Connect With Your Dream Supporters and Grow Your Audience

If you’re striving to live a life of purpose surrounded by those who, through their support and influence, drive you to live your most authentic existence then this is the episode for you. Learn how to lean into your purpose, mission, and authenticity to connect with more of your dream supporters, volunteers, and fellow do-gooders.


M: All right. Welcome to the Among Lionhearts podcast where we dare to have moxie for what matters. I am Michelle.

J: And I'm Julia and we are your new loudmouth, change-making, do-gooder best friends here to embolden you to take more action, risk, and heart towards creating a more just, equitable, and brave world. Okay so if you want to live a life of purpose surrounded by people who through their support and influence drive you to live your most impactful, authentic existence this is the episode for you. So this is our second episode. We just got done filming our first one yesterday. It is not perfect. We are publishing it anyways.

M: Yes.

J: And that's really important to us. It's really important to us. Michelle, why is that important to us?

M: It is important to us because we are showing up. We are showing up for ourselves. We are, one of our foundational messages is that you know done is better than perfect and perfection is not of this world and we don't want people to stop themselves from reaching for their goals. Because they're waiting for the perfect moment or they're waiting for the perfect lighting or they're waiting for the perfect thing to talk about. So yeah we want to jump right in and our theme for the first few podcasts is going to be all about purpose. You know, finding your purpose and finding a community that supports you and your purpose and other ways that you can really propel your goals forward. So...

J: I feel like we're taking our audience along with us on this journey. We created this podcast because we want to connect more with our community and we want to connect more with people who share our same values. It is the center of our marketing business is people connecting with people and connecting with people who are more focused on doing good and showing up and making an impact than being perfect, you know? That was really important to us. This podcast is an extension of that. So yeah we want to share some of the things that like we're learning as we're going about throwing away perfection. That is, I think Michelle, like you put it I think you put it perfection... you said this to me just like last week. Like perfection and all these other things, they are myths, they don't actually exist. They're like this thing we tell ourselves is going to protect us and it's going to be a shield for us but they're not. It's fake perfection...

M: It's that an impossible goal. You're just you're chasing this thing and you're chasing it to feel safe. Right? It's an illusion of safety.

J: An illusion. That's the word, yeah perfection is an illusion. Why are we doing that to ourselves? Is that making things better? Is perfection leading anything to better? I think there's a quote... I'm gonna have to... sometimes I just think of quotes like right in the middle and, you know, I don't know anybody's names. I can't remember anybody's name, so I'm like, there's this person that said this once but like perfection never leads to anything that life is made of.

M: Yeah. I think being able to distance yourself from that concept of perfection really helps you trust your own humanity. And whenever we're able to connect with our own humanity we're able to allow other people around us to connect with theirs. You know? Nobody wants to be expected to be perfect. So it's really important to not treat yourself like perfection is expected.

J: My husband and I, we were like looking over the podcast last night. It's our very first one and we've been joking throughout today about this. Go back and watch it. It's a really cool episode. It's a mess but we've got some really good content in there. You can really get to know Michelle and I, but there's this one part where I say this thing where I meant to say all these books that I've read on this subject people say this one thing. I'm like and I said in the podcast all these books that I've written. So just to clarify, to take a moment to clarify. I've never written a book okay.

M: Not yet.

J: Yeah, no, not yet. I have never written a book but I accidentally said that I wrote a book when I meant I read a book. I have read a book.

M: And I think the great thing about that moment was you know as the audience, our brains are constantly kind of trying to keep up, trying to follow along, especially if it's something that we're interested in. So I watched that moment too and I remember seeing that and going, oh I bet she is gonna beat herself up about that. It's funny because as an audience member, as somebody who's watching it, like you don't skip a beat. You listen to the context of what was being said and you immediately forgive the speaker and you go, she just meant the books that she's read and everybody moves forward. I think trusting that the audience will have the grace to do that for you really helps you be able to roll through mistakes because you're gonna make them. Everybody's gonna make mistakes when they're trying something big and what we're doing is really big.

J: Yes and we are publishing that episode so you guys will...

M: Uncut.

J: We are publishing that episode we are not re-recording it. We're just gonna hold space here to be imperfect people and say things the wrong way. Come with us, you know, you're gonna feel better about who you are because we're gonna be making messes. Right here on this podcast and you're gonna get to see all of it.

M: Yes.

J: So how does attracting your community serve you? Why is this worth your time? Why should you guys spend time trying to attract this community? How does it work? How does it serve you? So...

M: Yeah, I mean I think that's really what we're trying to do here. We talk a lot about imperfection in humanity because we want like-minded people to come along on this journey with us. You know, I was telling somebody yesterday that we recorded this episode and it wasn't perfect and my setting wasn't perfect my lighting wasn't perfect. She said, you know,
a coach once told me that you cannot say the wrong thing to the right people, and you can't say the right thing to the wrong people. So really what is important about being selective about your community and growing a community that supports you. Is filtering out all those people that you can't say the right thing to anyway, and it might not even be that you can't say the right thing to them ever, it just might not be the right time for them to hear the things that you're sharing. So you know we specialize in helping non-profits with their message and building their communities on social media. And we really encourage people to make sure that they're attracting the right community. Building that community builds you a whole fan base. People who can't stop talking about you. The people who really are there for the journey, really are there at the same point with you, who resonate with your message with resonate with the mission that you're you're going after. Those are the people who are gonna go out and talk about you at dinner parties. They're the people who are gonna show up and volunteer. Maybe they don't have the $20 to donate this week but that doesn't mean that they can't show up and help man a station at an event or help you in some other way if you have volunteer opportunities out there. So it's really important to build this community and make sure that you're intentional about having the right people in it.

J: Be picky. You want to be picky and that's why I like living into that like purpose and your values and really honing down on it. And filtering everything through it is just going to propel you. And that's exactly what it's going to do with your community. When you can narrow down your values you are going to find the kind of people in your life that bring out the best in you because they value your values or they have values that amplify your values. Right? So we want to do that. How do you define your community and audience? We actually have some simple ways to do that and we actually do that in branding a lot. We do that in business, when you're setting up your business and you have to define your audience so you know how to to write to them, you know how to make your marketing material appeal to them. It's really important to narrow down your community/audience. We call it a target audience in marketing but in life, it can be applied across the board so can be applied to your personal life. So yeah, you need to identify your target audience or your target community, or your target friends. The kind of people that you want to surround yourself with because they're going to get you to where you're going. Where you're going, okay. So those questions are like you think about things like... think of your two values. Picture them in your head. Okay, hopefully you've done the homework and you've gone back and you've listened to the first podcast and you've identified your two values. So think about that. Now ask yourself what age range is this person that would invoke these values or also have these values that what I'm looking for. What, maybe gender is a factor in there. These values that you're wanting to have in your life. Maybe area, maybe area, maybe location. Also a really important question to ask yourself is like what activities does this person really like to do? Someone with these values what kind of activities with someone like this, so for like an example let's see like Michelle's value is courage, one of her values is courage, so what is someone, what kind of activity would someone who really valued courage do? I was kind of joking with Michelle earlier on like roller derby. Like I feel like Michelle's community is in a roller derby gym somewhere like elbowing someone for some reason. That's, you know, I feel like that's her inner value person, or this person is hiking, this person is hiking. Someone who has... like really values courage where are they showing up at? Another question to be asking yourself to really narrow down that audience is what kind of social media platforms would this person hang out on? Because every social media platform has a different audience. They're built for a specific person. They're built for a specific kind of community. So be looking into that. Maybe some examples are like Twitter, would be Twitter the kind of community on Twitter they're going to be looking for like mass communication, they're going to be a middle-range person who is not really looking for individual connection. They just want to follow the bigger brands and the bigger celebrities and stuff. So maybe...

M: Bigger movements?

J: Yeah there you go, like movements and stuff so they're going to be looking for there so they're not going to be looking for like a closer connection. Other, you know, TikTok we've got millennials versus teenagers like it's almost equal on there. But the kind of people who want raw stuff they really really want to connect with you. You're going to find those people on TikTok. On Facebook, Facebook you're going to find an older generation on Facebook but Facebook groups. Be looking in Facebook groups. That was kind of another question to be asking yourself. What kind of groups would this person with these values be hanging out on, and start looking for those groups because those that's where your community is. And then yeah, so those are your main questions. Get that narrowed down and kind of build that little persona of who you think that person is.

M: And I really want to emphasize here with this part too. Going back to what we talked about you know, not chasing perfection. It really is about if you're just starting out in your organization or if you're just starting out trying to determine your target market. It was super intimidating for me to approach that process. I was really afraid of getting it wrong. I was really afraid of talking to the wrong people. Really, getting it wrong is one step toward getting it right. So you know take the time to think about these things and don't be afraid to be wrong because you can, there are ways that you will find out if you are wrong. Right? If you are in and your posting things in a Facebook group that you think is going to be useful. That these people are going to really connect with and you just find out that you don't get a lot of connection. That's okay, There are other Facebook groups to try. There's time to kind of change it. So yeah...

J: I like that.

M: Don't seek perfection in this.

J: Yeah, like make room to mess up as you are learning to lean into your value. Plan for that. Make that a part of your journey. You already expect you're gonna mess up and you're gonna, you know, trip up on some of the things that you say. Be open and in a place of learning and absorbing. I just really identify with sunflowers so as soon as I said that I like saw a bunch of sunflowers in my head. I'm like be a sunflower but I don't think that would resonate with everybody else. Okay so when you define your target audience, you define your target community, you establish like, you really have a good understanding of the kind of people that you need to surround yourself with to really help you lean into your values so that you can start making a massive impact in your life towards what you want. Then what do you do? Now what? What do you do? What do you do Michelle?

M: It's all about attracting the kind of community and the kind of audience. Right? So we've defined who they are. We know it's important to have one. So now, yeah, now...

J: What do we do with that information?

M: Once you have done that part of the journey it's time to, it's time to get out there. It's time to start showing up. It's time to be in those groups and start trying to be active. And it's time to pay attention. Right? It's, we've left that space for our assumptions about who these people are to be incorrect. So you can't just, you can't just be in the group and kind of lurk there and hope that you got it right. If you start interacting with those people you're gonna find out really quickly whether you guys are on the same page, whether these are the people who hold the same values, whether these are the kind of people who are going to want to support your mission you know? And that can be true if you're an eagle scout working on a community project. That can be true if you are in a leadership position in a non-profit that's been established for 20 years. You show up and start trying to connect with people just authentically. Social media is about social. It's about, it's not about pushing an agenda. It's about really trying to connect with people so trying to have relationships. Try and see what they're talking about. Can you relate to something that they're talking about? Odds are yes, you can relate to something and then you can chime in, and once you've made that step maybe you'll make a post. It's all about really testing, testing that, that hypothesis that you have that these are your people.

J: I love that. Yeah, we often forget that the next step to like so we've got all of these values we figure out who we want to be and then we're like hey now we need to, really need to like get these people in our lives and we really like need to be a magnet for them. But I actually don't believe in being a magnet. You can't just go into a space whether virtually or physically and stand there and people are just going to be like, oooohhh, like...

M: What's this new shiny object?

J: But we—it's funny when we say it out loud like that but so many of us, especially me this was something I had to work on, was participating. Participating in growing my own community. Participating showing up to those activities. You know, and as an introvert it's hard. Like, you would just rather just people intuitively know that you're cool and they should want to be drawn to you. That's a preference, but no. Like you have to go, you have to talk to people, you have to sign up for the classes, the kind of classes that your community is showing up to. Sign up for the virtual workshops your community is signing up to and participating in and participate. You know? Participate in a way to support though. That's really really important. So many of the times we're not going into space to build our community for them to be our come our biggest fans. No that's not going to work that way. That only works for like Beyonce probably but she's had to put a lot of work into it too but like we have to go and we have to participate in a way that supports our community. That's how you draw people to you. Yeah and that looks different, that means like if your people are hiking, you know, and uh you're perfectly able to hike and your value is courage and you've got some sort of non-profit or cause and people are hiking like consider hiking. Like, consider the roller derby. Consider the thing, because that's where your people are and you've got to participate. You've got to show up. You got to connect with people and you got to support them, Yeah so I love that. Show up and participate. And then the next part of that is authenticity. I feel like this is gonna be our like, I think we're gonna wear this word out...

M: Yes.

J: And I'm excited for it. So many people just need to hear it. Especially, like you and I, that's something that we've been really working on, is trying to live more authentically. So Michelle like, why? Tell us about authenticity and community.

M: Yeah, so I actually think that authenticity kind of helps soften the blow of showing up. I think we're kind of preparing people to show up and be ready to get outside of your comfort zone but the authenticity part of it really, really helps you retain some of your comfort zone when you're trying to connect with people. You know this is true of networking. This is true of meeting your new co-workers. This is true of making friends or moving to a new place. You don't want to tie yourself into a pretzel being the person that you're not to please some people. You'll... we, believe me, we have tried and tested this hypothesis. It does not work. You need to be yourself and you're not gonna be right for everybody and that's okay. I think so often on an interpersonal level we are trying to, trying to please somebody. Where we find somebody, we're really impressed with them. We're like man this is my person this is my, these are the people I'm trying to be with and then you just you really don't fit in. And instead of taking that, taking that sign as maybe I made a miscalculation. Maybe these aren't the kind of people that I really want to be sharing my time and my mission with, you know? If you're spending too much time justifying your interest in something, if you're spending too much time justifying the things that you want to pursue this is probably not the right audience. And it's really about having the quiet spaces in your time between meeting with people and going, you know, am I feeling like I'm being myself? Because you can pretend to be somebody else and you will absolutely make that pretend person successful, but that won't bring you long-term happiness. It won't support your purpose and your values because you've now put on a mask and pretended to be somebody so that this person would like you and then you're gonna find that they're, that person's preferences and that person's expectations are going to really rule how you can pursue your purpose. And that can happen on an interpersonal level but it can we can actually bring it up and we can see it on a large scale level. If you are interacting with the wrong community as a non-profit what you're going to start to feel is you're going to kind of feel yourself being stretched. You're going to feel yourself kind of trying to show up for people who maybe are going to fund your program and those people expecting you to be somebody other than, you know, the person who is pursuing whatever philanthropic kind of thing that you're trying to do. Right? If you are trying to help children in India and this other person over here is not in that for helping the children but is more in that for pumping their resume so that they, you know, can achieve things in their own life. You're gonna find out that you're in the middle of that. You know? So it's gonna, that's where we want you to get out of your comfort zone. Where we want you to get out of your comfort zone is breaking off those relationships. And say, and being brave, being willing to say... this we're... I'm not for everybody. I'm not for everybody. I want, I want people to sign on to my mission and my vision and what I'm trying to achieve because they think it's awesome. Because they really believe in what we're trying to do. I don't want anybody here who's just here to kind of take up space and add a line to their resume. You wouldn't want somebody working for you who was doing that. Who is really not dedicated to the things that you pursue every day in a workplace but who are just there to get this like line item on their resume so that they can move on to the things that are important to them. That's not fair to that person. It's not fair to you and so be authentic. Don't be afraid to use that as a sickle to kind of cut through the... all the people who are out there to follow you.

J: I just have to like point out that like being authentic does not be does not mean, being cruel, or rude, or unkind. That is not authenticity. That is absolutely not authenticity. It's showing up as, in a way, it's showing up at like 60%. I guess it’s what I say like not being full capacity. It's showing up willing to be messy and willing to not know it all and to be open to being present in that room and contributing how you can contribute. Sometimes you're wrong and your authentic self showing up being willing to be the wrong person in the room, that's authenticity, right? It's making this podcast and going where it is going to be bumpy and we're going to show up messy and we're not going to say the right things. We're doing it anyway. I just like to say that like not... you do not like everyone. Okay? I don't like everyone. You do not like everyone. Why is everyone supposed to like you? Huh?

M: Yeah.

J: What? No. We can be kind, but we can also, it's okay to make people uncomfortable. We have to stop making people so comfortable all the time and contorting ourselves to make other people comfortable. We have to do that public service. You know? We have to do that to our humanity so we can all start getting used to authentic people who make us a little uncomfortable. Not rude, just uncomfortable. I'm different. That's okay and yeah we've got to start spreading it. We gotta get comfortable with getting uncomfortable. I love how that, Michelle was talking about like being brave. How important that is too. How do you, how do you say it? Emulate being brave. Make it a part of you. Internalize being brave. Michelle, Michelle's got that in the bag. Like this girl, she like lives the courage. You know? But I know that that's not always easy for you. I know that that's...

M: No it's not, no.

J: Doesn't mean it's easy, because it's a value doesn't mean it's easy.

M: It's not easy. It is, you know it's important and I'm biased because it is my it is one of my core values but...

J: I like how you said that it's not easy but it's important.

M: It's very important. And you know some of the research that we did while we were building our website you brought up some statistics and some things about brands that are going to be, you know, brave and getting loud about what matters. People want to connect with purpose. One of the things that you found out there was that 67% of people buy from our brand for the first time based on its brave positioning on an important issue. Right, It... and brave doesn't have to be big, you know? Brave is just being willing to say like, I think this thing is important and know that everybody in the room's not going to agree with you. There might be people who are like listening to this and going what are you doing, you're driving people, they're gonna not conform, and this is messy. Well, it is messy. But we don't all want to be perfect duplicates of each other. We all want to be individuals. We all want to be seen as important and you can't do that if you're too busy trying to conform yourself and be the same as everybody and meet everyone's expectations. You've got to decide, you've got to put a priority together on who gets a say in your individuality? Who gets a say in what you should be striving for? Let me tell you what, the top of that list should be you. Because you're the one making the decisions, you're the one choosing the other people to tell you how to do it. So once you, once you're able to get to a place where you can live inside that, create space for you to have an opinion, other people will look at you and they will tell you you're brave. This happens to me and I'm like that that doesn't feel brave that just feels like me. And yeah I think it's, I think it really is about picking who you don't want to be followed by as much as you pick who you do want to be followed by. Because if you if you're trying to make yourself okay for the people who are going to be kind of big and aggressive in your groups you know there are people who you're authentically connecting with those are the people you really connect with who are going to get pushed out by bigger personalities because you're afraid of making somebody uncomfortable.

J: Michelle let me ask you. What's one way, or it doesn't have to be one but at least one, what's one way that you've shown up and done something small and brave? That you could give an example of.

M: Um...

J: I'm trying to think of like ways that we can show up in these brave ways and I think we talked about like a couple here. Like posting on that Facebook group that you're following. That can be so brave. For some of us, that's really really difficult to share that opinion or posting something on our actual feed. Another thing that I think would be really scary for me would be to start like a fundraiser. That's really scary to me like, who am I, who am I to make a fundraiser? Who's gonna donate to something I believe in? I'm just this small one person and how brave that that takes to believe in yourself and put yourself out there and ask people you know to start donating to a cause you care about. Or just talking about a cause, talking about a cause that you care about. When you hear, when you hear people talking ignorantly or they feel completely different about a subject than you do. Instead of being quiet, I'm speaking up and speaking up with love and understanding. Being willing to be wrong. That's, oh my gosh, I shake when I do that. Right? I think...

M: Making, making space for your idea in the conversation right? I think that it's, it has to be the right situation, you know? It's, it's not like we're gonna run out and and and inject ourselves in every place. But you know a lot of times I see people on my Facebook feed and they're all talking about one topic and like there's a point that I see so clearly that they're missing. It's not even that you know my opinion's right and theirs is wrong. It's just that there's this little concrete part that they, I'm not sure they're getting the way that they're talking. And if these are people I care about then I'm gonna probably speak up and say something and just be like well what about this? Sometimes it's just about asking questions and it's like listen I'm not trying to say you're wrong but I do want to introduce this question and I do want... if you really are confused about the other side of the argument. If you really are not sure about why I have some of those answers and I'd be happy to share them with you. And you know lots of the times they... they're not... it's they don't want to be challenged and that's not why they show up to that place. So just offering that you have this little piece of thing that they might not understand, depending on who's there some people might take you up on it. Then there are times when I have people kind of come at me aggressively and there's a point where I'm like, oh why am I even talking to this person? I'm not going to change their mind and if it's in a public forum like on social media it might be not about the person you're having a conversation with but about the people who are going to read that conversation. It also can just be about exploring your own position on it.

J: Yeah you get to define that right like you get to define that and it's something I've kind of been trying to implement lately. It is a super hard concept for me is, sometimes living in that brave authenticity and that value that I have means walking away.

M: Yeah.

J: It's so hard. Letting... and we were just talking about this the other day, walking away and letting other people have their own journey. Like they're not where you're at and to choose your values like freedom, freedom for me. If I can tell that this is a conversation that is going to bring me a lot like bring me to a place that is not going to move me to where my values are... like an option is don't do it, don't engage. I have, I have to check that for myself. Is this something I'm willing to... is this important enough that I'm willing to show up for this. Because we talked about it yesterday. You cannot care about everything. You need to stop caring about everything. It is not good for you. It is not healthy for you and it's not always going to serve you and get you to where you're going. I mean it sounds cruel but we have to cut it down. There's too many things to care about. Are we, because of social media, because of our access to so much information... I don't think human beings have ever had so many choices. We have choice overload. We have cause overload. We have cut right and man is inherently good. We want to do good things. We want to make an impact and we could... I've had this before where I was serving and working on a charity campaign and going home at the end of the day and hearing about another charity campaign where people need help and I just feel so terrible. I was like why am I not helping this charity too? I was like because you're... you can't help all the charities. You cannot participate in all the fundraisers. You know? You can't do all the service projects. you can't. You just...

M: And I think a really important dimension to kind of add to...

J: Oh no I froze.

M: ...those conversations with yourself... Are you still freezing?
How are you doing? ...I think a really important thing to add to the dimension of those conversations with yourself, right, when you're you're kind of conflicted because you're like I really want to help out with this thing but I really want to help out with this thing, take a minute and consider that other dimension of time. Right? Like what's most important to me that I take part in right now and take it, take an inventory. What's going on in my life right now? You know? Do I have enough pouring into my own cup to be able to pour out into other cups? I mean listen, if we are building the right audience this audience is full of people who believe in the greater good believe in really helping people believe in helping people here, helping people globally they really just want their do-gooders, they want to make everything a better place and one of the conflicts that we run into is, you know, what... I can't do everything. And taking care of yourself is going to allow you to take, you know, help somebody else out a week down the road, a month down the road, a year down the road. So never... try not to forget that dimension of time in those, in those times, in the decisions. When I talk about, you know, not engaging with energies that are leading you away from your values I mean that is something that takes out of your cup. Even if that's not willingly. Right? Any time you spend engaging with somebody and you're not able to focus on... I'm here to either learn or I'm here to have a conversation for the person who can't speak up for themselves or is afraid to speak up for themselves. Then you need to consider, you know, is this conversation taking out of my cup? Am I giving energy to something that I need, I need to conserve, I need to reserve that energy for these other things that are really important to me. And I think our lives get hectic, our lives get crazy, and sometimes we're not intentionally making those decisions in the moments that they happen we're just, like, caught up in the momentum of the world around us. And uh and it's helpful to be able to start focusing on some of these other things we've talked about earlier. Being authentic and being brave...

J: Yeah I love that. Yeah.

M: Not compromising for a big donor, you know? Are you gonna get... can you go out and get a dollar from a thousand followers is that gonna be harder than getting a thousand dollars from one person who's then going to make you do a bunch of things and make you feel like you owe them? You know, taking into consideration the energy transaction of the whole relationship with that person. Because if you have a thousand people who are happy to give you a dollar and don't even feel like you owe them anything for it. They're just, they're just happy to like throw that in the pot and see you move forward. That could be a lot less taxing over the course of a whole relationship than one person who wants to just give you everything but then wants to kind of control your choices in how you're going to pursue your purpose and your mission.

J: I love, I really really love that. Keep on course. Don't let other people take away from the course of your value, like your mission is and just because you feel like you're beholden to them or that you need them. You never need them as much as you think that you're going to. It's that illusion again coming back you know...

M: And we are so aware, in the nonprofit community, of how precious resources are. But we don't necessarily give enough weight to the space that we're leaving open for that person. Being a resource right? We're making space for that person and we're going against our own values. I've been in, I've been in non-profits. I've done volunteer work for non-profits as a photographer. I've heard those hard seasoned veterans just be like, these are just the things that you have to do to get your stuff funded, and as a doe-eyed, rosy rose-colored glasses young person entering the nonprofit that grizzled message can be a little bit harsh. Even now I'm a little bit older and I'm a little bit more mature and I'm like, you know it is a choice to decide that it is okay to reserve that space, which is a resource, for a person who doesn't align with where you're going. If you don't treat that space that you're leaving open for them as a resource then you're not, you're not giving yourself the opportunity to fill that space with one person who does align with your values or find people who align with your values who can you know add up to the same thing that one person did and make it a lot easier on you in the long term energy cost of that relationship.

J: I like that, the idea of like define your the no, define where that no boundary is. And also like, I don't know, I'm kind of playing with this idea like, not compromising on those two main values. There's so many other things we can compromise and bend on and we should be fluid with, you know? But there's some things it's hard no. Figure out what that hard no is early and stick to that so you can stay on that path where you're trying to get where you're going. Because if you are, if you are bending yourself for someone who can really take your cause, like, to the next level but you're having to stray clear away from the values and the mission that you first set up, that is not worth it. It really isn't.

M: Yeah we're not supposed to be satisfaction concierges for donors. That's really not what our job is. Our job is to pursue the mission that we set out to pursue or figure out it's not right for us. But our job is not to be a satisfaction concierge for a donor.

J: Nice. So Michelle, are there things that like you do that like... I'm wondering how... I really love the values that we're trying to lean into and I'm wondering like, how do we remind ourselves? Like what are some good tips to reminding ourselves what those values are because I think it needs to be something that's planned. Like planned into anything that we do. Some sort of check. I don't know. Like what could...

M: Absolutely, yeah there are a few different things right? And depending on what your endeavor is what you're, what you're pursuing. If you are an organization, you're a non-profit you have a business plan. You have those documents that you write up in the beginning as the vision of your business that are a living, breathing, evolving representation of those values and you can return to that as often as you feel like you need to. But definitely absolutely do it at least four times a year. Go back look at your mission. Check yourself and go, am I on the right path? Am I still pursuing this? If you go back and you're like, I'm not really sure. Your mission could be not clear enough. Right? Your mission could need some time... some clarity. Your mission could need to be tied to time and or you could have a substatement in there of what you're going to do over the next year or what you're going to accomplish over the next five years and that's the goal that drives every, all the activity. That's... are we moving toward that? If we're not, if we're not doing something that is actively moving toward us, us toward that then maybe we need to re-prioritize and make sure that activity is not getting 70 percent of our efforts. And if you are not in an organization or if you're just starting out and you haven't done your business plan, if you want to be an organization and you're just not sure how to start... Start by writing one. Because even if you don't even see yourself getting into this or starting some sort of cause for another five years or a decade write it down because we know that writing down your goals and creating more clarity, making them more concrete really will help you move toward those things. And if it's a personal goal, you know, write it down. Write it down. If you write it down and you're like me and you've got 15 notebooks sitting here with random notes and none of them are set aside for like one purpose or another... Julia and I laughed about that the other day because we both have the collection of notebooks at our desk then it doesn't matter. It really matters for you that you took the time to write it down. And that if you have that moment that you're feeling separated from what you're really pursuing that you can reach over and dig it out. But it's really good to put on a sticky note and stick it on your, you know, computer screen so you can stare at it every day. You know, if you're the type who likes to meditate then it's good to take some of that meditation and dedicate it toward visualizing success, visualizing, you know, visualizing having that vacation with your family. Visualizing making that extra family time that has you know. Making that separation from work. Especially in the days of the pandemic where we all work at home and the lines aren't as clear as when we used to commute to work. You know? Making that work free time during the week. Okay maybe you made an hour happen this week but you really really want to get to that time where you have a full day week that you're separating out for your family, or for yourself, or for your pet, or you know whoever you're setting that aside for. But take some time if you meditate to visualize that. If you don't meditate get up in the morning and go... what it, what will this look like? What will I look like when I achieve this goal? Once you start putting that kind of thought into it and not spending so much time being apprehensive about whether it's right to have that goal or whether you're capable of having that goal but you're really just participating in getting to that goal whether it's just in your thoughts or writing it down in a notebook. That's still a step past questioning yourself so... those are some ways.

J: I like that, also you can make it pretty. Put it...

M: Yes, yes the artist is going to tell you you can make it pretty.

J: Make some word art with it, put it in a picture frame. Make it pretty or make it your desktop. Something else I kind of do is I'll make a reminder for myself. I'll send myself a reminder that will say like a goal that I'm trying to keep at the top of my mind. You know? So that those will come through. I also like thinking like... this sounds like a lot. Like cutting stuff down. Being fierce with narrowing things down to really small and like really sticking to that value. I can see how that might make some people feel really anxious and really overwhelmed. It's really narrowing things and for someone like me who freedom is one of my values you know... The mindset here, the mindset here is that narrowing this stuff down and being this...

M: Selective?

J: Yes. Selective. Creates freedom right?

M: Constraint in the right place will create freedom in other places. Yeah. I think that's a really important idea. You can't just have freedom all the time and expect to be able to reach your goals. If you can't reach your goals what kind of freedom is that? If you are not deciding what your purpose is and not deciding to, you know, prioritize things in your life then what? You're just floating through the events that happened to you. Most people I know don't want to live like that. So if achieving things is your, is your jam like ours is then you know, constraint in the right place, being selective about the people you choose to support you in those things is going to buy you the freedom to be able to realize it. And that'll feel really good.

J: So like it just takes a little extra time right now to narrow those down. Put it in place. Make it a part of your mission statement. Make it at the top of your project list when you're making your project and your goals or any other thing in your life. Spend some time doing it now so it saves you so much time later and Michelle and I, I'm sorry. Excuse me. Michelle and I took some time to like you know like... I like to go super fast on stuff. I like to skip steps. I just want to do the fun stuff. But like she was really good at like bringing that back. Hey, we've got to define this. We've got to define our business and our values. Honestly what's really cool is kind of seeing the, seeing that process from, you know, months ago. Where we took all that time to carve that out and sometimes it was grueling. Sometimes I was like, why is it so hard? I don't want to be doing this. Like this is taking so much time, but I'm seeing it now. I'm seeing so many blessings. I'm seeing so many blessings from taking the time to do that now. And I don't have to take time now when I'm starting to talk to people about our business or what we do or what our values are... I don't have to take time to be like, oh, and try to remember what it is or try to define what it is. I know what it is because we carved it. Like we carved it in and out but we know what it is. So I don't... and that frees me up to be present for what we need to be working on now. For this podcast. We know what our values are when we're talking about this podcast. We know the direction that we want for this podcast and the values we want to shine in that because we took the time to carve it out. So we're not having to guess that here. We're not having, we're not having to take time when we're planning our episodes to even define what our value is. You know, and we're able to focus on that. It's bleeding into so many things and it's creating freedom in ways that I've never, I've never even expected. So yeah, definite advocate for finding those values, taking the time to like really defining it. So we're ending. We're getting close to ending our second...

M: Second podcast...

J: Second podcast. Yes. So we've got some takeaways to kind of bring back like what we're really trying to communicate here. So Michelle, like, why don't you go ahead with that. What are the takeaways from this episode?

M: This episode we really wanted to be able to communicate to you, you know, that building a community surrounds you with people who will nurture and support you in your purpose, your pursuits. Taking the time to consider who these individuals are, what they're like will allow you to find them. Even if you make a mistake. Even if you're wrong you're gonna find the wrong people and figure out that they're wrong really quickly. And then, you know, lastly, just building that selective community is really about you know attracting the kind of community and audience that are going to help support us and our purpose is really about being selective and showing up to test whether your hypothesis about who these people are is right. But being authentic. Being who you are. Being brave enough to make those cuts um... I have a thing that I say sometimes where I remind myself that we're not for everyone. We're not, and that's a good thing. It's a good thing because the people we are gonna work with they're gonna be really excited about the things that we do for and the people that we're not meant to work with we're never going to make them happy and I would really hate to waste any of the time I could be spending with the people we are here for on somebody that, you know, I'm not gonna, I'm not gonna satisfy them. That I'm not what they're looking for and I have as much goodwill for them that they can find the person that they need to work, with the person who says it in the right way that it resonates with them. So yeah, just remember that being selective in your community and who's involved in your community, that allows you to save space for the people who are right for you.

J: Yeah I love that. you're not everyone's cup of tea. You were never meant to be everybody's cup of tea. You're not built that way. We cannot run this world?

M: Who would want butterscotch as every meal, right? Butterscotch coffee, butterscotch pan... wait I'm getting hungry. No, but butterscotch dinner salad, yuck!

J: I love that so much. Be weird, okay.

M: Yeah, be brave.

J: Sum it all up, be weird and use it to make impact. You know? Use your weirdness and your uniqueness ...make people uncomfy. So thank you.

M: They'll love you for it.

J: They'll love you for it. Your weirdos will be attracted to it. And thank you for joining us for our second podcast episode. We're so glad that you're here. We are going to be trying to feature, starting next month, we're gonna be featuring a non-profit or a charity or a do-gooder or cool cause, and we're gonna be featuring that person all month long and we're even gonna interview them, possibly, if they will come on to our podcast. So if you have a really cool cause, we want to hear about it. So put it in the show note and, not show notes are for us. I gotta get used to...

M: Put it in the comments.

J: Comments. Yes, put it in the comments. Tell us about your cause or you can email us at or We want to hear from you guys. We want to hear what you want us to talk about, what makes... what makes you passionate, what causes you're interested in, or if you don't have a cause comment on a cause that you love. We're looking for people to feature. Maybe it's not, maybe it's not your non-profit but you know one that's really cool. We want to hear about it so we can feature them. And one last thing, we give you a little nugget. I like to end these podcasts with an affirmation. So this week's affirmation for you is, I respect my authentic self and release the need to prove my worth to anyone else. You're the only one that matters and can define what your value is and who you're supposed to be. And ways, we touched on this last time, to implement this is to use it in your meditation, say it, or say it in front of a mirror so you're saying it to yourself. It helps you retain it and remember it. Hide it on a post-it note all around your house so it surprises you and if it's an affirmation that you're really wanting to learn and you want to keep it for a couple weeks another great tip—another great ADHD tip—is move your post-its around so they keep surprising you. All right. It's time to sign off now remember every small act of courage no matter how small is actually not small at all. A little Dr. Seuss rhyming her. You, my dear, are standing among the lionhearts.


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Propel Your Mission By Defining Your Purpose | Among Lionhearts Podcast Episode 1

Learn how to have more focus and direction towards what really matters to you. We talk about why defining your purpose serves you and how to define your purpose in business and personal life while enabling you to contribute to the greater good.

Show Notes


J: Welcome to the Among Lionhearts podcast. I’m Julia and this is…

M: Michelle.

J: And we are your new loudmouth, change-making, do-gooder best friends here to embolden you to take more action, risk, and heart towards creating a more just, equitable, and brave world. If you’re wanting to have more focus and direction towards what really matters to you then today’s episode is for you. We are going to be talking about why defining your purpose serves you and how to actually define your purpose in business, personal life, and help you contribute to the greater good. So thank you for joining us today we are very excited to have you this is our first ever podcast! 

M: This is history. 

J: Yes! We’re so excited so many things have gone into making this happen. It’s been a long journey and I don’t know this is really special and we really appreciate everyone who is turning tuning in today. It’s not going to be perfect right but we’re gonna we’re doing it anyway. Michelle like so I’m just gonna jump into it, so to kind of get started off like trying to get into this mindset dive a little bit deeper into finding our purpose and why it serves us. I wanted to ask Michelle a question to get this started. So Michelle how long have we been friends?

J: I’m trying to start with an easy one.

M: It is an easy one but it does date us. We’ve been friends since we were eight years old which is about 30 years and uh we grew up across the street from each other in a tiny little town in the middle of nowhere, Utah, and yeah we’ve been friends ever since. We’ve been through thick and thin and we’ve talked multiple times about doing a business together and for some reason, the stars aligned this time and we were able to launch Among Lionhearts. So we’re excited to share that with everyone.

J: Yes we are very excited and I couldn’t ask for a better business partner. So Michelle how would you describe you and I as kids or teenagers any of our adolescents as popular?

M: No I would not use popular to describe us. There are many many good adjectives but popular is not one of them.

J: How would you describe us?

M: Quirky comes to mind.

J: That’s very very fair. Yeah what else you got? 

M: Full of joy, unstoppable. We were a force of nature and we were very… animated.

J: Animated that’s good, that’s a really good one. 

M: Yes.

J: So I agree with all of those things. I think mostly Michelle and I just like, we were just really grateful to spend any time together. Honestly, and it didn’t matter what was happening in our life. We just tried to make the most of what was happening at the time. Just being together and letting some of our troubles kind of… not be present, and that was really really nice. So since we’re talking about purpose today on our very first podcast I was looking back at us as young girls and stuff and I think about those two girls and I imagine them and I wonder what they thought their purpose was going to be and what we valued as little girls and has that changed much? What do you think, if you had to describe like maybe what your values were back then as a kid what would you say like those main ones were?

M: Well, conquering the world certainly comes to mind.

J: Yeah.

M: We were always… we were… I don’t know.

J: I know we like to go deep fast. 

M: I know. Aren’t we supposed to talk about the values that we dug into and discovered or because I mean those have always been there. 

J: Yeah it’s like those values change and stuff and I wanted to hear… I know that we grew up in hard, hard situations and stuff and I know that as we’re older our circumstances have changed and stuff but I think if I had to say like what my value when I was younger… It was to find a safe place. I think a lot of things that I did were just trying to carve out safe places for myself. 

M: Yeah.

J: Safe places where I could feel calm. Those came in different forms but if I had to say like… That was my main thing I was just seeking. Everything felt so really out of control and some of those calm places came in the form of me running off back behind my house there’s big trees clear across the field.

M: Yep.

J: We buried a time capsule out there once. I don’t know if you remember that but there’s a time capsule out there. One day we’ll have to dig it up.

M: I do remember doing that but yeah I have no idea where it is. I think I’m terrified to find out what we put in it.

J: I think it’s not gonna be as impressive as we like to think it is. 

M: I’m sure we were like this is going to be so awesome when we dig it back up. You’re just so aware of what you’re going to think is awesome as a 40-year-old when you’re 12. 

J: No right? So definitely for me it was finding calm and finding little places where I could get that and sometimes that was like running out there, sometimes it was, you know, focusing on a project, a craft project, or a painting thing. Honestly, I think that’s why I was so drawn to you at such a young age and stuff because we were weird, we were doing weird things, and we were living through a lot of traumatic stuff. I always felt like there was a calm that came to being weird with someone else that was weird. You know?

M: Acceptance was the word that kept coming to mind. You know?

J: Yeah, but for me, that was a sense of calm. There was always like… I remember my youth and it feels like a pit in my stomach. You know? That was never going away. Like I was never good enough, I was never going to amount too much and there was just so much I had to overcome. I could feel it at a very young age. It was nice to just be weird with someone and it was nice just to like… it was funny because we were going through so much but we never really talked about it till we were older. Like much much older. But we were in the thick of it both having so much trauma and experiencing that side by side. When we were together we tried to make it just fun and weird and you know… 

M: I would almost say that we gave each other the opportunity to have a childhood because there were so many things happening in our lives that really forced us to grow up to deal with mature things that you wouldn’t have to deal with at such a young age. We gave each other the space to have a childhood.

J: Yeah, I think also like Michelle and I are really really fortunate that we had each other at such a young age and we were both so ambitious and out of our ignorance we were super ambitious and I remember Michelle always talking about being an astronaut one day or building rockets or something like that and my goal was just to be rich. Like, whatever that path took? I will be rich and then I will do lots of things and have lots of crafts and you know? We wanted these really big things and we would have people often look at us and I would see when Michelle spoke we had teachers that would look at her and I could see that they were like… um, do they not know? Do they not know?

M: The answer is no we didn’t and that’s a good thing. 

J: You know we lived in a really small town and the teachers knew what kind of families we came from. That we came from very broken homes and we came from very poor, poor families that had a lot of trauma going on and we were the weird girls, we were the girls that didn’t quite fit in. So we gathered all the other weirdos and you know? So when teachers would ask us like what do you want to be when you grow up like and we would tell them and we would have these like big lofty goals. You know? They would look at us like… Sure… Should we tell them like I don’t know? 

M: No definitely don’t tell them.

J: Yeah and thank goodness nobody really told us. So you know I think that we had it hard enough as it was and we were hard enough critics on ourselves that it’s good that we had a lot of people along the way who also either lied to us and told us, You’re going to be awesome, I appreciate lying can be very, you know… 

M: Strategic? Kind?

J: Kind, I need to say stuff like that. I’m really really grateful for that because we’re here today we’re here. Who are friends 30 years later and creating businesses together you know? I’m feeling very humble today that I’m here 30 years later with my best friend from the time I was a little girl. You know? And talking about purpose. So let’s get into this a little bit more. If we had to say like why does defining your purpose serve you? Why is that so important that we need to define our purpose? What do you think Michelle?

M: Well I think that in any undertaking, any endeavor that you have in life, being able to clarify and know your purpose gives you the ability to chart a path for yourself and especially when we are doing really challenging things. Things that can feel like they have a lot of chaos involved. Being able to return to that purpose and remember why. Why am I here? Why am I challenging myself this way? Why am I participating in something that is so hard? If you take the time to establish that why and figure out what it is that’s so important and why you chose to be there in the first place. I think I know people in my life who have made conscious choices about joining a team or being in a situation and then, you know, if a few months go by, a year goes by, challenges arise, things get difficult and you lose a little bit of that rosy patina of what you had in the beginning of this goal and suddenly you feel like you didn’t choose it. You feel like… Why was I even doing this? Why did I even think that? I know we all have a really large tendency to kind of be hard on ourselves about it. So we tend to tell ourselves that, you know, we didn’t see something coming. We didn’t keep ourselves safe or keep good boundaries, and oftentimes it’s not even about that. It’s about, you made a priority, you made a choice and if you can remind yourself of that when that path gets rocky then you can usually bridge the gap between, you know, the good times and the good times on the other side of those obstacles. I feel like it’s a really, really important activity. The importance of it really can’t be understated, so taking the time to find your why, to communicate your why with your team, and to make sure you know about their why so that everybody can share in motivating each other. I feel like is a foundational activity.

J: Yeah, I really like that. I think I’ve heard in several books that I’ve written and some of my favorite podcasts them expressing that when we divide up our attention and our power to too many purposes then nothing really has purpose. Like, you’re not giving any of these things that really matter to you, and that you’re trying to get to you’re not giving them enough power. How important it is for us to really narrow that purpose down so we can fly and hit those goals that we really want because we really only have so much energy right? We really have only so many hours in the day and we oftentimes things like balance we got to balance everything if we put a whole… if we have 10 marbles, you know, that’s we just put them all in all these different cups and stuff like that.

M: 10 different bins.

J: Yeah and honestly you actually don’t get very far that way. Who is it that said… I can’t remember who said it but someone was saying like if everything matters, nothing matters. 

M: Yeah.

J: You know and there’s too many important things on this earth to care about. There’s too many purposes. We’re not meant to care about every single thing in this world and I know that’s hard to hear. It’s hard for me to understand, it’s something I have to tell myself all the time. Julia, you cannot solve all the problems. You cannot be a part of every single thing you want to be a part of. As much as you want to. You have to narrow down what you’re gonna put your energy and your power into. So other things that are really important that like narrowing down your purpose does that I’ve read from other blogs and other experts on the subject is having clear direction and having that foundation you can rely back on when you start getting wayward. We talked about that a little bit. So many times like as we’re doing projects or we’re hitting goals all these other little mini goals come in to try to distract us and we find ourselves doing all those other ones and then we realize, oh no we’ve lost track you know, and when we remember our purpose we get back on track. Then we have also kind of one that was kind of surprising for me to learn about is building trust. When we define our purpose we actually build trust in so many ways. When we define our purpose and we live our purpose we define trust in ourselves by being more dependable and by having that foundation and redirecting ourselves back onto our goals. When we do that we build evidence that we’re gonna hit our goals you know because we know how to like stay on track because we’ve got this purpose that we’ve defined. We invest in other people too, which is kind of really cool. That, I’ve learned is when people know that you’re someone who knows their purpose and stays on track with that purpose you’d be the messiest person in the world, you know, and be the most flawed person in the world but if you know your purpose and you filter your life and your choices through that purpose you’re a lot more steady person and people are a lot more attracted to your purpose. Did you have any other thoughts on why it’s really important to define your purpose?

M: No I actually think that between what you and I have said we’ve covered it fairly well. I’m sure I will think of other things later.

J: Okay so now we’ve defined why it’s important. Now we’re going to talk about how to actually do it, right? 

M: Yes. 

J: So it’s always like one thing to point out what is wrong, what you need to do but I always want to be told how do you actually do it. 

M: Yes.

J: I get really frustrated when people give me advice. 

M: Do the thing! How? 

J: Okay that’s nice and all. Now how do you actually do it? 

M: Yeah.

J: I have to say though like Michelle and I as we were building this business we took some time one day as we kind of felt the stress kind of rising between the two of us and we picked up one of our favorite books we’re super into right now. It’s Brene Brown’s Dare to Lead, probably everybody’s heard of it and she also has an amazing podcast. If you’re not listening to Brene Brown I don’t know what you’re doing. Okay.

M: Yeah if you haven’t been exposed yet she has a… she was a researcher, which kind of speaks to me because I’m a bit of a science nerd. So I really enjoy the scientific approach but she’s also talking about things that are very human, you know it’s not this sterile clinical thing. She’s talking about shame, she’s talking about bravery, she’s talking about how to become the person that you want. I really don’t, I think it can be good for anybody who takes the time. I know that the way that she speaks about things really speaks to me.

J: Yes me too and she’s been actually really helpful in us building our business. Michelle, she’s actually dedicated like almost half her book to discovering your purpose and value and narrowing it down. So definitely check that out and what I really love about this book is there’s a section in it here where she lists a whole bunch of the values for you to go over if you want to do quizzes with yourself and kind of narrow down what yours is. I definitely recommend that. Michelle and I sat down and we did that one afternoon and we think we know each other pretty good, you know, so you know we’ve known each other since we were basically babies. What’s kind of interesting is as much as I know Michelle, there are things I discovered about her and and and what like drives her. We oftentimes think it’s the same thing because we see so much of each other in each other and were so influenced by each other but we had very very different values. It turns out that they actually complement each other which was kind of really neat to…

M: Yeah.

J: …to read about. One of my values is freedom and I was kind of surprised that mine was freedom but it kept jumping out of the page at me and as I thought about me being that little girl who wanted that place of calm. For me that calm was freeing and I can see how, like, as a child how finding that peace was was so much freedom for me. Running out to the trees in the backyard and just having like an hour to myself. How much that that would reshape my mindset even. I’d be able to go back and face some of the hard realities of my life just being able to have those moments of freedom and that was really neat to kind of discover. Michelle, why don’t you tell us about one of yours? 

M: So the one that jumped off the page for me was courage, and for people who know me that might not be a surprise but I was a little surprised, and then as I looked at you know the way that I made decisions. The way that I made the really big decisions in my life, it was really clear that I held courage in such really high regard. There were times when I had to make big choices about scary things way before I was ready and I always took the one that felt harder, but I knew it was right. There was no question to me that it was the right thing to do and I knew those choices were going to be harder for me. I didn’t… like it didn’t even occur to me to shy away from it because I knew it would be hard. I remember in one particular case having family members look at me and go, did you understand how hard this is going to be, and I was like, I understand exactly how hard this is going to be and that’s part of why I chose it was because I could take the easy way out but that’s not going to be right for me and I know that I need to make the choice that is scary and I need to make the choice that is hard because that’s what’s going to lead me to ultimately the place that I that feels right for me. That translates right into my second value which is kindness, because so much of those, you know, choices were about… I could do the thing that protects me but it wouldn’t be the thing that is kind to the people the other people that are involved in the decision and I don’t think that it would necessarily be the thing that’s kind to myself over the long term because believing that you’re not capable of stuff isn’t really kind. We both experienced a lot of people in our lives telling us that we weren’t capable of doing things, you know? Julia touched on that with teachers and other kids our age looking at us and going do they know and it was really about showing up for ourselves and having the kindness to keep our own dreams alive and there were times that I made decisions because I didn’t want to… I didn’t want to show my kids that it was okay to compromise with the things that they want to do in life. So yeah my two values ended up being courage and kindness and I felt like they just underlie every decision I’ve ever made in my life. 

J: I really love that. So the experts, they say how do you define your values and how we do that is you make a list of values, you make a list of purposes and you write as many out as possible and then you filter through it with this question and it’s “Does this make me, when I do this, when I emulate this value does this make me the best version of myself that I want to be?” Really look deep into yourself and think of the moments that you really liked yourself, that you really showed up in a way that was sustaining to you, that motivated you to do the next step. I know sometimes that can be the first tricky part is like just even thinking of a time when you showed up for yourself in a way that you really wanted to. You know, like an example of that might be when was the time where I showed up as the best version of the mom that I want to be? Not what my kids want me to be or what I think my kids want me to be but the best version that I would define as a mom. Or when was the time when I showed up as the best version of myself when I was kind to somebody when I served somebody else and I was the kind of person that I want to be to somebody else? When I showed up as the kind of friend I want to be to somebody else. In business that looks like how did I show up at work for myself that felt like the most me and the best version of me that I defined for myself? What did that look like? What did that moment look like? Then start going through your values and looking at those words and be like does this is this define the best version of me that I want to be? We have got to stop defining our best versions of ourselves from somebody else’s point of view or somebody else or society’s point of view of what they tell us is the best version of a mom or a woman or an entrepreneur or as a friend or someone in the community. We have to stop doing that. The only person’s opinion and the only person that can define your best version of yourself is you. So start filtering through those questions and see how you do. See if you can cut, make it a goal to get to ten. Make it a goal to cut to five. Be fierce about it, you know, and cut it all the way down. Try to get to those two and then when you get those two live it! Filter everything through it! So I don’t know Michelle if you remember part of the book that like we kind of listened to with Brene Brown but I love the part that she talked about, that she noticed she feels really out of control and really starts seeing more anger appearing in her life when she starts making decisions away from her core values and I really felt that. I don’t like know, do you have experiences like that?

M: Absolutely. I mean I feel like I’ve had to stay in jobs that didn’t feel like they fit me entirely, didn’t feel like the whole of who I was belonged where I was working. And in those moments you know I look back on it and I go, why did I spend so much time there? I knew it was not a good fit after just a little bit and then the answer is because I prioritized, you know, taking care of my family. I spent a lot of time as a single mom and I really didn’t want my kids to have to live through some of the things that I had to live through in my childhood so I prioritized my kids. But I definitely felt conflicted inside because I didn’t feel like it was the courageous thing to do but it was a kind thing to do. So it’s interesting how things like that that you feel really conflicted in internally because they force you to go away from some of those core values. You can stay there for a bit but ultimately, in my life, they do end up ending or changing transitioning into something else. I’ve been fortunate enough to be in a position where I could springboard off of the time that I spent trying to do the right thing as a parent and propel myself into a place where I can live both of the values at the same time. It won’t be any easier than any of those others. It will definitely be terrifying but as I said before 

I like the hard road. 

J: I think we’re definitely at a point in our life where we are done living other people’s expectations of who we are. We’re all so over we are too old for that. 

M: Which is funny because we started there and then it was like we had life kind of teach us like, no bad get back in the box, and there was a whole period of both of our lives where we were like, oh maybe they’re right maybe I need to be maybe I’m too much, maybe I need to be a little less extra, maybe I need to be a little bit quieter. It’s funny because my favorite quote is the Marianne Williamson quote about our biggest, our greatest fear being um not the darkness inside us but the light. And it talks about you know keeping yourself small so that other people can be comfortable around you and every year that I get a little bit older I come back to no, you know, being who you are, being able to live your values, being able to be that bright light who yeah, doesn’t fit, but inspires other people that… go ahead.

J: I think it’s been… I am definitely one of the luckiest girls in the world. I happen to have a best friend whose value is courage. Especially lately, you know, Michelle here, you know, I’m just extra grateful for you and your courage and the courage that you pour into me to help me be brave. Just so all of you know, Michelle almost daily is telling me, you know, like probably our whole lives actually if I really think about it but I know she’s been having to do it extra lately with us building our business. She’s always telling me, Julia you don’t need to conform, and, stop trying to conform, the conformity is ruining you. Stop it! It’s so neat to be a part of a business where and get to have my best friend as my partner and the encouraging words that she tells me every day to live brave and to reach towards what brings me freedom in my life. To live as authentically as possible because every day that I lean into that I feel like I’m breathing easier and easier every day and I am so excited for this path of learning to live more in our purpose and living this very narrowed, valued centered life with you as we move on with our business. I’m so excited for that because I feel so hopeful. So hopeful for that freedom that I have been hungry for my whole life and I get to be just me… and that’s enough. It’s enough to have a full meaningful, beautiful life and my business partner and best friend telling me that every single day. So like y’all need to get a best friend like Michelle. We’re here if you don’t get one we’ll be your new best friends.

M: Absolutely.

J: All right, any last thoughts as we kind of any last things that like we should touch on about that leaning on your purpose. I do have one like with business…

M: Absolutely.

J: Oh you go first and I’ll see if it’s the same as mine.

M: We need to come back around because we didn’t hit your second value and I think that that’s a really important note to kind of touch on, and I think it really beautifully kind of wraps up this whole talk we’ve been having. 

J: Okay.

M: So tell us about your other value.

J: Okay now she’s asking me the questions. All right so my second value is actually inspiration. And if I’m not inspired I don’t want to be here. So I’m just gonna go ahead and say it you guys are gonna pick it up I have ADHD pretty bad. It’s on the spectrum, so it’s pretty far on the spectrum but there’s some really cool things with that too and the part of that is that I want to be inspired all the time. Whether it’s like a sunset, I just like to go outside and I’m a sunflower and I’m just like, oh yes inspire me! I can just live in that moment for… until the sun goes down. If I’m not being, if I’m not inspired, I’m not interested in being there but very small things inspire me so that’s good. It doesn’t take much to, you know, make me excited about being present. But yeah it does it leads into everything and as you can see we’re in my art studio if you’re watching the youtube video, if you’re on the podcast, I am filming in my art studio. This was a big—a really big dream of mine that I’ve had since I was a little girl to create my own art studio. Art studios are just as cool as you think they are. If you’re thinking about doing an art studio and you dream about it, let me just tell you it is worth it! 

M: Find a way to make it happen.

J: Yes, they totally work. I don’t even know what. Why I thought like once we built this art studio you know, I remember being in here on like day three in my art studio and I was like, I’m getting so much done. I’m so inspired. I’m like, oh wait it’s because it’s an art studio and that’s what they’re made to do. so um yeah that makes sense. Yeah, so build yourself an art studio if you want one. You know, do it. I don’t know if that’s what you were looking for Michelle but that’s what I got.

M: Absolutely, no I think the reason I wanted to bring everybody back around to inspiration is because you know we’ve talked about why it’s important to find your value and why establishing that serves you and how to define that. But I feel like we need to touch just a little bit on Among Lionhearts and, you know, the reason that we started Among Lionhearts was because we decided we really… we’ve always kind of been right fighters, do-gooders. We’ve been very empathic people for the majority of our lives and you know we’re always cheering on the underdog which is not surprising because we were the square pegs for sure. And I think that when you are searching for your why, for your purpose, it’s important to make sure that you’re finding that way that does inspire you, that does help you get out of bed on the hard days. You know because on the good days it’s really easy to roll out of bed and get in there but, you know, what is going to help you, what is going to inspire you to jump out of bed on the hard days and rush in when you’ve got deadlines, when you’ve got something going wrong before one of your events, or you know a donor that you need to help or bring them back around to why they’re in it too. I think it’s just it’s just really really important to remind people that it’s not just enough to find your why but your why also needs to inspire you. 

J: Yeah, so I absolutely agree with that and I would have to say on that like, under that inspiration and that’s leaning into our purpose Michelle and I came up with how can we live our most purpose-driven life? And that’s where we come up with Among Lionhearts. Michelle and I have these very specific skills that we have developed through our life, through business, through just sheer grit of needing to learn certain skills to get through so many things and to progress the way that we wanted to. We’ve come to a point in our lives where we want to do more and we’re ready to do more and we’re just not being as effective in the careers that we were having and so we took a giant leap to live into these values to get into business together. We’ve created this digital marketing agency that we couldn’t be more excited about and we’re bringing our 30 plus years combined skills in non-profit work, and in the corporate world, as influencers, and brand coaches and bringing all of that together because we want to see the do-gooders win! 

M: Yes!

J: We want to see them win!

M: Yes!

J: Yeah, we’re so tired of seeing so many underdogs just not make it because they didn’t have the resources, they didn’t have the connections that they needed. Michelle and I are at this point in our lives and in our skills where we were hitting we were hitting the tops of the ceilings and we weren’t going any further and we weren’t making the impact that we wanted to and we’re like, hey let’s do something crazy… let’s do something bold. And the thing is when you’re when your best friend is your partner and it’s been your hype person your whole life, you know, you can get into trouble. Because…

M: Yeah.

J: We believe in each other fiercely! You know, sometimes that ends up in a boat ride that you shouldn’t be going on and flinging your legs and being too young but…

M: I don’t know about not you know that you shouldn’t be going on it.

J: Wild birthdays.

M: I will maybe agree with the point that there’s a concern that it could be an echo chamber but sometimes there’s you know it’s really good to have an echo chamber of encouragement and friendship and somebody who believes in you and somebody who understands your intention in every move. You know, somebody you can call and just tell them that you had a bad day and somebody misunderstood something and you know have your friend go well you didn’t mean it like that. You don’t even have to explain that part because you have somebody there who understands. And if you don’t have one of those you need just make sure you’re showing up for our podcast because we are definitely that for everybody that we end up championing and being friends with so. We’ve got a bunch of those on the outside of this relationship too. I promise.

J: So let us be your hype ladies. Let us be your loudmouth change makers. We are here for it and we want to help you guys drive your causes forward. We want to hit, we want to help you hit those finish lines. So reach out to us if you have a cause, if you have a non-profit or for-profit business or if you’re a social enterprise and you’re needing help with your social media. If you want to get into influencer advertising, anything like that with content marketing. We are your girls for it. We are not going to let you down and we’re gonna shoot you to the moon.

M: Yes.

J: We’re very very excited about that and if you’re here and you don’t have one of those things and you’re just a do-gooder there’s so much good stuff for you too we’re gonna be talking about… we want to talk, we want to connect with the individual person who wants to make a difference in this world. So before we wrap up… I think that’s, I think that’s good for us. We talked about all the things on my list I’m checking off here. This is how you do podcasts right?

M: Right right right right. 

J: I hope you enjoyed this. We are going to be featuring a non-profit every month and so if you’re a non-profit please leave a comment, leave a review, email us, tell us about your non-profit, what you’re doing and we’re going to be happy to feature you. We hope to feature someone every month and just continue growing that. Before we sign off we have a little goodie for you and I want to leave you with a little affirmation. Affirmations are so powerful and I really really have been blessed by discovering affirmations this year in my life, and what’s really cool about affirmations and saying them out loud is that your brain actually doesn’t know the difference between the words you say out loud to yourself and the internal monologue that you’re saying to yourself every day. So say good stuff to yourself. This week’s affirmation is… “I trust that I have the skills, talents, and abilities within me to serve my life’s purpose.” Trust yourselves, lean into your values. If you really want to take advantage of this affirmation there’s three ways to kind of really help you internalize it this week. And that’s incorporate it in your meditation. Try looking in the mirror as you say this affirmation, or try putting it on some post-it notes and hide it all around the house so it surprises you with your affirmation and keeps it at the forefront of your mind. 

M: We will have that affirmation in the show notes on our website so don’t rewind and try and write down. I swear you can go to the website and just pick it up right there. 

J: Thank you for joining us for our first-ever podcast. We hope that we have a lot more for you. It’s time to sign off but I want you to remember every small act of courage no matter how small is not actually small at all. You, my dear, are standing among the lionhearts.

M: Yes.

J: All right.