wholeness

Girls rising. A poem

Danielle Strickland Headshot.jpg

Danielle Strickland

A Guest Post

First, a word from April.

Danielle is a justice warrior and communicator to her core. She wrote these words on her website earlier this year, and I asked if we could share here in response to her podcast episode released earlier today. She lives and breathes leading people to live with wholeness.

I dream of this for all our warrior girls, too…


This poem was written as I dreamt of all girls rising towards the sun.

Towards the sun. 

Like a young girl rising at dawn, a warrior. 

I fight. To be Free. 

Wandering through the meadow, I search. 

For. A sign. 

Show me where to go, to live. 

A life. full.

Take me to the place, to see. 

A whole. World. 

 

Peace. Be still. 

My beating heart. 

Like a thorough bred I run, free. 

Jump. The fences. 

Run baby run, so no one catches you. 

Be. Me. 

It’s all I have to offer, this wild gallop. 

It is. Enough. 

Don’t look back or even think it. 

Go. ahead. 

Hope. Be fueled. 

My swelling dreams. 

Like a sunflower raised to meet the sun, alive. 

I rise. To be full. 

Lifting my head to turn my gaze, to the one. 

Who gives. Life. 

My life open to your rays. 

I breathe. Light. 

No space for fear, anymore. 

Open. inhale.

Life. Be full. 

My whole life. 

Creating a Personal Strategy for Relational Energy

Ashlee Eiland - Ezer + Co.

Ashlee Eiland

A Guest Post

First, a quick word from April.

Ashlee Eiland - The Global Fringe

In this week’s podcast episode, Ashlee Eiland talks about transition and loss. Even while she’s in the messy middle of her own massive transition, she speaks to what’s been necessary for her to find clarity and lead herself toward wholeness.

Ashlee wisely connects our internal wholeness journey to her capacity to externally navigate challenging circumstances. It’s easy to not value caring for your body in the midst so much instability, but Ashlee reminds us how critical it is.

In the following article she takes us deeper into managing your energy, which becomes even more important in chapters of transition and loss. Designing a personal strategy to manage your energy (even more important than your time) will unlock you to new levels of self-leadership. This article first appeared HERE with the author’s permission.


As a communicator, one of the best questions that was ever asked about my preparation process was: How are you managing your energy?

Up until that point, I’d spent most of my time focused on crafting great content and visuals versus paying much attention to how I was physically preparing myself to deliver that content.

I came up with a strategy that included a commitment to how I’d manage my physical energy before, during and after each sermon or presentation. This strategy included great sleep at least two consecutive nights beforehand, eating well, and then being intentional about my activity and outputs immediately after I stepped off a stage. That one question has made a world of a difference in how I prepare, deliver and debrief my messaging.

Energy is what makes us effective in our workplaces, homes and personal relationships.

For years, great thinkers have been asking leaders like you and me questions like this to help us tweak and improve upon our personal effectiveness—all of which, at their core, require some sort of energy management.

Whether the strategy helps us manage the operational and strategic legs of our businesses and organizations—or our emotional and physical energy as we seek to become our best selves, energy is what makes us effective in our workplaces, homes and personal relationships.

But there’s another type of energy management that plays a key part in how we look at our personal effectiveness: relational energy.

This time, the question came from a former manager as we were both headed home from work:

How’d you end your day today? he asked.

I paused and let him know that I’d sent a few e-mails to volunteers, had organized some files and then had met with a student who was a part of our ministry.

How’d you feel after your meeting with her? he asked.

I thought it was interesting that he’d only singled out my meeting with the student. With curiosity, I responded: It was pretty taxing, actually. She’s going through a pretty hard time—and even though I’m glad I met with her, I’m pretty wiped out.

Bingo.

He latched onto my response right away and turned it into a teaching moment I’ll never forget. He shared this wisdom:

– In addition to what I do (my outputs and managing my operational energy)
– And how I do it (tapping into my emotional and physical energy)
– I had to start paying attention to who was a part of my daily rhythms.

Our relational energy, if we take the initiative to think it through, could exponentially maximize the energy we have to exert in other areas of our work.

Because paying attention to the strategy of who was a part of my day could have a major impact on the energy I bring to other parts of my work and ministry.

Our relational energy, if we take the initiative to think it through, could exponentially maximize the energy we have to exert in other areas of our work.

By paying attention to how human and relational interactions could potentially make us feel before we engage them, we can—at least sometimes—strategically order our days to give us the perfect recipe for maximum energy.

It works like this:

1. Take a quick self-assessment.

When do you do your best work or thinking as an individual contributor? If you’re like me, your best thinking happens in the early hours of the morning, before e-mails start to fly or the patter of small feet can be heard overhead.

2. Protect that time with your life.

Do not—I repeat, do not schedule any meetings—even with people or teammates you enjoy—in the span of those hours. I’ll never schedule early-morning meetings before 8:30 a.m. I spend 4:45-7:30 a.m. either working out, writing or spending quiet time alone. It’s the most productive time of my day, and the time when I receive the maximum input of energy that I can then use throughout my day.

3. Take inventory of your week.

At the beginning of your week, look at your calendar. Take note, not just of what you have to get done, but who is a part of those meetings. Are they team meetings? One-on-ones? Go through your calendar and either mark or color-code each block of your calendar with green/yellow/red based on the energy you feel that meeting with either give to you or require of you, given the people who are involved. For me, team building meetings or learning sessions were always green. One-on-ones with core volunteers were usually green or yellow. Performance improvement conversations were always red.

4. Look at the overall pattern of your week.

Are all your “red” conversations in one block on Thursday? If they’re all before lunch time, you’re going to be tanked. Take time to either re-shuffle or intentionally add in “green” blocks of time that give you rest, rejuvenation or other positive inputs of energy so that your net average of relational energy is at least “yellow” at the end of each day. 

5. As much as it’s within your power, end your day on green.

If you have complete flexibility over your schedule, do what you can to end your day with a meeting that brings you life—either because of the people involved or the personal energy it re-deposits. If you end up going straight home or to the gym afterwards, it’s a sure-fire way to guarantee that, at least most days, you’re aligning your relational energy in a way that sets you up for maximum energy and effectiveness over the long-haul.

Having worked in human resources, operations, youth ministry, creative programming and adult ministry, I can tell you this: my work was always important, but I never knew just how important my relational energy was to how I was doing my work.

Whatever work you put your hands to, my hope is that it’s life-giving, productive and makes a difference in the lives of others. If you’re like me and truly believe that people are both the greatest why and how, let’s serve them well by bringing the best of all our energy.

Your Enneagram Leadership Warnings + Opportunities

The Global Fringe

In case you’ve missed it, the Enneagram has stormed onto the scene and for really good reason. It’s way more than an assessment or diagnostic tool. The Enneagram is the most transformative tool I’ve ever used for my life + leadership (and I’ve used a lot of them because I loooooooooove them)!

In this week’s episode of The Global Fringe, my dear friend, Irene Cho, and I identify why the Enneagram is more than a personality or self-awareness assessment, and we describe one opportunity and one warning for each type.

If you’re newer to the Enneagram, your curiosity will be piqued as we reveal how your type provides both an opportunity and warning for your every life. I love the Enneagram because it offers a pathway toward wholeness.

If you’re a leader, you must listen to this for your own self-leadership growth, but also so you can lead those around you from a healthier place.

We promised you a cheat sheet, and here it is! This is helpful for your own transformational journey, but it’s also good to keep handy for those in your leadership sphere.

We also promised to share our be our best Enneagram recommendations. These resources are reliable guides to help you grow in self-awareness, lead you toward transformation, and deepen your influence.

+      The Road Back to You by Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile

+      The Path Between Us by Suzanne Stabile

+      The 9 Types of Leadership by Beatrice Chesnut

+      Subscribe to the EnneaThought of the Day


+      EnneaApp

Let us know how this cheat sheet is serving you and those around you!

Stay Awhile

Tamara Carpenter - Ezer + Co.

Tamara Carpenter

Guest Post

What does it mean to be an Ezer; a warrior, a strong helper? I’m still learning.

My progress toward wholeness is advancing in fits and starts. I’m learning that by owning my whole story, even the unseemly parts, I grow stronger. With help from God and friends, I also gain courage to face my fears instead of bolting. Forged under the pressure of scarcity, my shadow life is gradually exposed through vulnerability and it surrenders haltingly to real desires, interests, and passions. As time passes, I feel stronger, freer, and more joyful.

I’m learning that strong women never travel alone. I walk in the company of women and men bent on becoming all they were created to be. In this safe space, we are vulnerable; we show up; we cheer each other on. And God is pleased.

I am growing up into my original design. Like layers peeled away over time, the child within is timeless, embodying all I was meant to be and created for. She is powerful, brave, distinct. Her voice, muted since birth, grows stronger each day as she embraces her true identity. A rising force that cannot be denied.

This is how my journey began…

Safely curled in a fetal position, I lay motionless.

In the dream, I am encased in an egg-shaped capsule with thick, opaque walls. I see shadows of people passing, but no one sees me. It is a refuge. Predictable. Controlled. Protected.

From there I can observe without showing up; critique without committing. From an early age I learned to survive this way. Just follow the rules and figure out how to make everyone happy. Fly low. Never dream. Stay quiet.

Many years, and a myriad of circumstances, led me into this pallid existence. Release, however, arrived in an instant.

Someone cracked an opening in the encasement just large enough for light to penetrate and color to invade. A hand entered my darkness and beckoned me forth.

I had a choice. There is always a choice. I could accept the offer and follow color, or remain in the shadows.

It takes only a little faith to move a mountain. I mustered enough.

Emboldened by hope, I strained against the wall and it yielded to the internal pressure. My feet exited first coming to rest on warm, rich soil. As the remainder of my stiff body unfurled, I breathed in the sweet scent of a thousand blossoms and relished in the playful song of Spring. Freed from constraining walls, the sun's warmth coursed over my chilled body and vibrant hues washed the remaining scales from my eyes.

I saw we were in a lush meadow, my Rescuer and I, surrounded by impenetrable, rugged mountains that pierced the heavens. The valley overflowed with wildflowers and rushing streams. Only an occasional oak tree interrupted the lush turf carpeting the expanse.

We stood in silence. It was exquisite and untamed. Fertile and wild.

Releasing the hand that delivered me, I stepped forward in wonder. Instantly, the joy of my newfound freedom was slashed by a cold blade of fear. This expanse was resplendent, yes, but also formidable. Where was the control? Where the safety?

Instinctively, I turned toward the shell I had vacated. Although still resting on the meadow floor, it was clear I could never return to its safe confines. Somehow, I was larger now.

Scanning the horizon for another hideout, my eyes came to rest on the hand still extended by my Liberator. Her hand was meant to be my security. God’s presence my fortress.

If I accepted the offer, together we would walk. Explore. Discover. Conquer.

Reaching out my hand, she enveloped it in her and led me away from my past. In time, fear gave way to trust. Trust created room for peace. And peace ushered in rest.

As dusk fell, still hand in hand, we ascended a knoll. Gazing down onto yet another meadow, I saw hundreds of great boulders strewn haphazardly as far as the eye could see. When I asked why the landscape had changed, she urged me to look more closely. Suddenly, I realized these were not boulders, but egg-shaped capsules. Each containing a person, curled motionless in a fetal position.

Tears flowed unrestrained and a mere glance was enough. Together we moved toward the nearest pod. Easing next to it, she whispered, “Stay with them awhile as I work.”


We are all meant to shine as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
— Marianne Williamson