Replay: Chickening IN with JJ Gutierrez

Replay: Chickening IN with JJ Gutierrez

We recorded this episode back in February 2020, and first published it in March. In just those few weeks, the entire world changed. I thought we could all use a reminder of JJ’s timely message to an uncertain world.

How many times have you “chickened out”? Chickening IN is an invitation to a lifestyle of courage and faith.

Sometimes a single word or phrase has the power to change the course of our lives, and “Chickening IN” is that word for JJ Gutierrez. This little twist on a familiar phrase launched JJ into a transformational journey from fear to faith. Her book, Chickening IN: From Fear to Courageous Faith, 8 Pillars of Transformation, is a practical guide to defeating fear and doubt. I spoke with JJ in February, but we especially need her message today.

Overcoming fear is a process. One step follows another, with small, sometimes imperceptible forward movement. That first step of faith, saying “God, I’m terrified,” invites Him into the conversation. As He speaks truth, we can take those practical steps we need to take.


JJ Gutierrez, Courage Challenger and Mentor.
Get the book (affiliate link): Chickening IN: From Fear to Courageous Faith, 8 Pillars of Transformation
Find JJ on Instagram and Facebook

Disclosure: Links may be affiliate links. If you decide to purchase any of these resources, I earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

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The Power of Play: A Year of Playing Catch, with Ethan Bryan

The Power of Play: A Year of Playing Catch, with Ethan Bryan

What happens when you play catch every day for a year? Ethan Bryan played 365 days of catch, and now he’s sharing what he learned about the sacredness of play, finding meaningful connections, and being fully present.

The Power of Play - Interview with Ethan Bryan

Ethan Bryan played catch on New Year’s Day with his daughters. Then they had an idea. “Dad, what if you played catch every day for an entire year?”

That’s 365 days of catch! It’s 500 catch partners, 10 states, and 12,000 miles, rain, wind, and snow. It’s about play, letting our guard down, and connecting with each other.

Do you have a story about how play connected you to something bigger?


A Year of Playing Catch: What a Simple Daily Experiment Taught Me About Life, by Ethan Bryan

Listen to my earlier interview with Ethan, when he was just starting this journey: Baseball and Storytelling

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Start with these Fundraising Resources

Start with these Fundraising Resources

Here are eight of my favorite fundraising resources.

Disclosure: Links may be affiliate links. If you decide to purchase any of these resources, I earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

In 2006, I helped start two new ministries. We didn’t have a clue how to set up a nonprofit, but we did it. What I typically do, when I face a new challenge, is I try to learn as much as I can about the topic. I dive in deep, and try to identify the most important concepts. And I do this for everything. Probably too much, but if you listen to this podcast as we move into the new year, you’ll benefit from this. 

As an example, I have a friend who told me she was starting to write her memoir. What did I do? I asked friends in the writing world the best books were to read on memoirs. I read three books about memoir writing, and almost every post on Marion Roach Smith’s blog, all so I could help when my friend asked. 

I love to learn, and I have a knack for taking information, distilling it down, and breaking complex things down and simplifying them. That’s one of the things I hope to do going forward with the Life and Mission podcast.

Podcast Update

Our tagline is “Find your voice. Tell your story. Change the world.” But how? I’m going to break those down, and we’ll explore different aspects of each one.

How do you find your voice, anyway? We’re going to look at that from different angles, sometimes looking at practical steps, and at other times, we’ll hear from people sharing their own stories. So we’ll have a combination of solo episodes and interviews. And what I hope to do is to be more focused on really helping you do those three things: Find your voice, your unique voice. Tell your story, whether that’s through media or in the way you live. And what about changing the world? It’s all about impact.  

That’s what we’re doing on this podcast, moving forward. 

My Top 8 Fundraising Resources

Today I’d like to take my 14 years experience managing a nonprofits and offer help for leaders in this area. If you’re in the nonprofit world, or in the ministry world, you are in the business of changing the world. And you’re doing that under a specific set of rules, and usually, a lot of mindset issues!

When we started our organization back in 2006, I dove in. I took a nonprofit management course at the local community college. I bought dozens of books, subscribed to blogs and magazines, and all that stuff. 

So many voices! So many people telling what to do! And over the years, I’ve culled that list down to about a dozen resources that I STILL go back to over and over, because they actually work! They actually help me. I am the wearer of all the hats, like so many of you are. You’re doing the programs; you’re doing the marketing; you’re doing the fundraising.

So this list is to help you with mindset, and strategy for programs, fundraising, and marketing, so you can focus on the activities that can actually move you toward the outcomes you want and need.

If you’re like me, you’re driving while you listen and it’s a little hard to take notes. So I’ve put everything I’m about to talk about here into a PDF you can download from my website (also available at the bottom of this post).

In fact, the download has more resources than the ones I mention here. But for the ones I talk about in this episode, I’ll tell you why they’re on this list and how I use them.

So many people start because of passion, but then run into a wall because fundraising feels like begging.

Kay Helm

Let’s start with the top books. If you only read 2 books, these are the ones.

1) A Spirituality of Fundraising, by Henri J.M. Nouwen

You can read this through in one sitting. It’s only 50-60 pages. And it deals with the most important part of your fundraising–your mind. So many people start because of passion, but then run into a wall because fundraising feels like begging. So we’ve got to change our mindset. This book gives a biblical understanding of the role money and raising money plays in ministry.  We don’t want to miss opportunities for deep and meaningful relationships that make fundraising so rewarding. Most of us need a mindset shift as we examine our relationships with success, comfort, and money.  This is a book that invites us to examine our hearts, motives, and methods and align these with God’s word. 

If you come to me for fundraising coaching, Session One homework is to read this book. 

2) Fundraising Freedom: 7 Steps to Build and Sustain Your Next Campaign, by Mary Valloni

This book outlines Mary’s FREEDOM Fundraising Framework. Raising funds successfully and consistently requires strategy! The Freedom framework gives you that strategy, from clarifying your mission and message to building and deploying your teams and making your difference! You don’t need to chase after everybody’s tips and tricks – build on this effective framework to engage more donors and volunteers. 

Bonus: I interviewed Mary in episode 42, and Mary has a podcast called Fundraising Freedom.

3) Fully Funded Academy

This resource is specifically for missionaries raising support. Fully Funded Academy is a monthly membership training program that gives you the clarity and confidence to launch, grow, and scale your financial support base. Mike Kim is a marketing genius; Mary Valloni has the fundraising strategy. Put those two together, along with a library of teaching, two monthly live calls, templates for letters and blog posts, all kinds of training for developing your website, emails, and print assets, and an amazing community – you will never be alone and never not know what to do next in your fundraising. The fund-raising strategy is based on Mary’s FREEDOM Fundraising framework. 

There is also a Fully Funded Academy podcast! I’ve been a part of this community now for two years, and I am a Fully Funded Certified Coach, so if you want 1:1 attention as you put this into practice I can help you with that

4) Cairification, from Claire Axelrad

There are really only two blogs you need to follow. The first one is “Clairification” from Claire Axelrad. This blog is a tremendous source of knowledge on all things fundraising and philanthropy. Claire  teaches the CFRE course that certifies professional fundraisers, and her posts are packed with useful, practical how-to’s and why’s for key aspects of fundraising and donor communication.

5) The Storytelling Nonprofit

The next blog is the Storytelling Nonprofit, from Vanessa Chase Lockshin. I interviewed Vanessa in episode 27, and Claire put that interview in her weekly list oof favorite resources – so, there ya go! As the   Storytelling Nonprofit, Vanessa’s focus is on recognizing, collecting and telling stories that help donors connect with our cause. She’s got the blog, YouTube channels and regular, really helpful emails with storytelling techniques you can use immediately. Stories are powerful! You absolutely have to tell stories effectively to raise funds. The Storytelling Nonprofit will help you do that.

I want to include these next resources because I’ve been surprised at how many smaller nonprofits don’t know about them. 

6) GuideStar (now part of Candid)

You need to be sure your organization is listed on GuideStar, and that you keep your listing updated each year. We make sure to update our profile, and put the GuideStar seal on our website to help build trust and confidence with donors. Here’s the thing you need need to know. Listing on GuideStar is free. You need to have all your nonprofit paperwork in order, and take the time to complete your profile with all the details. GuideStar will actually pull your 990s in from the IRS, so funders can see what you’re doing with finances. This is the place where most foundations and funders will look to verify your information, got make sure you are a legit 501c3. So when you apply for a grant, and when you apply to get listed on other nonprofit sites like GlobalGiving, they need to find you here. 

7) TechSoup

This next one will save you TONS of money. Once you’re listed on GuideStar, apply with TechSoup so you can get discounts on software and hardware for your nonprofit. So, no. you do not need to pay $500 for Quickbooks Nonprofit. I think it’s something like $60 through TechSoup. Do NOT go to sketchy discount software stores where you could end up with pirated software, or malware. Get the real deal. Top software packages including Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, anti virus software, and all kinds of tech deals. These are real, licensed agreements for great deals.


For Christian nonprofit organizations, I want to mention ECFA. Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. You’ve seen the blue ECFA seal on materials from Christian organizations. This means they’re accredited by the ECFA, and that they adhere to the ECFA’s  Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship. If you’re a smaller organization, you might think you can’t afford to pursue ECFA accreditation, but take heart! Once you apply, they have people to help walk you through the process. In addition, they produce some of the best resources (books, guides, webinars, and more) to guide your organization in areas of good governance and financial accountability. If you are just beginning the process of starting a nonprofit, start here! Use their resources for building a strong board and organizational structure that will serve you well for many years. You’ll save yourself so much hassle by starting off right!

Those are my eight top nonprofit fundraising resources. I have 11 more in my nonprofit fundraising guide (sign up for emails and I’ll send it to you for free. You can always unsubscribe later).

As always, we’re talking about all of these and more in the Life and Mission Podcast community over on Facebook.

Thanks for listening to the Life and Mission podcast – Find your Voice, Tell your story. Change the world! 

Get the resource list as a PDF download – with more resources and helpful tips!

Attitude Adjustment: Interview with Brian Dixon

Attitude Adjustment: Interview with Brian Dixon

Brian Dixon is a coach, author, and one of the cofounders of Hope*writers. We tackle questions about making money in ministry, taking care of relationships, and having those difficult but important conversations.

Brian Dixon Interview

Key Takeaways

  • Sometimes we step back from making money through the calling God has given us – but is that because we’re afraid?
  • Money is a tool. Having our basic needs met frees us to do more and pursue our calling.
  • Take action. Say what you’re doing. Do you write? You’re a writer.
  • We need to have difficult conversations. And it starts with listening.
  • We need to let others speak into our lives.
  • From Brian’s book, Start With Your People – Your spouse can be your superpower.
  • A 360 assessment can help us discover blind spots.
  • If we allow people in our lives to help in the places where we struggle, our relationships will improve.
  • Do this to change your life – get up 1 hour earlier and spend that hour with God.



Start with Your People: The Daily Decision that Changes Everything, by Brian Dixon (Amazon link)

Take the Hope*Writer quiz
More about Hope*Writers:

Disclosure: Links may be affiliate links. If you decide to purchase any of these resources, I earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Tap the “+” below to open the transcript


Brian-J-Dixon Transcript

Kay: Brian, thank you so much for being on the show today. Just want to extend a warm welcome and  let you introduce yourself to everybody that’s listening.

Brian: Well Kay, thanks so much for having me. Yes. I am here to help you move your business forward, increase your impact and your income online. So whether you’re stuck, trying to figure out how to overcome tech overwhelm, how to market with confidence, or how to make money authentically. I’m your coach. I’m a clarity coach. So I help you figure out those three things. Usually it’s one of those three legs of the stool where people get stuck, to help you move forward so you can make a bigger impact and a bigger income.

Kay: I think that’s the impact is the big thing that so many of us are after, you know. Right. Okay. The income is kind of something we need. The impact somehow always seems to be like this far away thing that we think about in the future. And as a consequence of thinking about it that way, we almost hold it at arm’s length. Have you seen that to be true?

Brian: Oh, I think people are scared of money. It’s really is scared of money. If we charge then if it doesn’t work, then we feel like failures. So if we don’t charge, then there’s no way to know if it’s working. So therefore it’s really safe, but all growth happens outside of your comfort zone.

And I know this is a Christian audience. And so when Jesus sent the two, two disciples by to write, he sent them out. He said, in that context, he said a worker is due his wages. He was sending them out as missionaries. And he was saying, don’t bring an extra blanket, don’t bring an extra tunic. Don’t bring money in your money belt.  Go teach the gospel and you go get paid. So from the beginning, the first missionary journey ever sent by Christ, he was saying, go get paid for the ministry that you do. And I actually believe I was going to go there. I believe that it’s satanic. I believe that the devil does not want Christian ministers to get paid. He wants them to play small. He wants them to be scared and let’s just go there. He wants them to be broke because broke people up, broke people have a more difficult time making an impact on the world, because think about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. If we’re always thinking about food and shelter you will never hit the level of self actualization. We’ll never hit that level of actually doing what we love and making a bigger impact if we’re always worried about the bills and the debt and the finances and the food and the shelter. So go do great work, go get paid for your great work, and therefore you can make a bigger impact when you make an income.

So to say that I’m just about the impact and I don’t want to really make an income is playing small and is anti biblical.

Kay: You know, I’m part of a mental health training team, with a organization that goes out and we do training all over the world and we use Maslow all the time and we’ve altered it a little bit. We took that top part self-actualization and we made it God-given Purpose. And, and it almost at that point, you know, it becomes not just about us, but about, about God, the thing that He wants to do and say through our lives and the people that are going to be impacted by us being obedient, following that call.

And so there’s a lot at stake when we allow ourselves to kind of be constrained or to be in that kind of thinking small box, you know, we’ve talked a couple of times on other interviews, right? About kind of a poverty mentality in ministry and in the broader kind of nonprofit world where people are trying to do the impact, but kind of live in this space.

Brian: Yeah. It’s like, it’s like a mental block or a, you know, I would call it a limiting belief. I think it’s a limiting belief to not believe that you can get paid for doing what you love, where actually the opposite is true. The more you love it, the more you get paid to do it. The more you love it, the more you think about it.

Like when you wake up and when you go to bed, if you’re thinking about one thing all the time and taking steps, right? So faith without works is dead. Walk by faith, not think by faith, not rest by faith, right? But walk by faith. We have to take action. So if we’re taking action, we get results. If we’re taking action on what we’re passionate about, we get better.

As long as we’re listening to the feedback, we get better over time, the better you get. Right. A proverb says, see a man who’s excellent. He will not serve unknown man. He will stand before Kings. And so the better we get at what we do, the better we listen to feedback and improve our process. The more money we make, the more money we make, the more impact we can have because God uses wealth. God uses money as a tool for advancing his kingdom. That’s totally biblical. I can point to countless examples, but the ministry needs to be funded and the better you are at what you do, the better steward you are, of what you have, the more you can sustainably minister,  and, and not do it in such a way where you’re worried about where’s the next paycheck coming from, but you’re generating significant wealth in order to significantly contribute to the mission that’s happening.

Kay:  Just a few weeks ago, I interviewed Mary Valloni. She’s a…

Brian: I love Mary. She’s my buddy.

Kay: She’s an awesome lady. And she raises funds for all kinds of great causes. And she works really closely with missionaries as well as specifically to help, overcome those beliefs, those kind of limiting beliefs and teach them skills to get out there and do some fundraising.

We were talking about, you know, you have the skills and I don’t know if it was something we talked about in the. In the actual podcast, or if it’s in the class that she teaches the missionaries. But one of the things that she talks about when she teaches is that the skills that you need to go, whether it’s raise the funds or have a business, those are, those are the skills that you’re already using to disciple others to-there’s leadership skills, you have technical skills, all these things that you’re already using, you can use them in different ways. And so I think sometimes when we’re, we kind of put ourselves in – whether it’s a ministry box or, you know, there’s a lot of folks living in the mom box and kind of, you know, we put that “just”…

Brian: Yes.

Kay: on what we do. And I know you run into that a lot too.

[07:11] Hope*Writers

You’re part of the writing community, community for writers called Hope*Writers. So why don’t you just tell us a little bit about that and then we’ll talk about your book as well.

Brian: I love it. Yes. Hope*Writers is the most encouraging place on the internet for writers to make progress. So if you’ve ever thought about getting a book in a bookstore you’ve ever thought about launching your blog or growing your social media platform, you have to be part of hope writers. You can take your quiz by going to hope. H O P E. So hope writers, w R I T E R

Take your quiz because we found over doing this five years now that there are six stages in the writing journey. And when you know what your stage is, you know what to do next. So go take the quiz. It’s free. It takes like 30 seconds. Take your quiz to figure out where you are, and then you’ll get helpful information about how hope writers works and how you can be part of that community.

Kay: And you one of the things, cause I’m part of this community, that there’s a lot of people in there going, ‘I’m stepping out here and it’s the first time I’ve ever called myself a writer.’

Brian: I love it. I love it. It’s one of my favorite things to do is to see people call themselves writers for the first time. My buddy Jeff Goins says, ‘you’re a writer when you call yourself a writer, not when you land a book deal.’ Not when you write that first word, but when you first call yourself, because it starts up here (in the mind) before it comes out here (the mouth).

Kay: And it’s true for not just writing, but for everything, you know, if you say, okay, I want to, I want to disciple, you know, teenagers in my community. Yeah. Alright. Then then say it, say that that’s what I’m doing. And then go and take action to do that.

Brian: Yeah. My, my father in law was a missionary leader and, and he would often say you are a missionary. You’re not going to be a missionary. So if you’re a missionary, you’re a missioner and we’re all, you know, as believers, we believe we’re all missionaries. We’ve been called to go out into the world. And so I’m a missionary in Charlotte, North Carolina, I’m a missionary online. And when I happen to go on short term mission trips, or maybe one term, a full time mission trip, I’m still a missionary. So I’m a missionary where ever I am living a missional life.

[9:10] The Need to Have Difficult Conversations

Kay: Okay. Now we’ve, we’re in a, a part of history. And I know we’re kind of jumping around a lot of different topics on this podcast, but I mean, come on the times we were in, there’s so much stuff going on and, I’ve watched Brian lead through this in different communities because I’m in the hopewriter community, plus I follow you online and, and listen to a lot of the things that you have to say.

Yeah. And, like last, well, the night before that, that we, recorded this, you’re in the midst of, there’s a lot of protests happening right now after the death of, George Floyd. And there are a lot of conversations happening right now that we really needed to have. For a long time. Okay. And you know, it can be awkward becauseI know myself sometimes I feel under-qualified or disqualified from, you know, what can I add to the conversation? but. You know, you were using your platform

Brian: yeah.

Kay: To facilitate conversation. Can you just talk a little bit about what can we do to make sure these conversations don’t fall to the ground?

Brian: Okay. Well, It’s changing all the time. So I think it really just depends on when you’re listening to. So I’m just gonna acknowledge that some of what I say might, might, might sound a little tone deaf, just because of when we’re recording this, because the world is constantly changing.

So given that disclaimer, and a little bit of grace, and that’s what I asked for you, I think that one of the best things we can do is listen, because I do not know what it’s like to be a black man. I do not know what it’s like. You know, when I, when I get pulled over, this happened three times in my life. When I get, when I’ve gotten pulled over from the police, usually late at night, coming home from an event, cause I’m a speaker. I speak at conferences and our host different events. So, I was actually at a church retreat and it was way up in the mountains in North Carolina, it ended really late. So we got home by the time everything was cleaned up at the church.

I got back into my car. I had, I, at that time I had an older. Mercedes, but it was an older one. And so it wasn’t, you know, it wasn’t a very expensive car. And so there was just some assumptions that were made about who the drivers of that car at two in the morning. And, and so it was me, right? So I’m driving home two in the morning. I got pulled over almost immediately. I mean, I literally, I pulled out from the church onto a different road and I got pulled over like in 20 seconds and, um, And I knew that there were assumptions just based on the car that I was driving at the time I was out that the police officer walks up to my window, sees me and says, Oh, nevermind, have a good evening, sir.

And walked back to his car. Didn’t ask for my driver’s license. My registration. Didn’t ask me to get out. Didn’t ask me if I’d been drinking. Didn’t ask me where I was going. Nothing. Just let me go because. I’m white now that’s privilege and you can call it whatever you want. But I know that I, I started on third base, you know, I did not start at home plate.

And, and so I have advantages that my black friends don’t and I think that. To him that has given much, much is required. We have been given a responsibility for such a time as this I’ve been given a responsibility based on my platform, based on my education, based on my whiteness, based on whatever, to surrender my guests to the Lord, surrender my burdens to the Lord.

It’s both, right. It’s both. And so I just see it as our responsibility as white people. To listen to the experience of our black friends, black brothers and sisters. I also see it as a responsibility to our black brothers and sisters to listen to our experience and for us all to listen more is a really good thing.

The more we listened, the more we help to, at least if not understand, at least empathize. And I think that’s the gap. It’s the empathy gap because, because you know, cable news, the focus of cable news is. Advertising. The only purpose is to hook somebody, to tease them about the next bad thing. So they stay watching so they can make more money. ‘Cause it’s a for profit corporation. I run a for profit corporation. I love money. I love making money. Okay. But. There is a, there is a way to do that ethically. And I think we have the, the, the horse is out of the barn, you know, the way that we consume news it’s, it’s entertainment. It’s not even edutainment. It’s just pure entertainment. We love, what did they say when it bleeds? It leads right? When, when we have so much vitriol in our news, it, it pushes everybody to their defensive corner and it’s not. Helpful. It’s not helpful. So a lot of what’s happening right now, depending on when you’re listening to this is completely, completely media created media fabricated, but with savvy people like yourself are doing is they’re paying attention to the question behind the question, the conversation happening underneath.

And, and I am the first to admit. I do not know what it’s like to live as a black person in America and shame on me for assuming I do. And so in conversations with black friends and going, I had no idea that you have to de-blackify your house before selling it. You have to remove any kind of evidence that you’re black. Shame on me for not knowing that. Shame on me for thinking that the reason I’m being treated kindly at a car dealership is because I’m a nice guy. Not because of the color of my skin. Skin. So I’m learning a ton right now. But also I want to be bold. I don’t think that cowering and hiding is a solution either. I think engaging, engaging is the solution. And by engaging, of course you attract more heat, but sometimes that’s the best meal, right. Is when it’s created with heat.

So let’s keep the conversation going. It’s when we try to shut each other down by being louder than each other, that is not, is not helpful.

Kay: And to understand too, as we walk into these conversations, I mean the more important a conversation is, the more we need to have the conversation, the more tension there’s going to be already present just by the fact that we are talking about things that really need to, to be..discussed isn’t even a strong enough word, but just.

Brian: I’m with you 100% but what are you going to do? Like you’re going to just hole up and die, you know? No, come on, get, get in the game, get involved. Yeah. You’re going to get beat up a lot a bit, but you know, what are our black friends have been getting beat up for a long time? Like maybe it’s our turn.

Kay: you gotta, you gotta listen to the hard stuff. You can’t just listen to, you know, the stuff you want to listen to or whatever, you know, but it’s like, okay, tell me, tell me where I’m messing up. But it’s just important to do. I think too, too, get some conversations started. So what is it that we need to say? What is it we need to hear? What is it that we need to do? To bring our communities together. You know, let’s, let’s go. We say, change the world. I mean, that’s the whole slogan for this podcast is find your voice. Tell your story, change the world. Well, how are we going to change the world?

Brian: Yeah.

Kay: If we, don’t not only find our own voice, but listen to other voices, you know, and tell your story. Okay. It’s our story. What does our story look like? Cause my story is different from your story’s different from another person’s experience, what did they all look like together? Yeah. And what do we want to want those stories to look like? That’s when we change the world.

Brian: I’m with ya, love it.

[16:24] Start With Your People

Kay:I wanted to talk to you too, about your you’ve got a book called Start With Your People. And when we talk about changing the world, and this was kind of the original idea for this conversation, when I first asked you, it was probably in the beginning of the year when we first started talking.

Brian: Sorry about that. Had a couple of things going  on,

Kay: you know? Yeah. It’s 2020 folks, no telling what’s going to happen. So yeah, but your book, Start With Your People. Really, you know, we talk about changing the world. If you don’t start in your own home,

Brian: Yeah. You know,

Kay: then you can go change a lot of things, and the most important part kind of falls apart.

Brian: Yup. Yup.

Kay: Tell us a little bit about the book and kind of how it came to be.

Brian: Yeah, I like that. I think I believe that let me, yeah, most, most change starts at the dinner table. Yeah, I’m going to type that out. Most change, it’s at the dinner table because, and you can substitute that with breakfast table or, or what have you. But I think it, it, it starts with having conversations with the people already in your life.

They are the people that you’re going to have the biggest influence on the biggest impact on are the people that get to see you behind the scenes. I’ve seen some of the behind the scenes of pretty famous people. And there’s some ugliness behind the scenes. Let’s, I’m not throwing stones. Cause I got, I have some of my own as well, but like there is no difference between who I am when you meet me on a podcast and who I am when you meet me on the couch, like. I have to be the same person. That’s what integrity means. Right? Integrity is being the same person, even if nobody’s watching. And so I think that’s really what Start With Your People is all about, is acknowledging that we have broken relationships that are out there, whether it’s with a client, whether it’s with our spouse, whether it’s with our kid or a difficult person, you know, somebody that you used to work with or work for.

We’ve got to clean those up. We’ve got to start with those relationships, with the people that are already in our life, because. You know, so many people by coach are thinking about the next, you know, they’re thinking like, how can I get to a million subscribers or a thousand people following me on Instagram or launch a book or get a book deal?

But what about the people that are across the table from you? You know, how are you showing up for them? I see too many people that are sacrificing their, my friend Emily says ‘Don’t sacrifice your meaningful words, your meaningful life for your meaningful words, and in the same way, sacrificing your, your people.

In your life, stepping all over them because you want to pursue a dream is not the solution. And we, we like, we kind of celebrate this in, in media. You know, how many people are on their second or third marriage. And that’s the one that we celebrate because a romance that’s such a cop out, there are people in your life right now that you might realize.

I’m not treating people very well. And I, and I had to realize that. And so the book is really my story of how did I realize there are people in my life that I need to clean some stuff up with. I need to apologize. I need to take responsibility and I need to stop burning bridges. And so Start With Your People is really about how do you fix relationships, but also build effective relationships that lasts for life. Because I believe every relationship lasts for life. We never really end relationships. We just complete agreements. We complete phases of our relationship. So how do we treat people well? And of course that includes people from other races. Of course, that includes people in other, from other backgrounds that are other professions. So it’s how you show up for the people in your life that I think is going to be the biggest measure of the success or failure of our life.

Kay: You talk about two particular, I’ll say groups, but it’s really one group. It’s your family, but, but the one is, you’ve got a chapter about your spouse. And you got a full chapter on your kids because I think sometimes they catch the blame. What did I do? Back when we started recording, I said, ‘Oh, the kids are over at the house. We’re going to have background noise there.’

Brian: I guess it says part of it. You know, it’s just part of what you do, but that’s, that’s the thing you’re doing the work. Yeah.

Kay: Yeah, but I just, what are some things, I mean, you, you, you have a line that you say about your spouse.

Brian: Yeah, your spouse is not the enemy of your dreams. You know, your, your husband or wife is not the kryptonite. She or he can be your superpower. You know, that, that, when I lean into the wisdom of my wife, when I asked Julie, what would you do in this situation? How can I improve? What can I do better? She has answers.

Now, most of us have a relationship where we haven’t asked for that feedback. And so we’re not ready to hear it, and they’re probably not ready to give it cause they don’t believe that we’re ready to hear it.

So it starts with humility. It starts maybe with an apology, but I have to tell you before any major decision And, and even like, when I’m not sure how I feel about something, I’m an Enneagram three and we, we’re not very in tune with how we feel immediately. We kind of figure it out a couple days later after we get a lot more data.

I just asked Julia, I’m like, Hey, this thing’s going on. Like, what do you think she has so much wisdom? And I’d be an idiot if I didn’t listen to her because she’s really smart. And so, you know, for those of us that are married that have that person in our life, Lean into the wisdom of your spouse. I run a, I would call it the mighty men’s mastermind. It’s a group of guys who want to be like level five guys, like level five and each of the five core areas of life, faith, family, finance, fitness, friendship. And these are, these guys were amazing and, and many of them are learning. At how wise their wife is and they thought I’m going to do all the finances myself, or I’m just going to do the career thing myself, but they’re learning to slow down and bring their wife in. And there’s nothing more powerful than what did they say? The, the most valuable gifts you can give your kids is a healthy marriage. I think one of the biggest impacts you can make on the world is having a healthy home and that healthy home starts with the person you’re married to. Right. Oh, neat. Any shoulder to shoulder, looking at each other eye to eye getting on the same page is really, really important.

Kay: Yeah, so, so true. And setting that example for, for the kids. Right. And taking care of them, not just taking care of them as an OD provide for them. You know, I do things, but, you know, you’re, I used to tell my guys, when I’ve, I’ve got two boys are grown up now, but I used to tell them, I’m teaching you this because when you’re 20, when you’re 25, when you have a family, you need to know how to do these things.  Like, I’m not trying to raise kids. I’m trying to raise adults.

Brian: Right.

[ 23:00 ]  360 Assessment

Kay: Who can, who can also then, you know, be productive and do the things that they need to do. So, you, you talk in your book about difficult people and how to, navigate that, but you did something that’s like a specific thing that you did in having conversations. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Brian: Yeah, we’re about, we’re about to do it again. I think it’s important to do it frequently. And it’s, it’s been at least a year, if not, if not almost two years now, because I wrote the book quite quite a while ago, you know, books take a while to get out. But it started with a, a 360 assessment and the basic concept is we’ve never seen ourselves. We’ve only seen a reflection of ourselves, so who better to speak into my life. Not me, but somebody else, somebody else through their lived experience saying, Brian, sometimes you come across this way. Sometimes you come across this way. Sometimes the words you say, or the face that you make actually leads to this and not to what you expect.

So it’s an anonymous survey, really simple three questions, you know, what am I good at? Where am I stuck? And if you could tell me anything anonymously, what would you say Google form really simple. Don’t ask for their email. Don’t ask for their name because it’s important for them now, the freedom to be able to tell you what they really think.

So we’re planning on sending that out in the next couple of weeks for my own business. So those three questions. What am I good at? Where am I stuck? And then if you could say anything anonymously, what would you say? And so I sent that out, too, you know, 50-ish people, and the feedback I got, you know, there’s a lot of positive, but definitely some things to work on.  And one of them was Brian often puts projects over people and I realized I was so focused on the, on the goal on the results that, of skipping over the relationship. So I’d been burning all these bridges unintentionally, but it had been happening. And so I, you know, I’m a person of faith. And so I just, in my morning, per time, I prayed, I said, Lord, who is it that I need to clean up a relationship with?

And he just started to go this person, this person is, I just wrote down the people’s names. And just over the course of a couple of days, send a text message or an email. Hey, can we get on the phone or, Hey, can we get on a zoom call? I just want to catch up with you. I got something I’d like to ask you and then face to face is the best way to do it on zoom saying, listen, I want to let you know, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for the way that our business ended or I’m sorry for the way that I’ve treated you and these aren’t the same people that necessarily took the survey. Okay. The survey. Revealed what I wasn’t aware of. And then the conviction of the spirit is what led to the reconciliation of these relationships.

And here’s the funny thing, Kay. Friday. Tuesday. I got a message from somebody who heard me tell the story on a podcast. And she has harbored bitterness towards me for over six years. She didn’t get the survey and she wasn’t one of the people I apologize for apologize too, because I really believe right when the spirit brings us to mind, we’ll pray for you, right?

When, and so that’s a biblical concept and the Lord has never brought this lady to mind like. I have a clear conscience, but when it all possible live at peace with all men, this lady, I want to say her name so bad. This lady brought this attention, this to my attention. What did I need to do? I needed to immediately apologize.

Listen, I’m so sorry for my role in this. I’m so sorry for the misunderstanding. What can I do to make it right? And she wrote me back like 30 minutes later and said, you know what? I really appreciate it. I just, I have a clear conscience now. I forgive you. You know, I just wish you all the best. And, and that kind of thing. Keeping short accounts is really important. Cause I, listen, I heard at least one person’s feelings every single day. I’m hard driving I’m entrepreneurial goal focus. I’m just, I am who I am. That’s how I’m created, but how can I use that as a Ninja skill two? You know, to, to, to, help move the kingdom of God forward instead of burning things down. And, and, you know, it’s just like, they are, our personality is a power, right? Where they say there’s life and death in the power of the tongue, like our personality is powerful, but we want to use it too. You know, it’s like fire, make a delicious meal or burn a house down. We have to be very, um, Uh, skilled, skilled at how we use it.

And, and it re requires assessment. So that’s what I did. This 360 assessment apologized to a bunch of people and then made a commitment to moving forward. And now, listen, I’ve surrounded myself. This is gonna sound so gender bias. And I don’t mean it that way, but I’ve surrounded myself with some really smart women.

I have, I have, I have. Okay. Four, 12, 14, 16 ladies. I work with on a regular basis who have the freedom and have exercise that freedom to say, ‘Brian, you got to go clean that up.’ ‘Brian, you were kind of a jerk today.’ ‘Bryan, that was a little bit mean’, you know, and, and they have, we built it over time that trust in our relationship where they can say. ‘Just so, you know, you were a little terse today. Can you go clean that up?’ And I get this message probably once a week, but it’s been really helpful cause I don’t hear how I come across. So, one of my, the coach I work with, he says, he says, you know, when you have a blind spot, somebody points it out.

It’s no longer a blind spot. Cause you’re aware now it’s a stumbling block and you can choose whether to remove it or not, or have somebody help you remove it. So I’ve got this big blind spot in my life. Gotta remove it. And, and sometimes surgery hurts, but it also leads to healing.

Kay: And when, you know, you know, what, what that stumbling block is, and, you know, I’d trip over this thing all the time. It really helps to have people around you that you can say, help me watch out for this shine, a light on that thing. So I don’t keep tripping over it. You know, not that they run ahead of you and keep trying to sweep it out of the way and just make things easy for you, but that they, they point to it and go, you’re about to step on that thing again.

Yes, you know? Yeah. I’ve got something similar. I was on staff for a while and yeah. You know, I don’t go to the emotions a lot myself. And even though I was like, I’m on a mental health training team. Everybody thinks I’m all about emotions and I’m actually. For myself, I’m actually not. And, um, so that’s kind of, that can lead to some really awkward conversations, but, uh, you know, but I’ve been told I’ve got people that can speak into my life and, uh, you know, had had somebody stop at my office one day and just poke their head in the door and go, you know, that thing you’ve got going on with this so-and-so, this other person, you know, that we were having this kind of longstanding, really going through a hard time together. And our relationship is, you know, um, you’re going to have to go, right? So the emotions ‘You’re going to have to go through that whole emotion, emotional journey, or this thing is never going to clear up.’

Brian: so true.

Kay: And once I was willing to go there, sure enough, you know, and it healed so much. So just because you say, Oh, I’m wired a certain way. If you can put those people in, in your life. They can help you go to this places that are hard for you to go.

Brian: I love that.

Kay: Yeah. And it’s just better, I think for everybody.

Brian: So good.

[30:15] Next Steps

Kay: I  think you’ve given us some, you know, I always ask people at the end of the show, you know, what are things, what are some practical. What’s a practical thing we can do to put this into practice and, look at that, you’ve already, you’ve talked about questions that you can send out an email, you know, Hey man, that’s right.

I mean, what, what else, what, what is there, we’ve, we’ve touched on so many things. Right. And, and, it’s been kind of a hodgepodge conversation, but I admire what you do in so many areas. Thank you. And you’re helping people overcome challenges. You’re helping people walk into new areas to, to find that clarity, through the coaching and through, you’re always doing these little, if you guys, if you connect with Brian, if you get on his email list, he sends like these little, you know, there’s some new technology out, and he’ll be like, Hey, have you tried this?

Cause he’s already gone ahead and he’s tried it. And he’s going to give you five tips on how to use that effectively or a new way to think about it so that you can get a jump on it and decide, well, do I need to go use this? Is this a tool that I can use? And so, but also there’s a heart there and that kind of coaching and the leadership and, So I would just encourage you to do that.

But today I know you’ve already given us some tools, but you talk about habits and practices that we can cultivate our lives, you know, to be better leaders, to be better in our families. So in the next week, what’s something I can do?

Brian: wake up earlier.

Kay: Oh, Ow, Ow!

Brian: I know. Yeah. There’s a curse word that people use all the time. It starts with the letter T four letter word it’s T I M E. And nobody has enough of it, but you’re, you’re cursing your creator. Can I just go there? You are cursing your creator. When you say you don’t have enough time, shame on you for saying he did not give you abundantly more than you could ever ask or imagine.  His, yes, he did. In his infinite wisdom. He gave you 24 hours and you’re saying you don’t have enough time. Of course you have enough time, but you are not being a good steward of the time that you have.

So practically do the one hour great exchange, go to bed an hour earlier and wake up an hour earlier and spend that time with your savior. Spend the first hour of the day with an open Bible and an open journal. And just ask this one question, Lord, what you have for me today? God, what do you have for me today? Let him set your agenda instead of the Facebook ad that you’re clicking on, instead of the TV that you’re watching, instead of the news cycle that is distracting you away from what’s important, instead of your email inbox, that is other people’s agenda, or instead of your own wants and wills and whims, let the savior of the world tell you what to do that day.

He is faithful and just to show up and I’ll let you know. This is what’s on my heart. This is what’s on my mind today. And you just say, Lord, what do you have for me today? And you know what, if you sit there for an hour and don’t hear anything, you just read your Bible and you’ll hear from him. The word of the Lord is living and active, sharper than any double edged sword.

So turn Netflix off at 10 o’clock instead of 11, wake up at five instead of six or six instead of seven. And spend that first hour, you know, my coach calls it a Holy hour, spend your first hour as the rudder of the day, that Holy hour, you will be shocked at what happens to it for 40 days. Don’t, don’t do it for one day and then go it didn’t work, you know, 40 days, just like that’s like your, your wilderness wandering time to get centered again, to, to hear the heart of the Lord, again, end to end to be able to put your head on the pillow and go, wow. I was the best steward of what I had today and here’s the thing. He who’s faithful with much as much as required, but who, who, what’s the, what’s the worst? Basically, you’re a good steward with what you have and more will be given a, you’ve been given a lot already.

So use what you have, but be, be faithful with it. Guess what? There’s more, he has more for you, but the reason things aren’t working so well is because you’re not working with the things that you have right now.

Kay: That’s so true and it does make a huge difference. You know, I walk out of that bedroom in the morning. There is the TV’s already on conversation that I just step into. That’s already happening even just in the house and let alone, you know, if I start pick up the phone and start scrolling Facebook, because you have no control over, what’s coming into your mind at that point and just think about how that swings your day, you know?

So yeah, that’s golden and it’s absolutely true.

Brian: Love it.

Kay: Well, Brian, thank you so much for spending this time with us. And, uh, for that, that was a lot of good stuff in there. So thank you.

Brian: Well, listen, what James said is, to him who hears the word and doesn’t do anything with it is like somebody looking in the mirror and forgetting what they look like.

So you don’t just be a listener, but be. And activate or actually take action on what you learn. So I love to hear from you send me a message on Instagram, Brian J. Dixon send me messages and say, I heard you from Kay’s interview. And here’s the one thing I’m actually doing. And actually it’s even better. Here’s the one thing I did go take some action and you’ll get some D do something different and you’ll get different results.

Kay: Amen to that. Very true.

Hope and Coffee, with Mike Lane

Hope and Coffee, with Mike Lane

Mike lane is the founder of Hope Bridges, a nonprofit serving over 100 children in northern Thailand with food, clothing, education, and basic health care. They help the children learn to navigate life in a world where poverty, drugs, and trafficking are very real dangers. Mike’s involvement started with a short trip and visit to a refugee camp where 17,000 people lived along Thailand’s border with Burma.

Hope Bridges

The next year was filled with prayer and planning. God provided a way to get the organization off the ground fast, and others joined in with the vision. Things are so much better with a team.

Calling, of course, is a big theme on the Life and Mission podcast, so I asked Mike about his experience and how God called him to help children so far away from his home in Kansas City. The work of the Holy Spirit, in His way, speaking to the heart and through the Bible make it clear that we are to help widows and orphans in distress. Mike’s mission has been a prayerful and obedient response to that call.

One of the ways Hope Bridges funds its mission is to sell coffee. We talked about how Mike and his team have tried to make sure the coffee production process helps people at every step along the way.

I’d love to see the Life and Mission community fund at least a year of school for one for the students. You can do that at

The most life-changing coffee you’ve ever had.

Join the Life and Mission Community

Tap the “+” below to open the transcript


Kay: I’m Kay Helm and this is episode 46 of the Life and Mission podcast. Every week I try to serve up an interview with someone to inspire and equip you to live a life of purpose and to help you fulfill your mission, whether that’s in business or in the nonprofit or ministry space. Today my guest is Mike lane of Hope Bridges, a nonprofit serving over 100 children in northern Thailand with food, clothing, education, and basic health care.

Now, I’m going to let you in on something I’d like to chat a little bit with my guests before we jump into the interview and as Mike and I were talking, he shared about how quickly hope bridges was able to get off the ground. And it really resonated with me, because I had a similar experience with the ghostwriting part of my business just a few weeks back. I’ll put all that together at the end of today’s show, but for now I’m just going to drop you right smack into the part of the interview, really, the pre interview, where Mike shares how Hope Bridges got its fast start

Mike: In that you need to do to get started. And I said, well, we need to become a incorporator. We, we need to have 501(c)(3) status. And so, we need an attorney to help do that. we could have gone through that ourselves and done that by ourselves, but it would have taken probably a year instead of two months.

[00:00:18] Yeah. You know,

[00:00:19] Kay: pretty good. You guys

[00:00:20] Mike: you know, getting back and forth. Yeah. It was, it was a literally. I think it was in, Early February 2010. And by April we had our papers back, from the IRS giving us status. so she was really good. And wait, he’s the, the guy asked me how much do you need to get started? And I said, a thousand dollars.

[00:00:42] And so we kept talking on and on and on, he found, he said, give me a second. I got to go find my wife. And we were at church and talking, and our wives were doing there. Choir thing and singing and stuff. it came back a little bit later and he handed me a check for a thousand dollars.

[00:00:57] Kay: Hmm. Yeah. And that’s so cool how God provides. He lays it on each person’s heart.

[00:01:02] Mike: Yup. And so that, that was, that was how we got, got started. He wound up being one of the founding board members. and, and so that was in. 2010. So, we’ve been, we’ve been taking care of over a hundred kids for, 10 years

[00:01:19] Kay: That’s cool.

[00:01:21] Mike: and three years in. We started talking about trying to figure something out that we could do that would help us.

[00:01:29] Keep from having to ask for just straight up money all the time. and so, I found a source that we could get, good Thai coffee beans. We have them roasted in Kansas City. We sell the coffee and all the proceeds of that goes back to the kids in Thailand.

[00:01:47] Kay: And it is some good coffee too.

[00:01:49] Mike: Yes, it is good coffee. I would say I would argue that some of the best coffee you can get, you know, unless you want to spend a hundred bucks for, you know, a panel of the coffee.

[00:02:00] So, and I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t, I don’t think I would buy a hundred-dollar box that a pound of coffee. So

[00:02:07] Kay: Yeah. You want to actually be able to enjoy it and drink it?

[00:02:10] Mike: yes, exactly.

[00:02:12] Kay: Yeah. Yeah. I love the names like elephant coffee and, you know,

[00:02:17] Mike: Well, I was talking to a marketing guy and he said, the first thing you gotta do is you gotta name it. and so, based on the origin of the coffee is, is what we may, named our first, two, serious copies, the elephant roast. Because there’s elephants there and I’ve walked with elephants before I don’t ride them because it’s not good for the elephants. In orchid, they have orchids everywhere in Thailand. And so that’s, it was, it really came from

[00:02:49] Kay: Yeah, that’s great though. It’s, you know, the way you’re marketing, the hope does coffee. I mean, I love it because you’re always reminding people of what the coffee is making, you know, what you’re making possible with that cup of coffee.

[00:03:03] Mike: Yes. Yeah.

[00:03:06] Kay: the message.

[00:03:07] Mike: Yeah. Yeah. About 55% of the, of the cell of any cell goes to back to the kids. and because we buy the beans, from a co-op we’re actually helping to support the farmers to keep them in the coffee fields and out of the opium fields. And so, and it helps the kids and the roaster we use here in Kansas City has a ministry to the homeless.

[00:03:33] So our coffee bean holds the whole chain is doing good for people.

[00:03:42] Kay: Oh, love that. Love that way. The chain. Can you explain to people what fair trade really means? It’s kind of one of those words, we hear a lot, but what is, what does it mean?

[00:03:52] Mike: Right. Fair trade means like, like we buy our, our, coffee beans from the co-op. So a lot of, sometimes people will go in and they will buy the beans as cheap as they possibly can. and so that is not fair trade because they can’t make money to live on. And so fair-trade means that you’re paying them a decent wage for the coffee.

[00:04:17] Kay: Yeah. Cause there is a lot of business that is just taking advantage of the people that are doing that work. Especially at that beginning step in the chain.

[00:04:26] Mike: Yes, exactly. And, and so we, we, we don’t do that. so, so if you want to get labeled as, as fair trade, you had to spend a lot of money to an organization. and I think you have to do that on a yearly basis, but I’m not sure cause we don’t go through that process. To get that label on there just because of the cost.

[00:04:47] It’s just the cost of it is just crazy. So, so, so yeah, that’s, that’s, that’s what we do. So I mean, it all goes back to the kids,

[00:04:57] Kay: Yeah. So in a nutshell, it’s do business in a way where everybody benefits.

[00:05:01] Mike: yeah, exactly. Yep.

[00:05:03] Kay: So, from the guys that are growing the beans, and then you’ve got the guys that are roasting it, and then they’re also using, their profits to benefit people, which is really a beautiful thing.

[00:05:15] Mike: Right

[00:05:17] Kay: And tell us, just touch on where that idea came from for a coffee.

[00:05:23] Mike: for coffee, had a conversation with, with one of my board members who, and, you know, in nonprofits, we have to rely on donations. As you well know that, but he thought it would be good if we could offer something related to Thailand that wouldn’t, would curb that a little bit. and actually, if we had enough coffee cells, we wouldn’t have to ask for donations.

[00:05:50] So, but aside from that, and it’s, it’s, it’s good to offer something. That is a worthwhile and a lot of people like coffee. So I remember basically when the conversation ended a couple days later, I remembered that there was a coffee shop that we went to one time and I really liked the coffee. So I started searching around and I found a good source for the coffee.

[00:06:16] And so, and in fact, I like it so much that when I travel, I take that coffee with me.

[00:06:23] Kay: Oh yeah.

[00:06:24] Mike: And when we go to mission trips, To Thailand. I take coffee from Kansas City with me to Thailand,

[00:06:32] Kay: Wow.

[00:06:35] Mike: and one of my partners over there, I take her two pounds of bags to one pound, Pat bags of coffee, for her and I take coffee and we have coffee first coffee every morning. So.

[00:06:51] Kay: Yeah. You, before we started recording, you were sharing a story of, a time that you were in Thailand and you wanted some coffee.

[00:07:01] Mike: Right first. Yeah. First trip to Thailand. we, we were spending time with, another group of people from a church. We were in this process of, of getting to know each, each other and churches and things, to do mission work. With each other. And, we did a lot of, a lot of the touristy kind of things.

[00:07:22] and, and I, and I asked, if we could go by Starbucks and I said, sure. And so we get there and they kind of pull over a little bit and they’re going really slow. And they said, there’s the Starbucks. And he started to go on and said, Whoa, I want a cup of coffee. And so everybody started laughing and, and, I went in, I got my coffee and I was a happy camper.

[00:07:45] but it’s, it’s that cultural difference of things. You know, when, when here in America we say, let’s go buy. Whatever place you want to go to. And so that means that we’re going to go there. We’re going to stop and we’re going to get something or we’re going to go through the drive through and get something.

[00:08:03] but in Thailand, if you asked to go buy it somewhere, it’s like, you literally go buy it and you don’t, you don’t stop.

[00:08:10] Kay: Yeah, we’re going to go by, you can wave at it as you go by, but hanging out the window. I knew.

[00:08:18] Mike: Hey ways. Yeah, but I don’t. I, yeah, I, I drink copra. Just gonna fail all the time now.

[00:08:28] Kay: so, so, you’re obviously not from Thailand. but so you’re in where,

[00:08:37] Mike: Kansas City.

[00:08:38] Kay: so how do you get from Kansas City to ended up, uh, working with the ministry in Thailand?

[00:08:45] Mike: Uh, God.

[00:08:47] Kay: God happened? Yeah.

[00:08:50] Mike: Uh, you know, in a very powerful way. one of the, initial trips that we went on to Thailand, we were at a dinner party and then there was a young man there come to find out. He was, he leaves a huge relief agency and, um, we got to talking and I said, I want to learn more. I want to know more.

[00:09:12] He said, well, bring your team, buy it tomorrow. And so, we, we went, went to the service and I preached, and then, we left right after that and went over there. You got to know more about it. And just through that process, it was such a powerful, a few moments. We’re only there 45 minutes. I knew just by the overwhelming presence of the Holy spirit that.

[00:09:37] To me, that was a call to do something. And so I came back Mmm. That, that meeting occurred in, August of 2008. So in January of 2009, I went back. I spent a week in a refugee camp and also the second week I spent time visiting children’s homes where I learned that children live in bamboo huts with, Their floors and, and, they’re, some of the children’s homes range from very nice homes, similar to like what American standards would be down to the bamboo and dirt.

[00:10:17] And I just, I knew that’s something had to be done. We don’t. Say, we’re not going to be able to save every kid in Thailand. but we can do what God called us to do, and that’s what we’re trying to do, so,

[00:10:32] Kay: And what is it that you do? So, so I, you know, we’ve talked about the coffee and everything, but what is the work that you’re doing there with the kids and, and how are you helping?

[00:10:41] Mike: Okay. let me give you a little background on the, on the different homes that we work with. We work with three different homes. Two of them are called education homes. And what that means is, is that the kids live so sparse out in, in the areas of, rural areas, that they cannot get to, a school.

[00:11:04]so basically on Monday morning, they come, they’re dropped off at school. When they get done with school, they walk to the educational home. and basically, they are bamboo.

[00:11:16] Kay: So like dorms or something.

[00:11:18] Mike: Right. Basically, it’s like a dorm, you know, there there’s the girl’s dorm and the boys dorm. and it’s, the, the Korean, tribal people, they build, About six feet above ground. And so you can walk underneath them. and so, so the kids live there, they have hardwood floor, it’s unfinished hardwood floor.

[00:11:36] That’s just put together. so there are cracks in that, that you can see through the bamboo walls and ceiling, you can see through them. and that’s, that’s where they live when they go to school and then they go back home, Friday afterschool. So, so, um, basically what we try and do is help support them because they come from very poor families.

[00:11:59] They do have a mom and dad, a lot of the moms and dads are, have drinking problems and drug problems. Some of them work in the OPM fields that are addicted to opium, just from the handling of it. So we’re trying to raise the kids up out of that, that environment. And, and to do more with them. And so that’s one home has 22 kids and the other home like that has 85 kids.

[00:12:27] Um, however that the, the home with 85 kids, they do have some, orphans, I think there’s about 20 actual orphans I’m in that home. So it’s kind of a mix between orphanage type setting and, educational learning. the other home that we Help with is, it’s, it’s very nice. it is a well-built it’s made out out of, bricks.

[00:12:51] Nice covers. Very nice area, very safe area for the kids. And they all go to school. most of the kids are going to school. We’re trying to help put six kids through college.

[00:13:04] Kay: Great.

[00:13:05] Mike: and, and so, their tuition is like $2,000 a year. you know, of course it doesn’t come close to what the cost is here in America,

[00:13:16] Kay: yeah, yeah.

[00:13:17] Mike: but, but yeah, we’re trying to, trying to raise funds for them to make it through.

[00:13:22] college. we do have, We don’t pay a hundred percent of their, Tuition. We want them to have some skin in the game. So, so we do like 80, 80% of their tuition. Okay. And, and, um, we, we would, we haven’t done this yet, but we would be interested in entering into a contract with the kids paying a hundred percent of their tuition, but then they have to spend like four years, five years.

[00:13:51] Well, we’d have to figure that out some, but, but, you know, working with the kids and, volunteering, doing a lot of volunteer work.

[00:13:59] Kay: So they kind of pay it, pay it back just in experience and. Yeah. Yeah. And what I’ve just from my experience and some of the groups that we’ve worked with, are in different places around the world. There tends to be a desire to do that among the kids, as they, as they grow and, you know, not everybody, but, a lot of times they want to come do something within the ministry.

[00:14:25] Mike: Right.

[00:14:26] Kay: Boy, help us understand something a little bit about that area.

[00:14:30] Mike:

[00:14:30] Kay: Northern Thailand. So there’s the, you’ve got border there with, you’ve mentioned Burma.

[00:14:36] Mike: Right. Burma Lau. Yeah, Laos, we print Americans pronounce it, Laos it’s actually Lau. and then, that’s the golden triangle where all the, opium as a grown in that area. so. Drug running is, is huge. There are areas in the Northern Thailand, that I cannot go go into at any time of the day, I’d be arrested and put in jail.

[00:15:02] If I did, there’s areas that I can go into during the day, but I have to be out of it before dark. You know, cause it’s all, you know, um, when you’re traveling in vehicles, a lot of times they’ll stop. The stop points, where you, where they, you know, say, what are you doing, where you’ve been, do you have any drugs?

[00:15:21] and of course the answer is always no, because I don’t allow people to bring drugs around. so that’s kind of the Northern Thailand. That’s a little bit further North of where, we are in …and the homes that we support, we don’t have those problems. one of the homes we, when we go to visit, we stay overnight.

[00:15:41] they have a church; on their property and we usually sleep in the church on the hardwood floor. And it’s, there’s an elephant, a sanctuary, real close to that home and we go and visit that. We take the elephants for a walk and have some lunch and play with the elephants in the river.

[00:16:01] And, so

[00:16:03] Kay: That sounds like a nice day.

[00:16:05] Mike: yeah, it is it’s, it’s a, it’s kind of cool, especially for people who have never been around elephants or anything. it’s a lot of fun, so

[00:16:12] Kay: Yeah, that’s cool. I’ve had the opportunity to do that and it’s there, they are really neat animals.

[00:16:19] Mike: they are, they’re amazing.

[00:16:23] Kay: yes. Yes, they can. So you’ve got, you know, the, so with the drug trade being up there, you’ve got the drug trade. You got a lot of tourism. I know there’s a lot of trafficking that one of the things, unfortunately, the Thailand is, and the whole area is known for.

[00:16:42] Um, and then I’ve seen just enough of trafficking to know, especially when children are involved, that it is, I would say one of the most evil.

[00:16:52] Mike: I would agree.

[00:16:53] Kay: that I’ve ever encountered and it’s just a re a relentless evil, and there’s, it’s just, so oppressive and so much deception in it. And so much pressure.

[00:17:08] Mike: Yes. We, um, Mmm. We, there was a group of, four of us from one of our trips. We were walking around, and we walked through the red light district and, we started a conversation with one of them, prostitutes there come to find out she’s 18 years old. she, at that time she had a two-year-old baby and, her parents take care of the baby.

[00:17:34] Mmm. They basically told her that she had to go to change my and work in the red-light district. So she could send money home to her parents, or they were going to sell her baby.

[00:17:49] Kay: Wow.

[00:17:49] Mike: Yeah, it’s just, I have a really hard time processing that and, and, Yeah, I just, that infuriates me and is very sad and I just, Oh man.

[00:18:05] So yeah, it is pretty bad. It’s very open. it’s yeah, it’s not good.

[00:18:13] Kay: Right. Right. And you know, one of the things that, that drives it is that poverty and it’s that kind of, that, that oppressive poverty where there’s, there’s not a way out. And so, you know, by providing the education you guys are providing, I hope the hope, the word hope. You know, besides being in your name it’s for real, that’s the thing you’re actually extending.

[00:18:39] Mike: Great. Great. That’s all we try to do. we also, teach the kids about Jesus. we don’t, we don’t force it on them. Cause, I mean, you can’t really force things on somebody that don’t, that they don’t want, unless you are really mean about it. Yeah,

[00:19:00] Kay: wouldn’t really match up with Jesus. Would it?

[00:19:02] Mike: no, not at all. So, so in, in Thailand, 97% of the people are, a Buddhist. there is a very small percentage of, about 2% is Christian. And then, just a whole mix of other religions, in that. So, so it is, not very much of a mix, but, The, I’ve been in, temples, before we, we usually take people to the temples and let them see the temples. We, kind of, when you, when you go go to a lot of places, a lot of time, you sit on the floor.

[00:19:41] And, so, so when you go to the tumbles, most simple, as you said on the floor, and in Thai culture, if you put your feet, the bottoms out towards somebody that is considered, I’m a very unkind gesture. So,

[00:20:02] Kay: Wow. And you got to sit on. Okay.

[00:20:05] Mike: so yeah, you’re sitting on the floor and you can’t put your foot out like this. And we were in, we were in, Oh man, Bangkok. There you go. Bangkok. And we were at the, at the, Kings. I forget what, what they call it, the key, but it’s, but it’s a huge area. lots of beautiful plants, a very nice thing. The temple and the Jade Buddha have, have you ever seen pictures of the Jade Buddha?

[00:20:32] Kay: seen pictures of it. Yeah. And we were, we were next to that temple, but it didn’t go in our schedule. Didn’t give us time.

[00:20:40] Mike: So we, we went in and we were looking in and, and a few, a few of the pupil were, you know, when you sit down on the floor, you know, in America, you’re put your feet out and we don’t think anything of it, but people came over and said, don’t point your feet. And they were, I mean, they were polite about it. But they were serious about it.

[00:21:02] And so, so the girls that had their feet out, like, they’re like, Oh, sorry. And you know, what is it? You know, the, some of the, the difference, cultural things are always interesting. Like, one of the, when we go to Thailand, I always try and plan it to where we arrive in Chiang Mai, mid-morning and.

[00:21:23] And we go to the hotel. We get checked in, we leave her, drop her bags and I make everybody go with me to the mall. And, and some of the ideas that people had of going to the mall and Chiang Mai, were like some old beat up ugly strip center, but this was the mall we usually go to is like maybe three or four years old now, but it is five stories.

[00:21:52] And almost as each level is about the size of football fields. It is huge mall and. And so we, we spend the day there and so we go eat dinner. Cause I keep people up because if you don’t stay awake, you’re not going to get your time turned around and it’s a mess

[00:22:13] Kay: It is.

[00:22:14] Mike: all day asleep.

[00:22:16] Kay: Yeah, you gotta get that first night, right?

[00:22:19] Mike: Yes. Yeah. Yeah, it definitely is. So when we got to the mall, I just kept saying, we’re going to the mall, we’re going to the mall and we get there and the taxi stopped. So we get out there. They’re just looking up on, wow, this is not what I was expecting. So I love taking people over there because it is so much fun.

[00:22:42] And it’s so fun to watch him with the kids, that were support. And it just, it is awesome. So,

[00:22:50] Kay: It sounds like you enjoy kind of shaking up some of our preconceived notions about other places,

[00:22:57] Mike: Absolutely.

[00:22:58] Kay: which I love.

[00:23:00] Mike: absolutely. Yes.

[00:23:05 ]Kay: I want to loop back around. We talked a little bit about calling, we’ve got several episodes now, this podcast about calling, and what it is and how do you know? And, and I think what, you know, you’re a pastor, you’re a missionary. You, you lead other people in that.

[00:23:25] And then you had this. The strong call to, take this shift and work with the kids and, Thailand. Can you, what is calling and, or maybe share your story a little bit, but, but kind of address that whole idea of calling, you know, for us, help us unpack that.

[00:23:48] Mike: Mmm. I think, think calling is responding to the Holy spirit. And, and, and, and just a really quick. A few words. but actually, to unpack that, there’s a lot more to it than that. you know, Isaiah, he, he said, he thought, and take care of the orphans, take care of the widows. And James did the same thing.

[00:24:15] If you look at Jesus’ ministry, he helped take, take care of women and children

[00:24:21] Kay: Yeah, it does.

[00:24:22]Mike: Women and children are. Oftentimes way too many times, taking advantage of, and it’s, you know, 99% of the time, it’s a women, I’m sorry. It is men who take advantage of them and it is women and it is also smart, much smaller amount, but women take kids taking advantage of them too and trafficking and all that.

[00:24:48] But, calling they’re there. Well, for me, when I’m called to do something, there is an inner The presence of the Holy Spirit. Mmm. And, and it’s not like, you know, a cloud comes down and my do you know, go do this thing. But a lot of it is, is our heart and the whole Bible calls us to mission. Um, you know, it doesn’t say, say, Hey, you have to go over here and do this mission. Might go over here and do this one. That is, that’s not in the Bible. What is in the Bible is for us to go do mission work. And it is up to us and work on. We have to discern where God and the Holy spirit and Jesus want us to go do that.

[00:25:39] And, I had a person really push hard on that to me one time. Why aren’t you doing more in America? Well, because God sent me to Thailand and, and so, so it’s, it’s a lot of that is the relationship that you have Mmm. With God.

[00:26:01] Kay: When you were sharing earlier again, before we started that, you know, Thailand is not the only place you’ve been.

[00:26:07] Mike: Correct.

[00:26:07] Kay: And it’s not the only place where you’ve worked with children,

[00:26:10] Mike: Correct.

[00:26:11] Kay: but yeah, that’s where, you know, there was a pull there, there were, there was a poll that started.

[00:26:17] Mike: Right. When my first call out of, out of seminary, I was an associate pastor. So I did a lot of different things. Mission trips was a part of the part of it. And we went to Romania a couple of times. one of our church members. I forgot why they were in, in Bucharest. And, I can’t even remember the name of the town that, that ministry is actually based in, but it got to the point where, they talked about it so much.

[00:26:46] So I finally went with them on a trip. And that’s when I got, I guess, bent by the mission bug, you know, or international mission bug, I guess. and, we went there and worked with the kids. and a lot of what we did was, was, I met a lot of people, that from Romania that lived there, that I talked with and worked with.

[00:27:10] Worked with and played with the kids a lot. I made two trips like that. and then, after the second trip, I knew that I would pretty much always be in some kind of, international admissions and, and I just, I landed in Thailand and been there for, I don’t know if the last 12 years I’ve been to Thailand, probably getting close to 20, 22 times, something like that.

[00:27:34] I quit counting.

[00:27:35] Kay: Yeah. So it’s like, there’s like a more general call and then it gets more and more specific. It sounds like.

[00:27:42] Mike: Yeah, and to me, that was how the call aspect worked.

[00:27:48] Kay: Yeah. And that, like you’re saying that relationship with God and the Holy spirit, um, Oz Guinness, and his book, the call, he says, there is no calling without a color, you know? And so it’s simply a

[00:28:01] Mike: Very, very true.

[00:28:02] Kay: know, what we do is in response.

[00:28:07] Mike: definitely.

[00:28:07] Kay: That’s cool. Well, my thank you for joining us today. Is there anything else that you want people to know?

[00:28:15] How can they connect with you?

[00:28:17] Mike: Uh, they can visit our website, hope bridges that orange-y, that would probably be, the best place to start. we’re also on, let’s see, Twitter. Facebook and Instagram. we have little icons on, on the website that you can go look at. There’s tons of pictures, on Instagram and Facebook.

[00:28:39] So, so yeah, we probably try and put out two or three posts a week trying to remind people that our coffee is great. Get the coffee.

[00:28:49] Kay: Yeah. Yeah. And you can get the coffee from the hope as

[00:28:53] Mike: Yes, absolutely.

[00:28:54] Kay: All right. Do it.

[00:28:57] Mike: Yes. Thank you.

Building Empty Nest Empires with Tami Romani

Building Empty Nest Empires with Tami Romani

If you’ve got a message of any kind, you’ll need to find some level of comfort stepping in front of the camera or speaking into a microphone. Tami’s been helping entrepreneurs voice their brands, and now she’s helping a generation build Empty Nest Empires.

Tami goes beyond tips and techniques, right into the heart of why we do what we do.

Tami shared her experience starting her online groups, Building Empty Next Empires, and the Empire Builder Society, and a little about something else she’s got up her sleeve.

Key Takeaways

  • We’re all building empires, of finance, family, faith, fun, and fitness.
  • Small things can have big impact.
  • We can be intentional about building great memories.
  • Different seasons of life look different, and that’s okay!
  • Empty nester? You’ve still got a lot to give!
  • We have to be purposeful about building community.

Here’s an earlier interview with Tami, where we talked about ways to improve the sound of our voices, and the way our voice affects how others see us.

Tap the “+” below to open the transcript


[00:00:00] Kay: well, hello, Tammy is so good to have you back. How have you been and what you’ve been up to?

[00:00:07] Tami: Hi. Kay. It’s always good to hear your voice. What have I been up to my goodness? Last time I was on your podcast, we were talking about the voice and the importance of your voice, right? Yeah. So, I’ve been a long time voice actor. I still am, an audio book that I just recorded released today. So I still do different things like that.

[00:00:30]But yeah, God has led me into some new, really interesting areas. So I don’t know, but you want to dive into, I still do help people become a more confident speaker. I have a small little course online called a confident voice and, people can reach out to me if they’re interested in that. And, so I love doing that because I love seeing people.

[00:00:52] If they feel called to speak to a group or to speak on their social media. I love seeing them do that with some confidence.

[00:01:01] Kay: Yes. Yes. And that’s a good course to, I’ve been in it and, and, and you’re just, you know, you teach it. Amazing how much, you know, breathing does for you and just drink enough water. I mean, kind of if you get those two back, but then you have a lot of really cool tricks that you teach that can just help you be and confident it’s such a big change when you can be more confident when you speak that adds so much.

[00:01:28] Tami: Yeah, it makes your listeners notice. I mean, there are actually studies. I think we probably talked about this last time. There are studies out there that say you’re being judged by your voice almost immediately, unfortunately, and people will either turn off your message or they’ll lean in to listen.

[00:01:44] So that’s why the voice is really important. But God has led me into some new areas based on my stage of life.

[00:01:52] Kay: Yeah. Tell us about that. What, what are you doing now?

[00:01:55] Tami: Well, You know, it’s a funny thing. So I have been teaching, you know, doing my voiceover work and teaching and just feeling like there’s more for me. And one of the things that I’ve noticed is that I, when I came into social media, let’s say I joined Facebook, kicking and screaming.

[00:02:15] I only joined Facebook so I could see what my son was doing while he was studying abroad in London. Literally, that was my motivation. I had no idea about it, but here I am on this platform and I’m seeing people use it for business in really unique ways. And that captured my attention, and I started studying it.

[00:02:35] I just started studying it. And I think we’re talking eight years. Eight years of studying social media. I love it. I love the impact you can have. I love those people I’ve met, who have had a big impact who have then taught me. And it’s not about the numbers. It’s about you actually can develop relationships.

[00:02:55] And there are so many examples of. Relationships that have happened with DMs. People on, on Instagram. And so I don’t want to go into that, but because I’m an empty nester and I have this podcast called voicing your brand. And the funny thing is at about the same time, I also have an idea for a second podcast called emptiness to empires. And the idea of being that we build empires. Or a legacy if you will, that is left for generations. Whether we know it or not, now it can be a good legacy or it can be a bad legacy. And we build them in more areas than finances. We always see, you know, leave a financial legacy, build a financial empire. But what if we’re also building empires of faith that we leave behind for our family?

[00:03:51] What if we’re building empires of fun? Where they have these memories of just having fall down. Laughter with us. What if, what if we’re leaving, an empire of the fitness that our body is in; that how we took care of ourselves mattered? What if we leave an empire for our family? I mean, so I, so I came up with these five, five pillars, if you will, all starting with F, uniquely.

[00:04:18] And I thought, wow, Empire Builder. That’s really unique. Okay. Building Empty Nest Empires. Okay. Let’s test this out. So I started a free Facebook group called Building Empty Nest Empires. And in one weekend I had 200 women join.

[00:04:35] Kay: All right.

[00:04:36] Tami: just from finding they’re searching the word emptiness and I still every week yet.

[00:04:41] Several new people. I don’t advertise it. I don’t put it out there. Women in the empty nest years want connection. They want ideas. They want to know what’s next. So I did a live in there, you know, let’s, let’s explore what’s next for me. You know, I wrote some notes and it just kind of grew out of that, that I then created a membership.

[00:05:04] We’re called Empire Builders Society, which you have been a part of where we it’s a very small price. It’s less than a dollar a day. And we honestly, this is where you’ll get the resources. So the way to find out, I mean, I could talk for hours on this because here I am in my sixties now, and I hear women in their forties saying, Oh, it’s too late for me.

[00:05:29] I’m too old. I’m too old to try something new, too old to do through all, to learn something new tool, to do something new and I’m thinking, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. This is, this is your prime. This is better than all the years before.

[00:05:45] Kay: Yeah. I’ll echo down.

[00:05:48] Tami: you have life experience that people need to hear and learn from.

[00:05:55] So that’s where my heart is now. I’m. It’s still evolving. The funny thing was, is when I have mentioned before I started Empty Nest Empires. Now we’ve been on hiatus for a couple of months because life kind of turned upside down during the COVID-19. but I am bringing it back now, but when I started talking about it too, and various networking groups and business groups, I would say, Oh, I’ve got these two ideas for podcasts voicing your brand because I want to tell people it’s okay to be your voice of your own brand and then Empty Nest Empires.

[00:06:32] And people would have a physical reaction to that phrase, Empty Nest Empire. I had people go, Oh, you know, and, and, and like goosebumps on my arms right now. And I’m like, okay, God, definitely. You want me to go ahead with that?

[00:06:46] Kay: Yeah, that sounds good.

[00:06:48] Tami: I really felt like I, I had to do it. It makes sense. It’s not hard for me to have a podcast.

[00:06:53] Obviously I talk, I have a microphone; I have a space. And so it’s just, it’s still, and I feel like for the rest of my life, what I’m doing is going to be a work in progress. And I feel like those women who have said to me, I’m too old or what is my purpose now? You know, my kids are gone. What is my purpose now?

[00:07:18] Or now I’m a grandma. How can I help them? I feel like, what you’re doing now is going to be different than what you’re doing five years from now.

[00:07:28] Kay: Yeah.

[00:07:29] Tami: I love that we all are evolving. I mean, we need to pick one to focus on for sure. Make some money. And then maybe it morphs into something else, or maybe you find a group of people that, you know, you can really help. It’s an experiment. Life is an experiment.

[00:07:46] Kay: it is, you know, and I think it’s so easy, not so easy life isn’t easy, but that’s not what I’m saying, but it’s, it’s so much easier when. You can take that pressure off and say I’m choosing one thing, but it’s not necessarily the one thing, the only thing, you know, had, had, Ronnie rock on a couple episodes ago talking about her book and,

[00:08:14]That was the same message. It looked so different at different times of life, for people in different, different seasons, different places, different. And, and we, I think can really hurt ourselves if we think it’s only one thing. And it’s always just one thing,

[00:08:29] Tami: Yeah, for sure. We limit ourselves and God has no limits.

[00:08:34] Kay: right.

[00:08:35] Tami: He has no limits for his vision for your life. So I w you know, just open it up, open up yourself, and instead of telling yourself, I’m done, I’m over. Ask yourself. What’s next?

[00:08:50] Kay: Yeah.

[00:08:50] Tami: And just go on a journey of discovery and the way I tell people to start that is go back before you ever had kids, or if you never had kids go back to your college days, go back to what brought you joy back then.

[00:09:08] And I did that, and I wrote this big, long list and I thought, Oh, there’s two or three things on there that I could revisit. That could bring me joy again and might be something that someone else is interested in. If you’re interested in doing a business now, because I I’m that way I am a strategist. And so I’m always going to think in terms of how can you monetize this?

[00:09:35] Honestly, I, we had. We went to someone’s house. The other night, we had a very social distancing evening where we brought our own or d’oeuvres and we sat and watched the sunset from their backyard and they have a big long table in that one couple set on one end. And my husband and I sat on the other end.

[00:09:54]And he’s a computer programmer. And we were talking about how difficult it is to order groceries, especially at the beginning of COVID. I said, I put on Instacart and it took me seven days to get a date for delivery. And she just says, Oh yeah, well, my husband wrote a program, and we installed it in my computer and it just pings when a time comes up.

[00:10:16] So then I know whichever, you know, and it checks like three or four different apps. And my first thought was, and you didn’t monetize that and become a millionaire in the last two months.

[00:10:26] Kay: Seriously.

[00:10:28] Tami: Because I would have bought that app.

[00:10:30]Kay: uh huh.

[00:10:30] Tami: Right. I would have bought that app

[00:10:33] Kay: Oh yeah.

[00:10:33] Tami: So I’m always, I’m always strategizing my brain is just wired that way and I can see things in people that.

[00:10:43] And opportunities and possibilities for people that they don’t seem to see in themselves. And that’s just how God wired me. That’s what I base my membership group on, which is called Empire Builder’s Society is that we have a brainstorming session where people just go, well, here’s my idea. And then we all pour into that, like, okay, what if you tried this?

[00:11:03] What if you tried that maybe you could make some money at it doing this and that? And I see opportunity everywhere. So if anyone wants to book an hour with me and just, you know, we can do that too. I just, I just.

[00:11:14] Kay: yeah. Do it.

[00:11:16] Tami: I love strategy. So, I don’t want to waste that if, if I, if I can help 20 people, 30 people, 50 people, 500 people.

[00:11:25] Aye. That it brings me so much joy because it opens up doors for others. And I, I just really believe that we are called to be light in this world and we are called to teach others based on what we have learned, what God has taught us.

[00:11:45] Kay: Yeah, I think we discount sometimes the things that we know, because it doesn’t maybe look exactly like somebody else’s thing that they know, or it doesn’t look like what we think it should look like. And we, and we miss this thing that other people really think is amazing that they would pay for.

[00:12:07] Tami: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And you know, of course all this stuff is also available on the internet for free, but who has that kind of time?

[00:12:17] Kay: Right.

[00:12:18] Tami: So we don’t all have time to. Explore and search. I have purchased so many courses because I really, I just want it laid out for me. I am a researcher, but I can go down the rabbit hole with the best of them and waste hours and hours.

[00:12:33] Where if somebody has already done that and figured it out, yes, I will pay you for your time. Just tell me what you know,

[00:12:41] Kay: Exactly.

[00:12:42] Tami: whole idea behind I have something I can teach you. You’re going to pay me for it, but I’ve spent decades or hours, you know, months, years figuring this out. And so you don’t want to do that. You want to know what’s the endgame here. And that’s the whole concept behind even having a course online or teaching anything online, even doing one-on-one coaching online, obviously everything’s online now. So. Why not? Honestly, I would honestly just ask you, what are you good at? If you know how to make jewelry, create a jewelry making class, even if it’s make your own fun earrings, charged $10 for it, you do that right there.

[00:13:30] That could make you an extra hundreds of dollars a week. Something as simple as that. So we all have something. I really believe that we all have something, or when we open up again, you could teach it to a mops group, you know, teach the moms a little skill that gets them out of there. Oh my gosh, I have a toddler and that is my life now.

[00:13:54] Kay: Okay. Right. Okay. Yeah. And you just adjust it for whatever group that, you know, every group is going to have its own needs and its own kind of trends and things. And if you’re in that group, if that, if those are your people, you’re going to be in tune with that. And, and you just. Make the adjustments that you need to make.

[00:14:14] And I want to touch on, on the one, one of the things that you were saying there, you know, about, there’s always something that, you know, somebody else is willing to, to learn from that experience that you have. And also, I would say the thing that. Is uniquely you like sometimes, okay. There may be 20 other people teaching the same material, but you’re the one that’s going to connect with that person.

[00:14:40] And so there’s, there are people that are gonna be your people. You just have to find them.

[00:14:47] Tami: And that is often a roadblock that people have is they say, well, I know this thing and I could teach it, but there’s that guy doing it too. I had that. I went through that. I, I w especially when I’m a voice actor and friends started coming to me saying, Oh, you know, my, my, one of them was an author.

[00:15:08] My book agent says that I’ve got to start doing live on Facebook. And I hate my voice. How can I like my voice? And I could have said, Oh, there’s this guy in Hollywood named Roger Love. Yeah. You know, he’ll teach you he’s that guy. Or I could have said, I can do it because you, you like me, you know, me, maybe she doesn’t relate to him, the famous voice guy, you know, which he still is the famous voice guy, but he mostly deals with singers.

[00:15:41]but he also has a speaking course that, of course I’m sure is my direct competition, but is it really, we are so different.

[00:15:49] Kay: There you go.

[00:15:50] Tami: And the interesting thing is, I think you have to think in terms of abundance here; I had an experience where I was at a conference and. One of the first things that the host of the conference did was he got up, and he said, Oh my goodness, here’s a guy you’ve got to meet.

[00:16:08] He teaches you how to speak, basically what I do, how, how to speak with confidence. So if you want to go live and you’re not sure how to do it, connect with this guy and he named this name and the guy waved to San. Well, he was like two rows behind me. And so at the break, I went straight over to, over to him, stuck up my hand and said, hi, it’s so great to meet you.

[00:16:28] And he, at first he was really smiley and chatty and I said, I do exactly what you do. Isn’t that great? And I could see the wall just, he immediately shut down, immediately shut down, cut me off and walked away.

[00:16:42] Kay: Oh, wow.

[00:16:43] Tami: he was, a guy with a Swedish accent. So he’s from Sweden. And then I said, and I’m half Swedish.

[00:16:51] I told I went the whole distance. Hey, I’m half Swedish. That’s so great. I just looked at your website. That’s amazing that you’re doing that. I help people with the same thing and he just went, boom, you know, completely his whole countenance changed. And I thought. Wow. If that is not a lesson in scarcity right there, no one that I deal with would ever be attracted to him, to work with him.

[00:17:19] Kay: Yeah,

[00:17:20] Tami: And we’re totally different personalities. I’m not ever going to be. And, and people who work with him, aren’t going to like me. I’ve never.

[00:17:28] Kay: that’s how it is.

[00:17:29] Tami: this guy. Never going to take business from this guy. So what an odd thing to happen, but I’m glad it did because it really illustrated to me. It’s okay to be doing the same thing, someone else’s, and it’s okay if people don’t like you.

[00:17:46] Kay: Yeah, that’s so true. And there’s always going to be, you know, somebody, but, you know, we, we learned that in kindergarten.

[00:17:54] Tami: yeah. Yeah.

[00:17:55] Kay: we can,

[00:17:56] Tami: Did we though? I don’t think we did.

[00:17:58] Kay: yeah, I know

[00:17:59] Tami: think it stuck.

[00:18:00] Kay: even still staying that’s for sure. You know, and, and they can, they can, there’s some real kind of cruelty edges, you know, to some of that too, but, but, you know, there’s always going to, you’ve got something to offer.

[00:18:15] Tami: And everyone does. Everyone does not. Everyone wants to offer it, not everyone. And like I said, not everyone has to have an online business. Not everyone has to create courses to sell. Not everyone has to do on one-to-one coaching or group coaching online, but maybe it’s something you do. Mm. Maybe you can lead a small group of women at your church.

[00:18:40] Kay: Right.

[00:18:41] Tami: Maybe, maybe you are a leader in that way where you can share your story and help someone in that way. And that’s just as valuable. Yeah. It’s just as valuable.

[00:18:57] Kay: Yeah. Influence. We all influence somebody or a group of somebody that’s really what leadership is.

[00:19:06] Tami: Yeah. Yeah. So when you were, you can tell me now, what, why did you change your podcast to life and mission?

[00:19:14] Kay: Well, I changed it; you know? Yeah. It was the Your Voice Podcast, which of course we really connected over that title. But I never really liked that name and it was confusing. There was another podcast that actually wasn’t producing episodes that had a very similar name. There were a couple of other kind of groups that had a very different message and it was just.

[00:19:41] Okay. I thought confusing. It was hard to find people weren’t necessarily searching for it kind of thing. And it was awkward to say it doesn’t really kind of flow. And I was driving around and I had said, because it went on hiatus and I said, I’m not bringing it back until I have a better name.

[00:20:01] Tami: Okay.

[00:20:02]Kay: and it’s still, I use the same tagline.

[00:20:04] Find your voice, tell your story, change the world. It’s the same idea. But I said, what, what is that? And, and I was just playing with words one day while I was driving around and I just came up with life and mission and I thought this, they sound really good. Together. And it’s really what I’m about because it’s not just your work.

[00:20:23] It’s not just your ministry or your organization or the thing you do, the vocation itself. It’s the calling, which permeates your whole life. Every aspect of your life. We can talk about anything on this podcast, but,

[00:20:37] Tami: I love it.

[00:20:38] Kay: you know, that’s it,

[00:20:40] Tami: Yeah. And, and what a perfect example, what a perfect, yeah. And the name was available. Perfect example. You are okay. It’s okay to change. It’s okay. To grow and morph and add to its. Okay. Like if you’re, if you’re like me, I’m 61 and what, how, I don’t know how that happened,

[00:21:04] Kay: I’m I’m close.

[00:21:05] Tami: yeah. And, And here I am.

[00:21:08] I’ve been a voice actor for decades. I mean, like over 40 years and here I am being called into this new space. I’m a, I’m a pastor’s daughter. My mother was the preacher. I was never called to ministry, but here I am with this new mission that I’m so excited about, and that is, you know, to help, to help people with build their empires by my podcast, Empty Nest Empires, all the things that we leave behind, I really was inspired by my mom. And then also, you know, you said I’m doing so many things. I do know that you need to focus on one thing. So I have started an Instagram account and I have not launched anything, but God gave me another idea. And that is that grandmas need to.

[00:22:00] Pour into their grandkids or overflow from themselves into their grandkids to leave that legacy of faith of fun of all the things. But I felt like, my mother did that so well. And now my kids are adults in their late twenties and thirties, and I still see the impact she had. And so I want to be that now during COVID I’ve got my grandkids living here, so I bought a five-year-old and an 18-month-old.

[00:22:31] And I think about my mom and how good she was at pouring into them, into my own kids. Yeah. And I, and her faith was so strong. My daughter just recently wrote a book called, God you’ve never met who is the Holy spirit and. She basically went through a lot of my mother’s notes and says, you know, and dedicated it to her grandma

[00:23:00] Kay: Oh,

[00:23:01] Tami: who was such a giant in the faith.

[00:23:03] And I think. I want to leave that kind of, of a faith empire for my grandkids. I want to be so filled with face. So what does that take? I saw my mom constantly studying the word, calm in prayer, praying for everyone. And I just felt this calling almost a new calling that grandma’s need to be built up in their faith.

[00:23:29] So that they can overflow to their grandchildren. And so I don’t know what will come of it. I’m calling it faithfully Grande. And that is the name of the Instagram. It has one post, and that’s all, but you can go to faithfully and get on my email list for updates. I don’t know what that’s going to look like.

[00:23:52] I don’t know if it’s going to be a monthly Bible study. I think so. I think it will be, a private group where we can do monthly Bible study. And maybe even if we get enough, people create some small groups in there. I just have this. Paul inside of me to suddenly go into ministry for grandmas. Isn’t that the thing, and to just, To just show them the legacy that they can leave? And, you know, it kind of correlates with my Empty Nest Empires and, and like I said, it’s just been so evident to me. my, my parents died over 10 years ago and to see their impact still. 10 years later. And then when I think back on my kids were in college when they passed away.

[00:24:39] And I remember having that yard sale,

[00:24:43] Kay: Yeah.

[00:24:44] Tami: you know, that you take what you want, and then you’ve got mugs and for 50 cents each, and, you know, just the crazy little things. And I had all the kids look at everything that was left in the house and they each just chose one thing. And my daughter chose a little, a replica is made of cast iron, a replica of an antique stove.

[00:25:09] So, you know, you can picture it’s cast iron. It’s very old fashioned like settler 18 hundreds. And her comment was, I said, Oh, why’d you pick that? And she said, Oh, grandma. And I used to make food out of play dough and pretend we’re cooking it on this little stove.

[00:25:26] Kay: Well fun.

[00:25:28] Tami: And I said, Oh my goodness, I would not have known that.

[00:25:31] Or if I saw it, it was, you know, Hey, great. Mom’s playing with Nikki so I can do other things. And then my son picked these cute little. Dessert bowls that I think were milk glass. So very antique little dessert bowls. And there, I think there was four of them left. They’d been broken, and he grabbed those.

[00:25:51] And I was like, Oh wow. I would not have guessed that. That’s what you want. And his comment was, Oh yeah, grandma used to give me ice cream in these bowls.


[00:26:00]Tami: I never knew that.

[00:26:01] Kay: they had these great memories.

[00:26:03] Tami: They had those memories, and she was so intentional with them and I thought, wow. Oh, That’s a beautiful thing. So learning to be intentional with the grandkids is what I am teaching myself based on my memories of my mother.

[00:26:19] She was so good at it and she inspires me and I want to pour that into grandma’s too and give them ideas. And like I said, my grandson’s with me, he’s five the other night. He said he wanted to drink from a fancy cup. And so I just took him over to my China cabinet and let him pick whatever he wanted. I don’t care if it breaks, you know, how I’ve got like 50 pieces of stemware in there at least that we never use, but what fun it was for him to eat his old chicken nuggets and drink his water.

[00:26:52] And he, and he was like, and I’m going to hold it like this then, you know, and he was, it was just so cute. And I thought, this is it. This is it.

[00:27:02] Kay: Oh, man, those smiles. Yeah. Those moments.

[00:27:07] Tami: Yeah. And none of those, Oh, you can’t use that. It might get broken. None of that. I mean, really, if it chips or breaks, my heart is not going to be broken.

[00:27:16] There’s another one in there. And I, and I just think placing so much value on their little lives, over our things.

[00:27:27] Kay: Yes.

[00:27:30] Tami: You know, that that creates a legacy. And then also just being the faith giant, that you’re the one that they come to for prayer. And you’re the one that they come to for grandma. What do you think the Bible says about this? Or, I’m really struggling with that?

[00:27:45] Would you pray with me? I think that’s what grandma’s need. And so I don’t know where that’s going. It’s way in the infancy stages. I’m hoping to get some help with it. But I I’ve just created the Instagram for now and a And we’ll see, I don’t talk about it much yet because I really, like I said, I don’t have a direction, but God gives you an idea. You write it down and you ask him for more what’s the next step?

[00:28:16] Kay: Yeah, step at a time and that’s what you’ve done. You start to lay the groundwork. It can take shape as you move. Sometimes it won’t take shape until you’re taking those steps.

[00:28:27] Tami: Yeah. And that’s honestly why I created the Empire Builders Society, because I want people to have a roadmap to see what are the steps I take. Wow. I’ve got this idea now, what do I do?

[00:28:41] Kay: Yeah, and I love it. I, and I would tell people if you’re interested in either one of these to connect with Tammy, because even as she’s, I mean, when she’s learning something entirely new, she’s going to bring you along for the ride and it’s fun, right. She’s really cool person to be around. And, and, you know, but you learn and you share what, you know, And you grow and then everybody gets figure out.

[00:29:11] Tami: Yeah,

[00:29:12] Kay: Yeah. And she’s already smart about a lot of things, so it’s not like you’re starting from square one, so she’s still going to be ahead, you know, a good deal. So it’s really, I love, I love what you’re doing.

[00:29:25] Tami: Great. Yeah. It’s very fun for me and I love seeing results.

[00:29:30] Kay: Yeah.

[00:29:30] Tami: I love seeing results. I love having people, just see and be encouraged by, Oh wow. You know, I, I made a sale today, or I got 30 people on my email list or, you know, anything like that, it just lights me on fire.

[00:29:46] Kay: Yeah, and we need, we need each other to celebrate each other too. And it’s like, you were talking about that scarcity mindset versus more of a generous kind of thing. It’s a, it’s a community where we can be generous to one another. We may be using these tools in different ways. We can encourage each other and, and, share you need people cheering you on.

[00:30:07] Tami: Yeah. Oh, you do. We do. And especially now we’re, we’re also isolated, you know, I talked about just meeting up with those friends and sitting across a very long table with them. I left there going, that was so refreshing. Just to have in person conversation and air hugging across the yard. I mean, we did, we didn’t get close at all because they are, they’re very much quarantined.

[00:30:33] They haven’t even been to stores yet or anything because they have an app to tell them when, to order food. But, you know, but they are doing this, which I thought was so wonderful. And we do need the connection. We do need connection.

[00:30:50] Kay: Yeah, we do. And the other thing about these, these groups, you know, on online, these communities, whether it’s a mastermind or, or, a Facebook group or a membership. When do you, cause the encouragement you don’t always get that from the people that are around you, like your friends and family that have known you for years.

[00:31:11] And they all, a lot of times they know you as such and such, who does such so-and-so so-and-so, who does such-and-such. And that’s the box that you’re in and, and you might be forever in the, in that box, you.

[00:31:27] Tami: Oh, no one, no one in my family understands me. No one,

[00:31:32] Kay: And I think that’s really common with. Yeah. Yeah. I asked, I asked on my personal Facebook feed for people to tell me, you know, what, if I were to teach a class, what would you want me to teach? And I was really surprised at some of the.

[00:31:50] Tami: What did they say?

[00:31:51] Kay: of the answers because, there were a couple that wanted me to teach video production and, and I did that years ago, I used to have a video production business, but it’s been 20 years.

[00:32:03] Tami: It’s a little different now.

[00:32:05] Kay: And like the whole thing has changed. Like all the technology’s changed, everything’s changed. And, yeah, you know, it’s just kind of, you know, people, again, people that have known me for years, but they haven’t really seen the change that they remember the part when maybe when we were closer. It’s just, and we’re all like that.

[00:32:25] We do that to the people we know as well. It’s, it’s just, we’re in different parts of our lives kind of run in different Orbitz. Yes.

[00:32:35] Tami: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, a lot of my friends are like, why are you doing all this? And I, I mean, I need a Plan B for retirement, I suppose, but also I can’t not do it.

[00:32:49] Kay: Yeah. Oh, that’s, that’s great. When you’re doing the thing you can’t not do.

[00:32:53] Tami: Yeah, I can’t, I, I just, it would make me crazy to see so many people who need help and not be able to help them.

[00:33:03] Kay: Yeah. Yeah, that’s cool.

[00:33:05] Tami: So,

[00:33:06] Kay: Alright, well, we will have all the links to connect with Tammy and all these great things that she’s doing online. And I will also have the link to our earlier interview back on the old podcasts,

[00:33:21]Tami: huh.

[00:33:21] Kay: great, we had talked about voice and how to speak confidently and breathe properly.

[00:33:27] And if you’ve listened to that, other to the earlier interview with Tammy, you will. Already at the end of that 40 minutes, you will already be a better speaker. You gave us some really useful tips, so good stuff. Thank you so much, friend, for being on the show.

[00:33:44] Tami: Oh, you’re welcome. Kay. It’s my pleasure.