.” And I said “Stay with me on this.” Sometimes, it’s such a blind spot. We can’t see it and it doesn’t resonate initially. But he persisted. He helped the course and now a week later, I had this incredible revelation that I really needed to be able to move me forward in a bigger way instead of holding myself back.
And so his persistence and then me celebrating that and saying “Keep doing this,” like even if it doesn’t seem in a moment like I get it or that I appreciate it or that it resonates. I mean that. I mean that and now I could see it. So I think we open a great door of opportunity for us and them. We’re open and willing and inviting it from whoever that looks like. Did that kind of answer your question?
Andrea: That was great! I mean, I was really expecting you to say something about finding a coach but that was so wise advice. I love it! You know, it reminded me about what you said earlier that when you went to the John Maxwell event that initial one, you were journaling ahead of time because what you like to do is you like to journal beforehand and expect something significant to happen in your life.
Really, it’s that opening up of your heart, that opening up of your spirit to say, “I’m ready to receive whatever it is that you have to offer,” and that is super powerful. Gosh, I just think that it’s a great way to wrap up what we’ve been discussing here because when you are open to receiving the challenge that somebody else has to offer, you have no idea until you experience it.
Even though it feels so terrifying because it might rock you at the core in the end, like Laurie said, she is standing more confident and free in who she is now more than ever before because she continually put herself in that position. I’m experiencing that as well. Oh man, so good. Love that. So Laurie, where can the listeners find you?
Laurie: My domain name is my name www.lauriehock.com and you can find me there. I am on Facebook as well. I have real joy realizing a great platform for my voice of influence in it’s infancy stage, but it still tons of fun, is making a monthly video where I share my latest class and insights of what’s growing and challenging me. But then I releases tools to be something significant that can challenge the growth in my email communities.
So you can go to my website and if you want to be a part of receiving those monthly videos, just enter your name and email address and I’ll include you in the emails that I sent out, the challenging messages _____ that would be appropriate. Yeah, I just want to celebrate and honor everybody on the line and be able to encourage you that in time you’ll find your voice. And it’s a lifelong process of developing it. I don’t think we ever end that quest. It continues to unfold and develop layers upon layers of more richness.
Andrea: Well, thank you Laurie for being here today. I will make sure that your website is in the show notes. You kind find those at voiceofinfluence.net or if you’re listening on iTunes, you should be able to just click right there in the show notes on iTunes. Remember that if you’re interested in continuing to listen to this podcast, please subscribe to wherever you listen to podcast. I also have an email list and you can subscribe there at voiceofinfluence.net.
I just want to encourage you that wherever you can find community. I tell you, I listen to podcast when I first started getting excited about growing my voice of influence. And for the past two and a half or three years that has been one of the biggest blessings for me and challenging me too. So I just encourage you to keep making your voice matter more.
I met a special woman back in the fall of 2010. We were in Colorado Springs at the School of Spiritual Direction for a week with psychologist and author Dr. Larry Crabb. One afternoon she floated into the classroom with a huge grin on her face. She greeted a number of my classmates, gave them hugs and asked about their families. I was enamored. I wanted to know this woman. Since that day I’ve had the opportunity to get to know Larry’s wife Rachael Crabb much better. She shows incredible interest and love for everyone she meets, so when I heard that she and two of her closest friends were writing a book about conversations that matter in friendship, I knew it would be wonderful.
It is a groundbreaking book for women who long for deep friendship like I do. Authors Rachael Crabb, Sonya Reeder and Diana Calvin invite the reader to listen in like a fly on the wall as they dialogue about how their inner thoughts and feelings impact the way they relate to others.
Here are 5 ways Listen In can transform your friendships.
It will validate your desire for deep connection. So many of us are lonely. We long for someone to be curious about our hearts and courageous enough to walk with us through deep waters. If you think you are crazy for craving deep connection, this book will prove that your longing is a holy one.
It will illuminate root causes for the relational tension in life. Each of the authors has a different struggle they explore with one another. They look beneath the surface of the struggle to find the thoughts and feelings at the root of it. You can, too.
It will demonstrate the transformational power of curiosity. The questions the authors ask in their conversations with one another allow them each to open up and discover new insights that lead to new freedom. When another human being is curious about your heart, you will likely feel free to explore and share it.
It will invite you to open up in the presence of people you trust. Vulnerability is often a frightening feeling because our hearts are fragile. You don’t need to open up to everyone, but opening up to someone you trust can be transformational. The authors’ openness will embolden and empower you to dig deeper in discussions with friends you trust.
It will serve as a guide for you and your friends as you explore the ground of intentional friendship. You don’t need to go to counseling to find others who are curious about your heart. Gather your courage and find one or two friends with whom you feel comfortable and discuss Listen In, one section at a time. You will be amazed at how quickly your friendships deepen.
(This section was taken from my article article on Her View From Home. Click here.)
I was personally impacted while reading the dialogue between the three women. They each share how their relational style has been impacted by certain events in their lives. But they don’t stop there. They ask one another questions to dig deeper until they uncover something more true than their fears. I could relate to how Rachael lost her voice, to Sonya’s feeling that she was too much for others and to Diana’s special relationship with her dad. And as the friends explored each of their experiences I found myself hopeful that I too could grow past my fears by relying on God’s love and be free to love well with a relational style that is inviting, rather than demanding.
What do you most want us to get out of reading Listen In?
“I trust and pray that readers will catch a glimpse of the Larger Story taking place above their messy, chaotic, frustrating Smaller story . When we are focused on our everyday lives we often miss that God is telling a good story that goes from eternity past to eternity future—HIStory! We want readers to have a deep longing to know Christ and His power to move us all into conversations that really matter, to know Him & to make Him known. We feel strongly that turning our death words into life words ( Proverbs 18:21) can be freeing in that process. Listen In, the best is yet to come! The Larger Story is good —God is the producer and director, Jesus is the star, and we have bit parts—let’s all play our parts well to bring Glory to HIM.” ~Rachael
“What I hope readers gain from reading Listen In is a deeper longing to know Christ as they embrace the story He continues to write on their life. As I study the Gospels and listen in on conversations Christ has with people, they seem to be conversations that matter. Christ speaks to people’s soul and awakens longing in them–longing for intimacy and deeper relationship. I hope the book awakens that longing in others and also gives hope that it can happen….may be sloppy at times but experiencing gospel community is possible.” ~Sonya
“I want readers to get that having a good, face-to-face, heart-to-heart conversation is something worth pursuing. I want them to read our conversations and think, ‘Wow, they are just like me. They’re stumbling through life/work/marriage/parenting and they’re inviting others into the struggle, where they can be known and loved.’ And I want readers to let that move them deeper into the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ—completely known, and perfectly loved.” ~Diana
What is the best part about the friendship you share with the other two authors?
“We need friends to have conversations that matter & we can Listen In like Christ ( valuing another more highly then ourselves) by putting HIM on display as we talk with one another.” ~Rachael
“The best part of my friendship with Rachael and Diana is allowing them to know me. However, it is also the most scary. I like having history with them. We have lived many years together and traveled much life together (heartaches, deaths of mothers and friends, struggles with kids, new seasons in marriage etc.). You can’t manufacture history and a long-term commitment to another.” ~Sonya
“The best part about my friendship with Rachael and Sonya is the care we share. We are all in different cities and don’t get to see one another as often as we would like, but when we do get together, there’s just a heart for each other that’s hard to describe. In our very full lives and worlds, talking with these ladies is a respite where I can be unguarded and unmasked. That is such a gift—and just writing this reminds me how much I value these women, and makes me want to pursue time more time with them!” ~Diana
Here’s what I suggest:
And as always, your amazon.com and goodreads.com reviews are always greatly appreciated!
It happened again. I messed it all up. I let down some of the people I care about most last week by not paying attention to the details. It wasn’t that I intentionally blew my husband or my friend off, but I didn’t execute tasks with the kind of precision they required and I ended up putting more stress on people I care about. Ugh. I don’t want that. I don’t want to be the wife and friend you can’t count on.
Man, it’s tempting to let the old self-shaming talk drive me into a hole.
“He would have been better off with a woman who wouldn’t screw up like this!”
“Why would she want me around if I keep letting her down?”
I’ve said these things before. But as soon as those thoughts started to enter my mind this time, I shook my head and said, “NO! I am exactly the wife Aaron needs. And I am a good friend in other ways. I’m not going to shame myself into hiding and resentment. No. I’m going to keep engaging with them because I care about them.”
The first goal when stepping out of self-shame is to step into the light of love and see the situation for what it is as I described in Part 1 (Click here) but what do we do next?
Do I need to ask for forgiveness or do I need to ask for help in a situation like this? Honestly, I’ve studied and analyzed this stuff for years and I’m still not completely sure. Some people pay great attention to details and they follow through with intense commitment. I put my intensity in other places – like working through relational and theological issues and being incredibly present with people in their pain. Do others need forgiveness when they aren’t there for me in these ways that are important to me?
Maybe we all need to be more free with our apologies, less offended by others and lavish grace on each other even when we don’t deserve it.
My struggle with the lack of discipline when I am distracted feels like a never-ending battle.
I need to help my future self. I can’t just assume I’ll do better next time because as leadership and strengths coach Laurie Hock says, “You’ve got to have a plan. You can’t just say you’ll respond differently because it’s unlikely you will without a plan of an alternative positive action.” So how can I take responsibility in a proactive way so I really am less likely to put undue stress on others next time? I can think of two important points:
This time I decided I needed to apologize to both people. And in the future, I need to be more aware when I feel distracted while discussing details. If I’m distracted I need to choose which thing to think about in the moment and figure out when I will give my attention to the other thing. I simply cannot multi-task my thoughts because then I end up multi-tasking people. And that is not acceptable.
I am so grateful for the people who allow me into their lives. And I am grateful that we can have hard conversations when I need to take responsibility for my wrong-doing and my mistakes. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times – relationships are messy! Life is messy. I am messy.
But I am loved. I have a lot to offer the people I love and I’m going to keep offering it, even when I mess up. More on that next time…
How do you know when to ask for forgiveness and when to ask for help? What safeguards do you put in place around your weaknesses? Answer in the comments below or on Facebook.
I realize it’s hard to find real friends. I’ve heard a lot of complaints over the years about how people don’t really listen, they don’t really care and they don’t really want to connect deeply. But I believe that while it may seem that way on the surface, there are actually WAY more lonely people longing to connect than we realize.
Yesterday one of my articles ran with Her View From Home. The point of the article is this: there are more kindred spirits out there than you probably realize, but it takes courage to find them. I offer some suggestions about how to do so: (click here to read the article and share it if you think it might help someone.)
We are all different on the surface. Our differences are enormous. Different genders, religions, cultures, stages of life, hobbies, interests, etc. The list is not infinite, but it seems like it is. With all of those differences, how could we ever find someone like us? How could we ever find a kindred spirit?
Let me tell you! By focusing on our humanity. What makes us all human? We all have bodies, thoughts, feelings, goals, longings and deep fears. And we all need love. But you’ll only have surface-relationships if you only talk about surface things. You will keep feeling alone and distant from everyone else if you try to “fit in” by doing what others do and saying what others say. No. If you want to actually connect and be known, if you really don’t want to feel alone, you’ve got to be brave and get to the heart.
Simply being there to listen and see the insides of a person is helpful. You don’t have to change them. Simply inviting a friend out of the darkness of secrecy and shame and into the light where they are loved can change a life! There may be a time for advice, but stick with the 80/20 rule. Listen and acknowledge 80% of the time and then when it feels like the other person is ready, go ahead and offer your wisdom – but only about 20% of the time. If you meet their pain with your wisdom all or most of the time, they’ll start to feel disrespected and tune you out.
Don’t give up on finding kindred spirits. Don’t give up on connecting and love and hope and the power of loving people right where they are.
Over three months have passed since I began to blog regularly. It’s a blip on the timeline of my life, but it’s been an intense blip, without a doubt. It’s hard to say if it was the reflective writing, strategizing, life or the weather that made for so much internal ebb and flow of angst and release. I suppose it’s probably everything mixed together.
If you read any of my posts, you are part of this. So thank you. It’s kind of odd to think that a blog could offer an opportunity for a relationship, but I hope it does. Because of this “relationship,” I’d like to ask a favorite question of mine: “How are we doing?” (read about the “How Are We Doing” conversation here). I’ll start.
How I’m Doing
I regularly struggle with self-doubt. It certainly takes courage, trust and some self-confidence to put myself out there, but for every ounce of “I can do this,” there is a pound of “What do I think I’m doing? I’ll never be able to keep this up! I’m not even a real writer. People are going to get tired of me. I can’t even keep my house clean, why would I spend so many hours a week writing without getting paid to do it?!”
Yet there has been just enough feedback to keep me moving forward. Though for years I’ve been willing and able to share the deeper parts of myself with others, I’ve done so in conversations where I can see and hear the people with whom I’m sharing. If I’m an expert -albeit imperfect- at anything, I’m an expert at knowing what to share and what questions to ask in a conversation to invite others to go deeper.
But writing is an entirely different shtick. I don’t see the look in your eyes. I don’t know when you tuck something in your heart. And most of the time, I don’t even know who you are. Nearly all of the relational feedback I usually rely on to know what to say next, is gone.
So I end up looking for digital feedback. This is pretty much ridiculous. You know the Facebook game – it’s an impossible measure of how much something you say or post is “liked” by others. Besides, when you’re writing not to be liked but to make a difference, it’s like measuring weight with a ruler.
Misleading. Confusing. Impossible.
I’ve been playing with the concept of intentional friendship for over ten years. If there’s ever been a time when I’ve needed friends to intentionally seek out deeper conversations with me and offer their expertise, it’s now. Without these friends (and family-friends), I am alone and I am not blogging. Without them, I am more of a hot mess than I am usually. I am so grateful for my intentional friends. I hope you have friends like that. I hope you and I can be like that.
How I’m Doing, Really
But if I dig a little deeper, the truth is that I love blogging. I love the opportunity to sit at the keyboard and search for what is stirring in me and release it through my fingertips. I love condensing offerings into short snapshots of life-reflected and clicking “Post to Live and Love Deeply.”
I love sharing my life with you.
And the more I write, the more I see my little posts as little works of art. They are bits of me – born out of enough vulnerability to invite you in, veiled in enough ambiguity to invite you to relate.
I hope that you will continue to join me here every once in a while. I hope that a few of you will sign up for email updates (at the side or bottom of your screen). I hope a few more will comment and share. I hope that if you are touched by something you read here, you will share deeply with someone. It doesn’t have to be me. But my hope for Live and Love Deeply is that you might find you are not alone and that you have the courage to think and feel deeply so that you can connect and share more deeply in your relationships.
I hope it for both of us.
If you pray, would you pray that I would share life and love in ways that help people connect deeply? Would you pray that this message would touch hearts and that we would be open to receive what Love has to offer? I really believe miracles happen. And they are most amazing when they happen in relationships.
How Are You Doing?
Now that I’ve shared how I’m doing, I would like to ask you the same question. I realize you probably do not think about reading this blog as though we have a relationship, but we kinda do. Especially if you respond in some way. There are many people I would love to hear from, but you are the one I want to take to coffee. Seriously. I do. So if you’re in town and want to do that, please let me know. Email and messages are also great. Your comments, likes and shares do make a difference for getting the word out and encouraging me. I really appreciate it. Your voice matters to me (read about that here).
Thank you for reading. Thank you for your feedback and support. I deeply desire to share my journey with you, that we might impact one another to…
Live & Love Deeply,
Find me on…
Facebook: at Andrea Joy Wenburg