Meet Jody Temple White! Jody hugged her fear to leave a job that went from wonderful to ethically compromising. This interview is filled with extra helpful stuff (and a few miracles), so I’ll let the questions lead the way! See you at the end.
Tell us a little about yourself
I am Jody Temple White. I am an author, speaker, adventure and strategist. I currently live in Beaverton, Oregon, but consider myself a citizen of the world.
Who I am is an ever-evolving being who loves learning, laughing, adventures, and transformations. I love to spark Courage and equip people to build everyday bravery into their lives and work so they can experience the rewards only Courage brings.
My other experiences include owning businesses, international adoption, divorce, single parenting, mothering a special needs child, blended family, foster parenting, and a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer. I am the co-founder of The Courage Vibe, a company that creates opportunities for people to Live Brave, Give Big, and Have Fun.
What was one thing that you were scared to do and did anyway? And what exactly scared you about doing that one thing?
Most people close to me would expect me to tell you about the courage it took for our family to sell and give away most of our belongings and take our kids out of traditional school to spend nine months traveling around the world on a low-budget, high-adventure voluntour trip. While that did take courage and there were many opportunities to “hug our fear” an even scarier time in my life occurred over 13 years ago.
My scary leap involved resigning from a job that I really loved, leaving co-workers I respected, speaking up about possible illegal practices and saying no to an influential and somewhat powerful leader. I was the Operations Director for an international adoption agency.
Over a very short period of time, the Executive Director began letting staff go even though our adoption numbers were increasing. Each time she did it, more duties landed on my desk. I was originally hired for 30 hours per week, but with each week that number grew until I was averaging between 60 – 80 hours per week, putting a huge strain on our family.
Then gradually, I began noticing inconsistencies with the finances and in some of the policies that were in place. These were not minor issues, but ones that were potentially huge legal liabilities and ones that flew right in the face of my own personal values. I attempted to address the issues with the Executive Director to no avail.
The resignation wasn’t the only scary part of the decision, it was also the possible aftershocks that scared me.
1. The agency was part of our church and the executive director was the pastor’s wife. We were very involved in the church and were friends with many of the leaders. I didn’t want to lose friends or have to change churches because of my decision.
2. We were in the middle of an adoption ourselves and by resigning, it could stall or stop the adoption all together.
3. I had no back-up plan for how to replace the income we were losing.
4. I had to decide what to do about the information I had about the possible illegal activities happening within the agency. I did not want to cause a scandal, yet there were bigger factors at play.
I did resign and that is when the magic and miracles appeared.
What did you do or what happened to help you ultimately hug your fear and do that thing?
The Executive director fired one of the last project managers and had no intention of hiring another one. At that point, I knew that I could not stay because staying was riskier than leaving. If I stayed, my hours would go up (my pay would stay the same), my stress would go up, the strain on my family would increase and I could be held accountable for some of the unscrupulous activities. It wasn’t worth it to me even if it meant losing friends, our church family and our adoption falling through. The pain of staying became greater that the fear of leaping.
Are there any books, practices or other resources that helped and/or continue to help you hug your fear?
I use journaling and meditation to help work through my fears. I write down, “What is the worst thing that could happen if I do this thing that scares me?” I try to think of everything possible. I find that what I am the most afraid of rarely happens.
I have a very close group of friends and trusted advisors that help keep me centered especially when I might have the tendency to spiral to the “fear” side. I trust their knowledge and insights and I do my best to listen to their advice. Although it doesn’t mean I always follow it.
There are so many good books. One that I have recently read and still refer to is The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. There is so much gold in this book, but one thing I took away the way he talks about the importance of discovering your limiting beliefs and how those beliefs impact your life in ways you could never imagine. I have found that when I am experiencing fear, it might be because I am bumping into my own limiting beliefs and I am using my fear as an excuse to not take the action that is required.
What would you say to someone who wanted to do something that scared them, but was struggling to take a step?
Each time you face your fear and step forward you are expanding your identity and becoming who you were meant to become. You will also be making room for magic and miracles to appear in your life.
The magic and miracles that appeared in our lives after I made this leap:
1. I got a job at another agency which allowed me to do the parts of my previous job that I loved the most. Plus, I got to do it all from home and they matched my salary!
2. Our adoption did stop with our previous agency, but we were able to participate in a pilot program and met Allison, our daughter and perfect match for our family. The adoption was completed within months of my resignation.
3. We did lose some friendships and had some uncomfortable interactions at church, but gained other friends and a new community of people more aligned with our values.
4. I learned so much about the do’s and don’ts of international adoptions and what to look for with an agency that I was able to use that information to educate and protect parents who were new to the process and exploring where to start.
5. I did share my information with key, influential individuals and the agency did eventually make significant change in their policies and financial procedures.
If you are struggling to take the step or jump, I can tell you from my own experience that when you do jump, your magic and miracles will appear. It will be your job to recognize them. Every jump you take expands you, your perspectives, your insights, your confidence, so jump even if it is scary. It will be worth it.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Courage is contagious.
People all around you are watching to see how you handle your fear. If you are a parent, your kids are really watching you and learning from you how they should behave or react. When those people and/or your kids watch you “hug your fear” and step forward courageously, it gives them permission to do the same. We have all heard people say, “If they can do it, so can I!” That is what I mean when I say, “Courage is contagious.” Go spread your courage!
I love this interview with Jody! Here’s a couple of things that stood out to me:
1. I completely co-sign Jody’s recommendation of The Big Leap. I read it recently and had so many aha moments about limiting beliefs and self-sabotage. The book link is an affiliate one, no extra cost to you, but a small percentage goes to support me and this blog if you choose to buy it.
2. I love what Jody shares about the miracles that happen when you take a leap through your fear and especially love how she shared examples. So often when we are considering taking a leap, but feel afraid, we allow our minds to wander through all the worst case scenarios while ignoring the potential for magic and miracles!
3. And finally, courage IS contagious! This is such a powerful reminder. Being close to or even just observing someone else’s courageous behavior can inspire you to be courageous too. And as a warning, this also works for things like complaining, pessimism and gossiping. Wouldn’t you rather have courage rub off on you instead? Choose wisely!
If you want to get in touch with Jody, you can find her on Twitter, Facebook or her website. And if you’re curious about the 9-month family trip she mentioned above, definitely check out this trailer of the upcoming documentary Living the Courage Vibe.
Let me know what in the interview stood out for you!
Until next time,