This episode is part of the Redefining You Series. Today’s guest is Herdyne Mercier, The Chief Grief Crusador and Hostess of The Redefining Grief Podcast. Herdyne and I discuss the truth about grief, and how closely aligned it is with growth. We also talk about how we do ourselves a disservice on the journey to living purposefully when we refuse to acknowledge and celebrate the lessons we learn through grieving, as well as the five anchors to redefining grief. You can learn more about Herdyne here and follow her on Instagram here.
Book your Breakthrough Session with Tiffany here.
Failing Forward: How to Redefine Failure + Use It To Change Lives
Can You Introduce Me to Your Future Self? Delays + Detours Do Not Equal Defeat
Connect with Tiffany on Instagram
Email Tiffany: email@example.com
Today’s guest is Dr. Rennes Toussaint-Keshinro. Dr Rennes and I talk about redefining your identity, how we struggle in silence, wearing masks and pretending to be happy, as well as the journey to self-discovery and how important both your mental health and faith are during all aspects of this journey.
She is a Doctor of Chiropractic, mental wellness coach and mental health advocate. Her story includes her migration to the US at age 13, struggling to find her identity yet excelling in her education. After completing her doctorate degree, she decided to go on a self-discovery journey which led her to South America for 3 years. What got her through this time was connecting closer to God, focusing on her self development and DANCE. This is where her Dance 4 Mental Health Movement started. Dance for Mental Health encourages women who are suffering in silence to find their identity, their voice and to take back their power. She understands the connection of the mental and physical body and why it should not be looked at separately. Her goal is to inform, educate and build awareness about mental health, especially in the black community. She is also the owner of Sign of Strength LLC, a mental health awareness shop. Connect with Dr Rennes on Instagram
Schedule your breakthrough session with Tiffany here.
Failing Forward: How to Redefine Failure + Use It To Change Lives
Can You Introduce Me to Your Future Self? Delays + Detours Do Not Equal Defeat
Connect with Tiffany on Instagram
Email Tiffany: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Rennes: Do not rob the world from experience in you because you have a light God gave you a light. So if you don’t shine it, you are leaving darkness in the world, you’re leaving people in the dark.
Tiffany: Hey. Hey beacon, welcome home to your ballsack blueprint community Podcast, where you are challenged to be do and have God’s best as you thrive on your journey from setback to success. I’m your bounce back guide, Tiffany Huff-Strothers. And I’ll be guiding you on the journey by sharing tips, tools, and the T on how I was able to bounce back from escaping death, healing from heartbreak and finding hope in homelessness. And then I wrote an award winning book all about it and shout out to God, ever since I was courageous enough to share my story, my life and the lives of winding around that have been forever on the show and as a member of the manatee call you to let me tell you a little bit, grab your journal, and let’s build this amazing conversation. She is a Doctor of Chiropractic, a mental health mental wellness coach and mental health advocate. Her story includes her migration to the US at age 13, struggling to find her identity yet excelling in her education. After completing her doctorate degree, she decided to go on a self discovery journey which led her to South America for three years. What got her through this time was connecting closer to God focusing on herself development and dance. This is where her new dance for the mental health movement started. Dance for mental health encourages women who are suffering in silence, to find their identity, their voice and to take back their power. She understands the connection of the mental and physical body and why it should not be looked at separately. Her goal is to inform, educate and build awareness about mental health, especially in the black community. She is also the owner of sign of strength LLC, a mental health awareness shop. Welcome to the show, Rennes.
Dr. Rennes: Thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited to be here.
Tiffany: I’m so excited that you are here. I cannot wait to dig into this conversation. But before we do, please introduce yourself to the community. I feel that we do that the best ourselves. So tell us who is Dr. Rennes beyond the bio.
Dr Rennes: Nice. Awesome. So like you said, I’m Dr Rennes Tousssaint-Keshinro, first and foremost, I am a child of God. I practice chiropractic here in New York. As a mental wellness coach. As you mentioned, I work with women who are struggling in silence to find their density and to take back their power. And as a mental health advocate, especially in the black community. My goal is to just to help break the stigma about mental health and why we should invest in our mental health not only financially but also with time, right. Besides that, I am a newlywed. I got married about three months ago. So thank you. So that has been pretty exciting. I’m an outdoor person. I love nature. I love traveling. So you understand COVID is like killing me right now.
Tiffany: Yes, I know you are an avid traveler, I see all of your photos on Instagram from travels of the past. Of course, yes. Because COVID is trying his best to just ruin everything for us. But you got married in the midst of the pandemic. Let’s talk about that.
Were you already planning to get married this year? Or did you just decide, you know what, let’s do this.
Dr Rennes: No, we had a wedding planned for August. And we were holding on to the hope that everything will be fine. But then eventually we had to cancel. And well, we actually push back the wedding and the celebration. But we decided that we’re not going to wait to start our marriage. So we went ahead and still got married this year.
Tiffany: That’s awesome. Good for you. I think that if 2020 hasn’t taught us anything is that in a lot of cases, even in the midst of the pandemic, you need to push through, right. You gotta at least attempt to keep going.
Dr Rennes: Mm hmm. Plants are going to change you got to learn how to cope and pivot.
Tiffany: Yes, yeah. So that takes us right into where I want to start because I would like to take the listeners on this journey with you. And at a very early age of 13. You had to kind of pivot when your family migrated to the United States. So tell us A little bit about where you migrated from, and how that transition was for you as a preteen girl.
Dr Rennes: Okay,
so I was born in the Caribbean, a Caribbean island called Dominika Not to be confused with Dominican Republic, totally different Island. And I grew up in a very small village, my village, the population was only about 200 people, Max. So very, very small town girl. So growing up there, everybody always talks and dreams about coming to America. So when we got the opportunity to come over, it was so exciting, like, Oh, my God, you’re going to America. But I love my upbringing. I love my culture. And it’s still a huge part of me and everything that I do. But yeah, that’s where I grew up and come into America. First. It was I guess it was excited. But then it became it started, it became challenging, because our parents never sat down and have the conversation of Okay, you’re we’re migrating was the transition is going to be like, as kids we were, we were expected to just adapt naturally to the changing environment. So it was interesting.
Tiffany: So at what point did you start to feel that it was more challenging for you? Or did you start to struggle with who you were or how you fit into this new way of life here in the United States.
Dr Rennes: So I would say the the first thing that was very challenging for me is yes, we grew up in a small village, but my mom had her own business, we had our we had our own home, you know, we had a yard, we had freedom. And we went from that to moving into a two bedroom, one bathroom apartment in Miami, with my dad and his roommate. So that was a huge transition. And then trying to adapt to school. When we started school, we might I say, we, because my brother and I have a brother who is one year older than I am, we started Middle School at the eighth grade. So that’s the end of the middle of middle school at the end of the school year, like an April. So everyone had to click their friends do circles. So trying to fit in, I always had the sense of like, where I belong, like a sense of belonging, like where do I fit in, you know, a young girl from the Caribbean, I have an accent, you know, I became conscious of my voice, I became very insecure about that. So I went from being like an extrovert, like, you know, this fun life of the party to just, you know, being very reserved and shy. So that definitely started affected my identity. But I will take you back from growing up in Dominica. Remember, even before I was five, like my family, I guess they saw something in me like my family would put me into pageants and competitions and things like that. I skipped the second grade. So I feel like I always had this unspoken expectation of me to like, do all these great things. I had the good girl image, I was the youngest of three kids. We grew up in a Catholic Church. So we had certain ways of like how a little girl is supposed to act a little girl supposed to do certain things. But on the butt behind closed doors, I was being abused sexually, and nobody knew. Right? So I learned from a very young age to basically live like a sacred life. Like I felt like I lived a double life. You know, on the surface, I was doing all this great things. But I have this horrible thing happening to me at that time. I didn’t think it was horrible, honestly. But it was nonetheless, it was a secret that I was holding away from, you know, from my family and the people that I love. So I always like I said, I always felt like I lived like this double life, and especially coming to America at home, I’m a certain way. And at school, I was a certain way. So it was
Tiffany: Oh, how did you reconcile? Or At what point? Did you reconcile those two identities, The Secret Life at home and then the life outside of the home? And perhaps there was a third one that was created when you got here? Trying to find yourself in the midst of being a preteen at school with clicks and all of the things how did you or when did you begin to recognize that you? It was it was taking a lot out of you to manage all of these personas.
Dr Rennes: Honestly, maybe not until in my 20s or you can highschool it was normal for me. I guess that was like my survival mode like, Oh, I’m supposed to figure it out. What was more important for me is to keep that Oh, she’s such a good girl. She’s doing well in schools, it was more important for me to keep that image. Right. So anyway, nothing else matters as long as everybody see me as being good. I was fine.
Tiffany: So I’m sorry. So once you got it as the the abuse Did, did the abuse stop, because Oh, okay. So it was no longer part of the well, I’m sure the once you realized, like you said that it was wrong, then you had to deal with that trauma. But as if, at the time when you moved here, you no longer necessarily had to deal with that in the moment.
Dr Rennes: No, I didn’t deal with that in the moment at all. Yeah, thankfully. But the damage was already done. And I was still trying to cope through life.
Tiffany: Yes. So what happened in your 20s that caused you to have an epiphany or this shift where you realized this survival mode I’ve been operating in all of these years is not normal.
Dr Rennes: Um, I got another thing about me is I threw myself into like I said, in my education, I excelled the education. So I was, at the time I was receiving my doctorate degree. And I’m getting to the end of the program. I’m about to start real world, right. Um, get a doctor degree like, That’s amazing. Everybody, everybody’s looking at me like, Oh, my God, you’re you did it. But inside, I didn’t, I wasn’t happy. I was so unhappy. I was so depressed. Right before that. Well, throughout chiropractic school, I was in part, I will say horrible relationships. But I wouldn’t even call it relationships, I would say situation ships. And it was like, I had three bad situations. Back to back, unfortunate situation back to back where every time at the end of the relationship, I will get the man You’re so good, but you’re a good person, but dot dot dot.
Tiffany: It’s not you. I mean, it’s not you. It’s me.
Dr Rennes: It’s me, right. But they reminded me that being a quote unquote, good girl, or faking to be a good girl was not good enough. Because what I was doing is being good for other people, like doing things for them for them to validate me. So basically, I was people pleasing, right? So they were that those situations reminded me that I wasn’t being good to myself. I didn’t love myself, I didn’t pour into myself. So at that time, I was like, I can’t continue going on like this. Like, it has to stop.
Tiffany: So you have this epiphany, you make this decision. And so once you make the decision that you’re no longer gonna go on like this. What do you do?
Dr Rennes: Well, like I said, I love to travel right. My ending of my, my externship from my program, my doctorate program, I took, I went to Ghana, I spent about three months in Ghana, working in a chiropractic office there. And when I came back to the US, it’s like, I don’t want to be here anymore. I don’t want to be anywhere. I need to have this experience. Again, like I felt being away from my environment. I felt different. And I wanted to continue that experience. So I packed up suitcases and I did ended up in Peru, South America. I apply for a job. Three weeks later, I was I packed my bags. I was like, I’m out. I’m going
Tiffany: Why? Wow. So you literally were just like, Okay, I’m done being here. Let me just figure out where I’m gonna go. How did you decide on through?
Dr Rennes: At the time, it felt like it was desperation. People didn’t know that, but I was applying when I came back from Ghana. I was like, Listen, I’m gonna apply wherever it could be in Australia. I am going whoever except me. I had that mindset. I was like, I don’t care. I am going. But I really do. Looking back. It’s like God probably called me there because the experience was so so amazing. So Peru was the one who picked up the bread, my my CV. They I did the interview with them. They loved me. They offered me that they were the first person to offer me a job and I took it. So you Apply for this job, you move to Peru and then what? And then what I saw I took the contract was one year, I ended up staying there for two years. So when I moved there initially, again, just like my transition from Dominika to the US, I was like, Oh, yes, this is amazing. And I was excited. But then the reality hit me that one, I was alone. One, it’s really time to do the work, which I did. Thankfully, I stayed. The beginning, I almost came back home in the beginning. Um, there were situations where I was just like, I can’t do this. But the work is hard. Right. Healing is hard.
Tiffany: You know, and I think it’s so interesting. I want you to continue, but I think I do think it’s very interesting how God will completely remove us from our home or normal environment. Yeah. So that he has us all to ourselves. Not that there was no one else in Peru with you. Right. But you didn’t know anyone there. It was a place where it was you and God and God and you hear you. Yes. And so when that’s the case, there is not much else to do besides the work.
Dr Rennes: Yeah, you gotta look and you got to look inside, you got to look internally. Like once the same things keep showing up. At the end of the day, you have to tell yourself, what, what do I need to do differently? I can’t keep going on like this. So being in Peru, that helps me to like, stop. Yeah, I really look at myself. Because back home, so many distractions, you have friends family, if I’m down, I just called my friends like, hey, let’s go out. Let’s do this, you know?
Tiffany: Yeah. So when you got to Peru, and you asked yourself that question, what came up for you? One question, specifically, when you ask yourself, you know, why does this keep happening? Or, you know, what am I doing or not doing? What was coming up for you that you had to work through
Dr Rennes: my mindset.
People pleasing showed up. That was a huge thing. I was hiding how I felt for my entire life, right? Just to one make other people comfortable, but also so that they could like me, right? I didn’t like myself.
I was doing exactly. Everybody liked me. Everyone’s like, Oh, she’s so nice. And I didn’t like myself. So that’s what showed up. Like you need to start loving yourself. You can’t go out looking for love. If you don’t give it to yourself, you have to give to yourself. Love only comes from me. So that’s what I really learned earlier on in Peru. Love yourself.
Tiffany: And what was that journey like for you to begin to love yourself? Because, you know, and I asked this because I think a lot of people you know, it’s our culture now. It’s like self care, love yourself. self love. It’s so important. But for the person who’s been struggling, or the person who’s been people pleasing, or assuming this alternative identity, so that people get who they expect to say, Well, you’ve got to love yourself is very, it’s very big, right? bring that down to, on a day to day level on a week to week level, that journey. What does it look like? How did you even start out once you had that realization?
Dr Rennes: That’s a good point. Because I feel like when people talk about self love, like, Oh, it’s such a beautiful thing. And it is, but from the journey of to self love. It’s a very, very uncomfortable journey,
Dr Rennes: Like I said, Before, I was lying to myself all this years, that I started to believe the lies, right? So self love is really just being truthful. Right? You have to tell yourself the truth no matter what. And that is hard. is extremely hard to be able to look at yourself, and just let it all out. Like just just being just just being vulnerable with yourself first and accepting it. So like accepting that yes, yes. And, and a part of it is accepting it, but also not blaming yourself.
Tiffany: That’s good.
Dr Rennes: Because that was. That was something I did even from the sexual abuse. I blamed myself for it. I thought it was my fault. So had to learn how to accept everything that has happened to me, and know that it’s not my fault. So and that is a huge part of self love.
Tiffany: Yeah, I would, I would have to agree. It’s because if you don’t accept that it’s not your fault, then you can get stuck there. Yeah. Right. So you have to be willing to forgive yourself. Mm hmm. Recognize the decisions that you made that may have impacted your life, but also forgive yourself so that you can move forward?
Dr Rennes: Yes, absolutely.
Tiffany: So So did you do all of this alone? Or did you go to therapy in Peru?
Dr Rennes: So I started doing before I went to Peru, I did a little bit of therapy here in the US, but when I was in Peru, I did coaching. And the coaching was in Yeah, Mm hmm.
Tiffany: Wow. And so how long did you coach?
Dr Rennes: I coached? Well, I would say the entire time I was there, but luckily, a lot of it was virtually so.
Tiffany: Okay. Okay. So you were in Peru for two years? And what would you say? What would you say was different about Dr. Nunez when she arrived in Peru versus at the end of that two years?
Dr Rennes: Where do I start? I felt more of my, well, first of all, I knew who I was, I had a clearer understanding of who I was, like, I grew up in the church. I mean, I had a huge gap when I first moved to the US. But you know, my dad didn’t really take us to church. So, but I always knew who God was. But at the end of that journey, I really came to understand who I am like, I am a daughter of God, like he wants the best for me. And it was, it was so hard for me to comprehend that, like, I could have it all because I’m a daughter of a king, he will give me everything that I want. You know,
Tiffany: I’m curious what happened with you and or your relationship with God that you were able to comprehend that because I mean, I appreciate you even being transparent. And saying that because I know that there are people, and I’m doing air quotes who believe, but who haven’t fully embraced the truths about what it means to believe what it means to be a doctor of the Most High. So what happened that your comprehension of that increased?
Dr Rennes: Like you said, Sometimes he takes you away from our normal environment, so we could be alone with him. For the first time I was able to hear from God. Like for years, it’s like you will hear stories of people who said, Oh, my God, you know, God spoke to me. And for years, like What’s wrong with me? God is not speaking to me, right? We expect God to be like, hey, daughter, this is what you know. I never know how to be in tune with myself right in tune the Holy Spirit. Listen to my intuition. For the first time I learned what it meant to meditate. When I meditate. I hear from God, I started paying attention to my dreams. Like I started to have really vivid dreams, like, oh my god. So that’s how I really knew God was real. Because I took time, like, that was my time to really be with him be in his presence. And I felt it.
Tiffany: Yes. So creating space. And that. Yeah, and I think, you know, kind of going back to what you said before, a lot of us are in situation ships with God. Right? Like, it’s like, well, we got this thing, but like, not all the time, but like sometimes and when you get into that space, where and I believe you said at one point, it’s desperation. Mm hmm. Things start to shift. Yeah. So it was at the end of the two years. Was it was it in Peru during that two years that you started dancing or was it after?
Dr Rennes: Okay, so I did two years in Peru and then I did one year Honduras. That was another experience. But again, I just spoke about dreams. Like I had a vivid dream God sent me to Honduras, and which, yeah, but the dance of mental health IT DID started while I was in Peru, but actually, I was dancing because I felt like every morning, I play music, and I dance, and I felt amazing. And I was saying I need to start a dance for health movement. But it wasn’t until last year that I connected dance for mental health, because it helps us feel good. Like our brains actually releases feel good hormones while we not only dance, but any type of movement exercise running, but my exercise of choice is dancing. Like to work out. So that’s how I connected dance for mental health. Okay, I
Tiffany: want to dig into that. But first, I have to go back. How did you go from Peru to Honduras? What was this dream? What was this transition?
Dr Rennes: So very vivid. I know God. It was, okay, let me see how go put it. So I dreamt that God says go to this country and the country. Honduras starts with the letter H sound just like that was few days prior. And that was kind of in the transition. Okay, it’s my time to move on. Let me see where I should go. And a job from Honduras came up. And when I saw you, it was like perfect time and the doctor she was about to leave to come back to the US. So we I spoke to her again, over Skype, or we had a Skype interview. And she’s like, Listen, I want you to come to take over my practice. And I was like, okay, and two weeks I was in Honduras. Wow.
Tiffany: Yeah. Wow. Okay. self discovery, I’m sure continued in Honduras,
Dr Rennes: did it?
Tiffany: What would you say? And so how long were you in Honduras?
Dr Rennes: for about a year
Tiffany: or a year? So what was the biggest shift for you in that year?
Dr Rennes: I experienced some really traumatic things there. And I know it sounds crazy, because I just said God sent me there. And then some people would think, Well, why would God send you somewhere to experience those things? I was living in a house and the culture over there is to have a maid. So the doctor I took over her practice, she had a maid and the her maid left with her. So she hired one for me. I experienced her almost trying to commit suicide. Where are we at that time, we had a language barrier. Like I like my Spanish was getting there. Um, I had to experience taking her to a hospital. And the doctor looking at me and said, we can do anything and she’s just going to die. She took some pills, right? And I’m just a hysterically like crying like what do you mean? And he was just like, Who is this person to you? It’s like, she’s a human being. Um, so that was, that was super traumatic. I experienced betrayal. Where I trusted certain a certain someone and they literally stole from me and lied to me. And mind you, I’m in a country again, where I knew absolutely no one. But on the flip side, I got into a community of other of missionaries. And there they are the ones that really poured into me and really helped me experience God in a much deeper way. And had not had I had not gone to Honduras. I don’t think I’ll ever experienced that.
Tiffany: So why did you leave Honduras?
Dr Rennes: Oh, I was ready.
I was I left of the journey.
Yes. I didn’t. I didn’t run away in the middle of the craziness that was going on. And a lot of people was like, why are you still here? You need to come home. And I was like, No, you know, I want to make a commitment. I like to be true to my word. So I stayed up as long as I could. And then like it was my time to come back home and face the call it the music of being back in the US and being around my family. So
Tiffany: Oh, how was that re entry. It was almost like my migrating to the US again. Right? And you were a different Rene is when you got back. Did you go back to Miami?
Dr Rennes: No, I ended up moving to New York of all places. So I came from Hunter’s to New York. Yes.
Tiffany: So how was that transition and the transition back into not only life in the US, but life with your family, and perhaps with your friends.
Dr Rennes: I loved it. My relationship with my family got so much better. I don’t think I mentioned that earlier. But throughout high school, and even college, I lashed out a lot. I’m never Belgian, not just being rebellious, but just having that anger towards my family. But once I went through my journey, and understanding and not blaming them for the things I’ve been through, my relationship has been so so good with my family. So it’s been it was a really great transition.
Tiffany: That’s good. Yeah. Apparently the experience, you know, yeah, we have some friction with people when we step into our fullness. Mm hmm. Walk in our truth. So I’m glad to hear that. You are welcomed. Yes, home? Yeah. Did you come back to the US and get another job doing chiropractic work?
Dr Rennes: Yes. So I’m still practicing
as a chiropractor? Yes.
Tiffany: And so how long ago? Was it that you are How long has it been that you’re back now in the US from that?
Dr Rennes: Um,
it’s been actually, exactly three years. I came back in December of 2017. Yes, three years.
Tiffany: So over the course of these three years, you become more involved in mental health awareness, and become an advocate what triggered that?
Dr Rennes: Oh, after my journey, after what I went through, I, for years, I suffered in silence, I really did not know what it was. And once I went through that journey, I was like, man, why don’t we talk about this? Like, we need to be more vocal. If I have struggled with that. I know for a fact, other people are struggling with it. So I really just want it it just started by, I’m just going to talk about mental health here and there. And I’ve felt like God placed it on my heart. That’s what I should say, God placed it on my heart, because I was like, there’s something else I need to be doing. I felt some type of emptiness. And he said, talk about your journey, talk about mental health. So I started by just creating t shirts. It’s like, Oh, just create some t shirts and sell some t shirts. And that was in 2018. Then last year, I was like, that is cute, but you need to do something else, you need to go deeper. So that’s why I started coaching. Through coaching women through the journey.
Tiffany: And then so and I will say that T shirts are a great conversation starter, especially if you have the right quote, or you know, one liner on their article conversation. That could take you a lot of places, but I can totally hear God saying like, that’s cute. But yeah, that’s not what I said. That’s not what I told you. Let’s try again. Yeah, right. So you start coaching, and this is in addition to your chiropractic work, right? Yeah. So what happened last year, that you made that connection with the dancing and, you know, the mental and the physical and merged the two?
Dr Rennes: I’m not exactly sure when it happened, but I knew because I said from Peru, I was like, man, I need to do this dance thing. And I carried that over like, before going to Peru, the only time I would dance like well, in my young adult years, was like, Hey, girl, let’s go to the club. Let’s go to the bottom here. No, and just start into dance be just started dancing at home. I brought that over here. When I came back. If I’m feeling down, you know, I’ll play some music and I will dance. I was like, man, I really need to do this. I’ve been saying this for years. did some research. I’m just like, wow, it’s right there in plain sight, you know? And in my practice, I said all the time this people will come to me you know, the neck pain, headaches, back pain, and they don’t associate it with their emotional trauma then the mental. They asked all the time I experienced you know, experiencing higher levels of stress and right away like oh, no, I’m fine. I’m fine, but I could literally Feel it in their body and their muscle, the tension, I could tell. And sometimes I ask and they’ll say, How do you know? Like I could feel in your body. The thing is that our body is made for movement. And also a body is made to feel, right feeling is like sensation in our body. So put in dance, and mental health together is just the perfect marriage for me.
Tiffany: Yeah, I definitely recognize your passion for it. And, you know, I’m sure it sounds funny. But let’s just be honest, when you in my experience Anyway, when you had those times, like you said, when you were going through something that you’d be like, Girl, let’s just go out, get on the dance floor and letting it all go does help. Like it does change your life necessarily, but you feel a little bit better. We do are like just releasing it all and getting into the vibe, of course, you know, not the same necessarily intention while you’re doing it. But it did help.
Dr Rennes: Like you said the intention. So now with the my dental mental health program, it’s not only dancing, but what is the intended intention behind it? Right? What are the thoughts that you’re having? What are the feelings that you want to create, and you can use dance and movement, like I said, Our body is made for movement, we’re supposed to move and use it and that to create the feeling that you want, create a new thought, process, create, like, introduce your mind to something different. Um, so that’s a good point that the intention is different from just like, Hey, girl, let’s go out. And most of the time, you’re not only dancing, you’re drinking as well. So
Tiffany: yeah, that’s good. So how did you know that now? Was the time for you to release your new course dance for mental health? Like, what was it? I feel like you’ve done so many big things and 2020 Yeah. You know, what the marriage and then birthing this. So how did you know now was the time?
Dr Rennes: So actually, before the pandemic in February for my 33rd birthday, my Jesus here, I hosted my first live dance for mental health class was. Yeah, it was in February, I had the first live class here in New York. And it was like, so amazing. I was excited. I was like, Yes, I’m gonna have another one next month. And the pandemic happened. COVID happened. And going back, I always tell people, I’m not a trained dancer, I can’t do an eight count to save my life. I cannot do a count. Don’t ask me. But I know how to move. So that was around the same time in February we for we that’s how I met you through our coaching program in Patrice Washington. And then our clarity coach to Tia Jones. She suggested like, Hey, why don’t you do it online? You know, there’s a lot of people at home. A lot of people are struggling right now. You know, everybody loves to dance, do it at home. And then I was kind of resistant. Like, I don’t know, I mean, I just had a live class. You know, that was amazing. I don’t know about this online thing. But I thankfully, I listened. And I started hosting like free dance for mental health classes online. And it was amazing. I went on for like two or three months. And I took a little pause and doing other things. You know how that goes. And then this year, well, last month, I decided to go ahead and officially launch the dancer mental health program.
Tiffany: tell us a little bit about the program, who’s it for and so on expect as they move through the program.
Dr Rennes: Yeah, so the program is for women. Like I said, I love to work with women who suffer in silence. So just like just how I struggled like, you know, cool to know who you are, you know, to help them find their identity, let them find your health and find your voice, taking back their power mean and just knowing who they are, know people pleasing, standing in the truth. So the program will is included like weekly live dance classes. I’m also teaching a model of how to create results that you want in your life. So there’ll be self study lessons like pre recorded assignments, like to do the work. We’re not only dancing, I want you to do the work on yourself. And having a community which was a huge thing for me. As you know, it was a huge thing for us this year. Just having a community community have like minded women having that support and encouragement. So yeah, basically that’s what the program is about the goal at the end of the program, that you know how to coach yourself throughout life, that you become more self confident. Like you stand in your power, your standing your truth, and you just be unapologetic.
Oh Lord, look
at that word. Ugly You mean you and your authentic self. So yeah,
Tiffany: I love it. I absolutely love it. So for the woman who is right now, in the midst of this journey, or at the beginning of this journey, and she just wants to start somewhere, can you suggest a song or a scripture or even a journaling question that she could begin to coach herself with to just start to get up and get moving and start doing the work?
Dr Rennes: So I love dancing all types of music and Caribbean I love African music, but there’s nothing better than a good worship song. praise and worship song. And one of my favorite ones this year was snatch way maker way me cuz I can’t sing.
Tiffany: Kill two people. I know the song.
Dr Rennes: So that is my jam. Um, as far as the verse has, this verse has always been my favorite still is and that’s Jeremiah 2911. For I know, the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you plans to give you a hope and a future. And a journal question, this is a good one, start journaling and ask yourself, what is the story? What is my story? What am I telling myself about myself? Write it out, write it out? Once we write certain things out, once we take it from our head and put it on paper? Sometimes we read through it, it’s like it doesn’t make any sense.
Tiffany: That’s right. That’s right. I would I would add to complement what you have just said, I would say that you meditate on Jeremiah 2911 and 12. Because that next verse says, and you will seek Me and you will find me. And it’s so important to know God’s truth, but also to know that you have to be aligned with him to really fully embrace and comprehend it like you shared. And that question is so powerful, and so much can come like you could journal through that question for months. Oh, yes, absolutely. And then to extend to ask yourself, why, right? Like, what are you telling yourself? And why are you telling yourself that right?
Dr Rennes: And what are you telling yourself? Does it align with what God is saying about you know, daughter of God, does that align? And a lot
Tiffany: of times it doesn’t, it doesn’t. That’s right. And this is work that you can start to do now. Like it does not require you to go to Peru or Honduras, or even leave your bedroom. If you’re right, like you can do the work right we
right now, yeah, of course,
if you want to go further you can get with Rene’s for the dance for mental health courts, so please tell the community where they can find you in these internet streets where definitely be dancing,
Dr Rennes: I will definitely be dancing. on my Instagram. I’m most active on my Instagram at Dr. Rennes is dr dot r e n n e s. And then you could find the links to my website.
Tiffany: are to link to your T shirt store, which has some really cute shirts. And I’ll make sure to link to dance for mental health and of course, your Instagram page. Yes. Well, I want to thank you so much for coming on and sharing your journey. And I want to thank you too for the work that you are doing and the way that you encourage you always when I come past your page on Instagram, I’m always no matter how I’m feeling is like yes, let me listen to the music is always so upbeat. You always have so much energy. I love it. And so I’m really glad that we had the opportunity to talk I want to give you the floor and the opportunity to leave our community with any favorite quote or words of encouragement that you would like to share.
Dr Rennes: Thank you first of all, thank you so much for having me again. This is the message I would tell my younger self is don’t rob the world. From experience and who you are, we all have a light. And if we don’t shine that light or walk in that light, we leave darkness in the world, right? We leave people in darkness. So just be you.
Tiffany: Because I believe the very same thing about lightning. And I believe that, especially those of us who have had some experiences that God is calling us to us that we are beacons of, of possibility. And so those words resonate so well with me, and I’m sure the beacons in the community so yes, tell them again, one more time.
Dr Rennes: Do not rob the world from experiencing you because you have a light, God gave you a light. So if you don’t shine it, you are leaving darkness in the world, you’re leaving people in the darkness.
Thank you so much for having me. I had fun.
Tiffany: I was so blessed by this conversation with my girl Dr. Nunez and I pray that you were to if you were to do me a favor, take a moment and leave a review. When you do you create an opportunity for another beacon to find this episode and get these gems dropped and the support she needs and if you need some additional support, if you are ready to go to the next level, and really begin to do the work so that you can shine your light and do and be and have all that God called you to but you’re struggling with where to start or how to come up with a plan. I would love to work with you. You can grab the link in the show notes and schedule your breakthrough email@example.com slash your bounce back guide and we can spend some time talking about how I can help you get to your next level. I look forward to talking with you. And of course I will leave you with this. God is not going to play you but if you are out here in the streets, dimming your light when he will have you shine it I promise you are playing your self be blessed!
Part of the reason you’ve been struggling to bounce back is because of the F word – yes Failure. You’ve made up your mind that your failures and your past are stopping you from being, doing and having what God has called you to. The reality though is God will use what you’ve grown through once you recognize the power of your experiences. In this episode Tiffany is giving you a process and tools to begin to do just that.
Remember, you can not conquer what you refuse to call out and confront.
Schedule your breakthrough session here.
Hey beacon, welcome home to your bounce back blueprint community Podcast, where you are challenged to be do and have God’s best. As you thrive on your journey from setback to success. I’m your bounce back guide, Tiffany Huff-Strothers. And I’ll be guiding you on the journey by sharing tips, tools, and the T on how I was able to bounce back from escaping death, healing from heartbreak and finding hope in homelessness. And then I wrote an award winning book all about it, and shout out to God, ever since I was courageous enough to share my story. My life and the lives of women around the world have been forever changed. And as a member of the bounce back blueprint community, I’m called to teach you to do the same. So grab your journal, and let’s build this blueprint. Hey, begin. I hope you have your journal. Because I’m ready to dig in today, and start building this blueprint. We are starting a new series today, all about redefining you. And if you missed the last episode, Episode 71, can you introduce me to your future self that I strongly encourage you to go back and listen to it because this next series is all about giving you the tools that you need, right helping you to redefine how you think about certain things, so that you can begin to embrace and embody your future self now. And so I thought the most appropriate place to start with this process was to redefine failure. Yes, I said it redefine failure, let’s, let’s just be real. This is the bounce back blueprint podcast. The premise of this podcast is all about having the clarity, the courage and the commitment to use and be used right by God, where your worst setback creates an opportunity for you to make an impact. And if God sees fit, to also make an income. And so I really want you to give yourself permission, right now in this moment to release your failures, right. And these are failures that you’ve decided or failures, not failures that anybody else has put a stamp on, I want you to start with those you’ve decided have been or are failures that you have on this little list or written down in your little black book, or those things that rise up and remind you why you can’t be or do or have something because of where you failed in the past. Now, I want you to start with yourself first. Because in doing so you will likely have aha moments about other people, or situations that arose that based on what other people thought, or what society has said, you consider failures as well. But I want you to start with yourself, right because we are focusing on you introducing your future self to you first. And if you are struggling to redefine your failures, then you will struggle to embody your entire identity. Okay, and I’m not talking about you pulling something from the sky about who’s you will be and what you will do. And all of the luxurious things you will have. I am speaking specifically to the woman that God has called and created you to be right to the woman that God has told you, you will become the woman who he has and is working through you to us, right? The woman he has begun to transform the woman who he decided was a beacon, right, you are a beacon. And so I want to take you back to our founding scripture for not only this podcast, but for the work that I do. It’s out of Isaiah 61. I’m not going to read it to you in its entirety. But I’m going to give you verses one through four maybe. And I want you to listen intentionally with this because this chapter is Isaiah, which I strongly encourage you to read the entirety of Isaiah 61. And in fact, I encourage you to begin to meditate on Isaiah 61 because it’s so good. And it speaks directly to God using your quote unquote failures, right, your setbacks, your challenges, to not only bless others to not only impact others, but in fact, to change the world. Okay. Did you catch that your failures and your willingness to use them as God intended you to, will change the world.
This is going to require you to know and embody your future self. So let’s dig into this and start doing the work to redefine failure. So here we go. Isaiah 61. starting with verse one, I’m going to read through verse four, the spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. This is exactly who God is telling you are right, this is God’s speaking to your future self. And if you read this in first person, you’re speaking to an introducing your future self. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives, and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn and provide for those who grieve in Zion to bestow on them a crown of the beauty, instead of ashes, the oil of joy, instead of mourning, and a garment of praise, instead of a spirit of despair. Are you hearing this, they will be called oaks of righteousness, of planting of the Lord, for the display of his splendor. So what I need you to hear is that because of the Broken Heart you’ve had, you are able to help bind up the brokenhearted because of what you were held captive to. He is sending you to proclaim freedom now that you are free, because you were in darkness as a prisoner. He has called and anointed you to release from darkness. The prisoners are you hearing this, he has sent you to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. And as you do these things, did you hear that they will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord’s splendor you will build the kingdom by embracing yourself by redefining your failure, and being a blessing to others. And then verse four says they will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated, they will renew, renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. Are you hearing this, when you begin to do what the Lord anointed you to do, you will change people’s lives. And in doing so they will become stronger, they will be a display of his splendor, meaning God is building his reputation in and through you. And then they will rebuild the ancient ruins, they will transform this world. They will transform ancient ruins we talk in generations of Ruin, that you have been called and created to support the real rebuilding of but it is only because he has anointed you based on what you’ve grown through with him, right? And so you’ve got to be willing to do the work to redefine your faith or excuse me to redefine your failures. So that when you are reading and meditating and memorizing Isaiah 61, you can fully embrace it, you can eat it, you can consume it and swallow it, and it becomes real for you. Right? You’ve got to know that you know that, you know, like it says in Isaiah 61 one that the spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon you because the Lord has anointed you. Right? You’ve got to know that. And so I want you to get your journal if you don’t have it already. Yes, I’m telling you, again, to get your journal because we are building this blueprint this week. And of course, there are some questions that I would love. And I am super excited to coach you through right? You got to get your journal. Alright. So in order for you to redefine your failure, and really begin to align with Isaiah 61, I have three questions to ask you. Actually, these three questions you are going to ask yourself, but before we dig into those questions, I want you to spend some time right now. Writing down those failures. I want you to write down those struggles, those setbacks, those things that you have swept under the rug, or worked really hard to rise above that nobody knows about and you’re okay with nobody knowing about Those things that if you’re honest, have made you stronger, more resilient, and probably required you to stand on your faith even more, and pray and cry more than you ever have in your life, write those things down. You know that I am a firm believer that we cannot conquer what we refuse to call out and confront. And so right now is your opportunity to call out the failures that have been weighing you down, that’s speak to you in the back of your mind when you have opportunities, or when someone calls on you to do or be something and you want to, but those thoughts are running through your minds about this thing, write those things down. And it could be anything, it could be something that happened this week, it could be something that happened to you and third grade 10th grade your senior year in college that still kind of haunts you. You know, I shared on an interview I had last week about how, during the time when I was in this abusive relationship, I was in college, and I had been afforded an opportunity to have a corporate internship every summer, because of a scholarship that I had, that was for four years. And I was hired at one of the biggest corporations here in Pittsburgh. And in the second year, things with our relationship got so bad, so bad, that I was constantly late, I was constantly calling off, I was embarrassed about what was happening in my life. And I was trying to maintain this facade. So I was constantly making up these stories to tell my supervisor, so that she wouldn’t suspect that I was in fact in an abusive relationship, hoping that these lies and this facade would help me to maintain my position. And ultimately, what ended up happening was my experience, which was supposed to last for years, and ultimately end with me being hired by the Corporation. And it was after that summer, because the supervisor recommended that I not be brought back. Because my attendance was spotty. When I was there, I did excellent work. But me getting there and getting there on time. And being focused a lot of times has become a challenge. And so when I had this interview this week, there was actually another woman being interviewed, and she was part of that program, as well, right. And we were both speaking about our experiences with domestic violence. And I said to her, you know, you probably don’t remember we were in this program together. But I didn’t get to finish. And I shared that with her. And that was a failure that I carried around for many, many years. In fact, she was or the women on that interview were the first who I ever shared that experience with and why it ended. I had to conquer that failure. It wasn’t something that necessarily haunted me constantly. But it is something that I thought about often, it is something that if I wasn’t careful, could rise up in times when I feel like things aren’t going their best with this entrepreneurial journey. And I think about, you know, should I get a job and then I consider, I could have a multiple six figure job at sed Corp had I not allowed that to happen. But instead, I was willing to not only call it out, but confront it. And I confronted it, both privately and publicly during that interview. And so those are the things that I want you to consider, maybe you don’t have the exact same story. But you have a story about a time when things didn’t go the way you planned. Maybe you contribute it to them, maybe it was something else going on in your life, maybe it was a decision that you made or you did not make.
But those are the failures I want you to consider and begin to write down in your journal. And once you have exhausted that list, and this can be very emotional, I should say, right? So give yourself grace and give yourself the space if you need to, to pause this recording so that you can work through these and get them down on paper. And then once you are able to do that, I don’t care if it’s one failure. I don’t care if it’s a 1002 failure once you have called out what you need to confront. These are the three questions I want you to ask. And I want To ask them for the most significant of the failures on your list, I want you to ask yourself first, what did I learn from this experience? I can tell you for sure. What I know now and have learned from that experience that I just shared with you, in hindsight is that honesty is always the best policy. Right? Had I been honest, in that season, it would have completely changed the trajectory of my life. And this is not about sugarcoating, what is right. This is about the lessons that we are receiving the blessings that come from these experiences that we have to grow through. Now you may have five failures written down, and you may have learned three things from each failure, that’s fine, write them all down. Because this is how you are going to begin to identify the brokenhearted that you are to bind up the prisoners that you are to release from darkness. It comes from, oftentimes the darkness and the prisons, and the broken heart that you yourself have experienced. Right. So that’s question number one. What have I learned from these experiences? What did these failures teach me? And these questions are actually the beginning of your process of failing forward. So when you have a challenge come up, or when something doesn’t go your way, moving forward. Before you berate yourself, you can create some space, take a deep breath, and work through these questions again. Second question is, how has my life been transformed because of these experiences, and what I learned? And so, again, these questions build on each other. Now that you’ve learned that honesty is the best policy that the truth will set you free. How has your life transformed? One of the ways that this transformed my life is when we had children, I decided that I was always going to be honest with my children, and that I was going to have an open door policy with them. Because I wanted them to know that they could get the truth from me. They didn’t have to go seeking it from someone else. No matter what the topic was, the situation or circumstance was right, I was committed to having courageous conversations with my children no matter what. So that’s one of the ways that this experience and what I learned from it transformed my life. Now this may look different from you, perhaps one of the things you feel you failed at is that you felt bankruptcy, right? You had some challenges with stewarding your money. And maybe one of the lessons you learn is that you need to be more intentional about how much debt you incur, right, maybe one of the lessons you learned is that you needed to learn more about financial management and wealth building. And so this may have transformed your life and that maybe you operate with cash only. Maybe you’ve decided not to have credit cards. Maybe you shifted and began a career or got a certification in financial psychology or literacy, right? These are the things I want you to consider. How has what you learned and what you experienced, transformed your life. Again, this is how the people in Isaiah 61 that you’re called to, are going to begin to rebuild the ancient ruins. Because you are embracing your future self you are getting to know your future self as you are answering these questions. And then the last question is, how can I impact others? With what I’ve learned and how I’ve transformed? Right? How can what I’ve grown through shift the lives of someone else? How can in the words of Isaiah 61 I use these lessons and my transformation to bind up the brokenhearted? Right? How can I use the lessons and transformations to bestow upon someone a crown of beauty instead of ashes? What beauty has come out of the ashes of what you have been considering a failure for weeks or months or years or decades? Now is the time for you to redefine failure. So That you can step into the woman that God has called and created you to be, and begin to have the impact that he has called you to have. It is written in the word, you are going to impact people, and they are going to change the world. Not just for today, but for generations. There is a shift happening right now, and you are called to be part of it. And in doing so, is going to require you to redefine your failure, it’s going to require you to consistently fail forward, is going to require you to consistently answer these questions, call out and confront what you need to conquer. Right? The word says that we are more than conquerors. And I’m excited. I’m excited about the shift in this season. I’m excited about you choosing to redefine failure right now. And I’m excited to help you. If you need support through this journey. You know, a lot comes out of this process, right? Once you start to answer these questions and call out these failures and do the work to grow through and fail forward. It can be challenging, and if we’re honest, sometimes it’s so challenging that we want to stop. But in this season, it is time for you to be more of a conqueror than it is for you to be comfortable. In this season, it is time for you to start trampling in those spaces where you have been tiptoeing in this season, it is time for you to stop auditioning for the roles that God has already assigned you. Because you are afraid that your failure and your past have made you an outcast. This is the season of the outcast. This is the year of the Lord’s favor, as the scripture says and it is time for you to show approval, and I am excited to support you, I am excited to be on this journey with you. If you are ready to do the work, and you want to have a guide and coach help you along the way, I am your girl. I am excited and look forward to hearing from you. You can grab the link in the show notes to schedule your breakthrough session so that we can have a mat a meeting of the minds and really work together to develop a plan for how I can help you begin to do the work to day to redefine your failures and begin to make the impact and the income that God has called and created you to stop telling yourself you can’t do it because of what happened in the past. Stop telling yourself that you may not be able to do it well. It is written and it is so and I’m going to leave you with this. God is not going to play you but if you think God can’t use what you’ve grown through, I promise you are playing yourself. Be blessed.
Has your New Year Resolution already become a thing of the past?
Are you frustrated because you know God has called you do something specific, but for some reason no matter how hard you try you can’t “get there”?
If you answered yes, this episode is for you. In this episode I am sharing a divine download God gave me about how we sometimes put ourselves in holding patterns because things don’t look or feel the way we expect them to. Sometimes we put ourselves in holding patterns because we think we have to arrive at a certain destination before we can do the work to fulfill our destinies. That could not be further from the truth.
It’s time for you to begin to use what is in your hands right there where you are.
Schedule your breakthrough session here.
The Truth About Your Word of the Year: How to Understand and Embrace the Good + Bad
Lie: I’ll Never Manifest This Big Vision or Dream: I’ll Never Live In My Purpose
Embracing the Preparation Before Elevation: The Connection of God’s Promises, Your Prayers + Your Priorities
No More New Year Resolutions: The Power of One Word + One Goal to Guide Your Year
Connect with Tiffany on Instagram
Email Tiffany: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hey beacon, welcome home to your bounce back blueprint community Podcast, where you are challenged to be do and have God’s best. As you thrive on your journey from setback to success. I’m your bounce back guide, Tiffany Huff-Strothers. And I’ll be guiding you on the journey by sharing tips, tools, and the T on how I was able to bounce back from escaping death, healing from heartbreak and finding hope in homelessness. And then I wrote an award winning book all about it, and shout out to God, ever since I was courageous enough to share my story. My life and the lives of women around the world have been forever changed. And as a member of the bounce back blueprint community, I’m called to teach you to do the same. So grab your journal, and let’s build this blueprint. Hey, beacon, hey, I am so excited to be building the blueprint with you this week. I’m excited because we’ve wrapped up this series on, you know, the lies we tell ourselves. And I hope that in listening to those episodes, and our guests, that you were able to get honest with yourself, and recognize the lies that you’ve been telling yourself and decide that you are no longer going to sabotage yourself, or do yourself and those who are called to serve a dis service by continuing to live by those lies. And so today, I have a question for you. And I want you to grab your journal, if you haven’t grabbed your journal already, if you have not been bringing your journal to these podcast episodes, which are like mini coaching sessions, then I need you to get that together, hit pause, grab your journal, because I have a question for you today. And I really want you to take the time to answer this question and answer it honestly. And so here’s the question. Can you introduce me to your future self? Can you introduce me to your future self?
Yes. Let me tell you why that is the question. So here we are. second month of 2021. And it is around this time of the year when the resolutions start to fall to the wayside. And those old habits begin to resurface when things we said we were leaving in 2020 somehow find their way out of the closet out of our wallets, back into the contacts list in our phones, if we’re honest. And so I want you to give yourself permission for the next 20 minutes or so that we are together to introduce me to your future self. And before you start to introduce me to your future self, I want to share with you one of the challenges that comes with embracing your future self, right it is this idea that you have to get to a certain destination, or you have to accomplish a certain thing. Or you have to be a certain way. Right, you have to lose a certain amount of weight, all of the lies we were talking about all of these things before you can embrace and allow yourself to be the woman that God is telling you, He created you to be. It’s not about the destination. The reality is that you need the clarity about who your future self is. And then you need the courage to become her now. And I want to demonstrate this by a divine download that I received from God last week. So I was getting ready for bed. I was in the bathroom. And I don’t know I guess this is a sign of getting old because I now spend quality time in the bathroom. Just sitting there pondering so many different things. Sometimes talking to God sometimes talking to myself, but I digress. On this particular night. I don’t think I was talking to myself or God I was just kind of decompressing as I prepared to get into bed. And God interrupted my thoughts. And he said to me, you know, Tiffany, part of the reason why you’ve been feeling the way you’ve been feeling, mind you I didn’t tell him I was feeling any type of way. But he gets in your business like that. He said, part of the reason why you’ve been feeling the way you’ve been feeling is because you are so focused on getting there. And he said, You don’t have to get there to do what I’ve called you to do. And he brought me or he gave me this vision of myself in an airport. And I can see this airport very clearly. And he told me, he said, You’ve been in this airport, and your flight has been delayed and detoured over and over again. And every time the attendant comes to the counter, to announce that another flight is coming in, or that a flight is going to be taking off, you are the first one at the counter, saying Is it my turn, is my name at the top of the list? Am I still going to be on standby, I’ve been here for so long, and I’m ready to go, I have so much to do when I get to where I’m going. And because of what is going on with this airport. And these flights and this pandemic, I’ve been here much longer than I have anticipated, I haven’t slept properly, I can’t get comfortable here, I want to take off my shoes, you know, I am on this rant with this attendant. And the attendant again tells me Well, you know, you’re still on standby, we will see. And so I do the walk of shame, with my bags and my laptop bag back to the seat where I was sitting. And what God showed me as I sat down is you need to do what I’ve told you to do in the airport. Now I’m saying the airport with air quotes, right? Because all of us are not literally in an airport. However, we all spend extreme amounts of time, in a certain space. In a certain space in our minds, or in a certain space, where we feel like we can’t do because of where we are, all of us have spent exorbitant amounts of time thinking that when we get to set place, we will be able to do whatever God has called us to do. And what God showed me during that vision is that there are plenty of seats in the airport. And there are places where I can put my bag down, there are places where I can plug my laptop in and my phone and to charge it. And in fact, there are people in that airport that need what he has given me to serve with. There are people in that airport, who are waiting to hear what I have to say. However, because I’m so focused on the destination, I am missing out on opportunities to walk in my destiny, right where I am. And I’m willing to bet that this is or has been true for you as well. And part of the reason is that you have not begun to do the work necessary to not only introduce others to your future self right, not only introduce others to how you can serve them, how you can help them what God has given you how he intends to move in and through you. Right, you haven’t introduced yourself to yourself. You haven’t fully accepted who you are, according to God, as you said, you are yourself. And so if that is the case, how can you introduce yourself to others? And that is why I started this episode with the question, can you introduce me to your future self? And so I want you to begin answering this question by considering what is the destination that you are focused on? Where are you going? What goals are you setting to get to a certain place, right? And this doesn’t have to be an actual location per se. But where are you working to get to? Right? What is it going to take for you to get there? And when you get there, how will you serve? How will you impact others? And if you want to take it a step further, who are the others you will impact? These are the questions that need to be answered in order for you to introduce me and yourself to your future self. And then when you have those answers, I want you to really spend some time meditating and praying over them. And then I want you to look at what you can do right now, where you are. And specifically, I want you to consider whether or not the people that you put down on your paper are ruining your journal, or who you are going to serve. Or where you are right now, who’s in the airport with you, that does not know what you are preparing to do, what you’ve already been prepared to do, and how you are called to serve them. who haven’t you introduced your future self to other than yourself. And consider the disservice you are doing those people, because they may not necessarily be waiting on a physical flight, they may be waiting on what you have to give them to share with them to teach them, they may be waiting on that in order for them to take off. In order for them to be elevated off the ground in order for them. To get off a stalling runway. They may need you to help them build momentum. Are you with me, you are not waiting on a flight to take off. You are simply waiting to get familiar with yourself, you’re waiting for the clarity that you need to actually be your self so that you have the courage to get off the runway. See, the final thing that God showed me. And that vision of the airport scene was that it has very little to do with the pandemic that is happening across the globe. That these flights are being delayed and detoured. It has more to do with the personal pandemics that you are dealing with or not within yourself. The lies you tell yourself, your lack of clarity, right, your unwillingness to be courageous and to move through the fear, to grow through the fear. And then also, when you know who you are and what God has called you to do. And you’re consistently taking those steps, he will give you the discernment to recognize that is not that you will never get there is that there are some things he is going before you to prepare. So that when you get there, the people you are called to serve and bless and impact on the other side of the baggage claim are prepared for you that the land is ready for you. Right? That the people he speaks of choosing you to serve, are ready for how you will serve them. And so if he has you in a place where you feel like you’re on hold, where you feel like you’re ready to go, only you’re in the wrong place to do the work that I need you to look around. I need you to sit down. I need you to learn to be content where you are without being complacent. And part of being able to be content without being complacent is getting familiar with your future self and embracing her now. embracing your gifts now understand the abundance of what is in your hands now. Knowing that there is a specific reason why some of your bags again air quotes, were checked with baggage claim and some of them you are carrying them around with you everywhere you go. In that airport, in that holding space.
What’s in those bags. What you have in those bags, what you have in your hands are everything you need to begin to introduce me and others to your future self. And that means that you can begin to do the work right where you are. Right now, as you wait for your flight to arrive, as you wait for your flight to take off, there is work to be done in the waiting. There are people for you to serve in the waiting, there are blessings for you to bestow upon others in the waiting. You’ve got to be willing to shift your perspective, right? You’ve got to be willing to accept and understand that delays and detours do not equal defeat. and be prepared to serve every person you meet, regardless of where you are, regardless of the circumstances. Can you introduce me to your future self, I would love to meet her. I would love to see the work that she is going to do to transform the world. And in fact, I would love to see that work begin today. And so again, I am challenging you to answer those questions. Where are you going? Where are you focused on going? Where are you trying to get to? What goals have you set for this month for this week for this year? To get you from where you are to where you’re going? And who is there for you to serve? And how are you going to serve them? Now please hear me out. This is not about you starting a business necessarily. This is not necessarily about your professional life. The answers to these questions are very specific and personal for you. That’s why I said you need your journal because you need the time to do this work. You’ve got to get clear on where you’re going and why. so that you can understand that where you are now is equally as important, if not more important than the destination where the flight you’re waiting on will take you and you’ve got to understand that there are some people in the airport in the space where you are, that are waiting for you to serve for their flight to take off you in essence, or the flight they’re waiting for. And I am confident that until you do the work where you are in this layover space, in this meanwhile space, your flight is not going to arrive, you will not begin to ascend, you are not going to see yourself soaring the way God has intended you too, because you haven’t done the work on the ground level to prepare. And sometimes doing the work in advance right? Is the preparation. Think about it. doctors do years of residency right? Before they be given before they become a doctor. Right? Doctors practice medicine, they do the work before they are necessarily able to do the work. And the same is true for you. And listen, you don’t have to do this alone. You don’t have to go through this process alone. I would love to work with you. I would love to be your coach and guide you. support you and of course challenge you to grow through this season. So that you can, in fact, take off in 2021 so that you don’t spend the entirety of this year, feeling stuck feeling confused, feeling like you’ll never get to where you know God has told you. He is taking you. For you. The first step may be to put your bags down and recognize that what is in your hand is your phone or your laptop with this voice of mind coming through it. And knowing that in your hands is an opportunity for you to be helped. I am here just like those people are waiting for you to serve them. I am waiting to serve you. And if you are ready to start this process, if you are ready to put an end to the delays and the detours and really get in position and be prepared for when your flight is going to take off.
Then let’s get on a breakthrough call. Let’s work together to see how The two of us can make the magic necessary for you to begin to soar. The link to work with me is in the show notes. And your breakthrough session is no obligation, the time specifically for us to chat about where you’re going. It’s time for you to introduce me to your future self. And for me to let you know how I can support you in embodying her today. So grab that link, schedule your time to chat. I look forward to hearing from you. Of course, if you would like you can introduce me to your future self in these internet streets. Grab a screenshot of this episode, tag me at the Tiffany huff on Facebook or Instagram. Or if you have questions about the episode, you can tag me with those as well. And I really do look forward to hearing from you and meeting your future self. And so I will leave you with this. God is not going to play you. But if you are out here in the streets, pretending to be anyone other than who God has already showed you. He called you to be doing anything other than what he’s already shown you. He’s called you to do. I promise this. You are playing yourself. Be blessed
This episode is part of The Lies We Tell Ourselves Series
Our guest today is Rho Thomas, Attorney, Financial Coach and Host of the Wealthyesque podcast. Rho and I talk about the importance of mindset shifts with your money, the possibility of being debt free, value based budgeting, identifying your why, and the one number that is more important than the two we focus on most often. Rho also shares a couple of books that were game changers on her journey:
Your Money or Your Life
The Millionaire Next Door
You can connect with Rho on IG , learn more about her work here and listen to her podcast here
Lie: The Vision is Too Big: I’ll Never Live In My Purpose
Lie: My Happiness Is Based On My Appearance + I’ll Always Be on a Diet – The Power of a New Mindset With Evelyn LeVasseur
Grab your copy of 30 Day Stay, Tiffany’s Award Winning Book
Connect with Tiffany
Follow Tiffany on Instagram
Schedule Your Breakthrough Session
Email Tiffany: Hello@TiffanyHuffExperience.com
Hey beacon welcome home to your bounce back blueprint community Podcast, where you are challenged to do and have God’s best as you thrive on your journey from setback to success. I’m your bounce back guide, Tiffany Huff-Strothers. And I’ll be guiding you on the journey by sharing tips, tools, and the T on how I was able to bounce back from escaping death, healing from heartbreak and finding hope in homelessness. And then I wrote an award winning book all about it, and shout out to God. Ever since I was courageous enough to share my story. My life and the lives of women around the world have been forever changed. And as a member of the bounce back blueprint community, I’m called to teach you to do the same. So grab your journal, and let’s build this blueprint. Hey, beacon Hey, I am so excited about our guest who is here to help us build the blueprint this week. We are continuing our series The lies we tell ourselves, and today’s a lie that we are breaking through is the lie that I will always be in debt.
Tiffany: Today’s guest is Rho Thomas, she has become a very dear friend of mine. And before I bring her on, I’m going to tell you a little bit about Rho Thomas. She’s an attorney and financial coach who believes that true wealth is having control of your time, she helps lawyers make intentional lifestyle and money decisions to regain control of their time, build wealth, and live the lives of freedom and choice they deserve. She has been featured in outlets such as Yahoo, finance, refinery, 29, and Mike and host the Wealthyesque podcast, which explores how lawyers can achieve lifestyle freedom by reframing their mindset and managing their money to achieve financial independence. Thank you so much for being here. And welcome to the podcast, Rho.
Rho: Thank you for having me, Tiffany. It’s a pleasure.
Tiffany: Likewise, before we get into busting down this lie, can you please introduce yourself to our audience behind or beyond your bio?
Rho: Sure, oh, my name is Rho Thomas. I am a wife, a mother, a Christian. And as you mentioned, a lawyer and financial coach, and I am on this journey to just take back control of my time and really build an intentional life. I think this pandemic has shown a lot of us how we just been kind of going through the motions of life, or at least I won’t speak for anyone else. At least that was the case for me. And so I am just really trying to make sure that I’m making intentional decisions for my life. And part of that is making intentional decisions with my money, and I am teaching others to do the same.
Tiffany: Wow. Now that’s a lot. But because I know a little bit about your journey and your story, I know that you haven’t necessarily always been on this path. So can you share with us a little bit about your journey and how you’ve gotten to the place where you not only want to be debt free yourself, and know that it’s possible, but you’re also helping others along the way?
Rho: Yeah, so about four years ago, my husband and I had our first child, and we had been just kind of going through life, you know, doing our careers and all of that I am a lawyer, as you mentioned, I’m in a big law firm. And at the time, the billable hour requirement at my firm was 1900 hours and our bill 2100 easily, right, I was doing all the things, I’m very type A I want to do the best and all of that. But when I had my child, I realized that the life that I had been living, right, the hours that I had been putting in at work would not be conducive to being the kind of mom I want it to be. And so I was talking to my husband about it. And we had talked a little bit about, like paying off debt and things like that before, but we didn’t really take any serious action toward doing it. But you know, we talked about the lives that we want it to live the you know, kind of parents that we want it to be and realize that the way that our work schedules were just wouldn’t allow us to do that. And so we decided to take a look at our money and see what we were working with. And we found that we were over $670,000 in debt with a negative $342,000 net worth.
Tiffany: And so Wait, wait, can you run that number back again? How many $1,000 a day?
Rho: Yes, $670,000. And as you can imagine, I was going right back to work. I wasn’t gonna do the same thing that I was doing. I was able to, to cut back a little bit. I didn’t have to go so far over the minimum and that kind of thing. But I wasn’t able to cut back the way that I had envisioned and so finding our finances in the state that they were, it was really a shock for us because we had been what we thought doing well with our money, right? Like we were paying off our credit cards on time, we were paying all of our minimums on time, we were even saving a little bit, you know, saving for retirement, all of that. But looking at our finances, we had this like, well over half a million dollars in debt. And so seeing the changes that we wanted to make with our lives, and seeing how the debt was a hindrance to that is what set us on this path to pay off debt. And then you also asked about how I got into helping others do it. Like as we were paying off our debt, and I was talking to some of my colleagues at work and at other firms, I’m hearing the same story, different iterations, but the same story of wanting to make some sort of change in their lives, whether it was leaving the firm going to a smaller firm, or another job that paid less, or just doing a reduced or flex schedule, but feeling like they couldn’t afford to do it. And so that drove me to want to help teach people the things that we’ve been learning on our debt journey.
Tiffany: That’s so good. And you know, part of what I hear you saying is that you had to come you had come to a point in your life where you had to choose whether you were going to continue to believe the lie that you know, debt is normal, I’ll always be in debt, or you’re going to make the decisions and do the work so that you could actually live the life you envision.
Rho: Yeah, that’s absolutely right. That’s absolutely right. And, you know, my husband had actually said something just like that, like, everybody has debt, it is just the way that life is. And he was not very interested in the changes that I wanted to make. Before we had our kids. He wasn’t very interested, because I was talking a lot about, like what we needed to do, but I was not explaining the why behind it. And I don’t think I was able to really articulate it until we had a kid and we could talk about the life that we wanted to live and how we envisioned that life looking. And then seeing Okay, this debt over here is what’s keeping us from doing that.
Tiffany: I think that’s so powerful, because it’s almost like, I mean, I know that debt can be a burden, but literally living a life in bondage, like literally envisioning the life you can have with debt, because you just feel like it’s normal, versus really envisioning the life that you desire, without debt and doing all of the work to build it, I think, Well, I know you’re not alone, and that people think it’s normal. And so they do the first, which is to envision the best possible life with the debt. And I think it’s amazing that now that you are on this journey, you’re able to help other people envision that life, what would you say is one of the biggest challenges that people have with breaking through the block that this is actually possible?
Rho: I think the biggest challenge is mindset, right? Like you said, the block, that limiting belief that everyone has debt is normal, I’m always going to have debt. If you don’t change that mindset, then you’re not going to change the actions that you’re taking, or start taking action, if you’re not taking action at all, and then you’re not going to see the results that you want. And so just seeing the possibility was huge for us. Like when we started looking into our finances, we started looking into how to pay it off. And we came across people who were paying their debts off in, you know, these really short periods of time, one guy, I think he was a Harvard MBA or something like that. He paid off like $90,000, in less than a year. You know, we saw a couple, both of whom were teachers pay their house off in five years. And just like all of these accomplishments that people were making with their money that we didn’t even know was possible, right? Like, the way that I learned about money was, you know, you get this debt, you pay your minimums, you know, on time, and then you just keep that loan until the term is up, like paying debt off early. never even occurred to me because it wasn’t something that I had seen.
Tiffany: Right? I think that’s so powerful, because you’re right, if we don’t know something is possible, then it’s likely that we may never attempt it, right? Because there’s that fear of being the first one or of course, the unknown possibility. So I’m curious as to you know, how over the course of the last four years being on this journey has really transformed your life and of course, the life of your children.
Rho: It has completely transformed our lives. We have paid off over $400,000 of debt. We hit a positive, right? Yes $400,000 of debt, we hit a positive net worth for the first time at the end of 2019. We hit a six figure net worth last year. And we’re just continuing to chop away at that debt, we’ve paid off all of my student loans. And a huge chunk of my husband’s I didn’t go through the breakdown for you. But that 670,000 was mostly student loans about 200,000 was our mortgage, we had like a $10,000 car loan. And then I had 100,000. And my husband had 350 or so 1000. That ballooned up to 370,000, with all of the interest while he was in residency. And so just chopping away at that debt has really improved our ability to make changes in our lives. Most recently, for me, I dropped down to about 50% at work during the pandemic, because I’m home with our kids who are now four and almost two. And I was trying to balance full time practice, I have my own business, and then also being a full time caretaker to the kids while my husband is working outside of the home. And I just could not imagine being able to make that kind of change four years ago, like have we not done this work on our finances, I wouldn’t have been able to do it.
Tiffany: That is so awesome. I’m so inspired. And I’m so inspired about the fact that I know someone who’s actually doing it, which I think is completely different than reading it about it on a blog or hearing about it on CNN or msn money or something. When you really know someone who has been in a certain place and is on the journey, and then seeing the progress, the possibility becomes even more real. But I also know that there are people who feel like making this decision and developing a plan means that they have to give up everything they love and kind of be prisoners of their lives until the day is paid off. So can you give a little insight into how you’ve been able to continue to live, but also be intentional about your goal in this debt freedom journey?
Rho: Yeah, I think like what you’re talking about is really pervasive in the media. Like when we hear people talking about finance, and personal finance, and budgeting and all of that, it’s always about this deprivation, you got to cut this and you got to do that. And that’s not my story, right? Like, that doesn’t resonate with me. And so we are very big on value based spending, which means I’m looking at the things that I truly care about. And I’m going to spend on those things. So like, I’ll still buy my nice shoes, or, you know, fashion or whatever. My husband loves cars, we actually got him a new car. But it was an SUV in 2019 when our second child was born, because my husband was driving a coupe at the time. And his car was I think, like 13 years old at that time. And we needed something bigger for our second kid and he wanted an SUV, and he wanted to upgrade a little bit. So we got an infinity SUV. But the compromise was that we didn’t get it brand new. So I think it was three years old when we bought it. And that drastically reduced the cost of it, right? So it’s not about like you have to drive beaters and only eat ramen and you know, walk everywhere. It’s about spending on the things that you care about. So we spent on that car, but my husband doesn’t care about clothes. So his fashion, you know, budget is much lower than mine might be
Tiffany: glad you shared that. It doesn’t have to be like this prison. And it doesn’t have to be this way or no way. And one thing that you said that really piqued my interest was this value based budgeting. And I think that value based budgeting goes back to why you even made that decision because you had a certain way that you wanted to parent, the value of being a present parent was really important to you. And that’s what helped you break through that lie and really take action. So what might be some of the values that you see showing up in the budgets of your clients or some that people who want to initiate this journey might consider
Rho: when we do those exercises about going through what you value and what’s really important to you. I typically have my clients go through and list out the 10 things that bring them the most joy and the 10 things that they value. And usually it’ll be things like their family, having you know, free time. It might be things like enjoying music or good food, that kind of thing. And so then when we are crafting a budget then we make sure that for instance with the Good Food example Make sure that you’ve got a nice budget line item for the good food that you enjoy, you know, maybe it’s restaurants or things like that. But then if it if your budget or your spending is showing that you’re spending a lot of money in this area that you don’t care about, that then is taking away from the financial goals that you have, or even the spending that you want to do in areas that you do care about, then we can cut that out. And I think that the issue is, most of the time, we’re not looking at that we are just spending money, because this is what people spend money on, right, we’re getting the new car just because oh, it’s five years, I need a new car. Now, I need a bigger house because I got a raise. Most of the time, we engage in what we call lifestyle creep, where we just start spending more money because we’re making more money. But we’re not being intentional about it, we’re not paying attention to whether it be things we’re spending on or things that we actually care about, or if we’re spending because we see our neighbors or our friends or our co-workers spending on those items. And that is the key, recognizing what you actually care about spending on that and not worrying about what other people are doing.
Tiffany: That is so, so good. And again, it takes us back to the beginning. And I think that’s what’s so important about what you’re sharing in this journey is that it all works together, right? Once you decide that another life is possible for you, then your decisions that you make about your spending and otherwise have to be a reflection of that decision. So I think you do such a great job of speaking to the process itself. And though it’s not easy, it’s possible, what would you say to the person who says, okay, I’ve created this value based budget, and I’ve been working on it, but it’s hard for me to stick to it, or I’m struggling with the amounts that I’ve placed in certain areas.
Rho: So that is a typical issue that I see, a lot of times when people come across personal finance, or they come across this idea of value based spending, or they see somebody’s story. They’re like, yes, I’m going to get on a budget, I’m going to just slash all of these numbers, I’m going to do this, I’m going to do that they get really gung ho about it. And the issue there is you’re not starting from where you are. And so I always tell my clients to do a three month look back, let’s look at what you’ve actually spent in each of these areas for the last three months, and then we can adjust from there. So as opposed to arbitrarily saying I’m going to spend $100, on groceries, I’m gonna look at what I’ve actually spent, Oh, it looks like my groceries are more like $500 a month. So maybe my budget is 500 or 450, or something like that, if I wanted to rein it in. And that way, when you’re starting from where you actually are, then you are much more likely to stick to it as opposed to trying to do this wholesale overhaul of your budget. And really, really, you know, restrict yourself. Because when it feels like deprivation, you’re not going to stick to it.
Tiffany: And I think that last piece that you said is what the key is we do we create budgets and we feel like we’re depriving ourselves almost like the whole diet thing, right? You don’t eat something and then you end up binging on it. The same is true with our money. And so I guess it’s that constant. Well, it’s the commitment, but it’s also that constant, reflecting like you said, looking at it for three months, and then perhaps after three months with a certain budget, do you encourage your clients to reflect again
Rho: and we look at how they actually are handling the budget that they’ve been doing. And if they’re making progress on their goals, because if the budget is working, then we don’t need to fix it right. But if they’re still having issues either sticking to it, or they’re not making the progress that they want to on their goals, then we can reconfigure it. Something that I do want to add though going back to what we talked about with deprivation is I think it’s really important to have some sort of entertainment, you know, line item, something for fun, because I think a lot of times when people are trying to get their finances together that’s one of the first things to go and that’s a mistake because if you don’t feel like you’re having fun if you feel like you can’t do anything that you want to do, then like you said you you’ll stick to it maybe for a little while and then you’ll go binge on you know, buying all the things are going to all the places, pre COVID but go into all the places or whatever spending a lot of money that you wouldn’t have spent had you allocated something some money towards fun from jump.
Tiffany: That’s good. That’s so good. And you’re right I can remember in the course of preparing to buy my house In creating that budget with the counselor I was working with and thinking, this is really unrealistic for me to say I’m not going to spend money in any of these areas, versus saying, Let me decrease maybe the amount of money I’m spending it with yours.
Rho: I think the second most popular is not being on the same page with your spouse, there’s a lot of times one spouse will come across these topics, these principles and be really excited about it. That was my story, right? Like, I’m like, oh, man, they’re paying off this debt in less than a year, they’re paying off the, you know, houses in five years, we got to do this. And my husband was like, I’m not really feeling that. And so we have to, when we are presenting these things to our spouses, our significant others, our partners, make sure that we’re approaching it in the right way. And that goes back to something that we were talking about earlier with the why behind what you want to do, and not just the what, you know, not just we’re going to pay off all this debt. And we’re going to cut this, you know, from the budget, and we’re going to do this and save this and whatever. But the why kind of dreaming with your spouse about what your lives could look like if you achieved x financial goal, and getting their buy in from that finding out what they want to do, like what their goals are for when you reach the goal. And then you’re able to go from there and make these budget adjustments and not feel like you’re having this tension or like this, this back and forth pulling with your spouse.
Tiffany: Gotcha. Do you suggest celebrating in any particular way, when you reach a certain milestone or when you’ve paid off a certain amount or maybe a certain debt that’s on your list? Do you suggest celebrating?
Rho: Absolutely celebrate, I don’t have any particular suggestion for what to do. I think that that is personal. But I do think that you’ve got to break up your debt, or whatever your financial goal is, it could be debt, it could be savings, whatever it is. But if you’ve if you’re trying to pay off $100,000, or you’re trying to save up for this downpayment, or whatever, you want to break it up into smaller milestones that you’ll hit more regularly, because then as you hit those milestones and you celebrate, it’s kind of a signal to your brain, like, okay, yes, this is working. And it prompts you to keep going right? You, you’re motivated to stay on track, because you’re seeing that you’re hitting your goals on here. Similarly, the method that I recommend for paying off debt is called the debt snowball. And the way that it works is you list your debts from smallest balance to largest balance, and you pay them off in that order. And just like what we talked about with celebrating the smaller milestones, typically, smaller debts are going to be paid much quicker, right? Like, for us, although we had 670,000, our smallest debt was like 15 $100. And so we were able to pay that off really quickly. And you’re seeing these wins really quickly, which then motivates you to keep going like, okay, yes, this is working, I’m seeing these debts being paid off. So anything that you can do like that, to motivate yourself, when you’ve got a long journey ahead is a plus.
Tiffany: That’s good. And of course, we got to make sure we budget for our celebrations, right so that we can enjoy them accordingly without feeling like they’re setting us back.
Okay, exactly. I completely agree with that.
Tiffany: So in one of your recent podcast episodes, you shared that there are two numbers that people ignore on this journey that largely can strongly impact the way that the journey goes and how you evaluate it. Can you share what those two numbers are?
Rho: Well, I know I talked recently about how there are two numbers that we pay a lot of attention to that aren’t as relevant, and then one that that we tend not to pay attention to.
Yeah, I said it backwards. Pardon me?
Rho: Yeah. So the one that we tend not to pay too much attention to is our net worth. And that is when you add up everything that you own, all of your account balances your retirement accounts, your savings, the value of your house, like all of that kind of thing, your assets, and subtract out the total of everything that you owe. So all of your student loans, your car, loan, your mortgage, any other loans that you have, when you subtract those debts from the assets, then you get your net worth. And going back to when we were talking about my story, our net worth was negative. That’s possible, right? Like we had more in debt than we had in our accounts. And so when we’re not paying attention to our net worth, we could either see that it’s not going up at all, or it’s staying the same. Both of those things. Ces are showing that you’re not making the financial progress that you probably want to be making. Now the numbers that we tend to pay attention to are things like our credit score, and our income, or you know, trying to reach a six figure income, that’s always a big milestone. But the thing with your credit score is it just shows your behavior with debt. So it shows that you are paying your bills on time, or that you, you know, have had credit for a while that you are not maxing out your cards, that kind of thing. So having a high credit score is good for some things, right? If you’re trying to get new credit, you need a mortgage, you need a loan for something, the credit score is good for that. But you can have a high credit score, like my husband and I, when we sat down to look at our finances and found that we were over $670,000 in debt, we had low 800 credit scores, because we were paying our bills on time. So the credit score is not a good indicator of how you’re doing financially. The same with the six figure income, my husband and I both have six figure incomes. And at that time, well, my husband at that time did not but our household income was six figures at the time. But we were over $670,000 in debt. And that’s because your income having this six figure income does not it’s not a good indicator of your financial success, your financial progress if you’re not managing it well. And we had been paying our debts off by paying the minimums on our debts, you know, saving a little bit, but we weren’t really paying attention to all of our money situation. And so there’s a lot of money that we were just wasting, quite honestly, because we were saving like, you know, our, our 15 20% however much it was. But the rest of it, I couldn’t tell you what happened to it. And so paying attention to that net worth and making sure that it is increasing, is a really good indicator that you are doing well with your money.
Tiffany: That was such a good lesson. And I hope that people are taking notes, because you’re right, a lot of people get so caught up in that credit score number. And like you said, it reflects a habit, it does not necessarily reflect the state of your financial well being or the lack thereof, I’m so glad that you wrote that down, and you did it so eloquently.
Thank you very much.
Rho: You’re welcome. You have a way with that. So I want to make sure that everybody is following along, we really want to first of all accept or recognize that there is possibility to live a life that is debt free, you got to get in touch with your why you’ve got to know your values and keep them in mind when you’re creating that budget. Be conscious of your net worth, is there any other key tip you would offer to somebody who is either on the journey and need some encouragement, or somebody who is considering this journey and needs some of that foresight,I think the number one thing is to give yourself grace, you know, to not beat yourself up for being in a situation that you want to improve like it’s okay. Also remember that it took awhile for you to get here, right? Like we got into all of our debt over the course of multiple years. And so it’s going to take a little while to get out of it. Don’t expect it to happen overnight. But if you just keep being consistent, keep taking those steps in the right direction, then eventually you will get there. So just give yourself some grace, and keep taking action and you’re going to do it.
Tiffany: I also I’m curious to hear from your perspective, when someone is looking for a financial coach like yourself, someone to support them through this process, developing a budget, and all of those things that you do. What should they expect from that relationship? Because I know that this is a very intimate thing to share and to be completely transparent and honest with to get the coaching. So how might one prepare for a relationship with a financial coach? And what does that look like?
Rho: I think to prepare for the relationship with the financial coach, you’ve got to make sure that you are ready to be open and honest with your coach. As you said, this is a very intimate part of most people’s lives. I think people are more reticent to talk about their money than they are to talk about their weight than to talk about their sex lives. Like for some reason we carry a lot of shame around finances. So you’re going to be open and honest with your coach. Your coach can help you as your coach is going to be there to help guide you, we might educate you if there are some topics that you are just not familiar with. And then we also help you to see how your thinking is impacting the results that you’re getting. Because as we mentioned at the outset, your mindset is everything to do with making progress and your finances. And so having that outside objective third party who’s looking in helping you to make these decisions and showing you how your thinking is impacting things is
Tiffany: he agree, so whenever you first started, or when you decided that you were going to make this shift, or you wanted to learn more, you mentioned that you were reading a lot of things and seeing a lot of success stories. Were there any books or blogs in particular that were instrumental in your journey.
Rho: So two of my favorite books, your money or your life by Vicki Robin, and Joe Dominguez, she actually, Vicki Robin actually put out an updated version last year or the year before, and her co author passed a while back, but she has updated it for you know, more current times. But it talks so much about looking at your money as a reflection of your time, your life energy, because most of us are trading time for money. And so when you’re thinking about purchases, she encourages you to think about how much time that purchase represents. So it really changed the way that I thought about my money. The second one is called The Millionaire Next Door, it’s by Thomas Stanley. And that one just talks about how the people who you think are millionaires tend not to be unless it’s like, you know, the super Uber rich, you know, top 1% people. But a lot of times millionaires are your everyday person, it could be your neighbor or somebody that you work with who you wouldn’t expect to be millionaires because they don’t look like the stereotypical millionaire. But that’s because most millionaires in America made their wealth or built their wealth by practicing more. I don’t know what the word is that I want to say here. Most millionaires in America live simple lives, they live in normal houses, they drive normal cars, and they are just practicing building wealth by making good money decisions.
Tiffany: That makes sense. I’ve heard of the Millionaire Next Millionaire Next Door, but I’ve not heard of your money or your life, I’ll make sure to link to both of those in the show notes. And, um, before I let you go, I wanted to know is there any quote or scripture that you leaned on during this journey or that you constantly refer back to when you are challenged or get frustrated with the process?
Rho: Or, and it says, whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right. And that goes back to what we were talking about with the mindset piece of believing that this thing is possible. And if you believe that it’s possible, then you’re going to take actions that get you there. So that quote is big in my life, I always refer to that quote.
Tiffany: And I think about the lie at the root, right? If you believe you can get out of debt, then you will and a really great place to wrap up the episode. But before we do, I would love for you to share how far you and your husband have come on this journey. I believe you said at the start that you were over $670,000 in debt. With a negative net worth. We know you said you have now a positive net worth but what about the debt? How far have you come in bringing that number down.
Rho: So we are just over $290,000 now and we are continuing to chip away at it. Our goal is to finish off my husband’s student loans which are at I think 100,000. We want to finish that off in the next 12 to 18 months and then we will work on our mortgage.
Tiffany: That is so inspiring. So commendable. Congratulations. I’m so proud of you. And it’s so like I said encouraging for me and consistently reinforces that it’s possible when I see you posting your updates and sharing those tidbits about your journey for anyone who is listening that wants to connect with you further or potentially is interested in financial coaching. Where can she find you?
Rho: Yes, you can head to my website which is rhothomas.com. I’m also on Instagram at I am Rho Thomas and then you can catch me on the Wealthyesque podcast which you can find at rhttps://www.rhothomas.com/podcast/
Tiffany: I thought I’ll make sure to link to all of your context in the show notes. And I want to say thank you so much Rho for your time and being willing to share so transparently and so eloquently, I know that I’ve learned a lot, and I’m sure our community has as well. So thank you again for being here.
Rho: Thank you for having me
Tiffany: It was a lot of fun. It was quite the pleasure. Okay, I don’t know about you. But for me row really came through all things value based budgeting. And during that three months look back. And really knowing the difference and the level of priority and importance for the credit score versus your net worth, honey. I know I’ll be listening to this episode more than once. And if you didn’t have your journal, then I recommend that you do too. The other thing I recommend is if you need support, if you need guidance, if you are challenged with breaking through this or any of the other lies that we have been digging into during this series, if you’re struggling with clarity, or where to begin to even pick up the pieces that have fallen as a result of living by these lies, I would love to help you. And I actually am accepting new coaching clients, you can grab the link in the show notes bit.li slash your bounce back guide and set up a time for us to chat and see if us working together would be a great fit to help you be and do and have all that God has called you to. I am so excited to hear from you about what you’re thinking about this episode and the other episodes in this series. You know you can leave a review, you can take a screenshot and hit me up on Instagram or Facebook at the Tiffany huff and of course, if you would prefer you can shoot me an email. My email is also in the show notes. I will not hold you much longer. However, I will leave you with this. God is not going to play you but if you continue to live your life in bondage to the lie that you will always be in debt. I promise you says you are playing yourself. Be blessed
This episode is part of “The Lies We Tell Ourselves” Series.
Today’s guest is Stephanie Cooper. Stephanie and I connected via Black Girls Do on Clubhouse, and she and realized we have a lot in common. I knew she would be a great woman to chat with about how there is room at the table for all of us to eat and be served. Stephanie and I talk about the truth that there are too many people with unmet needs for us to compete, the power of partnerships, why NOW is the time to embrace collaboration over competition and how to move past your fears to hop in the DM’s or send an email to the woman or women you would like to collaborate with.
Stephanie Cooper is a published Author, Podcast Host, Teen Mentor, and Coach. She is very passionate about helping women become the best version of themselves through healing and changing their mindset to manifest the life they want. You can listen to her podcast here, connect with her on Instagram and get a copy of her book.
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Tiffany: Hey beacon, welcome home to your bounce back blueprint community Podcast, where you are challenged to do and have God’s best. As you thrive on your journey from setback to success. I’m your bounce back guide, Tiffany Huff-Strothers. And I’ll be guiding you on the journey by sharing tips, tools, and the T on how I was able to bounce back from escaping death, healing from heartbreak and finding hope in homelessness. And then I wrote an award winning book all about it, and shout out to God, ever since I was courageous enough to share my story. My life and the lives of women around the world have been forever changed. And as a member of the bounce back blueprint community, I’m called to teach you to do the same. So grab your journal, and let’s build this blueprint.
Tiffany: Hey, before we start building the blueprint this week, I wanted to take a moment or two to check in with you. I know that for some of us 2020 knocked us down so hard, we don’t know how or where to even begin as we try and get back up. And I want you to know that you don’t have to grow through it alone. Trust me, I have seen the lowest of the low bankruptcy, homelessness, domestic violence, you name it. And you know what, by the grace of God, I got back up, and I came back better than ever, and I want to support you in doing the same. So if you are in need of some support, to build your back, Bounce Back Blueprint, and really get things done in 2021. So that you can do and have all that God has called you to schedule your session and let’s get to the breakthrough. You can grab the link in the show notes or go to bit.li slash your bounce back guide. Now let’s get into this week’s episode.
Tiffany: As we continue our series, the lies we tell ourselves. The next installment in our series the lives we tell ourselves, you are really going to enjoy today’s guest. She is a powerhouse. Her name is Stephanie Cooper. And we are busting through the life that I can’t do it because she’s doing it. So before Stephanie and I help you build the blueprint this week. Let me tell you a bit about the powerhouse that is going to bless you today. Stephanie Cooper is a published author, podcast host of broken into beautiful. She’s the teen mentor and a coach. She’s very passionate about helping women become the best version of themselves through healing and changing their mindset to manifest the life they want. Stephanie and I met over in the clubhouse in the black girls do club. She’s a moderator over there. And she is phenomenal at community building and supporting and encouraging and challenging women. So without further ado, I want to say thank you so much, Stephanie, for being here and welcome to the podcast.
Stephanie: Thank you. Thank you. That was an awesome introduction more than I like hey..
Tiffany: Well, let’s get on to my introduction. Please tell the audience who you are beyond the bio.
Stephanie: Oh man beyond the bio. I am a kind of a nerd. So I have a degree in science. I love science. I’m a comic girl Marvel DC Star Trek artists. I love it all this when I’m binge watching on the weekends, Netflix and CBS and everything. That’s what I’m watching some kind of sci fi thing because that’s my thing. Um, yeah, let’s see. I have two dogs. I have a Yorkie and a new puppy. Her name is Chloe. She’s a pitbull.
she’s very sweet. Um, and that’s it. No, not married. No children.
Tiffany: Comic girl.
Stephanie: Yes, I love it. Let me tell you what I used to live in New Orleans, we were a part of this group called geek girl squad. And so we would do branches or just meet up. So let’s say like the new wonder woman movie was coming out pre COVID. We would get together make costumes and all kinds of stuff and get dressed. We have brunch and get dressed up and Wonder Woman and any other kind of superhero outfits and go to the movies and brunch in those.
Tiffany: Oh, I love that. That sounds like a really good time. And I’m sure it’s always a good conversation starter. Like, What are y’all doing? Where are y’all from? Where are y’all going? Right? People always ask stuff like that. That’s cool. I like it. I don’t know that I am acquainted with anybody who majored in science. So what did you think you want it to be when you grew up?
Stephanie: So I wanted to be just like most little girls, I want to be a doctor. Be a pediatrician. So I actually went into the military before I went to college. And when I went into the military, I became a chemist in the military. And so after I got out of the military, I went straight to college and got a degree in biology and chemistry. And just I’ve been working in different I didn’t go to medical school, I was too afraid to take the MCAT. That’s a whole nother conversation. But I did stick to the public health and healthcare field. And so I’ve been working in laboratories doing toxicology, and pharma, pharmacology and different types of science things. I’ve had science programs, I’ve been a director of a science camp for kids. I just, I love science. I don’t have children, and you’ll catch me at home making slime.
Tiffany: I love it. I think it’s a great interest to have. And I think that is done. It’s a dynamic field to be in. It was just never my thing I can remember in high school doing the chemistry experiment over and over again, my friend and I and we were in the quote unquote, gifted classes. But we just weren’t into science. So there’s that. Here he is, with all that said, how you segwayed into the lane that you are now broken into beautiful, so maybe you can share a little bit with us about your transition, and you’re broken into a beautiful story.
Stephanie: Well, I mean, with my love of science, I’ve always also had a love and a passion for children and women is this like, you can’t choose for me. It’s like Lay’s potato chips. You can’t choose this one. I like both sides of the world. And so while I worked in service, I was always doing childcare, I had my own little childcare business on the side, making some nice little money. Just doing childcare, and babysitting and tutoring and things like that. And then I became a mentor for teen girls pregnant, teen moms. And I feel like a forgotten demographic that people don’t really talk about much, but it’s so many of them out there. And they really touched my heart. So I started mentoring them about four or five years ago, and broke into beautiful. I got that title some years ago. And I thought it would be a book because I’ve already wrote a book a 30 day devotional for women. It’s called delete the column little girl I said, you get up, I call it my 30 day motivational devotional kind of get you together and get you straight. So you can get up and go do what you’re supposed to do. And so broken into beautiful was given to me. And so I thought it would be another book title just didn’t know how, when, where, what, whatever. And what happened was in 2008, when I got divorced. And along with that divorce came a whole bunch of other stuff like job loss, like can consecutive job loss, like I lost like three or four jobs right behind each other. And so it was a journey for me. I’m coming out of my marriage being embarrassed and ashamed because it didn’t even last two years, it was like a month shy of two years. And I got a divorce. And so I relocated back to Atlanta, and kind of became this hermit crab and set in my shell and in my house and just kind of a lot of people didn’t even know I had moved back, because I was so embarrassed and ashamed of how my life was going because I’ve always been doing good. And so I wasn’t doing good. And I just didn’t want to. I didn’t want people to see that. And so I just had, and through that process, you know, a lot of things happen, like, just me being stressed and going through anxiety and depression. Because of everything that was going on with me. There was one point where I even considered suicide. And I just, it was a hard time for me like two years almost up to 2020 from 2018 to 2020. It was a hard journey for me. And I listened to Jessica Hurley. She has a podcast called the strength phase. And so I listened to her regularly. And one day on Instagram. She put up a post asking if you have a story to tell I love to help you start a podcast. So not really thinking of it. I just responded to her comments like, ooh, I’ve always thought of doing a podcast but I just didn’t know I don’t even know where to begin. And you know how sometimes you just respond to stuff. And you don’t expect people because they’re much bigger than you so you don’t expect them to respond, she responded. And she responded, and we connected, we talked on the phone, and she pretty much got me into starting a podcast, she was like, you have a voice, you have a story. And there’s so many women out there that need to hear your story that relate to your story. And they need to know that they aren’t alone. And so I was like, Okay, well, just let me think about it. Because he was going to be an investment. And at the time, of course, going through from job loss and little jobs, part time jobs, I’m like, how am I gonna make this work? You know, I’m always investing in other people and their companies, but I don’t really invest in myself. And so I decided to take the risk and invest in myself. And so I called Jessica back and said, I’m gonna do it. And as we were talking about titles and things like that, my profile’s name was already broken into beautiful, because I didn’t know what to do with the tiger, I just had it. So my profile’s name was already broken into beautiful. And when I told her about that, she was like, that’s it. That’s the title of your podcast broken into beautiful.
Tiffany: Such a beautiful journey. Of course, when you are going through it, growing through it, I’m sure it wasn’t as beautiful. But for that title to come full circle, it was almost like God gave you foresight about what was to come. And of course, being the humans that we are, and focused where we want to focus, I can totally see myself also thinking I was like, yep, that’s gonna be the book, not knowing that he has something completely different in store. Yes,
Stephanie:absolutely. is so
Tiffany: Amazing. And I love the title myself. So I can see why Jessica suggests or, you know, affirmed, I should say that that was the title. And that, you know, God had given to it to you a little earlier than you knew what it will be used for. Mm hmm. I just love how eloquently you are able to share your story and the work that you’re doing. And I want to be clear for the listeners, because of the lie that we’re busting through today about how we so often get caught up in, I can’t do it because she’s doing it or someone else already did it, you know, our work is very closely aligned. Because we do a lot of the same things, right, we both have podcasts, we both are sharing our own stories of overcoming and, you know, turning them around and using them for beauty and to help and impact others. We have both written the devotionals. We both are coaching, right. And even with all of that, we are here working together collaborating to make an impact and bust down this lie. And so I want you to speak to you know, what do you think about? Or what do you think is at the root of this slide, when people think that it’s a competition or that we can’t collaborate? Or even I just can’t do it, because Stephanie’s already doing it? What do you think is at the root of that?
Stephanie: That’s a mindset that I think started way before us, you know, where maybe back in times of, like, way back to slavery, maybe even you know, where people, they already had this and there was nobody else to do it. And usually people will work hard and get themselves up to a certain point. But they don’t pull anybody else with them. And they don’t help anybody else because of its like I want to say like obesity, but it’s the wealth of obesity, like you’re obese in wealth, and you don’t want to share it. You don’t want to help anybody get to where you are, I guess because of fear they might be better or something I have no idea. I
Tiffany: I definitely think that it is. It’s a lack of mindset. Right? Personally, I think that any lie that you allow to consume you and stop you is at the root of it. There’s a lack of mindset. And I also think that is some fear and insecurity. But it’s really even deeper than that. It’s about your own authenticity. If you’re not really aware of who you are unable to be authentic, then you’re constantly going to be looking around to see what other people are doing. or telling yourself that someone else is doing it better.
Stephanie: Yeah. And we have to change that to more of a community mindset.
Stephanie: We’re not just doing this for us, yes, we are going to benefit from it. But we also need to help bring along the others, our community where we came from, or other women that want to do the same thing. But they just don’t know how. And you’re more successful when you bring other people with you. And one of the things I actually interviewed Jessica, on my podcast, and before, in the introduction, I kept telling people, all right, y’all go check out her podcast, you know, and she was like, you know, you are where you belong, because most people will be afraid to tell someone else to go check out somebody else’s podcast, while they’re listening to yours. And I’m just like, I don’t, I don’t see the need for competition. I like to say there’s, there’s always room at the healing table. That means when you heal, you have a seat. And then there’s still the empty seat next to you. So you need to bring somebody else to heal people. And so there is always room at the healing table. For us. It’s never at full capacity. And so you can always bring people on board. And there’s like, we just got to get over the whole competing thing and collaborate, like imagine, imagine what it would be like to see a whole bunch of women collaborating with each other, even if they have the same type of business because somebody has something that relates to somebody else. So even though you and I are doing the same things, our audiences are probably different. Well, now our audiences are going to be combined. Because yes, that listen to me are not going to listen to you, the people that listen to you are now going to listen to me. But that’s only because we collaborated. But yes, even though we were doing the same thing. We have different audiences. That’s right.
Tiffany: People who are going to be who are going to connect to you more, there are some people who are going to connect to me more. But I think even more importantly, is the truth that I cannot help everybody who needs help. Yeah. So there are some people out there that need Stephanie and Stephanie can’t help everybody that needs help. So it makes more sense for us to work together to maximize our impact than to be competing or even shrinking ourselves down. Because we know that the other is, is there.
Stephanie: Yep. And that’s exactly why my podcast is the way it is. Although it’s Stephanie Cooper’s podcast, I like to say this is our podcast, because I bring other women on because not everybody is going to relate to my story. So to reach more women, I want to bring out other women that have other stories. And even if this story is similar to mine, they still reach out to one or two or 1000 people that I didn’t reach out to.
Tiffany: That’s right. And I and I think that we also need to recognize how powerful it is to have more than one perspective, right? Even if we did have very, very, very similar stories. Being able to hear your experience and being able to hear my experience is going to have greater impacts, people are going to have different perspectives, they have more solutions to consider, right? There’s more than one way to skin a cat. Isn’t that what they say? Yeah. And you’re right, I love that you bring other women onto your podcast, and that you allow them space to share. I am a firm believer that sharing our stories are transformational and change the world. I mean, the Bible is full of stories. And it’s been a best selling book for 1000s of years. So it’s a complete testament to the truth. That story has so much power, and lasts for generations and generations. And one of the things that you say on your podcast that I really love, I wanted to make sure that I shared this with the audience. For those who aren’t familiar and haven’t listened. You say let’s get real, and let’s go heal. And so I’m curious, you know, with that in mind, what would be your approach to being able to support one of your clients that you’re working with, or a potential client who comes to you and says, You know, I want to do this thing. I know, it’s what I’m called to do. But there’s so many other people doing it. There’s so many other women doing it. I don’t want to, you know, so to think I stole her idea.
Stephanie: Well, that’s what the whole let’s get real about it is like, okay, let’s be real. Yeah, there are so many other women out there doing the same thing. But you are going to do a different and on top of that, why not reach out to that woman that has the same thing to see. Maybe she might want to collaborate with you, maybe she may want to help you. And then instead of just thinking that it’s gonna be a whole competition thing, you never know and she may say No, okay, but you’re not going to know until you reach out or until you just go about it but you cannot sit on Your voice and what you know, and your experience because you’re afraid that other people are will think that you stole from them, or that they are. Or that there are other people out there saying the same thing. Because a lot of times we do say something other people say they’re called quotes. That’s right. So you know, just give people their credit when you say something that somebody else says, Don’t take it for yours. Um, but you can’t be afraid to do something. Just because somebody else did it. And I experienced that because with my book, at first, that’s the mindset I had, like, what am I gonna say different? Anybody else has already said, I’ve read so many women’s devotionals. And stories, I’m just like, what am I going to do or say different, but I had to get out of that mindset, and still write it because somebody is going to relate, somebody is going to this is going to break through to somebody. But if you don’t do it, then you’re missing your college and that breakthrough that one person needed from you. But you were too afraid to do it. You just missed out on them.
Tiffany: Yes, yes, I agree. And, and that is so powerful. What we cannot allow to happen is that we allow our fears and our challenges to become burdens not only on our blessings, but they become burdens on the blessings that of the people we are called to serve, we are called to support, right? So we have to be able to move past this ally that only one person can do something and do it well. And I want everybody who’s listening to know that there is so much power and partnership. And it is important that you do your due diligence, right, everybody isn’t necessarily going to make the best partner. But that still does not mean that you have to be competing with her. You two are doing the same things you are maybe parallel or in the same area of expertise. But you know, I’m a firm believer that Stephanie and I both could follow the same recipe, but we both have a secret sauce. And that is what’s going to make the difference. You know, Burger King and McDonald’s both sell hamburgers, some people prefer it chargrilled Some people like it. However, Mike McDonald’s, me. And you know, you can ride down the street and McDonald’s and Wendy’s and Burger King will all be on the same block. And they all have customers, but they all sell in burgers and fries.
Stephanie: Mm hmm. Yeah, there was one of them first, that didn’t stop any of the other ones from from building and they are 1 billion all billion dollar company right? And then it didn’t stop TGI Fridays from selling a burger, or, you know, anywhere else that sells burgers. It didn’t stop them just because somebody else are. There’s like a million restaurants out there that already sells a burger, because somebody is always gonna prefer this over somebody over the other.
Tiffany: Yes, that’s right. I want you I want you to share a little bit about how you bring this idea of collaboration over competition into action in your life and business already shared that we met in black girls do which is all about collaboration. But what other ways are you working to, you know, elevate the message of collaboration over competition in your business and your personal life?
Stephanie: Well, like I said, when I have a podcast up, so and I have a guess, I always have my guests tell people where they can be found. Because I don’t want this to seem like it’s just my show. And you’re not important. No, Your voice is also important. And I feel like I have this vision in my head where, you know, when people stand next to each other a women stand next to each other, and they link up how powerful that is, versus just one woman standing by herself that somebody can just blow right through, can blow through linked up women. Mm hmm. Because there is too strong right, they too connected. And so connection is a big thing for me. And I’m always connecting especially if I want to learn like even with being recently with black girls do just connecting with these women and making bonds with them. And the blessings that are coming out of that it would not have happened if we just sat self asleep thinking that we can’t collaborate with others, but I’m always always pushing. Go check this person out. Go do this, go get this book. You know, cuz it’s not just about me, I got where I am from some of these people, these things but I’m telling you to go check out. They helped me get where I am. And I’m just gonna continue to push because I just the competition is overrated. And it needs to die.
Tiffany: And you know what? You’re right. It does need to die. And, and you know why is because collaboration and community gives so much life. And, you know, sometimes we put ourselves in these boxes and we end up in isolation, because we feel like people don’t understand back to that lack mindset, right? We think someone might steal our idea. But when you are bold and courageous enough to step out and approach someone else and say, Hey, Stephanie, let’s chat. I did not know Stephanie from mechanical pain, but we connected it in that clubhouse room. And I hopped right in her DMS said, We need to talk, we have some similarities. And I know that we can bless somebody by doing that. And now from this, Stephanie and I will have a connection. Who knows Stephanie might be the prayer partner I’ve been praying for, you know, you never know what will happen from you taking one step and really bust down this line. All in all it takes is one interaction. That’s it, all it takes is you doing the next best thing that you know to do. What would you say Stephanie was one of the scariest experiences for you to reach out to somebody?
Stephanie: Of course, nobody likes rejection. Right? Um, but I don’t think I have a specific experience, where I was just, like, out of body scared. I’m always I was I used to be always nervous about contacting someone, but now I’m not it’s like nothing. What are you gonna do? The worst you can do is say no. And if you say no, okay, I’m just gonna move on. But I won’t know anything. Unless I asked her if I check, you know, you just we got to stop moving in fear.
Tiffany: That’s right. You gotta you definitely got to stop moving in. Well, I think that you need to move in fear and not let fear direct your moves. Right? Because when you’re afraid you still have to do it. I don’t know that I was necessarily afraid. But when I first started doing voice recordings, and people’s DMS, I was just like, this is different, you know, and, and the DM, like, if you mess up it, you can’t delete it,
like you can’t start
Tiffany: Again, is a sentence like, there’s nothing you can do, they got it. Right. So it actually is a confidence booster. But even in the few instances where I have had some bloopers and what I was trying to say, and had to re-record the person came back and was very open and welcoming, and even thanked me for being willing to reach out and consider you know them for whatever it is that I was saying to them. So I want to just encourage the women who are listening to know that you have to take the first step, you know, you have to be willing to, to call out and confront what you need to conquer. And that starts with really like Stephanie says, getting real so that you can heal, what’s the real reason that you aren’t taking action with the thing or doing what God has told you? You need to do?
And that’s right, you got to get to the root of it and and know that there is someone you likely can connect with who can support you and working through getting to the root of that. Would you agree, Stephanie?
Stephanie: Absolutely. Don’t be afraid. Let me tell you yesterday, I was in somebody’s dm asking him about a program. And I meant to say hi. I’m interested in your program. I said, Whoa, I’m interested in your program. And and I was typing now what I should have did a voice recording. But like I said, I message immediately I say OMG I mean hi not Whoa. And she was very understanding because she was like, I’ve done it before too. So it just it happens and it makes you laugh, makes them laugh, and then you move on.
Tiffany: Yeah, I’ll actually might help you to just get the fear out if you have a little slip up, because it’s something that both of you can meet in the middle and laugh about. Even if your collaboration isn’t necessarily what they’re looking for at the time. People are generally happy to connect and meet someone new.
Stephanie: Mm hmm. The Times have changed. I think Gone are the days where people don’t want to collaborate, don’t want to connect, especially women. Um, now. It’s like women are realizing the strength and being together and collaborating. And so more than likely, if you reach out to a person and say you want to collaborate with them, of course they’re going to ask you know what the deal is? Question your background to figure out if you’re a good fit, which they should, and you should, but they’re more willing women are more willing to collaborate now. It’s just an atmosphere.
Tiffany: It’s a change in the atmosphere. And I think also the state of the world right now, people are struggling in isolation, nobody really wants to be alone. So there are some people who are waiting for you to hop in their DMS or waiting for you to send them the email or call them or whatever way you can connect with them. Even if it’s someone local in your community, they may be waiting for you to knock on the door and your mask, of course, but say, hey, let’s talk or what are you doing on Friday night? Do you want to fill in the blank? You know, people are waiting for exactly what, what you need, which is on the other side of your fear and that lie?
Stephanie: Mm hmm. Absolutely.
Tiffany: And I’m just grateful to be able to have Stephanie here to have this conversation. I’m curious, Stephanie, is there anything that you’ve run, or anybody that you follow beyond Jessica, who has really been impactful for you as it relates to building up the confidence or the know-how to be able to initiate those collaborations? Or, you know, just new relationships?
Stephanie: It’s funny, because the title of the book is called what a time to be alone. I’m trying to get pulled up so I can try to pronounce her name. What? He alone, huh? Let’s see. Should there you go? Sorry,
I don’t know if I said there, right? But it’s c h, i DRA. And her last name is eg G, E, R u E. and this book is kind of like a guide to helping you realize that you are enough. And, um, even in your loneliness, try to enjoy who you are becoming your own friend, then you won’t be so lonely.
Tiffany: And maybe you have the confidence.
Stephanie: Yeah. Because you’re not afraid to be his friend. Yeah. And man, I just, I’m always doing devotionals and audio books. And like, that’s just me, I love audiobooks. So anytime I go through and see something that pops out to me, I’m like, ooh, I want to listen to this. And so like, there’s so many different audio books that I’ve listened to. Let me see if I can pull up my library.
Tiffany: One I will share that I recommend to everybody, regardless of where you are on your journey, and it’s called the dream giver, is by Bruce Wilkinson. And the book is a short book, it starts out with a fable in the beginning. And then at the end, it goes through and basically he gives some, you know, some context for the fable some questions for you to consider. And it’s ultimately about how we go on this journey. When we are caught when we recognize we’re called to something higher or to do something different. And the journey that we go on to get there, and he uses metaphorical language. And he talks about how this person lived in the town of nobodies, and he wanted to be somebody and how he had to get through it. And it is the metaphorical way that he talks about the journey is so powerful. It’s one of those books for me that I read every year. And it’s also you know how Oprah wanted or was given out copies of the color purple. This is a book that I would give out copies of because he does such a good job of simplifying some of the most critical and challenging points in our lives, and making it digestible and understandable. And he gives you good context to be able to process through
Stephanie: That sounds like this book that I’ve read and listened to a million times. It’s called high speed and high places. And it’s pretty much an allegory and all of the characters have different names based off the different parts of life we’re in so like the main character, her name is much afraid. And then you know, she has a cousin call, freight fretful and, you know it is and then she has these two partners that the shipper assigns to her. One is called suffering and one Call. My goodness, I can’t remember. But by the end of the story, as she goes through her journey, her name changes and sufferings, things change to joy and innocence, like this whole is so so look it up if you can’t have seen I play with you say a hind hand speed in high places,
And so the other, the one I’m gonna give one more. This book really really spoke to me it’s called more than enough by Elaine welteroth, w e l t e. r. o th. And its subtitle pretty much says claiming this space for who you are, no matter what they say. That it just that alone, too. It’s a really good book to help you realize that you’re enough, I read a lot of books about being enough.
Tiffany: Yes, it’s something that we can be constantly reminded of. You know, that you are more than enough. And also, I just think it’s so important to be reminded that, you know, if, if you feel so strongly and passionately and you know, in your gut and your heart that you are called to do something, I don’t care if there are a billion people doing it, then you need to move forward and just take the next best step. And don’t look to your left or to your right, stay focused. And when you get confused, look up to God. Don’t look around and compare yourself. Because then you are going to get the affirmation that you need from God and you don’t have to worry about that validation.
Stephanie: Yeah, if it’s still on your heart, more than likely there’s something you are going to be doing different than everybody else has already done it. There’s something different that’s going to be done on your part that’s gonna attract people to you.
Tiffany: That’s right. I agree with that. And speaking of attracting people to you, Stephanie, can you let our audience know where they can connect with you and learn more about you? And listen to the podcast?
Stephanie: Sure. So you can find me on Facebook gifts. I still have Facebook. As Stephanie Cooper, there are a lot of Stephanie Cooper’s I know but I’m on there. I promise. I’m on Instagram is broken into beautiful so it’s br o ke e n. n in the number two and beautiful. My email address is email@example.com. I don’t use Twitter. I don’t use tik tok. And then you can find me on clubhouse as Stephanie Cooper also.
Tiffany: Yes, and I’ll make sure to link to the podcast, Instagram.
Stephanie: Oh, yeah. And, and the podcast. The podcast is on all the platforms, apple, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, I think is our heart, I think. But yeah, that’s where you can find the podcast. And if you go on my, either my facebook or my Instagram, I have links on I think is my Facebook page, I have the links to almost all the platforms.
Tiffany: Okay, perfect. So yes, I will make sure that everyone is able to get in contact with you. And if you are struggling with this lie that you can’t do something or that you can’t connect because someone else is already doing it. I encourage you to allow myself or Stephanie to be your test, you can happily hop into one of our D ends. We will love to hear from you love to hear how we can support you and challenge you on this journey to bust down this lie and get you into doing what God would have you do. Stephanie, I want to thank you so much for being here. And if you have any last words or parting words, you want to leave the audience with you have the floor.
Stephanie: Um, oh man, I always have a quote. So I have one right here. As matter of fact, I was going to use it on my episode, I still might. But it says not all storms come to disrupt your life. Some come to clear your path. So you might have some stuff that’s in the way of you moving on that path that you need to go and it’s blocking you so you don’t know which way to go. So a storm comes and it clears some people out. It clears some jobs out. It clears a whole bunch of stuff. And now you have this new path that you might be afraid to take. But it’s a new path that was created. So take it. That’s right.
Tiffany: That’s a good Mic drop moment. Thank you again for being here. And I’m sure I will see you out on this internet Street.
Cheers to collaboration over competition and really doing the work to Initiate those relationships that are going to change not only the trajectory of your life, but the lives of others. I really pray that you are blessed by this conversation and that you are encouraged if you have been questioning whether you should move forward with an introduction, or reaching out to someone or hopping in sisters DMS. Listen, go for his speaking of DMS. I would love to hear from you about your thoughts on this episode or this series. We’ve been in for several weeks now, the lies we tell ourselves, you can surely hop in my dm on Instagram, or Facebook at Tiffany Huff. Or of course you can leave a review. When you do you create the opportunity for other beacons to find the podcast and be blessed by what is being shared. So I look forward to connecting with you. And of course, I will leave you with this. God is not going to play you but if you have still been allowing the lie of competition over collaboration to hold you back. I promise you are playing yourself. Be blessed.