The Four Elements of Your Voice of Influence

Voice Studio Episode 12

I am so excited to share this episode with you today because this is the introduction to the hearty nourishment I hope to provide through this podcast. If you’re wanting to develop your impact, today I’m revealing the four elements I believe make up a Voice of Influence.

Not mentioned in the episode is the fact that there is an inward awareness and development and then there is an outward awareness and development. The inward elements are Identity and Core Message. The outward elements are Creative Contribution and Strategy.

We’re getting down with the good stuff of purpose and calling here today. Enjoy!

Join the Voice of Influence Community Facebook Group

…where I will be doing a Facebook Live going into more depth on these elements on Saturday, June 3rd. If you’re reading this in the future, check into the group. There will likely be a number of posts about these elements in the future!

Listen here, on iTunes or Stitcher.

What I Learned About Myself from Working with a Fashion Stylist

Voice Studio 11: Reflections on identity after working with Image Consultant, Toi Sweeney

This is a special Voice Studio episode. It is the audio from a video I recorded right after returning home from Philadelphia where I worked with image consultant, Toi Sweeney. In this episode I share my reflections about what I learned about myself from the experience and what I most wanted to share with you.

Mentioned in this episode:
* My Fascinate Advantage® offerings
* The original video of this episode (below)
* Episode 11 How to Dress Your Identity and Message with Toi Sweeney

Listen here, on iTunes or Stitcher

This is the original video where the audio from this episode comes from. Subscribe to my YouTube channel for more.

Good Girl Gone

by Shannon Lenz

For most of my life, I’ve been a dreamer and achiever. I’ve always set goals and then worked hard to attain them. It started in elementary school. When I worked hard, I received a lot of praise for doing well. So, I worked harder. I discovered that I liked the praise I was getting. Thus, my identity as a perfectionistic people pleaser was born.

It didn’t matter what I was doing at the moment, I just wanted to be good at it, or at least be perceived as being good at it. One day in second grade, I came home crying because I had received an “S” for “satisfactory” in handwriting. My parents couldn’t comprehend why I was so upset. I sadly explained that I usually get an “S+”. I had set a bar for myself and when I couldn’t reach it, I was a failure.

In high school, the concept of having a good reputation became a big deal. For example, I had developed a reputation for being a good student, a good singer, and a good girl. My identity became wrapped up in my reputation and what other people thought of me. But, what if I lost those things? Would I still have value in the eyes of others? If people liked me because I could sing a pretty song, what if another girl moved into our tiny town who had a better voice? If people liked me because I was smart and got good grades, what if I failed a test or forgot to hand in an assignment? Would their opinions of me change? As a Christian, I wanted to do the right things and glorify God with my choices. But, what would happen if the “good girl” did a bad thing? Would I fall from grace in everyone’s eyes? I knew I wasn’t perfect. But I sure tried to be. And if I wasn’t all of those things, then who was I?

Ugh. The pressure I put on myself was a lot to take. I had a strong idea of who I wanted to be. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. The problem was that I was finding my identity in things that are temporary. Things that don’t last and don’t matter in eternity. Plus, my standards for myself were impossible.i-dont-have-to-be-insecure-not-because-im-perfect-but-because-im-loved

When I went to college, the fact that I identified myself as a “good girl” presented itself as a spiritual growth opportunity. It’s not like I went off the rails and went wild. But college Shannon did a few things high school Shannon wouldn’t have approved of. Worse, I knew that those choices were things that God didn’t approve of either. Was I still a good girl in His eyes?

I had to wrestle with my identity. Verses like Ephesians 2:8-9 helped me work the truth that I knew in my head into my heart.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-9

My true identity was in Christ.  I knew that through Christ, I was forgiven. Being a good girl until I died was never going to be enough to save my soul. I could not earn my salvation. No matter how hard I tried, I wasn’t perfect.

My salvation is a gift from God, through His Son’s sacrifice on my behalf. My sin, especially those mistakes I made in college, reminded me of my need for God and how futile my attempts at perfection really were.

Shannon LenzI am His workmanship. My abilities and personality traits are gifts from Him and are His to use through me. They do not define me. He prepared a plan for me in advance and equipped me accordingly.

I discovered so much freedom when I learned to embrace who God made me to be. I don’t have to be insecure. Not because I’m perfect, but because I’m loved. I don’t have to be embarrassed when I’m bad at something. God gave me other gifts. I don’t have to feel threatened by someone with similar gifts. God can use us both and together those gifts can be magnified.

I still worry too much about what other people think of me. They aren’t God, after all and are not nearly as gracious. But, I’m learning that what other people think of me is temporary and will one day be irrelevant. Only one opinion of me is eternal, His, and that is where I find my identity. No longer the good girl, but “grace girl”.

I am a wife to my best friend, a mama to my sweet boy, and a dog mom.  My mission is to encourage, comfort, inspire, and draw my readers closer to the Lord by sharing my stories. When I’m not writing or chasing a toddler, I’m singing, reading, or cheering on the Huskers.

You can read more from me at Shannon Lenz: My Faith-My Family-My Stories.

Some Live Like Tortoise, I Live Like Hare

About a year and a half ago I completed a half-marathon. I say I “completed” because I can’t say I ran the whole way, by any stretch of the imagination. Actually, I can’t ever say that I run anything! I jog. But I do put one foot in front of the other at a generally faster pace than walking, so it’s something.

Lincoln Half Marathon

I started the race with a lot of energy so I took off at the pace that accommodated my enthusiasm. Then at mile 6 I initiated the jog-walk cycle. I walked up hills and then jogged down them. I made it to the end and wasn’t the last one, so I counted it a win.

I started the race with a friend of mine. We didn’t plan to run together and she had a running buddy so when I had energy that first mile, I took off while they chatted. I didn’t see them again until later – when I found out they finished the race 15+ minutes ahead of me. They ran the same pace the entire way and didn’t walk. It was the classic case of the Tortoise and the Hare and I was the “lesson” we teach our kids: don’t be like me because slow and steady wins the race.

I think I run all of life like I ran that race.

I love new ideas and new projects. I love all of the energy and enthusiasm I have when I start something new, and I enjoy completing tasks. But I have never been slow and steady. I’m all over the place. It’s a blessing and a curse. It’s a strength and it’s a weakness.

It’s who I am.

I am super-excited that I started writing for my “job” a year ago. I love that I can write a blog post or article and have it out in front of people that very same day. It fits my all-over-the-place pace and my love for completing projects. A few months ago I started writing a book (that is currently with my editor). I hit the ground running – HARD – and finally made it to mile 6. Now I’ll probably walk-run to the end because I am excited, but my sprint pace only lasts for so long.

My goal is to post to this blog on Tuesdays and send out emails on Wednesdays, but here – at mile 6 – I can’t quite hit my own deadlines. In the past month or two I beat myself up for my lack of consistency and inspiration for writing blog posts until I realized that maybe the Hare’s “consistent” framework just has more wiggle room than the Tortoise. Maybe it’s OK if I post on a Wednesday or Thursday here or there and maybe it’s OK if I miss a week of emails.  (I know…stop laughing)

I want to keep writing, speaking and offering my voice so others will be able to offer their’s, and I want to do it for a long time to come. I know I can’t sustain my typical mile 1-6 pace. I know that I will be a healthier person and better wife, mother and friend if I find a sustainable, steady pace. So I’m pushing back deadlines a little and dialing down my own immediate expectations a notch.

But I doubt I’ll ever be steady.Aaron and G running I’m not all that concerned about “winning” races. I’ll still try to take advantage of the burst of enthusiasm that thrusts me forward at beginning of a project, but I won’t be surprised or beat myself up when I hit mile 6 and need a break. In fact, maybe I’ll plan for it. Maybe I’ll set deadlines for the half-way point of projects and then reset my pace and determine project completion deadlines at that point.

I don’t need to be Tortoise. I just want to allow some of the wisdom of the Tortoise to help me be a healthier Hare. Who said it’s a race, anyway?

Are you a Tortoise or Hare? What are your corresponding strengths and weaknesses? How do you manage them?

Dear Tortoise,Your steady pace is inspiring.

Dear Tortoise,

Your steady pace is inspiring. Don’t be discouraged when you see a Hare sprinting at the beginning of a race. Cheer them on and then give them a drink as you pass them at mile 6.


An admiring Hare


Dear Hare,

Your enthusiasm is inspiring. Don’t be discouraged when a Tortoise offers you a drink at mile 6 and then passes you by. Thank them, cheer them on and then reset your own pace with confidence.


A fellow Hare


A loving push toward who you are

Sometimes we just need a good push to become more of who we are.

My childhood backyard was situated on a corner, so my parents surrounded it with a tall privacy fence. That yard was our academy of play. Mom was our teacher and Dad was our coach. My sister and I had all kinds of fun learning and growing in our yard. We grew in strength and accuracy as we played catch. We learned how to live in and celebrate the moment while we ran through and under streams of water from the hose. And we experienced the happy exhilaration of pumping our whole selves in rhythm with external forces (eh-hem…gravity) on the swing.

The swing was my happy-place. Sometimes we faced the house, other times we would face the fence and see if we could swing high enough to peak over the top and at the world outside. And every once in a while Dad would surprise us from behind…


His force of strength thrust us higher and faster than we ever went on our own. Dad’s underdogs were scary and thrilling and they inspired us to find the new swing-beat he set for us, and pump along.

Six months ago I was sitting on a swing in my current stomping grounds, the academy of purpose. There were things inside of my mind and heart that needed to come out, but I wasn’t sure I could let them go. I wasn’t sure I could swing with enough force of strength to do justice to the message I wanted to convey. I tried pumping my legs time after time but I didn’t know which way I wanted to face and I just couldn’t get my legs and body to move in sync. I looked around at others swinging and wondered if I would ever be able to join them – or if my insides would go to waste simply because I couldn’t find the swing-beat of my purpose.

Then out of nowhere…


Finally – clarity! I had words to say and passion with which to say them. I drove to the closest coffee shop, popped on my earphones and typed for two hours without stopping. When I got done, I posted my intimate thoughts on the movie Frozen (Frozen Top Ten), and let the world know.

My body began moving to the rhythm of the new swing-beat and pump, pump, pump…keep pumping! Every time I lost momentum, someone would give me the push I needed by sharing how he or she connected with my message. And somehow, I kept swinging.

Six months later I am a better version of myself. I am more of myself. I am playing in a playground that feels right and good and…like it was made for me. Sometimes I swing just high enough to peek over the fence and get a glimpse of things beyond – and then I settle into my swing-beat and keep pumping, knowing that at some point the rhythm will change again. And I want to be ready.

Are you?

Because my dad gives the best underdogs.