Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Say It Out Loud

I remember the sense of hesitancy, doubt and even shame just like it was yesterday.  I was in Nashville at a major women’s ministry networking conference, and I should have been able to say it.

It was freshly printed on my business cards.

I had a biosheet that proclaimed it.

…but I just couldn’t say it.


You’d think that being asked to join the Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker team would be an undeniable stamp of approval on my trembling heart.  But it didn’t help.

Not one bit.

Instead I joined a team with women I respected, admired and looked up to only to fall into the pit of “less than” and “never good enough”.  Notice I said I fell into that pit.  Nobody pushed me in or assigned it as my place.  In all honesty, I didn’t even fall.  I exiled myself to that pit…for far too long.

Are you in the same pit?  Trembling, afraid and embarrassed to have someone hear you whisper…”I am a speaker”  or “I am a writer”.

On Saturday, I spent an amazing morning listening to Jeff Goins, founder of Tribe Writers and author of and at an event sponsored by Help One Now.  Jeff encouraged us to own our message, and he told us, “In some things in life, your best activity is rooted in a strong identity.”

He told us about how he transitioned from wanting to be a writer to being a writer by simply doing two things:  writing and saying it out loud.

How could something so genius be so simple?

Well, in reality, it IS simple, but it’s not so easy.  So let’s take Jeff’s baby steps toward it.

  1. Say it.  Say it out loud.  Here we go…all together now…1…2…3, “I’m a _(writer/speaker)__!”  Now try saying it loud to someone else today too.
  2. Practice it.  Are you a writer?  Then write every day.  Are you a speaker?  Then speak at every opportunity big or small.
  3. Believe it.  Ask God to engrave your calling into your heart and to give you the courage to believe it and live it.

To tap into more of Jeff’s genius and encouragement, visit his blog.  And repeat steps #1-3 daily to become who you are called to be.


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Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Last week, I blogged about what to do before you start, but I also want to share some ways I’m initiating a fresh start this fall season.  Here are a couple “to dos” on my list as I continue to strive to grow as a communicator:

Mine Resources

Notice I didn’t say “Read Resources”.  I used the word “mine”, because I want to dig deep, go below the surface and implement.  Too often I have the habit of reading through books, blogs and websites, thinking “Wow!  That was great!”, and moving on without any change.

This summer I found out that a friend and I are both reading the same book, by Michael Hyatt.  She suggested meeting every two weeks to discuss, make an action item list and stay accountable.  It’s been wonderful!  Instead of racing through the fantastic content without any implementation, I’m taking a few tangible steps toward growth every week.

Here are the other books on my list right now:

by Brad Lomenick (If God’s given you a message, then you’re a leader! I’ve started the book, and it’s wonderful.)

by Nancy Duarte

by Chuck Swindoll

by Jon Acuff

Have you got any resources you’re ready to mine?  I know we’d all love to hear about resources that are helping you learn and grow.

Work on My Website

These days when I’m working with Next Step clients on biosheet and website development, I always beg them NOT to look at mine!  There are two dynamics going on here.  One, my online presence is sorely in need of updating.  Two, the more I teach other people, the more I learn myself.  I’m DYING to rewrite lots of my own promotional materials.

I have limited financial resources (and you probably do too), but here are the pieces of my plan to update my personal website:

  1. Study some well-done websites to see how people with professional  help are setting up theirs.  I look for creative elements to get my juices going too.  I don’t want to copy anything that makes their site unique, but it helps with my own inspiration.  For example, Renee Swope has photo albums on her site.  I love how she’s included a very personal way to allow people to know her better through pictures.  Take a look by clicking here.  I’m not going to copy her albums, but I’m thinking and praying about my own way to allow visitors to know me well.  I do plan to copy effective website elements that help with social network sharing, enlisting subscribers, graphic techniques, etc.
  2. Have new photos taken.  I’m very blessed to have a super-talented niece with a fancy-schmancy camera, and I’ve decided I’m going to pay her instead of a professional photographer.  She has an artistic eye, and I’ve seen pictures she’s taken for family and friends that exceed many of the professionals I’ve seen.  Yay for digital cameras!
  3. Write new content for each page.  I’ll have several friends in ministry give me feedback.
  4. Hire a professional graphic artist.  This is where I’ll invest, and I’ve found that it’s an investment that can’t be beaten.  Be very, very careful about working with a friend who is doing it “for free”.  I won’t say that it never works, but very often you get what you pay for.  Paying a professional ensures that you can see a portfolio, get multiple samples to choose from and say honestly what you like and don’t like.  Working with a friend can get sticky on many levels, and I’ve seen a few websites developed this way that just didn’t measure up.
  5. Get feedback and make changes.  I’ve got one friend in particular who is in ministry, savvy and brutally honest in the loveliest way.  She’s the one I’ll ask for feedback before I launch the new site.

I’ll let you know when I hit “refresh” on my new website by the end of Oct.  Maybe we’ll do some kind of fun sharing party there to celebrate!

What are your plans for the fall?  Let’s make a list and start together.



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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Before You Start…

My flowers look tired, the days are shortening, and back-to-school end-caps dominate every store.  It must be the end of summer.

Although I’m sad that the days of no alarm clocks and leisurely evenings are coming to an end, I’m always ready for more structure and a renewed work schedule at this point on the calendar.  I’ve started gearing up by making action items lists for growing my personal speaking ministry, refreshing my website and generally upping my game.  I’m a sick, listing-making girl, so that’s just how I roll.

I’ll share some of my ideas for starting the new season off with growth next week, but right in the middle of my list-making fervor, I realized that my proverbial horse was panting along behind the cart.  Correcting my priorities is where I want to start this week.

I’m currently reading Michael Hyatt’s Platform, a can’t miss book for all speakers and writers, and in the chapter titled “Think Bigger…No Bigger!”, I read this quote:

“Don’t listen to that mocking little voice that tells you to be more realistic.  Ignore it.  You can either accept reality as it is or create it as you want it to be.  This is the essence of dreaming–and thinking big.”

I love that idea.  Ignoring the voice that says, “It can’t be done” is the beginning of embracing big dreams.

But I also realized that following my own dreams will ALWAYS be too small.  So I wrote myself this note below Michael’s quote:

Start by consulting God about His dreams.  They’re bigger than your own.  Walk in His dreams, and they’ll definitely come to pass.

Now, I want to be clear.  I met Michael Hyatt briefly at She Speaks and also heard him speak.  He’s a godly man who I know assumes we’ve already taken this step to consult God before we write down our dreams and goals.

But sometimes I forget.

I had a very long list developed for the new year, and I hadn’t prayed about that list.  At. All.

So I’m backing up, and I’d love for you to join me.  The week Nolan starts back to school, I’m going to do a day retreat with Jesus.  Right now (and unless I am led differently) I’ll find an empty room at my church to spend the school day in silence, worship and study.  I’ve done this a couple of other times, and God hasn’t let me start with any big plans.  I show up in the silence with my Bible, a notebook and a pen.  That’s it, and then I let God lead.

I’ll listen for His plans.

I’ll record His dreams.

And then I’ll make my fresh list, based on the guidance of The World’s Biggest Dreamer.

Let me know if you’re going to join me, and I’ll pray for your Retreat with Jesus if you’ll pray for mine!

(Ok, I’m cracking up…and I had to share.  Before I even hit “Schedule” on this post, I decided I needed to make my retreat with Jesus official by putting it on my iPhone calendar.  I can’t type worth diddly on my phone, so I enlisted Siri.  Here’s what she said to me at the end, “I set up your event with Jesus.  Would you like to confirm?”  I don’t know why it tickled me so much to hear Siri say that.  She makes it real for sure!!  Event with Jesus confirmed.)



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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

One Important Thing

Sometimes it’s the simplest truths that resound the loudest.  That’s how I felt when I attended Micca Campbell and Wendy Blight’s breakout session at She Speaks called “Your Most Important Message”.

The truth is this:  Being called into a gospel ministry means that you should share the Gospel.

Now I know this may sound like a no-brainer, but how often do we forget?  It’s easy to get caught up in sharing our latest and greatest understanding of scripture or life transformation without sharing about the highest calling of all–relationship with Jesus.

Micca and Wendy used pieces of their personal messages to illustrate two powerful ways of weaving in the Gospel message.

Use Scripture:  Maybe you haven’t revisited delivering a basic salvation message using scripture in a long time.  I watched as Micca effortlessly and comfortably shared a series of memorized scriptures to illustrate how Jesus takes us from our lost and sinful state and brings us into a limitless relationship with Him.  It was beautiful, poignant reminder that there is power in God’s Word.

If you need a little refresher, click here to read Campus Crusade’s Four Spiritual Laws or to review salvation’s plan woven through the book of Romans.

To read Micca’s story of how God’s Word was her rock when she became widowed at 21, read her book  An Untroubled Heart.

Use Your Story:  I’ve heard it said that sharing our personal salvation story is one of the most powerful ways to share relationship with Jesus, because no one can argue with what you’ve experienced.  I listened to Wendy’s story of her youthful salvation and then how she survived a horrific rape only to struggle through to a new understanding of the reality of Jesus.  It was real, and it was powerful.  (You can read her story in Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner.)

Your story is powerful too even if you’ve told it hundreds of times.

Psalm 116:1314 says, “I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord.  I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people.”  I think one of the vows we need to make is to take every opportunity to offer salvation to our audiences.  We need to make Jesus the hero of every message and bring weary hearts to Him.  It really is our most important message.

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