Would anyone like to see social change in the government and educational sectors? I thank God for Barbara, who has resiliently made an impact for decades in both. Listen as she shares her “WHY” education, sneak peek (incredibly moving story), and tips on how you can create change!

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Dr. Barbara Dickerson

Spanning the educational continuum, Barbara has taught elementary and high school students as well as college undergraduates and graduate students.
Barbara has held administrative roles in both the academic and student affairs areas in the academy. She has taught in diverse settings nationally and internationally.

The academy work provided a springboard for Barbara to successfully garner elected offices on a K-12 and community college board. Her community work, as an executive of a non-profit and administrator of a local foundation, earned her several awards.

While serving on the community college board she also worked as a liaison for a congressional office. Barbara currently serves on two national boards, one for an academic institution and the other for a financial organization as well as works with a non-profit on volunteer engagement. She has been married for almost 45 years and has two adult children and three grandchildren.

Show Notes, Raw Transcription:

Speaker1: On this episode of the Social Impact podcast.

Speaker2: Recognizing how one is wired, what you are, what your passion is. And like you said, there are so many social issues. But I think I think you can either identify an issue or you can identify your giftedness. And I think my giftedness is service. And so that allows me a plethora of opportunities, right?

Speaker1: Welcome [00:00:30] to the Social Impact podcast where people like you and I are making sustainable change throughout the world. Learn why they do it and how you can be a change-maker in your community and across the globe. Each week we hear from people on their social issues and what compels them to make an impact. Hi everyone. My name is Bree Jensen, and today I’m thrilled to [00:01:00] introduce you to our first guest, Dr. Barbara Dickinson. I am so happy that she chose to spend a few minutes with us sharing her extensive career and wisdom with us. Her career spans education as well as government. She was a teacher in elementary school, high school, as well as undergrad and graduate students, and she also worked as the liaison for mental health for a congresswoman. I cannot [00:01:30] wait to have her share all of her experiences, including her elected official experiences with all of you that are looking to go into advocacy or any kind of public service. So let’s get started. All right. Well, Barbara, thank you so much for joining the first season of the Social Impact podcast. And I think you were probably the first person I asked because you are always at the top of my list for people that I call [00:02:00] my mentor from afar. I have never officially asked you to be my mentor, but we joke about how many times I reach out to you about things because you really are truly so wise. And I know that can be that word can be thrown around these days, but I really do look to you for a lot of wisdom and counsel. And so thank you for taking your time to be with us. And, you know, there are so many things I’d love to dive into, but do [00:02:30] you mind just sharing your kind of a little bit of your career journey? You’re an advocate. You’ve done you know, you’ve been an elected official, you’ve worked in education. You’ve done so many great things. You’re a mom, your grandmom. So do you mind just kind of sharing little pieces of your journey?

Speaker2: Or so I think it’s easiest to talk about in terms of if I kind of think of a linear pattern, it wasn’t linear but kind of.

Speaker1: Right.

Speaker2: So [00:03:00] the education piece was something that I started off when I was an undergrad graduate of an undergrad institution. And so I started in K 12, moved from there to the university, and went both on the student affairs side and the academic side, holding positions as deans and directors of various student affairs in student [00:03:30] affairs. What am I trying to say? Student affairs groups such as the Student Union at ASU. And then and then I had an opportunity to teach internationally, which was just a great experience, both on the African continent, South America, and Central America. So it’s been just really wonderful. So then my career kind of shifted a bit. When  [00:04:00]we were in California, I had an opportunity there to run for elected office that I had never really thought about. So successful, successful campaigns were on a K 12 board, a community college board. And it was at that time that I came to the attention of one of our congressional reps, and then I became a liaison for her, worked out of her office [00:04:30] and. So. And they are also served as a director of a nonprofit and a director of a local foundations. So those are kind of my broad strokes. So, so, yeah. And so now I, I work with an organization on volunteer engagement and, and do grandma stuff and mom stuff and yeah, [00:05:00] wife stuff. And then at that time too.

Speaker1: And frankly, all the stuff, right? Yeah. Just when you think you can slow down, it never slows down. Yeah. There are so many things in your story and I think that as change agents, just to kind of identify a group of people, it can be kind of hard to identify your next path or your next move. I feel like especially people that are so passionate about social issues, [00:05:30] there’s so much to do and I think there’s so much to be done. How did you throughout your life identify which steps to take, which things to focus on, and what to do next?

Speaker2: You know, that’s a really good question. I think that I was not intentional about seeking out. Well, I wasn’t intentional, first of all, about knowing how I was wired. And I think [00:06:00] I now say that I’m wired to serve. And so I think that knowing that helps me to then position myself to be open to other opportunities. So like I said, I never thought I’d run for an elected office, but somebody approached me and they said, Oh, you really should do this. We need your voice at the table. And I thought, Well, sure, so, so, so I did it. And then. The [00:06:30] nonprofit. I actually started as a coach to the executive director, and then she left the state and said, Oh, and I went on the board and became a board member. When she left the state, she goes, So we really need you to step in. And I didn’t do that for a number of years. I tried to keep a real job and the paying job. Let me rephrase that. And [00:07:00] because the nonprofit couldn’t really afford to pay a director and I. I just found that that was where I should have that that was what I was supposed to be doing. So. So, yeah. So some of it is recognizing how one is wired, what your what your passion is. And like you said, there are so many social issues that I think I think you can either identify an issue or you can identify [00:07:30] your giftedness. And I do think my giftedness is service. And so that allows me a plethora of opportunities, right? So during COVID, when we relocated from California to Arizona, there wasn’t it was like, what do you do during the time that everybody is shut down? And I just kept seeking guidance. I kept being during my [00:08:00] meditation and prayer time. I just kept trying to focus myself and trying to be open to possibilities. And so I was introduced to an organization and started volunteering with them. And then the next thing I knew, I’m their volunteer engagement person. And so there you go. Hmm.

Speaker1: So there you go.

Speaker2: There you go.

Speaker1: I love it. I mean, I think that’s so good identifying who you are instead of identifying what you’ll do. I think I’m reflecting and [00:08:30] we’ve had these conversations one on one about some of my thoughts of how I was wired when I was in my early twenties. And I just was very much like, This is who I’m called to be and kind of on this intense path of and if it doesn’t work out, I’m so disappointed and it has to happen before I’m 30 and then this has to happen before I’m 40. And all those markers. And maybe that is a little bit how people that are advocates are wired, that you’re very passionate. However, [00:09:00] finding that balance and sitting in that space of Who am I and being open to the journey and where kind of the twists and turns take you, I think that’s been one thing that’s been most fun through the journey. As I look back, can you share a little bit more about how here’s the million-dollar question how do you sit in who you are and be still with that notion and be kind of open to what could come?

Speaker2: Yeah. [00:09:30] So I think a lot of it is being really thoughtful about who you who’s in your circle, right? I mean, we talk about that a lot, and especially as women, we talk about who’s our cheerleaders, who are our supporters. And I think I think. Finding time to spend with those people around you because you don’t [00:10:00] know all about yourself. Right? Write what you know. So having an opportunity to sit with people who also can speak into your life and say, you know, I see this or, you know, gosh, you’re really good at that. And I mean, I remember clearly a point in time in my journey where I was at the university and I was invited to [00:10:30] a meeting and I can’t remember what the meeting was, but I clearly remember this one woman at this roundtable just being so intentional about bringing me into the conversation. She kept saying, And Barbara, what do you think? And Barbara, that sounds like a great idea. Can you talk some more about that? So I think I think having that group around you, having some real people who can really speak [00:11:00] to your talents, your gifts, your how you’re wired is really helpful. And then I journal that’s just my outlet is just the place that I can say. I can then look back and say, oh wow, look at what this look what happened in this situation, or gosh, I was really off base in that journey in that part of the journey. So I think I think for me it’s about others and being quiet with myself [00:11:30] and for people who are more introverts, they may not need others, but I think that being quiet with yourself is really critical.

Speaker1: That is really critical. And thinking of the people that I know, okay, maybe myself at the first and foremost, but also others that I know that are advocates that are in social change arenas. They [00:12:00] want to run fast, right? There’s a lot to do and it’s hard to take time for yourself and it’s hard to reflect. And even I think it’s kind of the idea of like make the mistakes and figure it out later, you know, and let’s just get it done. And I was at a conference this week actually on sustainability, and there was a young person panel, which was really great. They were all in their twenties and they were like, There’s no time. We have to do [00:12:30] this now. And you can hear their passion and you know, you want to get up and rally around them, but how do you take the time to make sure that you centered that you’re running in the right direction, that you’re focused, that you’re measuring your impact? How do you do that?

Speaker2: Yeah, I think that that will differ for everyone. Right. Right. I think we all have we all live in a certain context. So you may have [00:13:00] a spouse, you may have a partner, you may have children, may have grandchildren. So I think I think for me, I. I escape through books. And so that is one vehicle that takes me out of my context and put me in a different space and helps me to free my mind to think about different things. And then [00:13:30] and then I’m not a big I hate gyms, I just hate them. But I love swimming. And so for me, when I’m in the water and all I’m doing is swimming, that’s just my mind. I mean, I can’t tell you how many thoughts to come through. And then I get on and go, Oh, okay, I can go and do this, this and that or you know, some people list hiking, some people is walking. So I think everybody has [00:14:00] to find their thing in their lives that gives them the space that takes them out of their their typical context and allows them to actually just be and so their mind can be open and free to listening to. And I call it the spirit moving so that you can say, okay, now I need to think about this and focus on this.

Speaker1: Right. I love that. Taking [00:14:30] it out of your context, it’s kind of like that removal and thinking about something else. I actually picked up Zumba lately.

Speaker2: Yes.

Speaker1: So that’s you know, and it was funny because I kind of got emotional. I was doing Zumba outside and the sun was setting and I was looking at my city and just having a moment because Zumba is so different than my everyday life that I had to do something that different to just feel free. And it made me just feel gratitude [00:15:00] and thankfulness, like even for my city and where I’m trying to serve. So kind of funny, but very true. And I’m, you know, I’m really curious to about social issues. So I think we align in our social issues. Education and mental health is my two key social issues. I’m in a sphere right now working at Pepperdine, working with students, and some people want to make social change, but they’re having a hard time identifying a focus. What [00:15:30] made you rally behind education? Maybe we’ll start there with education and then I’m curious, what did you see in education and what can still be done? So much, I’m sure, but so much. Yes, so much.

Speaker2: The latter is so much. And I probably can’t enumerate. But you know, and I don’t think I’ve ever shared my life my life beginnings with you. So, you know, being born in the segregated [00:16:00] South to a mom who did not have a high school diploma, and then having her make a conscious choice, along with several other African Americans at that time, to leave the South and move either north or west, she moved west. We went to California. It was just really clear to me that education was the vehicle to get out of the [00:16:30] scrimping on the food insecurity we felt, the housing insecurity we felt. And so I don’t know where that wisdom came from at ten, 11, 12. Wow. But that I was really clear that, okay, I need to I need to be I need to do well. And I wasn’t a stellar student, but I did well enough to then get into college and and and and [00:17:00] do other things, I think for me, because college because education made such a difference in my personal life, it opened I, I can’t well, all of those things I talked about earlier, all those doors that were open, they wouldn’t have been open to me otherwise. And but the other thing and I tell I tell my students and I tell young adult this all the time, it opens the doors for your family, because I was able to then [00:17:30] share with my siblings.

Speaker2: My parents have allowed them to have experiences that otherwise they never would have had my entree into or taking advantage of education and then those doors being open to me. So, so I’m I’m I just think that is the key. And and even, you know, I worked with mental health and and in that arena, I just think education is the key. We can’t. I have a niece who is a [00:18:00] psychiatrist, and she and I talk about just the stigma around especially in the African American community of of seeking care. And it’s that self care piece that’s so critical to all of us. And we we haven’t made it part of our national dialogue so that people can feel comfortable saying, Yeah, I have a therapist, or, Yeah, I went to see somebody. As I [00:18:30] work through this issue, they always think that it implies that they’re less than. And for me, it’s the beginning of being more than or all that you can be when you when you can step out and seek assistance. So.

Speaker1: Yeah, that’s beautiful. And so was your mom at your high school and college graduation?

Speaker2: My mom was and and my mom, you know, she became [00:19:00] somewhat of my sheroes. She and my father had. My stepfather had their own dance, but. But she she actually went back to high school after she became a grandmother. She went back to high school, got her high school diploma, and then went on and got her a as a result. That’s beautiful. Yeah.

Speaker1: So, Mom. That’s amazing. Oh, my goodness.

Speaker2: Yeah. So.

Speaker1: Beautiful. Thank you for sharing that story. So [00:19:30] I’m curious, since we are talking about family, it’s a sad statistic that a lot of people that work in nonprofit ministers, change makers, government officials, people in public service tend to get divorced or don’t have great relationships with their kids because they’re serving others. What has been your secret sauce throughout the.

Speaker2: Years.

Speaker1: To do [00:20:00] both? I mean, I’m not going to use the word balance because I don’t think that’s a thing.

Speaker2: But the thing and, you know, I was thinking about that and I actually I was actually writing my dissertation, I want to say, when we took my husband and I chose to help one of my siblings who wasn’t able to parent and we took her twin boys who were 13 [00:20:30] and my daughter was 13, 13 year olds and a seven year old. And they all and I put them all in different schools. It was a nightmare. But if I look and I look back now and say, what was I thinking at the time? It made lots of sense. So so I.

Speaker1: Think I’ve had so many of those moments at that time.

Speaker2: It makes sense. It made lots of friends. And, you know, and and I have been I have been encouraged by [00:21:00] especially by them and my daughter, who, you know, being 13, they were with us for four years and. It’s interesting to see how they have taken some of our values, some of the values that stemmed from their time with us and try to establish families and carry out those values. You know, part of it is, is your partnership with your partner. I mean, I [00:21:30] have to say, my husband is really been my biggest cheerleader. He’s been my you know, when I was writing, he was my editor. He was I mean, he’s just been phenomenal. And and I think that makes a real difference. And my daughter said something once and I hadn’t thought about this a lot, but she said because she’s still looking for Mr. Right. And she said There what I see in you and Dad is the [00:22:00] ability to go off and do your own work and then come together and be good about that. You know, you don’t have to be in each other’s space, but you then create a third space, you know, for each other.

Speaker2: And so that was really it was really heartwarming to hear her describe it. And she was a lot more eloquent than I am. But but but that’s one thing. And then with our kids, I mean, really, when I was doing my [00:22:30] research and dissertation writing, my, my, my husband was so great. I mean, he would take the kids and take them up to the mountains for a weekend or, you know, give me. And then I went to a hotel for week weekend rather, and then they were at home. And then one of the other times some of the other times was that, you know, I made a conscious choice of going without sleep. So I would go [00:23:00] to bed with my spouse, else get up at midnight. So we’d go to bed at nine or ten, get up at midnight. I’d work, do my work and then I’d stay up until everybody got up and got ready for so. So some of it was a personal sacrifice, but right. I felt like they were sacrificing. So it was okay. We all said.

Speaker1: Yeah, yeah, I hear that because you have to you hear that from a lot of women, especially, that you just [00:23:30] have to decide you’re going to do the early mornings and that’s when you’re doing homework and and knowing what your best for that day is, is still your best. And, you know, it’s it’s I completely agree that you have to have the partnership and you have to have the support. I I’ll speak candidly. My husband and I have had good times and not so good times with that. Absolutely. Yeah. I remember when I first started my the first business I tried to launch, you [00:24:00] know, I didn’t have the support I had expected and it caused a lot of issues. And now through communication, I’m doing way more than I’ve ever done. And he’s more supportive than he’s ever been. And it’s made it so much easier. Not that it’s easy, but it’s it’s helpful. So how do you initiate those conversations with your partner, you know, without it becoming a huge issue?

Speaker2: Yeah. I mean, I, I echo what you said. I mean, we [00:24:30] had we had some challenges. I mean, I tell tell married couples. No, no, marriage is perfect because we’re not single. So the best we can hope for is a healthy marriage. Right. And healthy marriages. There are down times, valleys that you’re like, okay, I could sit him outside on the curb and put free around his neck. And, you know, and there are other times when you can’t stand to be away from them. So I, [00:25:00] I for us, we, we, because we both had been married before, I think we came into the marriage with a, a few more tools perhaps and probably a bit more intentional about talking and communicating. And yet I, I just had a flashback. There was a time I remember him being very unhappy about something I don’t remember. I don’t even know what it was. And to [00:25:30] me, I’m not sure he could even tell you because he tried to remember the time. But I remember us going through this period that was just really just like, okay, let’s go to church and okay, let’s go. And I’m like, why are we even doing this kind of thing? So, so, yeah, I think there are. I mean, I just think you have to be intentional and focused and and yet I also think you have to allow for marriage to sometimes [00:26:00] be icky, to be uncomfortable, and to just say, yeah, you know, today I’m not feeling like this is a good. Marriage, but I’m committed to the relationship. So I’m going to I’m going to walk through this and this this gunk. And then we’ll you know, then we we usually get to a place where you can talk and, you know.

Speaker1: Such a good such a good point. Timing, right? [00:26:30] It is. It’s such a good point. And sometimes for me, understanding, you know, I’m not always in the best of moods. So maybe I need to give my partner a little grace and find a better time to talk about things. And maybe it’s a season, you know, I maybe it’s a season of yuck. And I’ve had some of those seasons and.

Speaker2: And I have to I mean, we’re going on 43 years in December. So, you know, I mean, yeah, you [00:27:00] just kind of go, okay and and and as you grow together and if you’re committed to the journey, then you just say, okay, it’s one of those periods and you don’t you don’t languish in it too much. And I know I know that one of the one of the things I’ve learned and I used to always ask my spouse, okay, so, so, so tell me what’s behind that and what’s. And he’d look at me like, okay, really and truly, this is not a therapy [00:27:30] session.

Speaker1: So that’s where you go, right?

Speaker2: And sometimes he wasn’t sure what was behind some of the comments or reaction or whatever. And and I used to get really upset with that. I used to kind of like hammer him, like, are you sure? You know, you have to know. And and then I it came to me that not everyone is wired the same way and so, so fancy that, you know, [00:28:00] God made us all really different and differently. And and so as a result, I have been able to let him be in his place. You know, I think I think we have to be a lot more like you said, we have to be a lot more grace giving to each other.

Speaker1: Yes. Yes, sometimes. In fact, yesterday I came back from a trip, but it’s usually after traveling, you know, because and it happens to me, too, if my husband’s traveling, it’s a lot to take care of our many [00:28:30] children, you know? And and I just felt like he was not intentionally, but, like, kind of picking a fight. And the old me would kind of like, take the bait. I say the old me, like, from last week, you know.

Speaker2: Every day.

Speaker1: But yes, but yesterday I just decided I was just going to stay quiet and it wasn’t worth it. And then we were fine. The rest of the night I’m like, Oh, that works.

Speaker2: Like I said, it’s really worth it sometimes. It really is allowing people the space [00:29:00] to just whatever’s going on in their head, you know, to just be and then, you know.

Speaker1: That’s so good. Well, it’s nice talking about family and and partners because I think it does play a huge role in the ability to be changemakers and to have that support. And so, you know, we met through the mental health consortium that you were hosting for congresswoman here in California. And so mental [00:29:30] health is a huge deal. Local politics to me is a huge deal. I love my city of Pasadena. I love serving here. So I’m curious for people that are listening. They may be thinking about running for office at some point. Can you give a few? I would love some. Like practical, maybe like the first three things you need to do to become, let’s say, like a city elect elected official and then maybe some emotional tips [00:30:00] because it’s probably both and.

Speaker2: Yeah, yeah, that’s good. I would say be clear about who you are. That’s the first thing. Because if you’re not, you’re going to be any any dirt that’s thrown or rocks or tried to be thrown. They will they will damage you. [00:30:30] And you will either. You know, just lose yourself in that or you’ll you’ll you’ll think that you have to then throw dirt back or rocks back or whatever. So I think that’s really critical. And I think that when I ran for office, I think people were surprised because I did have some stuff thrown at me and they kept saying, Why aren’t you saying anything? I said, Well, why should I? So so [00:31:00] I think knowing yourself and being clear about who you are, why you’re running, why you’re choosing to run and look at it as I am giving. The people, the residents and opportunity to choose to choose another way to choose me. And if they don’t, that doesn’t mean I’m not good. It just means that they chose somebody else. And so I think those are the three major things I would say knowing [00:31:30] yourself, you know, not not getting caught up in the rock throwing and and and looking at it and knowing why you’re running and then looking at it truly as just giving people a choice. And so you aren’t running against anyone. So people would say people said to me on both occasions, oh, you’re running against the incumbent. I said, No, I’m running for a position to give the residents an opportunity to choose [00:32:00] something different, to choose a different voice. And and if they and they were they chose the voice, my voice. And and I’m very grateful. But I have seen people literally devastated by their voice not being chosen. But in my my world is like I had such a full life that this was not going to this wasn’t the only thing in my life. I had kids, I had a family, you know, so I [00:32:30] had I had work. So you have to really know that it’s okay to lose.

Speaker1: That’s so good. And I do love I’m running for something. I mean, that’s the essence of being a change maker, is knowing where you stand and what you represent that’s so good and.

Speaker2: So so you don’t want to ever get caught up or one doesn’t want to ever get caught up in, oh, the incumbent or you’re running for someone’s seat. No, I’m running [00:33:00] for this. So be really clear about what your platform is and what your what you stand for.

Speaker1: That’s fantastic advice. And hopefully you won’t take things as personally either because you’re representing the issue and the needs.

Speaker2: Exactly. And so and and and here in especially in this in this political climate here in is to me here is that’s the critical piece. So that when you are running and your platform are issues, [00:33:30] then you don’t have to demonize your opponent. You don’t have to demonize other people who are running for the same seat. You don’t have to demonize people who disagree. You can just say with your position, you can say, great, we agree that we disagree and and and be okay. And so I think one of the best one of the best and the worst experiences I had was running for the College Board. And it was the best experience because [00:34:00] someone of high profile was running for the office as well. And she and I had the most healthy. Relationship through that race. And we didn’t know each other very well. But she was very she was very well known in the community. But she she you know, we we didn’t throw dirt. We didn’t say anything. It was just it was a very healthy relationship. It was the worst because there was someone [00:34:30] who didn’t know me, who wasn’t very well known in the community and just kept throwing dirt. And I and people kept saying, why aren’t you saying anything? Why aren’t you saying anything? And I kept saying, the person really doesn’t know me. So I there’s nothing for me to say. So I think not getting caught up in that is so critical in today’s political climate especially.

Speaker1: Absolutely. Great advice. So I’ll be calling you when I’m all in my headspace. I need to get up. [00:35:00]

Speaker2: Yeah, that’s my thing. You know, you have to have a great platform. I mean, people have to know what while you’re running. And I think campaigns, platforms have to be positive. You have to say, this is what I’m passionate about. And for me, both cases was education. I was passionate about ensuring that the K 12 students had the preparation that they needed. I saw my mom. My mom got her best job after she [00:35:30] got her a degree. And my dad, too, I mean, my stepdad, we both of them once they I just saw what education could do. So I knew that that that was a great tool.

Speaker1: Yes, absolutely. And where my head wants to take these conversations is into education reform and mental health access. And I’m realizing these are like more episodes. And so I’m going to hold off and maybe we can get you back to do two [00:36:00] more episodes, one on education and one on mental health, because there’s so many things that I love to talk about in those areas. And I know you have so many insights, but I will pause because you’ve already shared so many great things for each of our guests. We’re doing a quick rapid fire. Three questions to end it off. So I will ask you the questions. The first one is What is your purpose or motivation for change?

Speaker2: I [00:36:30] probably am motivated by living in a space of gratitude. I just feel so very grateful for the life journey that I’ve been given, even with the start that I had. I’m grateful for that because it propelled me to do more and to see people as [00:37:00] people of possibilities. So yeah.

Speaker1: No, I love that very much. So what are your wellbeing tips for those that are working in service to others?

Speaker2: Yeah, I, I love talking to people who are in the service deals because I, I always caution those who are new, who are novice into entering the field that they can’t [00:37:30] change anyone. I think once you recognize you personally cannot change another person. You can create environments, you can create a context and give them tools. But actual implementing the tools, navigating you can help them navigate a space, but you can’t make them. So I think once, once, once [00:38:00] change agents realize that the change that we usually want to see on a personal and societal level is something that we can put out tools, we can create opportunities, but we can’t control what people actually do with them.

Speaker1: Very, very, very good.

Speaker2: We have to be okay with that. And so for me, you know, I, I [00:38:30] just I mean, I can’t tell you how long ago I used to tell my children both both are now adult adults, but I used to say to them, you can only be you can only control you so you know, so you can’t you can’t say, oh, if I do this dance, then this person will do that dance. You can’t do that. You just you can only control you. And so, so recognizing that has always been very helpful to me to be to [00:39:00] stay centered and to stay grounded and not not get so. Not get so overwhelmed with the task before us. And then the second thing is, I I’ve become a great listener to myself and to that inner voice, that spirit that I think resides within me. I’ve just become a really good listener. And so if I am not feeling [00:39:30] my best, either emotionally or physically or spiritually, I step back. I purposely step back. And whether that means that I go on a long walk or I just go out with a girlfriend and talk about anything but what my work is, I just I’m getting really good at that. And I think I [00:40:00] think the first time that it dawned on me that I really needed to do that was probably 15 years ago when I was when I went in to lead the nonprofit, it was at a really critical point of either closing or not.

Speaker2: And I was working so hard around the clock, and I just I just felt so weary. And I just went on a five day [00:40:30] silent retreat. And people who know me were shocked because they said, my daughter’s like, I can talk. You can talk to a stop sign, so how could you be silent for five days? But it was the best thing because I just felt totally depleted, you know? So I think I think learning to listen to yourself and do that inner voice and make sure that you take care of yourself. And, and, and I [00:41:00] think that keeps you from being a, you know, feeling like you can solve all of all of the world’s problems and take small bites, right? Take small bite, because there are lots of problems. And within one problem, the mental health problem, there are all these areas, right? So take small bites. So I’m just working this because somebody else is going to work that and somebody else is going to work that. So I don’t have to feel responsible for every [00:41:30] social problem I can just feel responsible for the piece that I’m working on.

Speaker1: Yes, that is so key and being okay. I think that I always felt like I would push myself to my limit and over my limit because I didn’t want to miss an opportunity or I didn’t want to miss a conversation or a chance to help this person or that person, but it’s always going to be there. So. But I won’t always be there if I’m burnt out.


Speaker2: Exactly.


Speaker1: Yes, very good. [00:42:00] And the last one is, how can I, meaning all of us that are listening make an impact?

Speaker2: Yeah. You know, when I graduated with my PhD, I walked across the stage of the issue and I walked down and at the end of the ceremony, my family and extended family came and was coming toward me. And this young lady came behind me [00:42:30] and she tapped me on my shoulder and I said Hi. And she goes, Thank you so much. And I thought, I don’t I didn’t know who she was. And to this day, I still don’t know who she was. And I said, okay. She goes, No, you don’t know your presence. You’re walking across that stage. Gave me confidence that I too can walk across the stage. So we can we are impact, we can be [00:43:00] impacts whether we are conscious of it or not. That’s why I tell people all the time, you never know who’s watching you. You never know. And that was that was such an eye opening experience for me that I just was like, okay, so now I’m really conscious of the fact that people are watching you to help them become their best self. And that in itself is the essence of change, right? [00:43:30] That in itself is like that’s that’s what we’re working for. And so and so. Wow. What, what a gift that every day each of us have an opportunity to step out of our context and into the larger world and make a difference in someone’s life. And you don’t know what that’s going to be. And you may never have the person come up and touch you on the shoulder and say thank you for doing that. But [00:44:00] wow, I mean, that to me was that has stayed with me to this day. And that’s been. Over 20 years ago, more than 20 years ago. But, yeah.

Speaker1: That’s a beautiful way to end. I’m Terry. I just think that’s so beautiful. What a story. You just. You can make an impact by being yourself, know, by having a presence and and and making an impact, by the way, that you treat others. So thank you so much, Barbara. I [00:44:30] love all of your insights always. Don’t you worry. I’m sure something. In fact, I already have something. I’ll be emailing you shortly.

Speaker2: I am. I’m honored to be be one of your first Bri. And I have to tell you, you you are one of the young women that I love watching to see what how God is going to shape and use your lives. [00:45:00] It has is just such a joy because I think, wow, to be that intuitive and to be that aware of your life’s journey at this stage in your life, I’m just I it just delights me. So thank you. Thank you for delighting me.

Speaker1: Thank you. That means so much to me. Thank you. Thank you. And we will have to record those other five podcast episodes in the future on mental health [00:45:30] and education. But stay tuned and I’m so thankful. I hope you enjoyed the conversation today. If you would like to stay up on all things the Social Impact Podcast, please find us at the Social Impact Echo. Also, I do business consulting and coaching, and if you’re looking for ways to make an impact through your business or your project, I’d love to see how I can help. Reach out to me on social media at BRI Underscore [00:46:00] Jensen Underscore or schedule a free consultation on the website. Next week on the podcast we have one of the creators of Airlie, which is the brand new sustainable product out of post. It’s going to be a conversation about how you can make your product sustainable and good for the environment. So we’ll see you next week.


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