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Hi and welcome back to “A Woman’s Heart” podcast show, on the TRUE Conversations Network, I’m your host Edna Howard, Founder of Voices of Encouragement, an organization designed to empower women.
You can learn more about True conversations network at: www.true-conversations.com and more about Voices of Encouragement at: www.voicesofencouragment.com.
I’m so excited you decided you to join me for another empowering message. Think of me as your Chief Encouragement Officer, as I guide your through this episode of “Leap Afraid”. Have you in the past or are currently struggling with taking that “leap of faith”? Like leaving an unfulling job to pursue what you really love or starting a new business venture for for example. Well that’s exactly what I’m going to help you with on this week’s show, where you’ll receive biblical and practical advice to propel you forward to say “YES!” to fulfilling your purpose with passion!
I’m a woman of faith so I’ll start from the Faith perspective; delving into God’s Word for encouragement and wisdom. I look to scripture for guidance in how to increase my faith, to make it bigger than my fears and strengthen my confidence.
Scripture tells us in Isaiah 40:31 (NIV) “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.”
We should always remember that God’s power and strength will never diminish. He is never too tired or too busy to help and listen to us. His power is our source of confidence. So, when you experience soul-crushing anxiety, and you can’t take another step, and your plans aren’t working out - just remember this… you can call on God and He will renew your strength and give you fresh faith.
Are you ready to “Leap Afraid”? Are you ready to know more? Are you ready to pursue living out your purpose and passion? Let’s get started!
I have just a couple of questions to ask you first. If you can, put me on pause and grab a piece of paper and a pen; you may want to write these down for further reflection.
1. What would it mean to you, to be able to accomplish your God-given purpose and passion? Picture yourself living that vision. What would it feel like?
2. Do you let what people think about you, prevent you, from living out your purpose and passion?
3. What are you afraid of?
4. What is really holding you back?
These thought-provoking questions are designed to get you thinking about what it will take to get you going in the right direction to “LEAP AFRAID”.
Said differently, no matter how scared you are and worried about what people are going to say about you - you should “do it anyway”. Leap anyway and gather your courage on the way down. I promise you God will give you either a firm foundation to stand on or wings to soar like an eagle. So, ask yourself, what do I have to lose?
On a personal note, standing up Voices of Encouragement was scary because I kept asking myself the “What Ifs” questions – you know those questions we run over and over in our heads about all the things that could prevent us from moving forward: “What if not enough women register to cover the cost for the first empowerment workshop?” or “What if someone says something negative about what VOE is trying to accomplish?” and on and on. But guess what? I did it anyway – “I leaped afraid”. Now, I’m not saying that I have conquered all the “what ifs”, but I can say that I just keep doing it anyway and God keeps blessing VOE every step of the way.
I earnestly believe that God will keep blessing VOE if I keep seeking His wisdom on what Speakers should present at future events, and who should serve as the Mistress of Ceremonies – all this is a vision God placed in my heart and as nervous as I was I “leaped afraid”. I operate out of complete surrender to God knowing that He will guide my footsteps all along the way, and that is enough.
Ok so now that you heard a little bit of my personal testimony about “Leaping Afraid” let me share with you the four themes we will explore on this PODCAST:
· Pursuing your Purpose and Passion
· What’s holding you back?
· Why not you?
· The next steps
Mark Twain said, “The secret to getting ahead is getting started”.
So, let’s get started!
But before I do let me share my personal affirmation with you – saying it out loud to myself every morning gets me excited and keeps moving forward with my personal goal of growing Voices of Encouragement to empower all women.
I’m a powerful purpose driven woman on a mission
In 2017 I assumed this position
Thanking God for my direction and clarity, cause he’s my creator He chose this career for me
So just sit back, step back, and watch me flow, cause VOE, we are on the grow
We keep showing, suiting, stepping up to the plate
Believe extreme success if our only fate
And as break pass this invisible wall of fear
Let me keep real and be very clear
If you think you know you have no idea
Know idea is what you have
Cause I’m supercharged I’m highly powered
I’m bad to the bone the name is Edna E. Howard
PURSUING YOUR PURPOSE/PASSION
To pursue your purpose and passion you will need to get laser-focused on what it is God is calling you to do. You’re probably thinking, “well Edna, I don’t know because I’m good at so many things”. This is a wonderful problem to have, however, to become great at one thing doors you never knew existed will open to you.
I encourage you to conduct this exercise at your convenience in the near future. Go to a quiet place with absolutely no distractions. Now, think about what you know you are good at, and how amazing you feel when you are doing it. You know your superpower, don’t be shy “OWN IT”– for me, its my spiritual gift of encouragement – which I use every day, starting with my family (especially my daughters), my church family, girlfriends, colleagues/clients at work, and the work I accomplish with Voice of Encouragement.
Many people will never live out their purpose and passion because they are so concerned about what other people will think or say. They end up stuck in that “people pleasing trap” which unfortunately prevents them from operating in thier true excellence; downplaying theiry gifts and talents because they’re afraid they might offend someone.
If you truly want to live out your purpose and passion you will need to be confident in your skills and compentencies and get comfortable with being uncomfortable, venture boldy outside your comfort zone on a consistent basis. Inevitable, you will experience amazing results and outcomes.
Let’s remember what scripture says in Matthew 5:16: “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
To pursue your purpose and passion you will need to have your own “Board of Directors” made up of three types of people:
1. Inspired – these are the people who you aspire to be more like (they will become the wind beneath your wings to help you soar)
2. Excited – these are the people that empower you with their words of encouragement and push you to keep going
3. Grateful – these are the people who remind you of your blessing and how far you have come
OK, think about who you have in your life that fall into these categories, and if you don’t, it’s your responsibility to work on getting these types of people in your life. These people become a lifeline on the days you need to hear a word of encouragement (you can pick the phone or send a text and they will give you that encouraging word you need to keep going). Remember, these people complement your vision because it is up to YOU to move on your purpose and passion.
God does His greatest work through people with grateful and trusting hearts. So rather than just planning and evaluating, practice trusting and thanking Him continually and “Leap to Action”!. This paradigm shift can revolutionize your life and help you “Leap Afraid”.
WHAT’S HOLDING YOU BACK
I want to share with you a phrase I picked up from one of my favorite motivational speakers Les Brown:
“Someone else’s opinion of you doesn’t have to become your reality”
Said differently “what other people think about you is none of your business”
Or, my personal favorite that I like to say to myself:
“Never let anyone tell you what you can’t do especially if they haven’t done it.”
Unfortunately, we live in a world where we are told more about our limitations than our potential. After years of hearing and believing “you can’t”, we can end up being sucked into these little black holes of absuridity, merely existing instead of truly living. Is that you? No worries… keep listening – because I have additional insights for your consideration.
The world is designed to take the wind from beneath your wings, but you have to be vigilant and stay fully woke (not in a fog). I encourage you to stay alert so you can run with endurance and not hold back on your God-given purpose and passion.
Sometimes, we unconsciously are Edging God Out (which also just happens to spell EGO). When we do this, we are holding ourselves back because we get caught up in “perfection” before we take a chance to make a change in our lives. NEWSFLASH - there is no perfect time to begin walking into your God-given purpose and destiny. You just have to “Leap Afraid”!
Take time to take a personal inventory of your gifts and talents and improve upon your strengths and manage your weaknesses. Become the best at doing the one thing you know that sets you apart from the crowd.
Ask yourself –
Is there an area in my life I am allowing to challenge me to get better?
Is there an area of my life that brings me fear? If so, tell yourself to “Do the thing that you fear the most and the death of fear is certain”.
You will be empowered to move forward when you:
· Take a risk and gain insight
· Take responsibility and achieve freedom
· Take initiative and create opportunity
· Take your own counsel and discover the wisdom
I encourage you to “Leap Afraid”!
WHY NOT YOU?
I want you to ask yourself a question.
Are you interested or are you committed?
If you’re interested that’s great but being committed to pursuing your purpose and passion means that you are willing to do it no matter what. Yes, that means you are willing to “Leap Afraid”!
Many times, when we are working toward doing something we feel is our purpose/passion we don’t always see how far we have come and how many lives we have or can impact because we had the courage to just show up.
Said differently, “you can’t always see the picture when you’re in the frame”.
I ask you “Who is writing your story?”
Is it your friends and family or boss or significant other?
Harley Davidson said, “When writing the story of your life don’t let anyone else hold the pen.”
So be Bold!! As a matter of fact, start caring around an extra pair of sunshades so when your light shines super bright you can hand that extra pair of shades to the people around you so they won’t get blinded by your light.
Seriously I encourage you not to dim down your light – remember that everything you do sets you up for your next best season. “Leap Afraid”
An original quote I tell myself, “Don’t get distracted by the sideshows in life keep your focus on the main event.”
What are the sideshows? They are distractions such as:
· What other people think about us
· Comparing ourselves to other people (women seem to this a lot)
· Competing against other people (we should find our best and outdo our own best and compete against ourselves)
· Wanting what other people have (you don’t know what that person had to go through to get where they are)
To move forward into your next steps ask yourself these 3 questions:
1. Where have I been?
2. Why am I here?
3. Where am I going?
I encourage you this day to take action and move forward.
Another one of my favorite motivational speakers is Lisa Nichols says we should “Give notice and not ask for permission” I interpret this to mean that we should not ask for permission to walk in our God-given destiny we should listen to God’s direction and move forward to “Leap Afraid” and we can gather our courage on the way down.
Question from the listening audience:
A week ago, I sent out an email blast asking VOE listeners to send me questions they’d like me to try to answer.
Thank you Schinnell Leak, Founder of Extra-Ordinary Birthdays, for submitting the following question:
How can a woman live her life with a greater degree of intention?
Schinnell, that is such a great question. Now let me see if I can give you a definitive answer.
I think a woman can live her life with a greater degree of intention by doing the following three things:
· Let GO!
· Look Forward
· Lean In
How often do we hold on to comfortable routines that negatively impact our life? (autopilot) One critical step to re-directing our lives is to let go of needless worries, distractions or occupations that pull us towards mindlessly existing (being on autopilot) in life instead of intentionally living life. Letting go is incredibly difficult. It means uprooting what we know for what we don’t know (Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable). That is a scary trade, which is why many stay safe in routines instead of exploring new options. However, by letting go we give room for the opportunity to become more fully ourselves. Deciding to get off autopilot will ultimately leave you with the freedom to craft an intentional life.
Keeping our mind and energy focused on our goals is a critical component of living with intention. Even if we are not in an ideal place or job, looking forward and having faith in what lies ahead is invaluable. Aristotle said that “It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light”. Looking forward means solidifying an inward intention for our lives—a sense that even in small actions and choices, we are moving towards our goal. Only a goal that excites the core of who you are and moves you into action is big enough to make you
Leaning on the Grace of God and grounding ourselves in prayer will help us lean into any situation we have going on in our lives. Being vulnerable to God with our struggles and most authentic desires allows us to release them and entrust them to another. “Throw your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you.” – Psalm 55:22. To ‘sustain’ means to support and provide peace. Often living with intention and deep purpose is trying and deeply exhausting. It requires the best of ourselves and all our faculties. Prayer rejuvenates and replenishes our hope and revitalizes our dreams, while also keeping us grounded and authentic. Spending time in prayer each day gives us a structure in which we can set the intention of our day and week, a way to intentionally begin each day in Grace.
We only have one life… what we do to cultivate and mold it will shape our future. Living with intention is a daily choice and effort that often produces an abundance of peace, joy, and gratification.
Thanks so much for listening in.
For more information email me at Voemetoday@gmail.com.
Have a triple P Week: Powerful, Positive, and Productive
Until we meet again remember Ephesians 4:1 “Walk worthy of the calling with which you were called”