“remember that an airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” Henry Ford

Photo Credit, Red Bird Hills, redbirdhills.com

When I was nine, my parents bought a local battery distribution franchise associated with a national company. It was a huge step in courage. It required years of sacrificing for my mom and dad. They consistently lived on 50% of their income so they could still tithe and save money to buy a business. From 1989 to 2007, I saw them invest, grow and love this business into success. It was a small business, but they created jobs and they invested back into the community. They loved their employees and customers. They worked so hard. From time to time, people will give me a huge compliment and ask me where my work ethic comes from, it comes from Mark and Sue. I also witnessed their loyalty to the company. Until one day, their world and identity, as they knew it, came crashing down. Long story short, they were forced out by the parent company. At the time it was heart breaking. Their identity professionally and personally was wrapped up in their business, in the brand. They could have fought back in a legal battle but they knew it would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight. They made the decision to walk away and sold their business at the top of the market. Over the next two years, my dad had to do some serious unraveling of his identity as owner of the business, owner associated with a national brand. He humbled himself and worked for the new owner and let his non-compete play out. When the time was right, they recreated themselves and two new businesses. It was difficult and messy. It was courageous. They pushed through and they held on to their faith the entire time. Watching my dad through that process was hard. I wish I could go back and support him more tenderly through that transition. Up to that point, I had always been so proud to be Mark Theorin’s daughter (and if you know my mom, it goes without saying that I was proud to be Sue’s daughter, she’s a ‘freaking work of art’) but seeing him pivot and move to productivity so quickly is something I will never forget. I respect my dad so much more having watched him go through that season and I can’t even begin to describe the pride I have in him now. I saw him lose his business and move forward to success with strength, vulnerability and a strong sense of self. I’m so glad to have witnessed him in that season. When everything was going against them, I watched my parents launch a commercial airplane into flight, against the wind.

Some of you might be feeling that right now. Maybe you aren’t losing your business, but maybe your feeling major head winds in your business. Perhaps there are decisions or investments you need to make for your future, those decisions are important and meaningful but the decision fatigue might be weighing you down. Maybe you’re a leader and feeling the pressure to drive results or make significant decisions around your team. Maybe you know a relationship change needs to happen in your life with an actual person, an addiction, a habit or crutch. Talk about headwinds and stress. Maybe you are like me and in the middle of a life shake-up. You are at a crossroads. One day, your scenario feels like wind at your back and the very next day it feels like you’re trying to fly a plane directly into the wind. It feels uncomfortable because it is uncomfortable. I am with you, I get it. We each walk through seasons where in the moment the head winds don’t feel as though they’re serving us at all. They just feel like wind, in our face, dust and dirt in our eyes, making things harder than they need to be.  

When you feel those feelings – when I feel those feelings – I remember this quote from Henry Ford. “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that an airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” Why do airplanes take off into the wind? I had to do a little research on this myself. Ultimately, if you take off into the wind, it puts you in a position to achieve higher altitude in less time, with less speed and I’m guessing less fuel. As an example, a large commercial plane needs about 150 mph of airspeed to be airborne if flying into the wind. If there’s little-to-no wind present, the plane must accelerate to 180 mph before it’s airborne.

Throughout our lives, we all experience challenging headwinds. The question I ask myself during these times of challenge, transition and/or change, “am I experiencing head wind, or is it that I’m in the perfect wind environment to lift this airplane off the ground?” What is the airplane that you need to get off the ground and put into flight? You are in this season for a reason. You are growing a business for a reason, people need your products or services. You are making investments into your future for a reason, you need to reach more people for good. You are the right leader at this time and the future of your organization is relying on you to make tough decisions. Your company needs your leadership and conviction to grow and serve. Whatever the scenario, the wind may be at your face but it’s going to allow you to get that plane into flight faster and with less fuel.

Like my parents, you may look back on a challenging time and realize there was someone watching you. There’s a young woman or man, seeing you approach the headwinds, just like I saw my parents lose their business and move forward to success with strength, vulnerability and a strong sense of self. That young person needs to see you get that plane into flight. They need to see you fly the plane because they too will someday come across major headwinds. I know that there are some of you that need this nudge in order to go do the dang thing. Some days I don’t need a nudge, I need a kick in the butt. Consider this your kick in the butt. God has amazing things in mind with your name on it – amazing experiences, amazing results, amazing relationships, amazing freedom and amazing serving opportunities. Remember, you are the only one like you. There’s no one else that can be you, better than you. You were not created by accident. You were created by design. You were given a purpose and it’s time to live it out. But until you acknowledge that the wind in your face will help you fly, you’re just going to be standing on the runway with dust in your eyes.

EncourageYou Opportunity

In this next week, how do you need to adjust your perspective to realize that you’re not just experiencing headwinds, you’re in a perfect environment to fly the plane? What is one or two decisions or actions that you can take to get the plane off the ground?

EncourageHer Opportunity:

In this next week, who is a woman that needs encouragement from you to see that she’s not just experiencing head-wind, but can you help her see that she’s getting ready to fly the plane. Some ideas for you:

  • Who is in a job transition or transitioning into retirement?
  • Who is a leader in the middle of a tough decision, perhaps a leader on your team?
  • Who is losing their identity due to a work change?
  • Who is in a relationship transition or needs to be in relationship transition?
  • Who is experiencing head winds with parenting or becoming a parent again or for the first time?
  • Who is experiencing the loss of kids going off to college, losing their identity as a parent?
  • Who is experiencing the profound loss of someone they love?

How can you come alongside her to encourage her during this time? Could you send a text or make a call? Could you remind her of the God-given gifts she has to share with the world? Could you sit with her on the couch with a glass of wine and just listen? Could you just tell her that you believe in her and that you love her?

I see you. I love you. I’m cheering you on!


You’re not only enough…You’re a freaking work of art

Photo Credit: Red Bird Hills, redbirdhills.com

One of my favorite summer memories is going to outdoor concerts with my hubby. There’s nothing better. I love the experience of live music anywhere but being at a summer outdoor concert with my guy is the ultimate date night. We’ve seen Paul McCartney to the random band at the small-town bar and everything in between. We drink cheap beer and hold hands – it’s perfect. I love my husband. There are certain concerts that I will never forget. I remember it all, the temperature, the smells, the people sitting next to us. And I can still feel the songs to this day. I can still feel the feelings of hearing those songs live and experiencing the artist’s work real time.

When you hear the story behind the song and then experience it real time with the artist, it feels a little bit like being in their personal studio. It’s so intimate. You can feel their work, their creation, their passion. Not only did they create this piece of art, they’re sharing it with you, with the world. It’s such an act of vulnerability to share your art with people. People will misinterpret the art, they won’t “get it.” When people don’t get your art, it’s painful. Yet, the artist continues to put their work out into the world, because they know that when the right person experiences it, the art changes the way people feel. I imagine it’s so rewarding.

Last week, I shared the idea of believing you’re already enough. If you haven’t read that one, go back and read that blog post first. The question was asking what would happen if you believed you’re already enough? What fruit would you produce? How would people experience you and experience your gifts? After sharing that blog, I had people so many people reach out to share privately that I hit a cord. They have felt alone in their self -limiting beliefs. They were so hard on themselves. The negative self-talk was so strong, it drove them away from people. As they drove people away, the negative self-talk only got worse. It became a self-fulfilling prophecy. I also want to mention that this doesn’t just impact women, I heard from as many men. As it turns out, many of us hear negative self-talk on replay in the privacy of our own minds. We all compare ourselves to each other but forget that we’re a unique piece of art.

I’m going to tell you something that you already know. I probably should have said this in the last blog post. You are the only one like you. No one can be you, better than you. You were not created by accident. You were created by design. You are a work of art created out of love and passion. You started as a draft that was reworked and reworked until you were just right, perfect and imperfect. Your imperfections aren’t mistakes, they are a reflection of the artists vision, style and creativity. You are just what the artist had in mind when she started putting you on paper, into clay, winding the chords together. When people experience you just as you were created, they are moved by you, they are moved by the art. They can feel you like I can feel a summer concert. They don’t forget you and they definitely don’t forget the way you made them feel. The story of you and the experiencing of you is something people remember. The world needs you. People need you.

You are the only one like you. No one can be you, better than you.

And sometimes art isn’t appreciated by everyone who experiences it. When I hear a song for the first time or see a painting for the first time, I might not love it. Not because it’s wrong, I just don’t get it. Then I hear the story of the song. I hear the inspiration for the painting, and I’m drawn right in. When I experience the music through the musician, when I see the painting through the artist’s lens, when we hear the artist tell the story behind the piece of art, I am often moved, sometimes to tears. We are overcome with emotion because we see the art as it was created to be seen. That is you. When we see you through the lens of the artist, you come alive. There is no one like you. You are the only one like you.

Sometimes we are in jobs, in communities and in relationships that disconnect us from seeing the piece of art that we were created to be. We start seeing ourselves through someone else’s lens and we see ourselves in relation to their story of us. This lens only gives us a visual of who we are as it relates to producing results for the business. We aren’t someone else’s business results. The lens may only give us a visual of who we are within a defined community. We aren’t how one defined community sees us. The lens may only give us a visual of who we are from someone else’s human perspective. How an individual human sees us is often a reflection of how they see themselves. If they are broken, they will see us and treat us as broken. We aren’t broken. We are perfect and imperfect. But we aren’t broken. We’re not only enough, we’re a freaking piece of art! We are created by design by an artist who wept tears of joy and love over her creation process.

This doesn’t mean that we have to step away from the business, community or relationship, it just means that we have to know who we are and be confident that we weren’t made for just their benefit.  

If one of my sons came to me and said “I’m not enough in this job. I’m not enough in this faith community. I’m not enough to be in relationship with this person.” My heart would break for him, this person I love so much. I’m totally biased but I think I see him through the artist’s lens. I love the design. I love the story of him. I can see how God made him. I can see his unique gifts. I can see how he will lead and love so well. The artist did an amazing job with him – even in his flaws. His flaws make him human. I would say “it’s not your job to be enough for a job, a community or a relationship. Run back towards yourself.”

If you are in a business, community or relationship that is making it hard for you to see you as the work of art that you are, you need to run back to yourself. If you try to come back to yourself and you can’t get there, you may need to go back to the artist. You may need to see yourself, the art, through the artists’ lens. You may need to rehear the story of you. You may need to redo those things until you see the work of art, until you cherish it, until you see what the artist sees. I want you to know this so deeply right now that you stop what you’re doing and find a way to run back towards yourself.

This isn’t to say that we can’t reach for more. We can always reach for more. But our reaching for more isn’t because we aren’t enough, it’s an expression of stewarding the art. Stewarding the uniqueness of the piece, our unique gifts and abilities. “I’m enough and I’m want to honor the work of art that I am. I will honor myself by growing my gifts and abilities. And by serving others in new ways.” Reaching for more is not an expression of realizing and internalizing that we aren’t enough. “I’m not enough so I need to prove to the world, my boss, my community, my spouse that I’m worthy only if I am or am producing through the lens in which they see me.” Reaching for more is knowing you are already enough – you’re a freaking work of art.

You are the only one like you. There’s no one else that can be you better than you. You were not created by accident. You were created by design.

“God saw all that she had made, and it was very good.” Genesis 1:31

Encourage You Challenge

Do you see yourself as the work of art that you are? Do you need to run back to yourself? Do you need to take some time to see yourself through the artist’s lens? Do you need to rehear the story of you? Go back to the blog post dated June 25th, 2021 and follow through on the Encourage You Challenge.

This is also a great time to check in to make sure that you are spending time in work, communities and relationships that see you and appreciate you for who you are and how you were made, with your unique gifts and abilities.

Another perspective on this is that there are times when we come to the table in a new job or relationship and we show up as something other than ourselves. We show up as someone else because we don’t see ourselves through the artists’ lens. We aren’t convinced that who we are is enough. However, the business or new relationship might love who we are and what we bring to the table. If this is the case, run back to yourself. It’s what the other party was interested in in the first place. They saw what the artist created and they were moved to be in relationship with you.  

Encourage Her Challenge

I also want to encourage you to Encourage Her. Is there a woman in your life that needs to hear from you about how you see her, as a freaking work of art? Does she need to be encouraged that she’s created by design? Does she need to be challenged in her work environment, her community or her relationship? Is she seeing herself through a broken lens? Could you take a moment to send her a text, give her a call, write her an email, or drive to her home and tell her face to face.

I see you. I love you. I’m cheering you on!


What if you believed you’re already enough?

Photo Credit: Red Bird Hills, redbirdhills.com

What if you’re already enough?

I turned 40 in December.  Naturally, I know a lot of other friends who’ve recently turned 40 or are about to turn 40. I’ve heard so many women say that the 40’s was their favorite decade. I can see that will be true for me as well. I’ve also seen a lot of women feel stressed going into a new decade. It makes me sad. In a text conversation last week with a friend, she wrote to me “My goal is to be my absolute best self by 40!” The statement made me almost fall off my chair – if you knew this woman, you would just die of pride. She is everything! She’s a strong leader, a good friend, a great mom, So Accomplished! It literally took my breath away. That statement triggered something in my heart. It first triggered a memory of a not so distance past where I felt the same way, always in a pursuit to change myself. Then it triggered a protective response, I wanted to say “Don’t talk about this amazing woman with anything less than total awe and gratitude. However, my actual response was to simply offer “you already are your best self.” It wasn’t just the nice thing to respond with, I meant it with my whole being. She is already enough.

Three years ago, if someone would have said that to me, I would have immediately responded with some sort of agreement as to the areas of myself that I needed to improve. “Yes, I’m with you. This year I want to lose weight, improve my work results, drink more water, add mileage, be a better mom and of course, clean up my diet.” As an afterthought, I’d throw in some sort of spiritual goals just to make sure the person on the other side of the table knew how holistic I was when it came to my overall mental, spiritual and physical health. I knew this game well. Let’s make sure that we aren’t just self-hating in the privacy of our own minds and hearts, let’s make sure that we self-hate as a community of women. If we self-hate in community, in a weird way, we’re actually encouraging each other…WTH!  I look back on this now and want to grab that woman, pull her into a bear hug and tell her over and over “Elena, you are already enough!”

In sales, business and in professional circles, we call this behavior “negative self-talk.” I actually think that dilutes the actual behavior. It isn’t just negative self-talk. It’s self-hate and self-bullying. If we perpetually treated and talked to other people the way we treat and talk to ourselves, it would be considered verbal abuse. Can you imagine talking to your child or a colleague the way you talk to yourself when you see the wrong angle of yourself in the mirror? By the way, your hubby/wife/significant other/stranger passing you on the street, sees that “bad angle” and absolutely adores it.

There was a specific day when I realized that my self-hate had gone too far. I could hardly think about myself without infusing some sort of garbage into my internal dialogue. I decided it was time to invest in myself and hire a therapist. I knew, in my actual brain, that there was a better way to love myself. I just didn’t know how to get there. I felt removed from the person I wanted to be and I wasn’t getting closer, I was traveling farther away.

During one of our sessions, my therapist asked me to walk through my typical morning and think about the thoughts I was thinking about myself. [Side note, if you aren’t thinking about what you’re thinking about, take this as a nudge. You need to start today.] She started the exercise and asked me to reflect on my day. We started as soon as my alarm went off. I hit snooze two times. “If you were as disciplined as your peers, you’d already be downstairs working out.” I walk into the kitchen to grab coffee. “If you were really committed to your health, you would be drinking green tea and you certainly wouldn’t be using heavy cream in your coffee.” I should have recognized this as an extreme call for help. Who is this woman and what’s her beef against God’s sincere and thoughtful gift to coffee…heavy cream? I get into the shower and see my naked reflection in the mirror. “You have completely let yourself go. You’ll never look as good as Karen. Mike probably isn’t even attracted to you anymore.” My boys get up and eat breakfast. “If you were a better mom, you’d serve them a balanced breakfast of protein, healthy fat, whole grains and fruits/veggies. You don’t have time to serve them a better breakfast because you’re prioritizing your work over your children. Do you even track how much fiber they’re getting?” Open email and read random message from boss, consultant, or colleague. “If you prioritized your work, you could drive better results. You’re letting the company down. You have x hours/days/weeks/months/years to hit xyz strategic goal, and you’re behind. Hire a nanny and home manager/personal assistant. Another option would be to enter into polygamous relationship and marry a wife to do this work. This is why your male colleagues with a full-time wife can do more than you. You need to be better. You are your results.”

This was all within the first hour of being awake. I’m so sad even writing these words.

My therapist then asked me to observe myself and my thoughts as an objective third party. How do I see Elena? How would I observe her in her marriage, in parenting, in community, in her work and her in self-love? What would I think about her as she walked through her typical morning? When I started to think about Elena from an objective perspective, the tears started to roll down my face. I was so proud of her. She was so sincere in her approach to life. She was trying so hard. She was carrying so much and she still had the desire to serve and love others more. She was striving to grow in her faith. She was doing such a good job as a momma – her boys are so well loved and growing in their faith. She prioritizes her marriage and tries to honor her husband. She cares about her work and her company. She worked so incredibly hard to drive results. She should be so proud. Why isn’t she proud? As I write these words now, the tears come back again because I remember the flood of self-compassion rushing into my perspective. How could I not see how wonderful this woman is? How could I treat her so poorly? How could I talk to her the way I was talking to her? Give her the self-love she deserves! She is already enough!

That Tuesday afternoon, sitting on the stereotypical therapy couch, crying my eyes out, was the day I made the decision to end my self-hate. I was on a mission to sincerely love myself. I finally realized, I was already enough. It wasn’t a magical moment though. It was more of a start of a journey, a journey I’m still on frankly. In weeks to come, I will share more about what that journey looked like at the beginning and how it looks now. It’s a decision I make every day to make sure the way I see myself is a reflection of how God sees me. When I see myself through God’s eyes, I see how wonderful he made me. I see the gifts and abilities he’s given me. I hold the gifts and abilities sacred. I steward them well in order to live out my purpose. I am exactly already enough to be loved and to love others. It’s a daily decision to be intentional about the way I talk to myself and think about myself.

How are you seeing yourself and talking to yourself? Is it with love and appreciation? Gosh, I hope you’re so much farther in this journey than I am. I hope you see yourself like the queen you are. I hope you catch your reflection and sing “This Girl is on Fire” (I would be remiss if I didn’t mention here that self love will also only enhance your karaoke skillz, so that’s also a valid reason to do pretty much anything). I hope you’re so far in this journey you’re already leading others. If not, please start. Share the message. There are billion dollar industries benefiting from you and I engaging in self hate. The are benefitting – no one else is. Can we start normalizing women appreciating and loving ourselves? What would happen if you believed you were already enough? How much more time, money, energy would you have to do amazing things in the world? I think it would be a lot!

EncourageYou Challenge

I want to encourage this community today to think about the way you are thinking about yourself. How are you talking to yourself? Are you engaging in self-hate? Or are you on mission to sincerely love yourself? How can you EncourageYou? What would happen if you sincerely loved yourself? Would you be happier? Would you have healthier relationships? Would you demand more respect? Would you produce better fruit in work, community, your family, your faith? Here are some things that helped me.

  1. Take the time to do the exercise I shared earlier. Take an hour and walk through your day. What are the things you are thinking about yourself? What are the things you are saying to yourself?
  2. Write a letter to yourself from an objective third party? How do you see yourself? How do you see your intentions and results?
  3. Even more powerful, if you are a person of faith, write a love letter to yourself from God’s perspective. This is actually life changing. At some point, I will share my love letter with this community.

EncourageHer Challenge

I also want to encourage you to EncourageHer. Is there a woman in your life that needs to hear from you how much she is loved? Does she need to hear from you about how you see her trying so hard. Does she need to hear that she’s already enough? Is this your wife, daughter, sister, friend, colleague, neighbor? Could you take a moment to send her a text, give her a call, write her an email, or drive to her home and tell her face to face.

I see you. I love you. I’m cheering you on!


for such a time as this…

Photo Credit: Red Bird Hills, redbirdhills.com

And who knows but that you have come to this royal position for such a time as this?

If you ever read the book of Esther, you know this verse (Esther 4:14). Esther is your stereo typical rags to riches Cinderella story – a commoner who steps into the Queen’s shoes. Raised by her single uncle, she’s chosen due to her beauty (don’t even get me started on the ancient selection process) to be Queen above all the other women in the ancient kingdom. For the first few chapters, life is good for Esther…until it’s not. Her uncle informs her of a wicked plan to wipe out the Jews. The King doesn’t realize what that plan would mean for Esther and for her people. The future of the Jewish community is literally on her shoulders. In a heated moment, her uncle pleads with her, “And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a times as this?” In the end, Esther does save her people. Despite her fear and intimidation, she acts anyway, she intervenes and justice is served.

A month ago, I found out my job of 13 years is ending. Things were going good until they weren’t. I don’t know what my professional plans will look like moving forward. However, one thing that has been on my heart is to spend time encouraging women. I can literally close my eyes and envision your faces, faces of real-life women. My Rockstar female colleagues working their butts off and still feeling like they aren’t enough. I see you and I’ve been there. My friends balancing work and parenting, trying to ignore the sneaking suspicion that they are missing the mark in both roles (you are hitting the target, YOU ARE DOING GREAT!!!). I’ve been there. Neighbors ladies cruising by with a stressed half-smile on their face. They’re Monica “breezy” and panicked at the same time (if you don’t get that reference, I may not be your blogger). They are put-together and on the fringe of falling apart. I hear their inner voice, “send help and wine!” I see the school moms peeling out of the elementary school parking lot to the next thing on their to-do list. They are closing a deal over the phone, creating their must do list for work, submitting an online grocery order and handing a snack to a live human buckled into a car seat directly behind them. I saw a woman today at Costco pushing a cart with two kiddos. She was talking someone off the parenting ledge. She was simultaneously content and so lonely. I see my friends longing to be a mom and everything that goes with motherhood. I also see them wondering if they are enough of a contribution to the world without the “mom” title (YOU ARE, we need your exact gifts and talents). I see your faces and I want to send love and encouragement to you. I want you to know that I’m proud of you. I want to tell each of you that YOU ARE enough. I want you to know that I see you trying so hard. I see you give so much to so many people. I want to encourage you wherever you are right now.

You are enough. You were made on purpose. You are doing great work in the workplace, in the community and at home. You are worthy of hustle and success. You are also worthy of rest. You deserve to be pampered and invested into. You deserve encouragement. You’re trying your best and I notice it.   

In this time of transition for me. I’ve made the decision to take advantage of “such a time as this.” While I don’t know what’s next, I do know that God is tugging on my heart to serve you – to EncourageHer. Over the past few years, I started writing love letters to myself. They turned into love letters to you. It’s helped me to process my own feelings and emotions. It’s been a gift that I’ve given myself. But I know now, that in such a time as this, it’s time to share my heart with you.  I write to you because you represent me. I am you – you are me. I’m all those things I’ve described. I’m trying to do it all. I’m a woman – mom – wife – sister – daughter – business professional and child of God. I know the feeling of sincere pride in who I am. I also know the feeling of shame. I know that I’m enough and I remember the times I couldn’t remember if I was anything. I also feel that the tools and resources I’ve harnessed are tools that everyone of us should be leveraging. Over time, I want to share my heart with you and I want to share the tools with you that have served me well over the years.

I also want to use this platform to challenge us as a community of women to find time to serve and encourage each other. If I learned anything in the last few years, I learned that as women, we need to be intentional about this. I want to start today. There are a group of women that in the hardest times, encouraged me. I’ve learned from you how meaningful that is.

I also want to encourage the men reading this. I can’t speak to your experience but I know you feel the same way. You may never express it but you feel it. And if you aren’t into feeling your feelings, it doesn’t mean this isn’t for you. You likely have a mom, sister, wife/girlfriend, daughter, friend, coworker, team member that you can encourage. You can EncourageHer. You can see and acknowledge what she brings to your family, friend group, work environment while holding down the freaking fort at home.

Over the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing more on this blog. I’m terrified to do this work. It’s scary. It’s vulnerable work. Having said that, I feel that this work is an act of spiritual obedience for me. What do I need to do right now? I need to EncourageHer.

 Because who knows, I’m in this position for such a time as this! Are you?