women who lead

Mission Driven Monday--Chantal Sheehan

Meet Chantal Sheehan!

I’ve never met an accountant I didn’t like. There’s a special place in this world for people who choose to do math. And Chantal is a special kind of accountant. She doesn’t just calculate the value of numbers, she provides value to her clients by simply being helpful. I am grateful for the wisdom she’s shared with me, and I think you’ll fall in love too.

Self proclaimed numbers nerd Chantal Sheehan is the founder of Blue Fox Accounting. If you thought accounting was boring, then you haven't met Blue Fox. Chantal believes the key to a successful business is knowing where you've come from, where you are, and where you're headed. That's what we believe here at Mission Driven Woman, too! The past, present, and future shape the stories of our lives. Can meaning and purpose be QUANTIFIED? Watch and find out! And follow your mission, not the madness.

And if you are a nonprofit or a social entrepreneur, let me be the first to recommend Chantal Sheehan for all your accounting needs! (Yes, I know that was a shameless plug)

Important Links from this episode:

Blue Fox Accounting: Take a moment and check out their incredible website and helpful blog. You’ll find all your most pressing money questions answered here.

I just love their manifesto!

The Blue Fox Manifesto

This is what makes us tick and keeps us on track.

We believe in having fun every day.
We believe that life is short and work done well makes a workday worth living.
We believe in solving problems.
We believe that there is no substitute for authenticity.
We believe in making the world a better place.
We believe that egos get in the way of progress, so we try to check ours at the door.
We believe in servant leadership above all other forms.

We believe in giving back - always.

We believe that our clients deserve to be served with dignity, respect, and heart.
We believe that our clients are doing critical work effecting our planet and our communities.
We believe that the world is best served when our clients focus on change making and we focus on counting the change.
We believe that our impact in the world can be magnified by our clients' success.
We believe in a service model of true partnership and collaboration.

We believe in outfoxing the competition.
We believe in intrapreneurship, innovation, and iteration.
We believe that a warm, kind human + the latest tech = an accounting superhero.

We believe that we can help create an accounting and finance industry that actually makes a difference.

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Mission Driven Monday--Julie McKevitt

Meet Julie McKevitt!

Have you ever wondered if your heart was big enough to welcome a child into the world? What about a second one? Have you ever wondered if you could make space for a new opportunity when the one that’s right in front of you is practically perfect in every way? Have you ever wondered if you have the courage to forge a new way?

Artist. Entrepreneur. Mother. And social activist.

Julie McKevitt paints the world with kindness and invites others to do the same. In this episode, we talk about staying grounded even while dreaming big and how sometimes the hardest won battles are those between husband and wife. This is a story about BECOMING. Join us and follow your mission, not the madness.

Important Links from this Episode:

Paint Love: Extraordinary arts programming for youth facing poverty and trauma

Julie’s Instagram: Follow the Kindness Day journey

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Choices and Consequences: Is Unpaid Work Holding You Back?

Dream Jobs

I write a lot about finding your purpose and figuring out the work you’re meant to do.

I blame it on my childhood.

We’re asked at a very young age what we want to be when we grow up. We usually reply based on what we’ve seen, either in our neighborhoods or on TV. There’s probably a disproportionate number of people out there who wanted to be things like teachers, doctors, and policeman.

When my son was in kindergarten, he wanted to be a garbage man (his words, not mine).

At the time, we thought it was funny and cute.

Hanging off the back of a truck, wind whipping through your hair…what could be better?

He’s 15 now, and his new dream job is one he calls “fragrance mogul.” I don’t think he’s seen many of those around, but he likes girls, and I guess he’s started caring about whether or not he smells good when he is around them.

There’s a bunch of kids going off to college, and they are stressed to the max. Everyone is asking them where they are going to school and what’s their major. Students like my daughter, with ambiguous majors like Leadership Integrated Studies, get asked a follow-up question, which is typically a variation of “What do think you want to do with that someday?”

How could she possibly know the answer to that question?

Our first jobs rarely determine our final destination.

Case in point: I used to work in a hardware store, and my first job out of college was as a trainer in a gym.

Don’t get me wrong. Work is necessary. Work is good. My daughter’s been working since she was sixteen. All the jobs we have in life prepare us for the work we’re meant to do.

Humans were created to work. But there are so many different kinds of work and ways in which we can work and possibilities for the future that I would never want to lock my 19 year old daughter into just one way of thinking. She’s young and smart. I’ve never told her to choose a major based solely on the fact that she needs something concrete, something “she can fall back on.” I have faith that she can figure out work because she’s figured out so many other parts of her life.

And she’s got time.

So many of the jobs that sound interesting to me now did not even exist when I was her age. I never could have imagined the work I’m doing now. But (and this is the big thing), I knew what kind of life I wanted, and therefore everything I was learning would not be wasted, no matter what the future held.

Choices and Consequences

But the point is that we often don’t think about the consequences of our choices.

Twenty years ago I made a choice.

I made a choice to leave full time paid work in order to stay home and do full time UNPAID work. It was a choice I made, and the consequences were many. I have no regrets because this unpaid work has been fulfilling in other ways

If my son had thought through the consequences of being a sanitation worker, a valiant occupation to be sure, and something we can’t do without ( Does anyone remember New York’s great garbage strike of 1968?), he may have chosen a different path—even as a kindergartener. However, he didn’t think about the fact that it’s pretty stinky riding behind the garbage all day, that HE would be pretty stinky, too, by the end of it, and that lifting garbage bags hour after hour is some kind of back-breaking labor. In hot weather, on cold days, and even when it’s raining, sanitation workers are on duty.

The garbage never stops.

But just because we get older doesn’t mean we think about the consequences of our work. Maybe you have found yourself on the business end of a poorly executed choice. For example, I once thought it would be fun to run a company, which would probably mean time away from family, travel, late nights, stressful working conditions, and possibly even more education.

Is that what I really wanted?

We make the choices we can live with.

And all choices are not created equal.

As I’ve watched my children get older and my friends, stay-at-home moms mostly, go back into the workforce, I’ve noticed that even now we forget what our choices mean.

We want so-called REAL work because it means that the years we spent at home raising our children, volunteering at school, and keeping house were not wasted. We can add value. And if we can, we should…Right? And let’s be honest—kids don’t get less expensive as they get older. We trade diapers and preschool for drivers ed and tutoring. They need and want more than we can possibly give them.

Going back to work is the next logical step.

So we go back to work and discover that we are still needed at home, that children still get sick, that teachers still have conferences, that the laundry and cooking do not cease simply because we are not there to do it. We can enlist the help of our spouse and kids, but everyone is busy. So, so busy.

And we realize that what we really want is not necessarily more money, but more time. The kids are getting older. They will leave us soon. We only have four more summer vacations. Three. Two. One. And then suddenly they are off to college. And family vacations are a thing of the past. At least the way they used to be.

Where did the time go?

Real Work

I want you to know that the work you’re doing now IS real work. It’s important, and it matters. In a LinkedIn article I was reading just last week, 91% of employers say that soft skills are more important than hard skills when looking to hire a new employee. These skills are becoming increasingly important, not just in the workplace but everywhere. Those are certainly the skills I can practice, teach my kids, and cultivate in a variety of non-traditional unpaid ways.

Just because I was (and still am) what some would call a stay-at-home mother, I don’t necessarily do a lot of staying home.

According to the LinkedIn report, these are the soft skills companies need, but have a hard time finding:

1)    Creativity
2)    Persuasion
3)    Collaboration
4)    Adaptability
5)    Time Management

Where better to practice these skills than in the context of motherhood and volunteerism and community service? 

Think about what you’re doing right now. If you’re not doing REAL work, can you think of anything that’s preparing you to lead with the soft skills necessary for the future?

 It’s so easy to think that time spent at home and time spent not earning real money, is wasted time. And this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Your soft skills are getting stronger every day.

 It is possible to chase your dream without running away from your life.

You are not stuck.
You are not stigmatized.
You are not a doormat.
You are not a slave.

You are smart, and special, and someday (but maybe not now), your dreams will actually be closer than you think.

 You will not always have children at home.
You will not always need to be the one who does the cooking and cleaning.
You will find, if you’re willing to share now, that which you have, that when the timing is right, you will receive exactly what you hoped for.

Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.
— Galatians 6:4-5 MSG

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Mission Driven Monday--Dara Buczynski

Meet Dara Buczynski!

Dara Bucynski opened Ephiphany Athens in 2014. But her life of faith and adventure actually began many years before. After adopting a daughter from the Ukraine and learning more about orphan care there, Dara decided to use her gifts to partner with global organizations caring for children around the world. Her beautiful boutique is grounded in a simple truth: "God decides you're beautiful." May this episode inspire you to follow your own mission (not the madness) because where purpose lives, love thrives. Thanks, Dara!

Important Links from this Episode:

Epiphany Athens: Check out their new arrivals! Free Shipping over $75!

Heart for Orphans: provides support and care for teens aging out of the orphan care system in the Ukraine and the former Soviet Union

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.
— Proverbs 31:25

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Mission Driven Monday--Jen Guynn

Meet Jen Guynn!

Everybody wants their kids to care about their community, but not everybody knows where to start! How do you find the projects that include families and allow KIDS to be a part of the process? Kids love to play and they love to help. Guess what? There’s a place for them!

Because my husband works at a church, and I’ve been leading an adventure club for girls for the last five years, people are always asking ME how they can get their kids involved in service. I’m not the expert, but I know someone who is, and here’s what I tell them—Check out Pebble Tossers! They are the leading platform for kids to find the opportunities and resources that will fuel their leadership skills for a lifetime.

In this conversation, Jen and I talk about proudest accomplishments, how we’re practicing mindfulness in this new season, and future dreams. The world is full of incredible opportunities—somebody needs to seize them!

Important Links from this Episode:

Pebbletossers—Start a ripple of giving! Their mission is to empower and equip youth to lead through service. Ahhh…don’t you just love that?

Plywood Presents—Get your tickets now—ATL Ideas! A festival of all things good!

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Mission Driven Monday--Amanda White

Meet Amanda White!

What does it REALLY mean to find meaning and purpose in your life?

Today, Amanda and I addressed one of the biggest tensions we have as moms: Am I JUST a mom? Is that enough? Who am I and how do I navigate this changing, crazy world?

“I start fast.”
”I work hard.”
”I finish strong.”

That's Amanda White in a nutshell.

She's a writer, blogger, mom, and empathetic friend. Today, she's your friend too! I loved talking about what she's learning and how she's growing. Seriously, y'all, there's so much wisdom jam-packed into this episode. Don't miss it. Follow your mission, not the madness.

Until the day when God will deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is contained in these two words,—‘Wait and hope.’
— Alexandre Dumas--The Count of Monte Cristo

Important Links from this Episode:

Oh Amanda: Helping You Impress God’s Word on Your Kids’ Hearts

Truth in the Tinsel: Experience the Christmas story with your kids

A Sense of the Resurrection: An Easter experience for families

The Disciplines of the Christian Life by Eric Liddell. ”I believe God made me for a purpose. But He also made me fast, and when I run, I feel His pleasure.”

We Choose Virtues: Inspiring Character that Lasts

The Road Back to You: An Enneagram journey of self-discovery

We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place .... Rest in God alone, O my soul, for my hope comes from Him.—Hebrews 6:19

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Mission Driven Monday--Abbey Glass

Meet Abbey Glass!

When you were a little girl, did you ever make clothes for your Barbies or baby dolls? Did you spend hours drawing fashions in a notebook? Abbey Glass is a maker, too. For as long as she can remember, she's been making things. Today, she is the owner of Abbey Glass Studio, a fashion design and manufacturing house located in Atlanta, Georgia. But that's not all she does. Abbey is motivated, driven, and committed to pursuing the biggest challenges she possibly can.

In this conversation, we talk about the challenges and joys of owning your own company and transferring your personal values to the brand you're building.

At the end, the conversation takes a philosophical turn as we talk about what it's like to be a business woman who is not married and does not have kids.

Follow your mission, not the madness!

Important Links from this episode:

Want to be the most stylish woman in town? You can! Click here.

Visit the Flagship store in Atlanta.

A Podcast Abbey likes: How I Built This

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The One Essential Ingredient that Makes Food (and Life) Even Better

The Beginning

When Gavin and I were first married, I was just learning how to be a homemaker. I missed 4-H the day we learned how to sew a button on a shirt, and I never had a Home Economics class in high school. Although my mom cooked every night, this was not an activity we did together. I guess I thought I would just be able to make stuff because my mom was good at it.

You learn how to cook by osmosis, right?

Wrong!

The first time I made mashed potatoes they turned out soupy and bland.

At 21, I was both health conscious and budget aware, so I made my signature mashed potatoes with margarine and skim milk.

Boy, was that a big mistake!

Good butter and real cream are essential to tasty mashed potatoes.

Since that first cooking fail, I’ve had many more disasters in the kitchen. Sometimes my disasters are the result of sweeping misguided attempts to act gourmet (like that time I tried to make a chocolate bowl using a balloon as my template) or just pure laziness (like that time I put the insert from the crock pot directly on the gas stove), but more often than not, my failings are the result of a single, seemingly inconsequential ingredient.

Like salt.

But any good cook will tell you salt isn’t inconsequential at all. Of all the spices I have in my cabinet (and I have more than 100), salt is the most important. If you leave it out, you’ll know.

The Question

Which got me thinking—is there ONE ingredient that’s essential to success in business and in life?

We create a recipe for success that includes hard skills like on-the-job training and experience, and soft skills like a strong work ethic, an ability to communicate effectively, and self-confidence.

But the most important thing—the one thing that ‘s absolutely essential to success—is someone who believes in you.

Someone who believes in you is the SALT that makes everything else work.

It reminds me of this verse we used to have painted over the fireplace in the keeping room of our old house:

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
— Colossians 4:6 NIV

Someone who believes in you (and tells you) is the most important thing.

The Lesson

It took months before I figured out I wasn’t really a bad cook; I was just using the wrong ingredients. Whole milk and real butter are ESSENTIAL to perfect mashed potatoes. But even after I started using those ingredients, sometimes I would still forget to add the salt.

In life, your words are like salt because there is nothing that hurts worse than an unkind word and nothing that soothes a wound quite like a kind one. I’m reminded how much we depend on them. From those first admonishments when language was just beginning and we heard this phrase:“use your words,” to the phrases we toss back and forth so flippantly in elementary school: “I’m rubber, you’re glue, whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you” to the lie that continues to sting long after the words have left our accuser’s lips: “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

Words matter. They are ESSENTIAL. That’s not new info. It’s like telling you the world is round. This post actually started out as an outline of five different things that I believe successful people do. As I wrote, though, I realized that success looks different for everybody. So I deleted a whole bunch of paragraphs. But even though our definition of success looks different, our validation of it shouldn’t. We should encourage one another and inspire one another to do the very special and unique things we’ve each been gifted to do. As I wrote, I realized the people I admire most, the ones who are building things and leading things and serving people, and creating beautiful art are doing it not for themselves, but for others.

And I realized something else: Every good thing that has ever come my way has been the result of a connection with someone who kindly said, “I want to help.” And likewise, the times when I have felt the loneliest and the worst about myself have been when someone has said something unkind to me.

I want to get life right. Right now, I’m trying to figure out how I can be the SALT for someone else.

One of the ways I’m doing that is by featuring women I admire on my weekly video cast, Mission Driven Monday. Simply go to our website and scroll through our blog. We post new content every single Monday. I hope you meet someone who inspires you. It’s our effort to validate the work Mission Driven Women are doing in the world today.

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Mission Driven Monday--Steen Jones

Meet Steen Jones!

Steen Jones is a serial entrepreneur and writer who lives outside of Atlanta, Georgia. She has a husband, two beautiful teenagers, and a treehouse office that would make Tarzan jealous. When we say "Follow Your Mission, Not the Madness," what we really mean is: FOLLOW YOUR CURIOSITY. The world is full of beautiful things, and as seasons come and go, there's time for enjoying ALL of it. I hope you enjoy this fantastic conversation.

I promised you some pictures of Steen’s amazing treehouse office, so here you go!

The outside of Steen’s Treehouse—a tranquil little spot in the woods!

The outside of Steen’s Treehouse—a tranquil little spot in the woods!

The treehouse office—Inside. I think anybody could find their muse here!

The treehouse office—Inside. I think anybody could find their muse here!

Important Links from this episode:

And fun fact: We talked about Steen’s first business, COLORS, which trained women coming out of the sex industry on how to crochet. In the pic above, Steen’s wearing some of them. And in the pic of ME on this website, I’m wearing some of them too!

Steen’s TedX talk at Georgia Tech

Buy the book, The Door Keeper by Steen Jones

Learn how to WAKE YOURSELF UP with Wim Hof. Follow him on Instagram! Here’s everything you need to know about the Wim Hof Method.

Elizabeth Gilbert’s Book, Big Magic

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Mission Driven Monday--Monica Lage

Meet Monica Lage!

What started as a senior project grew to be one of the premier entrepreneur camps in the country.

Meet Monica Lage, the founder of Break Into Business, where kids move from idea to pitch to profitable business in just five short days. Monica says launching Break Into Business and being present for her children is the hardest thing she's ever done. (And this is coming from a person who has an MBA from Harvard!) She makes it look easy, but don't be fooled--Monica has worked VERY, VERY hard.

One of the things I love most about the Break Into Business business model is its emphasis on generosity. That's a core value of Monica's, too, and it shines through loud and clear. Monica is following her mission, not the madness, and inspiring hundreds of kids along the way.

In THIS interview, Monica confesses that she's learning how to be INefficient. What? You'll have to watch to find out what she means.

Want to learn more about how your kid can be a part of Break Into Business? Click here!

If you have a child between the ages of 9-14 and live in the Atlanta area, this is a summer camp worth exploring!

Kids build real businesses and have the chance to earn real money. And this summer is extra special—camps just for GIRLS and even a camp for kids who want to learn more about SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP are available. Campers also have the opportunity to sign up for one of Break Into Business’s fall accelerator programs. USE CODE GIRLBOSS FOR $30 OFF GIRLS CAMP THROUGH 5/17/2019.

My own son participated in camp for four straight summers and loved every minute of it. He loved hanging out in Atlanta’s coolest co-working spaces, pitching his business, and coming home with cold, hard cash in his hands. I am a thoroughly satisfied customer and recommend B. Camp without reservation!

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Mission Driven Monday--Kim Gentry Meyer

Meet Kim Gentry Meyer!

Kim Meyer is an accomplished singer and songwriter with a passion for animal welfare. She's channeling her creativity and love for animals into a brand new project aimed at helping kids understand how to better care for animals. Kim is partnering with a children’s book author to write an accompanying soundtrack full of songs about animals. Doesn’t that sound like fun?

Kim is living the dream alongside her husband, Adam, in Boston, MA. In this conversation, we explore how you don't have to be the BEST at one thing as long as you can be PRETTY GOOD at two or three different things. "Use all you have," is a motto we won't soon forget. Thanks for following your mission, Kim!

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me’
— Erma Bombeck

Important Links from this Episode:

Animal Welfare Work: What Baxter Started

Kim’s Music:

Connect with Kim: Instagram Handle and Facebook

whatbaxterstarted.com and https://www.facebook.com/whatbaxterstarted/


The children's songs she wrote for the two books will be available at this site: https://petpunditpublishing.com/. The website is currently being redone, but they will be up soon. Stay tuned!

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Mission Driven Monday--Sarah Sasson

Meet Sarah Sasson!

Are you a risk taker?

That was the question I asked Sarah Sasson, Founder/Executive Director of Kula Project, an organization that provides industry training, business investment, and life and leadership skills in Rwanda. When I first met Sarah, she was a jet-setting woman on-the-go, with one foot firmly planted here in the United States and one straddling the ocean and chasing her heart to the faraway beauty of Rwanda, Africa.

Today, the incredible fellows of Kula Project are building profitable businesses, raising healthy families, and sending their children to school. It didn’t happen overnight, but rather over many, many years of fostering strong relational ties and empowering leaders—young and old alike.

In this episode, Sarah and I talk about the highs and lows of running a nonprofit, celebrating wins, and enjoying hobbies that have their own measurable results. I asked Sarah if she was a risk taker because I've always felt like she was a girl who knew how to take adventure to the nth degree. You know what? She's just like you and me. She's following her mission, not the madness, and that has made all the difference in the world.

Important links from this episode:

Check out the beautiful photography on her site! You can even sponsor a budding entrepreneur. And if you’d like to buy some of the yummy coffee produced by the Kula fellows, you can do that here.

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It’s time to DREAM BIG!

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How Do I Know What I'm Supposed to Do With My Life?

Last week, I attended a magic show hosted by renowned magician, Peter Morrison. For a full hour, our party was mesmerized by sleight of hand tricks, mentalism, and illusion. Plus, Peter is an engaging personality with a twinkling eye and a winning smile. You can’t help but sit on the edge of your seat.

Between sets, he regaled us with personal stories of his journey as a magician. I was struck by this little tidbit: “I practiced 8-10 hours a day 7 days a week for five years.”

Wow!

Is there anything you love so much you’d be willing to practice 10 hours a day for five full years? I often say, “I wish I could” when I see somebody doing something cool, never stopping to think how long it probably took them to get there.

That means the thing you love has to become your job before it’s actually your job. And it’s not rocket science—you will get better at whatever you practice.

So here’s two important questions to ponder:

  1. What’s the main thing that deserves your energy?

  2. Can you narrow your brand to discover the things you do really well?

Knowing who you are and what you want is a lifelong process, but the magic is in the process.

It’s time to start practicing now.

Pursue not only what interests you, but also what you’re good at. And remember what Greg McKeown said about priorities in his book, Essentialism.

Creating an essential intent is hard. It takes courage, insight, and foresight to see which activities and efforts will add up to your single highest point of contribution. It takes asking tough questions, making real trade-offs, and exercising serious discipline to cut out the competing priorities that distract us from our true intention. Yet it is worth the effort because only with real clarity of purpose can people, teams, and organizations fully mobilize and achieve something truly excellent
— Greg McKeown, Essentialism
  • Cultivate vulnerability. Believe it or not, this will actually give you more confidence!

  • Practice direction-setting. A lot of people start out with good intentions. Direction, not intention, determines destination.

  • Craft a process for the life you want. Be patient when it comes to the results. All rhythms also include seasons of rest. Be radically iterative through the process and you will find that you absolutely will improve over time.

“Who you are is continuously transforming through courageous creativity and a deep commitment to what you believe.”

I don’t know if I’ll ever love something enough to practice a full ten hours a day, and at this stage of life, I don’t have ten hours a day to devote to my one true love—but if I can find two or even five hours in a day, then that’s something worth pursuing.

What’s your thing?

Share in the comments below, and I’ll make a commitment to cheer you on!

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Mission Driven Monday--Amber Robinson

Meet Amber Robinson!

I met Amber at the Indiana Christian Writers Conference back in 2012. She was writing a book called Mercy Rising and working on a number of other projects. But she's not only a writer--she's a composer, pianist, and teacher, and her newest book, Piano Lessons for Kids, is making waves across the U.S. In this episode, we talk about Essentialism, Mission Statements, the lives we live, and the legacies we leave. I wish we lived in the same city because I know my life would be better if I could make time with Amber a regular part of it. Amber will inspire you to make music, create art, and just get out there and PLAY. Be like Amber and follow your mission, not the madness. I’m cheering for you!

Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.
— Booker T. Washington

Thinking Tree Books: This is an awesome resource! You’ve heard of home-schooling and un-schooling, but have you ever heard of FUN-schooling?

Mercy Rising: Simple Ways to Practice Justice and Compassion

Piano Lessons for Kids: Piano Lessons for Kids is the inventive book that unleashes a student’s imagination and love for music! This self-paced, 168-page book spans a semester or a school year, depending how often you visit the subject – once or multiple times in a week.

Adults need no prior musical training and are encouraged to learn right along with their kids. The audio/video materials make this possible.

Students will learn not just to read notes, but also to hear music, compose, and tell a story with the piano – all with songs they really want to play. Separating it from other method books and online programs.

This book – with essential audio/video instruction – solves the problem of having to purchase separate books for note reading, music theory, listening skills, and composing – it’s all here, in one book.

Essentialism: This book by Greg McKeown is THE BOMB, and if you’ve ever struggled with saying YES to too many things, this is the book to help you prioritize well.

The 90:90:1 Rule: For the next 90 days, devote the first 90 minutes of your work day to the one best opportunity in your life. Nothing else. Zero distractions. Just get that project done. Period.

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The Goal isn't Fame, it's Influence

I lead an adventure club for fourth and fifth grade girls. A few years ago, we asked one of our groups about their future plans. Some of the girls wanted to be things like teachers or doctors, but the overwhelming majority wanted to be something else: Famous. We’ve all heard the stories about how being famous isn’t all it’s cracked up to be—there’s the lack of privacy and the ongoing pressure to perform well, and the unwritten expectation that if you’re famous you also have a responsibility to be a good influence.

Famous icons like Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Justin Bieber, and Britney Spears have all had major and total public meltdowns. In public interviews, they often lament the crushing pressure fame has placed on them.

In an interview on The Today Show in October of 2017, Selena Gomez said: “You’re isolated. You’re being looked at. You’re being judged. I’m always trying to be nice.” She continued, “I want to be great. That’s genuinely who I am, deep down. But it just seemed pointless.” And in 2015, Justin Bieber said, “I was close to letting fame destroy me.” For years, musician and actress Demi Lovato has battled alcohol and drug addiction, self harm, and eating disorders, in addition to trying to manage Bipolar Disorder. When you’re famous, private battles happen on the public stage. She said, “I get mad. I get sad. I have all those emotions. But I just like to keep them to myself. I don't think my fans need to be bothered with if I'm mad or sad about something. I should just be concerned that they are keeping up with my music or I'm making them happy with my show.”

Regarding Britney Spears’s fame, an article in Vice.com said, “She didn't crumble in isolation or simply of her own volition; she overdosed on fame, and we were complicit in that. We made her the single most-watched human being on the planet and then, gleefully, watched as she nearly died from overexposure. We celebrated her ascent to celebrity and then punished her for attaining the very perfection we demand.”

Yikes.

Who wants to be famous if it means meltdown in any form you look at it?

Influence used to mean something. Influence, according to subject matter expert Dr. Karen Keller , is knowing yourself. “The world’s most influential people don’t merely change other’s behavior; they shift their mindsets.”

Here are some examples:

  • In 1529, Sir John Harrington invented the flush toilet, something nearly everyone in the first world uses today. But before he did that, he was a writer who had a penchant for offending Queen Elizabeth I. We don’t remember him, but if it weren’t for him, maybe we’d all be covering our poo with pine straw like a common cat.

  • Aristarchus was the first person to postulate that the earth revolved around the sun, a full 1700 years before Copernicus made his ideas famous.

  • Sir Joseph Lister was a pioneer in antiseptic surgery. In fact, he’s the reason your surgeon washes his hands before and after contact with you and wears gloves during examinations.

  • Shirley Chisholm paved the way for women in politics, becoming the first African American woman to serve in Congress and make a bid for the Presidency.

  • Most people have heard of Amelia Earhart, but did you know Lillian Bland was the first woman to design, build, and fly an airplane?

  • And while everyone has heard of Neil Armstrong, it was Margaret Hamilton who designed the software that navigated the Apollo spacecraft that took him to the moon. Fun fact: she coined the term “software engineering,” a title that’s usually held by men.

The lesson:

We don’t have to be famous to do great things. There’s a whole bunch of people you’ve probably never heard of who were incredibly influential. Influence and fame aren’t the same thing. Fame can make a person influential, but fame doesn’t necessarily follow influence. When we say we want fame, what we’re really saying is that we want to be recognized for our accomplishments, to be given a pat on the back for all the hard work, for the difference we’ve made. And sure, a pat on the back, more followers on Instagram, and more money would be nice. But what if the impact we make IS all the reinforcement we really need? You probably never heard of John Harrington, but just because you’ve never heard of him doesn’t make his contribution any less important. I encourage you to thank him as you take care of your daily business today.

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Mission Driven Monday--Roxanne Russell

Meet Roxanne Russell!

Roxanne is the Director of Digital Learning at Emory University and the Brains behind Full Tilt Ahead, an academic design studio based in Atlanta Georgia. She holds a Ph.D. in Instructional Technology and is truly one of the smartest people I know. In addition to her professional accomplishments, I admire Roxanne because she's one of the few people I know who has remained true to herself while pursuing relationships and career. I'm excited about a venture she's had in the works for over a decade: A digital program designed to help kids be better readers. And we all know what they say. "Readers are learners, and learners are leaders!" Be inspired today to follow your mission, not the madness. For Roxanne, that means helping kids turn screen time into reading time and thrive in the process. I love it!

Important Links from this Episode:

Read Ahead: A Literacy Breakthrough

Full Tilt Ahead: Academic Design Studio

Candler School of Theology at Emory University

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There's No Place Like Home: Discovering Your Heart's Desire

‘I cannot understand why you should wish to leave this beautiful country and go back to the dry, gray place you call Kansas.’

’That is because you have no brains,’ answered the girl. ‘No matter how dreary and gray our homes are, we people of flesh and blood would rather live there than in any other country, be it ever so beautiful. There is no place like home.’

The Scarecrow sighed.
— The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

When I was in college in Indiana, I would sometimes come back home to Georgia on an airplane. The first such trip was right before Thanksgiving in the fall of 1992. I hadn’t been home since I left in early August, and although I loved college, I was also homesick—for a hot bath in a clean house, a hot meal cooked by my mom, and a hot date with my far-away, long distance boyfriend. As the plane descended over Atlanta, I first saw the pine trees, green towers dotting the foothills and then the city, and even before my feet touched the ground, I was instantly transported back to this place I loved.

Early April is a beautiful time to be home. The cherry blossoms and dogwoods are blooming, and I noticed little buds peeping out on all the other trees. Lawn mowers are beginning to buzz, and a few people have begun pressure washing their driveways and decks. Life is exploding all around us, and this week, we get to appreciate it. All of it.

In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Scarecrow couldn’t understand why Dorothy would want to go back to a place that was dry and gray. He didn’t understand the places we love are never really about the places themselves. They are always about the people. Dorothy could overlook the deficiencies in Kansas because as they say “love covers over a multitude of sins,” be they agricultural or otherwise. (In Georgia this week, I’m overlooking the billowing clouds of yellow pollen swirling around me.)

Dorothy: Oh, will you help me? Can you help me?
Glinda: You don't need to be helped any longer. You've always had the power to go back to Kansas.
Dorothy: I have?
Scarecrow: Then why didn't you tell her before?
Glinda: She wouldn't have believed me. She had to learn it for herself.
Scarecrow: What have you learned, Dorothy?
Dorothy: Well, I—I think that it, that it wasn't enough just to want to see Uncle Henry and Auntie Em — and it's that — if I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own backyard. Because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with! Is that right?
Glinda: That's all it is!
Scarecrow: But that's so easy! I should've thought of it for you -
Tin Man: I should have felt it in my heart -
Glinda: No, she had to find it out for herself. Now those magic slippers will take you home in two seconds!
Dorothy: Oh! Toto too?
Glinda: Toto too.
Dorothy: Now?
Glinda: Whenever you wish.
...
Glinda: Then close your eyes and tap your heels together three times. And think to yourself, 'There's no place like home'.

It seems too easy, doesn’t it? Like the thing we really want couldn’t possibly be right in front of us. But what if it is? What if your peaceful, purposeful life is right here?

We live in an amazing time in history, in a world that’s more connected than it’s ever been before. I can talk to my sister-in-law in China instantly any time I want. And for free! My teenage son is in California (without parents!), but I can track him on my iPhone, and my husband is getting his doctorate in Ministry (he’s such a smarty pants!) right from his office desk.

It’s fun to go away and see new things. Truly, there is no substitute for experience, but never for one second think that your heart’s desire must be somewhere out there. It might be right in your own backyard.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
— Matthew 6:21

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Mission Driven Monday--Amber Humphries

Meet Amber Humphries!

The motto at Mission Driven Woman is "Follow your mission, not the madness." It's a joy to meet someone who is fully embracing her mission, and Amber's is "Peaceful Home, Adventurous Life." She is an entrepreneur, blogger, speaker, and singer/songwriter. Amber’s many talents have led her to embrace saying "no" to fear (she's a city girl turned mountain woman) and “yes” to inspiring and empowering women in all stages of life transition. Amber is thoughtful and wise. One of my favorite parts of this conversation was when we talked about success and what that looks like during different moments in our lives. Also, I love the idea of warring opposites, and it seems to be a common theme among the women I interview: Big and Small, Open and Closed, More and Less.

People often say to Amber, “Wow! You’re living your dream life!”

Her response—”Why aren’t YOU living your dream life?”

Fun fact: Amber and her husband composed our Forever We theme song, and Amber sings the lead vocals. You can listen to the song here.

Important Links from this Episode:

blog http://www.citymousemountainhouse.cominsta @citymousemountainhouse
music http://www.jaredandambermusic.cominsta @jaredandamber
health journey http://www.amberhumphries.cominsta @amberhumphries
lipstick: https://www.beautycounter.com/product/beautycounter-red

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