L3 Leadership Transcriptions: Thoughts on Leadership, Ministry, Writing, Speaking and Peacemaking | Interview with Danielle Strickland

By August 25, 2019Transcripts

Please enjoy this transcript of this episode with Danielle Strickland. It was transcribed and therefore might contain a few typos.

Danielle Strickland: 00:00 Oh, hey, I see you. You’re doing your best and you’re trying hard and it matters and be encouraged, God’s with you, not against you. He’s for you and every single thing you do to every single person, whether anybody sees it or not, is eternally significant.

Doug Smith: 00:16 This is the L3 Leadership podcast, episode number 229.

Doug Smith: 00:33 What’s up everyone, and welcome to another episode of the L3 Leadership podcast. My name is Doug Smith and I am your host and today’s episode. You’ll hear me interview Danielle Strickland. If you’re unfamiliar with Danielle, you are in for a treat and here’s what you need to know about her. She has done everything from establishing justice departments for the Salvation Army to launching Global anti-trafficking initiatives to creating new movements, to mobilize people towards transformational living. She trains, advocates and inspires people to live differently. She’s also the author of five books with her most recent being, The Ultimate Exodus, Finding Freedom From What Enslaves You. She also wrote a book called the Zombie Gospel, the Walking Dead and What it Means to be Human. I love that. She’s the host of the DJ Strickland podcast and co-founder of Infinitum, Amplify Peace, Brave Global and a Women Speaker’s Collective. And you’ll get to hear about all of those initiatives in the interview.

Doug Smith: 01:26 You’re going to absolutely love this. I first heard Danielle speak at the Global Leadership Summit a few years ago and had been following her since and she is an incredible leader and doing incredible things all over the planet. And so if you’re not currently following her, I can’t encourage you enough to connect with her after you listened to this interview. But before we dive into that, just a quick announcement. We officially have a date for our L3 One-Day Conference in 2020. It’s going to be Friday, March 13th, 2020 right here in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. And we’ve listened to all the feedback we got from our first conference and we are committing to making this year’s conference 10 times better than our first conference. And so make sure you save the date planned on bringing your team. And if you’re not signed up for our email list on our website, make sure you sign up for that so you can get up to date details of the conference coming up. Again, that’s Friday, March 13th, 2020 here in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Save the date. L3 One-Day, 2020. Let’s go. That’s it. With that being said, let’s dive right into the interview and I’ll be back at the end with a few announcements.

Doug Smith: 02:25 Oh, Danielle, thank you so much for being willing to do this interview. And why don’t we just start off with you just telling us a little bit about who you are and what you do.

Danielle Strickland: 02:33 Yeah. So I’m Danielle Strickland. I’m a speaker, a writer, a leader, a justice advocate and I spent, 22 years with the Salvation Army doing various mostly, church planting and social justice work. And, that’s kinda who I am. I’m a mother. I’ve got three sons, 17, nine and seven. So it’s a party all the time. And a husband, Steven Chord, amazing leader as well. Currently still in the Salvation Army.

Doug Smith: 03:03 That’s great. So I’m curious about the Salvation Army. Can you talk a little bit about how you even got into that? I’ve never heard you speak on that, but how did you start that work?

Danielle Strickland: 03:11 Yeah, in some ways I was born into that. My parents were both rescued, kids, from the Salvation Army. They went into really poor neighborhoods, knocking on doors, looking for kids that might need a place to belong, a safe place. And they found them both separately. They both found a place to belong, a family as well as a God, and broke cycles of addiction and violence and all that kind of stuff. And then got married really young, kinda to escape their lives in some regards. 17 and 18, they were, when they got married and then they paid it forward. They joined the Salvation Army as officers. And just so I was raised kind of with this ethos that we’re on the side of the underdog. That’s where we come from. That’s who we are. So very tribal for me.

Doug Smith: 03:55 Yeah. On the Salvation Army. I’m just curious, can you give people a more in-depth view of the Salvation Army? I think a lot of people may just think of, you know, people sitting outside ringing the bell, but may not actually know the great work that you do. Can you just give people an overview for context? I think it’s important.

Danielle Strickland: 04:09 Yeah. I, the Salvation Army is, a well-described one time as a church with an acute social conscience, which I like a but it was started in England but 150 years ago, kind of in this fiery revival, but also in this idea that God’s redemption not meant the redeeming of it inside of a person, but also the external conditions in which those people lived. So really dedicating itself to redemption as a work of personal, that personal work as well as a social work. What does it mean to redeem communities? What does it look like for a town to be saved and to change sort of not only just like people doing terrible things or tragic things or sinful things, but also how do we change systemic systems of injustice? And so it’s a beautiful, so they do treatment centers and they do back to work programs and they do, they run thrift stores.

Danielle Strickland: 05:03 I think the largest recycling operation in North America is the SalvationArmy actually through DOR, which then funds their addiction centers. And then all the guys in addiction, they work in the recycling projects as back to work sort of strategies, to homeless shelters, to food banks, to whatever the local need is in whatever neighborhood it’s in. So it’s in 130 countries around the world, 2 million soldiers. So soldiers are kind of what we call militant members. So they’re members, but it’s just kind of, there’s this expectation that they’re involved, not just spectating. Yeah. Does that help?

Doug Smith: 05:41 Yeah. No, thanks. That enlightened me as well. So it was as I did research for the interview, I loved on your about page, you had this quote and I just want to hear you talk more about it, but it said “Be ordinary and let God make it sacred.” And I’m just curious what that means to you?

Danielle Strickland: 05:56 Yeah. Think we, sometimes

Danielle Strickland: 05:58 try too hard to be, you know, special. And I think we can just relax and be who we are. And there is something that God does when we find our own true selves and we’re just like who we are, uh, then God, God does his work. And then we often get confused about who’s who. 

Doug Smith: Yeah. 

Danielle Strickland: There’ll be yourself be ordinary, like don’t, don’t try too hard and not in a way like don’t resign to like terrible things, but just be yourself. There’s no secret sauce. 

Doug Smith: Yeah. I don’t know. I’m asking you for secret sauce, but I do want to hear you talk a little bit about your spiritual walk and what that looks like. Maybe you have certain habits that you do daily to spend time with God, but what does your spiritual walk with God look like?

Danielle Strickland: 06:41 Yeah, so actually I, I started a movement called Infinitum or Infinitum, depending on how you pronounce your Latin. So it’s a Latin word and it means boundless. And it’s really the whole thing is what I do to deepen my own spiritual life. And it’s got a rhythm to it. It’s daily, it’s weekly, it’s monthly. So daily is a daily prayer. So I do morning and night. So morning prayer where I set my intention and I use these three postures, surrender, mission and generosity. And then that varies so the daily prayer time varies. So if I have more time, I’ve been trying to practice a little bit more intentional silence in my prayer, which has been a real stretch for me cause I’m not at those silos.

Doug Smith: 07:28 I can relate to that. Yeah.

Danielle Strickland: 07:29 Yeah. But it’s been really good. A really good sort of trying out another muscle, you know? And it turns out I have the muscle who knew and it hurts and generosity and mission or the so those are the three postures. And then at night I usually finish my day with an a, an examine or examine, which is basically just reflecting over my day with the Lord. I usually do that lying down. I’m not a quick to sleep, person. It takes me a while to turn off. So I tend to do that with the Lord just reflecting over where I was surrendered or where I saw surrender, where I was generous, and then also where I missed it. And, we have a little, you know, I have a little, I’m sorry, I missed it, help me to pay better attention tomorrow kind of thing.

Danielle Strickland: 08:14 And then once a week I tried to get together with what we call a hub. So in a small group where we ask each other just real honest questions to keep us authentic and real in our pursuit of trying to follow God. And then once a month, we send out challenges that you can accept or not accept as part of Infinitum where, you know, so this month one of the challenges was to, you know, intentionally be kind to a neighbor. And you know, I mean everyone wants to be intentionally kind to neighbors and sometimes that naturally happens, but most of the time if you don’t challenge yourself, you don’t do anything. So the challenges take on a variety of things and, it’s been a great source of kind of like spicing it up, but also getting intentional about my own practice of spirituality.

Doug Smith: 09:09 Yeah. And from what I understand when I looked at the website, anyone can sign up for that, right? So you can just go to the website.

Danielle Strickland: 09:14 Yup. And the whole idea, there’s about, I think 40,000 people are kind of practicing Infinitum and a few different countries or,

Danielle Strickland: 09:24 The whole idea is if it’s helpful for people, people really want to know how to deepen their spiritual life no matter where. Or even just begin walking with Jesus in an intentional way. This is supposed to help. That’s, that’s it. If it doesn’t help, please don’t use it. But if it helps, by all means, use it and tell some other people about it.

Doug Smith: 09:43 This is more on the curiosity on, but the group that you meet with on a consistent basis, how did you choose who’s in that group?

Danielle Strickland: 09:50 Yeah, that is by far the number one barrier, to infinity. And practicing Infinitum is connecting with other people, which I think tells its own story, doesn’t it, in terms of how we’ve individualized our life and our culture. So it’s been different. Interesting for me over the last four years, which is the journey of Infinitum. I’ve lived in three different countries. 

Doug Smith: Wow. 

Danielle Strickland: Yeah. So just so happen. So each time it’s been really interesting to me because I’ve tried to start with somebody local because I think there’s something really powerful about connecting in person. I just I might be old fashioned this way, but I think there’s something powerful but a personal connection. So what I do is I try to pray, I, and I try to pay attention to who’s around me and who I might think would be a good person to connect with.

Danielle Strickland: 10:38 And I start praying for that person and then I asked them if they want to try it, would they like to try getting together once a week for a month and see where this goes in. It usually starts, like in the shallow end, we’re not, I’m not like jumping into, it’s not counseling. And it really, what I love about the way Infinitum works is it really doesn’t matter what level, you know, if we use that term level, you’re at spiritually, we’re all pursuing surrender, generosity, and mission in different areas in our lives at different things. So you can kind of, you know, it doesn’t have to be someone who has the same exact experience as me. It can be someone really different from me. And the journey then becomes much deeper and beautiful. So I take a risk, I asked somebody and the person says, okay, let’s give it a try. And then we see if it works. And we’re off and running. When I didn’t, when I wasn’t there yet, there have been some occasions where I’ve just face-timed with friends that I’ve journeyed with over so many years, so there’s not so hard. Yeah. And, so that’s also worked. And there have been some seasons where I’ve done both. I’ve met locally with someone new, but I’ve also face-timed a with somebody old and trusted and, who’s been journeying with me for some time.

Doug Smith: 11:48 Thanks for sharing that. You’re obviously very driven. You mentioned how sometimes it was for you to get quiet a, I’m just curious, I read somewhere that you wrote that you’d like to set a pace that is in keeping with God’s timing and grace, and I’m just curious, given your drive as a leader, how do you do that and how do you try to set your pace and make sure that you’re not getting ahead of God and not getting behind him, et cetera?

Danielle Strickland: 12:09 Yeah, I think this is probably the trickiest thing ever. If I ever figure it out, I’ll let you know. I think we’re all beginners of this because I think there are so many drivers in our life, but I’d say there are a few things I pay attention to. One is rhythm. So, there’s a, you know, I’m a runner. I have been a runner over the years and then I got injured for a while and I couldn’t run. And so it was a really interesting thing to think about. Like when you know, you’re out of rhythm, right? Like when you know your body’s hurting or your foot is hurting and you’re just ignoring it because you’re like, I’m gonna, I gotta get my run in. And then you’re sorry about it later because you know, it derailed you for the longer haul. So there are some things like just paying attention to red flags in your life, your own behaviors, your own mindset, and then note, not only noticing it but then adjusting accordingly.

Danielle Strickland: 13:02 So if you’re stressed and you’re anxious and you can’t catch your breath and you’re yelling at your kids, for being kids, then you might, those are all red flags, right? Like, what’s going on? If you can’t dream, if your answer’s no before you’ve even thought about it, you know, if you’re highly critical of other people instead of celebrating people, those are all sort of like, hey, what’s going on for me right now? And then adjust accordingly. So I think one of the challenges for me is that we keep, I think everyone, and I’m like this, I think there’s like this perfect rhythm. And if I can find the perfect rhythm, all will be well. But the problem is the world is not static. It’s dynamic. So I’m in different seasons. My kids are at different ages. My relationships are in different places.

Danielle Strickland: 13:46 I’m in different countries. Like they’re, everything’s changing. So where this becomes tricky is we want this answer, here’s the schedule that will maximize your results. Like you know, that we were desperate for these things, right? Truth is, it’s a journey of discernment. And the discernment is about what season you’re in. The discernment is about what you need. The discernment is about what God’s telling you to do. What, where God’s challenging you. The discernment is what your family needs right now. The discernment is what’s going on and what opportunities are God giving you at this moment. So I think, that’s the problem is the answers way more complex than we want it to be. We just like, here are the seven steps to super successful living. And if only it was that easy.

Doug Smith: 14:31 Yeah. Yeah. So along those lines, talking about discernment, you have a lot of initiatives going on. You’re an author, you’re a speaker. And I’m just curious, we live in a world where entrepreneurship, the cool thing, everyone was starting a new business. Everyone wants to plant a church, everyone wants to do all these things. And I’m just curious as opportunities and ideas come your way, how do you discern what to pursue and what not to cause? It’s been amazing what you’ve been able to do. I forget where I read it. It was like one conversation led to this whole initiative. I mean, anyway, it was a story of one of your initiatives, but I’m just curious how you process starting.

Danielle Strickland: 15:05 Yeah, so, I have this, I kind of got a strategy of like, I also have thousands of ideas every day. And I kind of do the whole like throw it up on the wall, strategy and like see what sticks. And so, and how I usually do that even in my, so even internally, even in my own mind, I’ll be like, hey, yeah, that’s a nice idea. And then see if it comes up again. So sort of some of those, I have a friend who doesn’t buy anything unless they buy it twice. So they’ll buy something and then take it back. If they go back to the store to buy it again, then they really want that. I think that it’s not a bad strategy for ideas either. Right?

Doug Smith: I loev that.

Danielle Strickland: The first time you’re like, it could be a compulsive buy or just like an emotional buyer, whatever, but the second time you’re like, no, actually I really wanted that.

Danielle Strickland: 15:55 So I think that’s not a bad rule of thumb for ideas. A, there are fantastic ideas and a thousand a day, but they’re not all the right ones and they’re not all for the right reasons. So a first, even in my own internal, I stick with it. W what’s the one that keeps coming back to me? What’s the one that I keep thinking about again? And then I usually air it. So I’ll tell somebody else, what do you think about this? What do you think about this? What do you think about this? And then I pay attention to what idea I keep talking about with other people too. And usually, those are the same. There’s something that’s, you know, I can’t shake. It just keeps coming back to me. And then I think there’s also a spiritual process for me where God’s like, you know, I’ve got, this is like a conviction, you know, this isn’t just a good idea.

Danielle Strickland: 16:35 This is like a, whoa, I got to do something. Like I’mdisturbed and the district, the disruption is actually how I’ve come to discern sometimes the spirit. And then I usually, those things are happening and then there’s this opportunity and the opportunity comes, there’s an open door, there’s a conversation. Somebody says, you know what, I would really love, I’d love for this to happen. And you’d be like, no way. That’s exactly what happened. So I feel like there are these, you know, this unction, that won’t go away. And it’s kind of met with this opportunity. And those two things then become initiatives.

Doug Smith: 17:16 Yeah. And so I’m curious, once an initiative is started, cause again, you seem like you have your hands in a lot of things. I’m just curious from a leadership perspective, how do you make them sustainable? It’s great to start something, but you also have to finish something or make sure it’s ongoing. Do you have any, tips for leaders that have multiple initiatives going on and how to keep all those things running and running? 

Danielle Strickland: Yeah.

Danielle Strickland: 17:34 A team, team, team, team, team. So ask for help and I never start something that I do alone ever. Hmm. So all of those, all of the initiatives that I champion these days, which are all fairly new because I transitioned out of the Salvation Army just two years ago. So they’re all two years old. So I probably don’t have much to say about sustainability at this point. I’ll keep you posted. But they all have directors that aren’t me a, so I’m not directing. I envision. I’m envisioning, I’m leading, I’m spreading the word, I’m participating, but I’m not, it’s not rising and falling on me.

Doug Smith: 18:15 And just so in that position, how often do you check in on those co-founders? Do you have weekly meetings? I’m just curious what the structure that looks like.

Danielle Strickland: 18:23 Yeah, I’d say probably monthly. They’re not, each one is different. But I probably touched base, in terms of like a phone call or a conversation or a catch-up, once a month with all those initiatives and find out what’s going on. So it depends on what season each one’s in as well. So sometimes things are going and you don’t have to worry too much about it or depending on who the lead is. So the, you know, one lead of, one of the initiatives that I run is so capable, that actually she’s usually calling me to say, you should have called me, you know, like, so she’s on top of it, which is wonderful. And actually everybody’s on, you know, everybody’s on top of it, but it’s everything is at different seasons in his life.

Doug Smith: 19:05 So, yeah. And we’ve talked a lot about your initiatives without talking about them. I know you talked about Infinitum if I said that right, but can you talk about some of the other initiatives? You’re doing a ton of work with vulnerable women and girls and I just love this and I would love for people to hear about what you’re doing.

Danielle Strickland: 19:20 Yeah. So Brave Global is a thing close to my heart and it is trying to mobilize churches and communities to reach vulnerable girls before they’re trafficked before they’re exploited. So it really is, there’s kinda like three steps to a Brave Global one is to identify where the vulnerable girls are in your community and then to, to create this a catalytic event that’s about empowerment for girls. And it’s really, changing the script. So instead of girls being the problem to be solved, they’re the solution to the problem. Yeah. It’s really, it’s been a such a beautiful blessing to be involved with. And then three is sort of this idea that now they are welcome at a community of people that will partner and walk with them. And so we’re still sort of sorting out that looks local. So we’re still trying to sort out the followup strategy of rave, but I’ll just be like, even next week I’m going to Chicago for the first Brave in the city of Chicago. And so yeah, if you’re listening and you’re a church that really is wanting to stop human trafficking and all you’ve been able to do so far is pray and give money to someone doing it, you know, somewhere else. Think about getting involved in stopping it in your local community.

Doug Smith: 20:33 Yeah. Thank you for sharing that. I’ll include links to all of that in the show notes. You gave a talk at the City Gate, a conference talking about doing ministry and I, and I loved your, your whole point. You said as a leader you don’t need a lecture on what to do cause that’s what everyone but on how to do it. And you asked the question, are you doing the right things but in the wrong way? And you’ve talked about the difference between doing things out of duty and obligation versus doing the amount of love. Can you just talk a little bit more about that? Cause that really hit home for me and I think leaders could benefit from it.

Danielle Strickland: 21:02 Yeah. I think I was using the character of Judas, you know, as this guy that had every, the same exact proximity to Jesus and the same opportunities, the same Coleen’s, the same desire, at the same capacity. And then something happens to him, right? Like something and he still at the table, you know, he’s still doing the right things, but he’s doing them the wrong way. There’s something internally that’s not right. And I think that unless we pay attention to that, that motive, the under the behavior, like what’s in your heart. And again, that’s partly why I talk a lot about Infinitum is this. Like how do you get to a conversation with someone where you can say, you know, actually I’m ticked off with God right now. I’m disappointed. Like I thought there’d be better results. Like, I’m, you know, I’m sad about this life.

Danielle Strickland: 21:54 I thought it would be different, I’d be more glorious, you know, like, or I’m struggling with my own sense of self-worth or like whatever those things are and to really get to those. And I feel like for me the lesson in Judas, cause you know, of course Judas and Peter Basically both deny Christ. I mean and the differences that Jesus, Peter gets to have a conversation with Jesus afterwards. And again, what Jesus Asks Peter very fascinating is not like how do you let that happen, buddy? Like he just asks them, do you love me? That’s the number one question on Jesus’s mind. Like, do you love me? It’s always about relationships. So, and I think it’s really fascinating to me. Like we are all like if I could only get these things down, if I could get these things done. And the only question Jesus is asking is, do you love me?

Danielle Strickland: 22:42 I’m so again, motive. It’s hard. It’s relationship, it’s authenticity, it’s connection. So if those things are missing, it’s not just like a thing, it’s the central thing in what Jesus came to tell us, uh, he cared most about. So I think once Peter then goes, oh, like reset, oh, it’s about love. Like it’s relationship, it’s connection. And then he’s like, then go buy, like, get this thing first. Right? Do you love me? So I think there’s something to be learned. So instead of distancing ourselves from people like Judas and sort of going like, you know, I’m not, I have nothing to relate to Judas about. It’s about, it’s about getting honest and saying, actually we’re all potentially Judases if we’re not paying attention to the deeper motive of our lives.

Doug Smith: 23:24 That’s so good. Thank you for sharing that. Another thing, there’s so much I want to ask you. Another thing when I was researching you is that you have a passion for peacemaking. And I thought this was very fascinating. I mean, I think we live in a culture where there couldn’t be a more important skill to learn. And yet I don’t see it being taught anywhere. Can you just talk about why peacemaking is important? I love the seven postures you had on the website

Doug Smith: 23:46 and maybe what you’re doing to teach people peacemaking. 

Danielle Strickland: Yeah, I agree with you. I think peacemaking is the most important and highly neglected thing in the world right now as we see divisions. And not just like global proportions, which we’re seeing conflict like raging out of control, nation’s really just on the brink of war almost all the time, but also just in public discourse. Even like we can’t even have conversations where we disagree with each other without vilifying each other and it turning into sort of these terrible, tragic, hurtful things. So even in communities, I think we’re leaning towards isolation and defensiveness, which then fuels, you know, conflict of fear. So peacemaking is the opposite of those things. It’s leaning forward. It’s saying, I want to understand. And it’s you know, Jesus says, you know, blessed are the Peacemakers for, they will be called children of God.

Danielle Strickland: 24:41 So I think there’s something, this is one of his beatitudes. It’s kind of the posture by which we can enter into being like, Jesus. On the earth, is by being peacemakers. And what does that mean? I think for many, many, many years, a lot of people think peacemakers are passive. And more I think in our minds, when we think peacemaking, we think about peacekeeping, like don’t disturb anything. But what I like to tell people is think about what comes to your mind when you think of troublemaker. Because it’s more like that except now insert piece. So a peacemaker is someone who stirs up peace, not the absence of conflict, but the presence of beauty and justice and right relationships in the world. So what does that look like in your neighborhood? What does your neighborhood look like if it was right and good and true, and just, and then be about making that happen.

Danielle Strickland: 25:39 So the simplest way that I help people think about peacemaking is listen, learn and live and for, listen, I talk about listening to voices you don’t hear because that’s really what a peacemaker does, is listens to the non-dominant voice. So we don’t even listen well to dominant voices. I think you have listening problems, but we don’t pay attention to the excluded voices, the marginalized voices. So who are those voices? And not just like serving the marginalized. But listening to them, finding them and then asking questions. I talk about living a curious life like even in your, this is back to brave global, but even in your community, like where are the vulnerable girls being trafficked in my community? What a great question to ask and why haven’t we asked it sooner? But that’s sort of a peacemaking posture is to listen to voices in the community of that we haven’t been hearing from and then learn, which is this posture again of saying like there, there might be a better way and we haven’t found it yet.

Danielle Strickland: 26:40 And there will be lots to learn if you listen well to the voices that you haven’t normally heard. And that’s one of the things that happens with peacemaking or even in your own situation, working with marginalized people, you’re, you probably learn more working with marginalized people then like ever before in your whole life ways you never thought of systems you didn’t know existed, like perseverance and character-building things and like what addiction can do to it, you know, like, I mean, on and on this goes, I mean, I’ve, so it’s a cultivating a spirit of learning and then it’s living differently. So then it’s implementation. How does now listening and learning from what you’ve heard change the way you live? And if you can do that on multiple layers, like, so I think peacemaking is like an onion, you know, undoing oppression. So just keep leaning into that.

Danielle Strickland: 27:29 Do it again, do it again. Listen, learn, live. So the stories come back like a, there’s a woman who went all the way to Israel, Palestine with us to kind of hear a story we don’t normally hear from that region of the world. Came back sort of amazed that she had never heard from one of the perspectives of that conflict. And then she realized on the way back that there was a Muslim family that had moved on into her street that she had avoided for like a year. And, so she just made her way bake some cookies, went over, you know, she said, what’s the best strategy? And I’m like always baked goods as always. And she just went over and said, I’m so sorry it took me so long to get here, but I wanted to welcome you to the neighborhood and would you like to come for dinner sometime? Like, could it be that simple to like bridge divides to fight back fear? Yes. It can be that simple. And I think that’s, that’s something we forget how simple it is. Look these, listen, learn their story, learn about their culture, learn about who they are and then live differently, you know, invite some other people to meet them. Like, don’t vilify them. Don’t make them the enemy. Don’t silence that conversation. Learn to be a peacemaker. Yeah.

Doug Smith: 28:44 Well, thank you for sharing that. And I W I want to transition to talk a little bit about public speaking. This is something that you do all the time. As I mentioned, you spoke at the global leadership summit. You’re literally everywhere, but you’ve also created initiative, the Women’s Speaking Collective, which teachers and coaches, women on speaking. And I’m just curious, what have you learned about public speaking and what advice just for do you have for the person who aspires to be a sought after speaker?

Danielle Strickland: 29:07 Yeah, I think, the best advice I could give to anyone public speaking is the same advice I’d give to anybody anywhere, which is to keep up, keep your posture one of serving, you know, how can you serve? So I think when it comes to public speaking, if you’re a good speaker, how you serve as you use that gift to the best of your ability, and you don’t make it about you, you try to make it about a way you can help others. So if you can keep that posture right, I think there is no, there’s no end to how you could serve and help people. Yeah.

Doug Smith: 29:40 And is anything that you do intentionally

Doug Smith: 29:42 to get or encourage people to get speaking opportunities? Or do you just say, you know, let God bring them to you? 

Danielle Strickland: Yeah, I think you could ask to serve. So if you think you have a gift, it would be good to, I think with Ed, any gift you should nurture it. When I do tend to say to speakers is that you know, most transformation does not happen through speaking. Transformation happens through relationship, right? So it is a little overrated. So I do say like it is fun and I guess it’s public. So if you’re looking for public and fun speaking, but if you’re looking for real transformation, for the most part, transformation happens through relationships. So cultivate meaningful relationships. That’s the best way to create transformation. But if you have a gift of communication, so I think that speaking something that I’m gifted to do, I think God’s invited me to do that and I think it helped.

Danielle Strickland: 30:33 It serves the church. I think it can serve the conferences that I’m at. So I’m going to use it. I’m not enamered with it. I don’t actually think it’s the best gift. 

Doug Smith: Yeah. 

Danielle Strickland: But it is the one that I have. So I’m going to try to, I’m going to try to Stuart at, well, I would say to people, get in community, get in relationship, get authentic practice, try get some feedback. And I think if you’re a gifted communicator and you do all those things that, like I said earlier with a good idea, those opportunities will come. And when those opportunities come say yes. So I coach women speakers particularly because there’s such a deficit of women’s speakers on main stages. And I kind of had this curious like why and when I, I asked why. A lot of the conference organizers didn’t know where the women were, couldn’t find them, didn’t know their names. And a lot of the women felt sheepish about putting their names forward and were sort of scared in some respects in an uncoached, maybe. And so I wanted to try to solve some of those, you know, gaps.

Doug Smith: 31:39 I love that. And thanks for that perspective. I think it’s needed in the church world just on speaking. And I love that what you’re doing for women in that area. And I would ask the same question on writing. You’ve written five books, but what have you learned through writing, publishing and what advice do you have for aspiring authors?

Danielle Strickland: 31:55 Yeah, it’s like I don’t have an unpublished thought. Again, writing for me again was about serving what I felt like God had given me to stewart in a way that was beyond me. So a book is something that you can write and then like it can go wherever it can go. And I’ve tried a bunch of different formats for writing books. I’ve tried different publishers. I would say ultimately it’s being faithful to what God told you to do. So it’s best if you, again, community is your answer here. If you have a burning thing, you need to say, you need to figure out how to say that, right? You know, the writing’s one of those ways to say that. And I think a community around you that can help you, like give you legitimate feedback that can read the first draft over and over again and sort of say, ah, that’s not it.

Danielle Strickland: 32:47 So whether that’s a publisher or whether that’s a friend or whether that’s a church community that you’re part of. But again, keep in mind if you’re just writing a book cause it’s tricky and fancy and you want to be famous, I’m sure there are ways to do that, but I don’t know how. But if you have a passion and a desire and God’s spoken to you and you want to share it, get it out. Just get her done. And the first three chapters of every book is fun to write. And then the last seven is torture. So you have to make sure that this is really what you want to do to be able to finish that kind of project.

Doug Smith: 33:22 Thank you. It is 10:31, so I do wanna respect time. Do you have time to quickly run through the lightning round?

Danielle Strickland: Yeah, let’s do it, I love that it’s called lightning.

Doug Smith: Yeah, so these are just fun questions. I like to, ask leaders in every interview. So what is one belief or behavior that’s changed your life? 

Danielle Strickland: God loves me. 

Doug Smith: If you could put a quote on a billboard for everyone to read, what would it say? 

Danielle Strickland: Do not be afraid of it. 

Doug Smith: What is the best purchase you’ve made in the last a year? For $100 or less?

Danielle Strickland: 33:53 I bought a mug that I absolutely love. It’s changed my coffee drinking experience.

Doug Smith: 33:58 Well, tell me more about this.

Danielle Strickland: 34:00 It’s just like the perfect consistency. It’s like in but still a mug. So good.

Doug Smith: 34:06 That’s awesome. Top two or three books that you give away most often?

Danielle Strickland: 34:11 Telling the Truth by Frederick Beachner. If you’re a preacher or a speaker, this is, essential reading. I used to read that book once a year for many, many years. I’d absolutely love it. It’s beautiful, deep, tragic, glorious, funny. And then a book that’s really speaking, keep speaking to me over the years is a book I read a bunch of years ago called Willful Blindness, by Margaret Heffernan and about our capacity to believe the truth we want to believe to be true instead of the actual thing that’s true.

Danielle Strickland: 34:43 It’s been, it’s mind-boggling. Those are the two that came to mind. 

Doug Smith: Wow. If you listen to podcasts, what are the top two or three you’d recommend?

Danielle Strickland: 34:50 I always listen weekly to Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell me NPR. It’s a game show on the news. It’s hilarious. I love it. And, I listen to the Mocking Cast, quite a bit when I run. Actually, those are the two.

Doug Smith: 35:05 What, what do you wish people knew about your journey that they may not know? 

Danielle Strickland: It’s normal ups and downs. Everybody, like everybody else. Yep. 

Doug Smith: What’s the greatest challenge you have right now? 

Danielle Strickland: Getting to it. 

Doug Smith: What are you dreaming about and what risks are you taking? 

Danielle Strickland: I’m really dreaming about, mobilizing the church, in this season. And I think the risks I’m taking is I’m really putting my whole life behind that. 

Doug Smith: 35:40 Do you have a favorite failure that, led to a great lesson learned? Yeah. 

Danielle Strickland: Addiction.

Doug Smith: 35:48 What you are very quick. This is awesome. What are your favorite questions to ask leaders? Do you have one or two go? Is that no matter who you meet with, you ask?

Danielle Strickland: 35:56 Yeah. Why did you begin?

Doug Smith: 36:00 What is the most worthwhile, I would say, aside from your family, cause everyone says this, but what is the most worthwhile investment of your time and money at this point in your life?

Danielle Strickland: 36:07 Prayer.

Doug Smith: 36:09 Do you have any unusual habits that enable you to be successful?

Danielle Strickland: 36:14 Ignorance. I call it a forest Gump annointing.

Doug Smith: Nice. 

Danielle Strickland: Yeah. So when I go, like oftentimes I’ll go to places I really don’t know who’s who and who I should know and like who’s important and new news, not important. I think that there’s a real beauty in that. It’s a frustrating on many occasions, but it’s also beautiful. And then I would also say just this intentional spiritual practice of Infinitum has really mattered.

Doug Smith: 36:42 If you have a bucket list, what are one or two items on there?

Danielle Strickland: 36:45 Okay. So I don’t have a bucket list, because I often do things and go, wow, that really would’ve been a good bucket list item. And so recently my friend, she’s loves Bundt cakes. Have you heard of these bunts cakes? They’re like this company called bunk cake. Anyway,

Doug Smith: 37:01 I mean, I’ve, I’ve heard about, I couldn’t tell you what they are.

Danielle Strickland: 37:04 They’re so delicious. It’s just sugar and fat, flowers, everything. You shouldn’t eat in this concentrated little cake. And so I actually came up with this Bundt cake list, which is when I do things that I think are worthy of a bunch of cake. And so anyway, but one of the things on my original bucket list that I never got done was, to hike the west coast trail. Okay. That’s pretty much the only thing on there, I think that’s left.

Doug Smith: 37:33 So you don’t have a bucket list. You have a Bundt cake list.

Danielle Strickland: 37:36 That’s right. 

Doug Smith: I love it. 

Danielle Strickland: Worthy of eating above and cake.

Doug Smith: 37:39 This could set a trend. I could see this replacing the whole bucket list.

Danielle Strickland: 37:43 Yeah. Because like how do you know? Like I feel like there are things that I’m like, okay, that was bucket list word. But then on my bucket list. But it’s in hindsight. Yeah.

Doug Smith: 37:52 It’s amazing. If you could have coffee with your 20-year-old self, what would you tell her?

Danielle Strickland: 37:56 Don’t be afraid and be real.

Doug Smith: 37:59 One day, looking back at the end of your life, what do you want to be remembered for? 

Danielle Strickland: She did the best she could. 

Doug Smith: And what are you currently working? I know we’ve talked a lot about this, but any other ways our audience can connect with you and serve what you’re doing?

Danielle Strickland: 38:12 Yeah. Look, I’m, I’m doing a two-day Infinitum retreat at the end of September, September 30th, October 1st for leaders. So if anybody wanted to come find out more, not only about how Infinitum works for your own, cultivating a life of authenticity and a and depth, but how it could work for the people you lead. You’re cordially invited, seeing go to my website and that out there. And then I’m publishing a new book in January called Better Together, which is how men and women can lead together, which I’m excited about as well. So those are a couple of them.

Doug Smith: 38:46 Anything else you want to leave leaders with today?

Danielle Strickland: 38:48 Oh, hey, I see you. You’re doing your best and you’re trying hard and it matters and be encouraged. God’s with you, not against you. He’s for you. And every single thing you do to every single person, whether anybody sees it or not, is eternally significant.

Doug Smith: 39:06 Well, Danielle, thank you so much. This was incredible, and hopefully, we can do it again sometime in the future.

Danielle Strickland: 39:11 Awesome. Thanks for having me, bless you. 

Doug Smith: 39:16 Well, hey everyone, thank you so much for listening to my interview with Danielle. I hope that you enjoyed it as much as I did. You can find ways to connect with her and links to everything that we discussed in the show notes at L3leadership.org/episode229 and as always, if you want to stay up to date with everything we’re doing here atL3 Leadership, you can simply sign up for our email list on the website and you will get a free copy of my ebook Making the Most of Mentoring, which is my step by step process for getting meetings with leaders and cultivating those relationships. I think it’ll add a ton of value to you. I want to thank our two sponsors. First, Alex Tulandin who was a fulltime realtor with Keller Williams Realty, and if you’re looking to buy or sell a house in the Pittsburgh market, Alex is your guy.

Doug Smith: 39:53 He’s a member and a supporter of L3 Leadership and he would love to have an opportunity to connect with you. You can learn more about Alex at pittsburghpropertyshowcase.com I also wanna thank our other sponsor, Henne Jewelers, their jeweler, owned by my friend and mentor, John Henne, my wife Laura, and I got our engagement and wedding rings through Henne Jewelers. And we just think they are incredible. Not only do they have great jewelry, but they also invest in people. In fact, they give every engaged couple a book to help them prepare for marriage. And we love that. So if you’re in need of a good jeweler, check out Hennejewelers.com and as always, thank you for being a listener to the podcast. It means the world to me. And if this podcast episode added value to you, I would encourage you to share it on social media, send it to a friend to have them listen to it, but just help us get the word out by sharing this, it helps us grow our audience organically. So thank you for that. And as always, I like to end with a quote, and I will quote Craig Rochelle, he said this, “If something doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” “If something doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” I hope you having some challenges in your life so you can grow and develop and change.” Hey, thanks for listening and being a part of L3 Leadership. Laura, and I appreciate you so much and we will talk to you next time.