Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Sisterhood

A couple of weeks ago, I traveled to Indiana where I was part of a wonderful event. The team truly had servant’s hearts, and I found I just couldn’t out-work them. It’s truly my heart’s desire to serve at each speaking opportunity, but occasionally event planners assign ME as a job.  I’ll have one person who has been assigned the arduous :) task of taking care of me from airport pickup to drop off.

(Note: If you are planning an event, this is the absolute biggest gift you can give to your speaker. It’s such a luxury, but I LOVE it when I have one contact who can direct me, answer any questions, help me with last minute emergencies, etc. I don’t ever want to be a diva, but that one person increases my feeling of “comfortableness” exponentially!)

Event planners always pick the warmest, friendliest, most hospitable women for this job. Lisa, my liason for the Indiana event, was no exception. She made my visit memorable and comfortable. As we drove, we chatted about our families, ministry and girly topics of every sort. At one point she asked me a great question, “How does it feel to spend time with people you don’t know? Do you feel uncomfortable?”

I thought for a moment before I replied, “I don’t feel uncomfortable at all. It’s funny how God works and knits people together by His Spirit before we even meet. I feel like I have sisters everywhere I go.”

I’ve been doing lots of practical posts, but today I want to focus on one of the spiritual blessings of being a speaker. God will give you sisters wherever you go–women who love Jesus, serve other women, and love you whole-heartedly too.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13: 34-35

I see this verse in action at each event I take part in, and it’s an incomparable blessing! What blessings do you receive as you speak?

Amy

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Gaining Confidence

 

I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point I stepped into my calling as a speaker. My insecurities and tendency to compare myself negatively to others didn’t completely disappear; however, they lessened dramatically as my confidence grew.

I still deal with a few jitters as I stand to speak, but they don’t own me any more. I stand confident that God in me is bigger than my nervousness.

There are some simple steps for speakers to take to step out of insecurity and into confidence.

1. Depend wholly on God and His able-ness. As my friend Lisa Whittle says, “As modern day speakers and communicators, it is in recognizing where the power for the message comes from that we are able to stay pure of heart, having only holy confidence in our Lord rather than in our own abilities.”

2. Pray even more than you prepare. It’s in this time with God that correct perspective is gained and fresh messages are born in our hearts. When we enter an event with the full knowledge of ourselves as a handmaiden to our glorious God, having prioritized becoming a learner and praying for our audience, then confidence is the undeniable result.

3. Prepare too. Several years ago in a conversation with my brother, who is now a pastor, I was complaining about my inability to think fast on my feet. “I wish I could follow the Spirit more while I’m speaking,” I whined. His response was wise and instructive. “The Spirit can speak to you when you’re sitting at your desk preparing just as well as when you’re on a stage.”

Preparing for me means hours in prayer and Bible study before I start writing followed by more hours in front of a computer typing words and sentences that I hope communicate God’s message well.

Another way to prepare and build confidence is through training.

Last week I had another encounter with someone you’d never EVER imagine lacking confidence. She has lots of experience in front of people, and she’s esteemed in her field. Even with all the amazing-ness she has going on, this woman said she felt like throwing up last summer when it was her turn to speak to our group…

mandisa

Last summer I got to meet Mandisa–who is lovely inside and out not to mention a vocal powerhouse–at She Speaks. This weekend, I went as a mega-fan to her concert in Durham, NC, and I got to talk to her for just a few minutes before the concert.

I was thrilled to hear her say how much She Speaks prepared her for speaking opportunities including a TED Talk event. Click here to  watch her inspiring and confidently delivered message.

Here’s my point … every single one of us struggles with insecurity, but there are concrete steps to take toward confidence. A strong and authentic spiritual life is critical, but preparing and training have their place too.

Have you been praying about coming to She Speaks this summer? There’s still a spot for you, and I’d love to meet you in person!

Amy

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Wise Words from Mentors

“Walk with the wise and become wise….” (Prov. 13:20a)

This verse has been truly instructional for my life, and I’ve been changed as I live by it. Since I shared about coaching last week, I wanted to share some wisdom this week from some women who have been mentors of mine in the last 9 years, the Proverbs 31 Speaker Team. I asked our speaker team and the Online Bible Study Team to share their best piece of advice with you, and these are some of the responses:

“Never underestimate how the preparation for His presence proceeds the miracles of God.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve showed up at an event and felt like God wasn’t even there because there was no preparing for Him to be there. Sometimes its because I didn’t spend enough time in worship and prayer for the event. When its all about the details it can be very easy for it not to be about the anointing of God.”  ~Nicki Koziarz

“The moment I say “yes” to an event, I connect with the event coordinator, and we pray together for the event. I then ask her to send me the names of the women who register for the event. As the names come in, they send them to me, and I begin praying for each woman by name. God uses this prayer time it to create a powerful connection with the women. When I arrive, they are not strangers. They are names etched in my heart…names I would sometimes linger over as I prayed. Meeting them is precious. My heart is already tender to them as I step onto the stage. I open each event telling them they have been prayed for by name. It creates something intangible between us…a supernatural connection via the Holy Spirit!”     ~Wendy Blight

When I first felt called to speak, I was excited about speaking but wasn’t exactly sure what I was supposed to speak about. As a result, I came up with topics that I thought would be of interest to many women, and created a message around it, even if I wasn’t an ‘expert’ or fully knowledgeable in that subject area, then would back them up with appropriate scripture references, and sprinkle in a few personal stories. But over time, I realized God called me to speak about specific topics based on the experiences He had brought me through, or times in my life when I had personally seen Him at work or experienced His intervention and guidance, and not just any random subject in the Bible.  I have learned that when we can share God’s truths based on our own experiences and wisdom, and not just Bible knowledge, hearts can really be moved.  So my advice would be to steer away from speaking about random subjects that you feel would be well received or popular, and instead, pray about what God has specifically and uniquely equipped you to talk about and stick to topics where your passion for the subject matter will be evident to all who listen to your message. ~Tracie Miles 

Place a person in the audience mentally as you prepare. No matter whether your message is humorous or poignant or teaching or mentoring, see that person — their needs, their heart, their feelings — as you write, as you pack, as you take care of details, as you pray, and even as you step onto the stage. This takes the focus off of the details, off of you, and on to the woman waiting to hear what God wants to speak into her heart. ~Suzie Eller

I love how each piece of advice is unique and reflects the heart and passion of each woman who gave it. I hope this is useful wisdom for you!

As your women’s ministry plans for fall events, would you keep the Proverbs 31 Speaker Team, each of these women (and me!) in mind as you prayerfully consider speakers? We’d love to serve your women and get to meet you in person!

Amy

 

 

 

 

 

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

So Sorry!

I apologize for the funky spacing on yesterday’s post. If you got frustrated and gave up reading, click here to view the corrected version. :) Thanks for grace, friends!

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Making New Friends and Keeping the Old

 

I have 2 primary joys as I coach Next Step clients. One is meeting new friends, getting to hear their heart-beat and reading/hearing their messages. The other is equally sweet, and it’s working with old friends over and over.

Sept10_03Today I’d like to introduce my client and friend Charlotte Angles. Charlotte was one of my first clients way back when. She has contracted for several services, and we’ve just finished working together again. Charlotte wanted a “second brain” and accountability as she developed a new retreat, so we customized a service for her.

When we were done, I asked her some questions, and I’d like to share the interview with you today!

 

1.  Why did you first decide to sign up for coaching services with Next Step Speaker Services? 

I attended She Speaks and received a ton of great information at the conference! However, it was so much that I wasn’t quite sure where to start or what to do next. I quickly became overwhelmed and felt instantly behind…on everything. Next Step Speaker Services is a great name for what you do because you helped me design the next steps I needed to take to make my ministry more accessible. You helped me organize all that great information into attainable goals.

2. What is the most valuable thing you’ve gained from working with a speaking coach?

A dear friend who understands the heart of teacher. You understand the burden I have to handle the Word of God with carefulness and accuracy—and how this can sometimes paralyze a me into watching a cursor blink for hours on end. Before spending time with you, I thought this experience might be an indication that I wasn’t really cut out for speaking ministry. You helped normalize these feelings and many other speaker anxieties I had thought were just exclusive to me.

3.  You’ve signed up for multiple services, and I’ve loved getting to know you so well! What made you come back? 

Every time I get off the phone with you, I think to myself. Ok, yes, I can do this. You help me think through ideas—especially when I may be stuck on a particular point in a message. Recently, I’ve discovered the invaluable benefit of having scheduled accountability sessions for message preparation. Knowing I had a weekly appointment with you made me set aside necessary time to study and write my messages.  A week before my last speaking engagement I felt ready and relaxed. No last minute writing or cramming. It was wonderful! 

4.  I got a sad email from a woman who hired a different speaking coach and said, “It was a waste of money.” Hiring a coach isn’t the least expensive say to go; it’s true. Since you’ve bought several services, I’m assuming you feel Next Step has been worth the investment. What makes you feel that way? 

I trust you to tell me the truth—but in a way that doesn’t require me to run for a tourniquet. ha ha! You have my back and will you be honest with me when something I’m doing or saying might distract from the heart of my message. At the very least, you help protect me from making a fool of myself! But more importantly, you help me develop messages that clearly point to Jesus. 

5.  What has been your favorite part of working together?

You are an encourager. We laugh together. I always feel like a better version of the woman God created me to be when I get off the phone with you.

Thank you, Charlotte! Even coaches need encouragement and affirmation, so this interview blessed me beyond measure.

If you’re interested in speaker coaching or just curious about how it works, we can schedule a free consultation call. Just read the information on the Request Information page and fill out the form. I’ll be back in touch quickly to schedule our time.

Amy

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I Believe in Your Dream

After last week’s rant, I thought I’d send you something uplifting today. :)

dream quote (Source)

Has God called you to speak? Then invest your time in speaking. I know you can do it! I’m standing behind you cheering you on as you run toward the goals God has placed in your heart!!

Amy

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Breaking Up?

 

It takes a lot for me to stop liking a friend, but I’m really ticked off at someone in my life. In fact, this former friend is jumping up and down on my last nerve so much I’m thinking about breaking up.

Who is this terrible friend, you might ask?

FACEBOOK

Recently Facebook has changed its policies for public pages, and I’m wondering if it’s still worth it. For example, we have over 800 likes on Facebook, but a post I checked last night was only seen by 11 people.

I wondered how this is even possible, and here is a video I watched from Rob Eager’s Monday Morning Marketing Tip that explains. (Please take a few minutes…it was completing eye-opening and surprising information for me.)

Note: If you are a subscriber, click on the title to watch the video and read the remainder of the post.

You can also click here to see what Rob has to say. (While you’re there, sign up for his Monday email…so worth the time every week!)

If you have a private page, some of these problems aren’t as acute for you, but if you have a public page, it’s a huge problem unless you want to pay for your posts to be “boosted”.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Are you still in love with Facebook? Do you have a private page or a public page? Do you still think using Facebook to get your message out as a speaker or author is worth it?

Also, as some of you may or may not be aware, Facebook is only allowing about 10% of our audience to view our posts on their News Feed. That means about 90% of you may miss a new post from us on your News Feed unless you go directly to our page. To ensure you are receiving the latest updates with daily encouragement and links to fabulous resources:

  1. Head over to the Next Step Speaker Services Facebook page.
  2. Click on “Like” if you haven’t already. If you have, skip to the next step.
  3. Click on the arrow (or gear?) beside “Like”.
  4. Click on “Add to Interest Lists”
  5. Follow the directions through, and you will see your Interest List on the left side of your News Feed.

If you’d like more information on Interest Lists, here’s the scoop from Facebook.

What are Interest Lists?

Interest lists are an optional way to organize the content you’re interested in on Facebook. You can create your own interest lists based on the things you care about. For example, you could create a Top Favorite Apps list that features all the apps you play and like.

When you create list, you’ll see the best posts from that list in your main news feed. Your lists will also appear in the Interests section of your bookmarks. Simply click the list’s name to see all the recent posts and activity from the Pages featured in the list, without overwhelming your main news feed.

How do I create an Interest List?

  1. Go to your Interests page and click the Add Interests button.
  2. Click Create List.
  3. Search for the Pages you want to add to your list using the search box at the top of the screen, or use the categories on the left to browse.
  4. After you’ve selected all of the things you want to include on your list, click next.
  5. Pick a name for your list.
  6. Select a privacy setting (learn more). Choose Public if you want others to be able to subscribe to the list you’ve created.
  7. Click Done.

 

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

She Speaks Registration is Open!

I’m so excited to announce here that She Speaks registration is OPEN!! I’m praying lots of our Speaker Girl community will attend, because although I now lead breakouts as a member of the P31 team, I’m also the blessed recipient of seven years of She Speaks training. It’s literally one of the highlights of my year every year.

Please visit the website if you’re unfamiliar with the She Speaks conference. I think it will be love at first sight! The most powerful voices for She Speaks, though, are former attendees, so I asked my friend Amy Lively to share her thoughts:

One wintery morning, loyal dog at my feet and hot coffee in hand, I sat in my usual spot on my yellow loveseat with my Bible and journal and wrote, “I’d like to share what I’m learning with other people.” I filled that journal page with a dozen different ideas, topics and verses the Lord and I explored together… but I had no idea what to do with this list! Perhaps, I mused, I was just going to have a very holy dog. At the top of the page, I wrote a website address for a women’s ministry conference called “She Speaks.” Their website said it was for “women who shared a passion to step out with the messages God has placed on our hearts.” I assumed they would step out to people, not just pets, so I registered.

In the days before GPS, my printed Google Map directed me to the middle of a North Carolina cornfield. I was hurried and harried and having a bad hair day. But finally—after months of planning and hours of driving—I took my seat, took a deep breath, took a look around… and burst into tears. What was I doing here? I was alone. I was outclassed. I was underqualified. I was unworthy. It was a waste of money for me to come here. I was in way over my head!

But it was at that first conference that one of the speakers uttered three little words that made my heart race.

And as soon as I heard her say the words “neighborhood Bible study,” I knew what I was going to do with that list.

The second year I attended She Speaks, I had started my own neighborhood Bible. I called it the Rosewood Café because I lived on Rosewood Drive.

Year three, I wondered if I could teach other women how to do this, and The Neighborhood Café was born. I met Jennifer Rothschild, founder of WomensMinistry.net, and became a contributing writer for her website. Year four, I took my best friend (her ministry, Metamorphisis Wellness Coaching, was born on the way home in my car somewhere between Virginia and Ohio). Year five I was accompanied by three friends and greeted by dozens more. Year six was a two-fer: I attended the She Speaks Intensive (and won a guest post on Lysa TerKeurst’s blog!) in January and She Speaks in July.

Because of the training I received at She Speaks, I’ve been able to walk through the doors God has opened with confidence. I’ve done the speaking gig, the writing gig, the peer groups and publisher appointments. It’s all golden! Several of my closest friends are from She Speaks. The networking is priceless, but it’s organic and natural and gracious.  Many of the features on my website were learned at She Speaks. Speaking skills that were modeled and instructed enabled me to share this story on FamilyLife Today.

I’ve been to She Speaks seven times now. You could say I’m a slow learner. Or you could say I’m a wise woman who knows a good thing when I see it, experience it, and witness it being lived out in my faith, relationships and ministry more and more each year. Each year I question whether or not I should go again. And each year I simply cannot imagine missing the impartation and revelation God releases through the exceptional teachers and the Proverbs 31 staff.

~Amy Lively, Founder of The Neighborhood Cafe

Thank you for sharing, Amy!

Have any of you registered? Make sure to come by and see me at the Next Step table!

Do you have any questions about the conference? I’ll be ready to answer them right here in our comments section.

For those of you who are clients between July 2013-July 2014, I host a breakfast every year to make sure I get some face-time to thank you. You’ll be getting an email in June with the details.

I hope to see lots of you in person at She Speaks this year!

Amy

 

 

 

 

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Spring Fling Reminder

Just a little reminder so you don’t miss out on our Spring Fling discount. It is only good through Tuesday at midnight.

Here are the details so you won’t have to search through your emails…

All services paid before the 1st will be 10% off with this discount code: SPRINGFLING10, or you can pay full price and receive an additional call FREE (a $115 value)*.

To get your discount, simply follow these steps:

1. Go to the Request Information page, and fill out the form. In the “Other Questions” box, please let me know what service you are registering for.
2. Go to the Menu of Services and pay for the service you’d like. The discount is applied to one service per customer only.
3. I will be in touch to schedule the first call of your service. (I’m spring breaking with my son, but I’ll return all emails on Thursday. We’ll schedule your start at your convenience, but we can begin as early as April 8th.)

The discounts will end at the end of the day on April 1st, so don’t miss out. I look forward to working with you!

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Lonely No More. Sisters Forever!

It seems impossible Next Step Speaker Services was launched in my heart only four years ago this month. My friend Holly was traveling with me to an event, and she asked me how things were going with the Proverbs 31 team. I went on and on about the blessing our team is to me and how their experience was shared in every way.

When I needed help developing messages, I went to my new-member coach, Micca Campbell.

When struggled with my first biosheet, Renee Swope kindly helped me.

When honest feedback on my messages was needed, Karen Ehman’s challenge and encouragement was invaluable.

When I couldn’t see the flaws in my marketing materials, our executive director added her expert eye.

Everyone was further down the road than I was, and each one was generous when I was in need. I explained to Holly what a gift it is to be a part of a team. She followed with this life-changing question, “I wonder what women do when they are in ministry by themselves?”

I knew the answer…they’re lonely. I knew, because I lived it for several years before I joined the Proverbs 31 team.

In that moment, Next Step Speaker Services was born. My passion to join with women in ministry was planted with one question, but it has grown into a huge, thriving love for you over the past few years. It’s my heart’s desire that this Speaker Girl Community makes you feel understood and not alone.

To celebrate the birth of Next Step, you’ll be receiving an email today announcing our Spring Fling which starts today and runs through April 1st. I hope you’ll take the offers in your email as a gift from me to you. We’re sisters on this journey, and it’s my delight to link my arms with yours as we build God’s Kingdom together!

Amy

ps. If for some reason you don’t receive the email, please check your spam filter and then email me directly at amy@proverbs31.org. I’ll be happy to reply with a copy. Also, feel free to share the discount code with friends. This is all about sharing and sisterhood!

 

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