Mere Christians

Jena Viviano (Career Strategist)

Episode Summary

Finding Jesus on Wall Street

Episode Notes

Jordan Raynor sits down with Jena Viviano, a Wall Street investment banker turned career strategist, to talk about how she inadvertently found Jesus on Wall Street, how she has helped more than 900 clients land their dream job, and the good, the bad, and the ugly about being an Enneagram 3. This episode also includes a bonus conversation with Debra Moerke, author of Murder, Motherhood, and Miraculous Grace.

Links Mentioned:

Episode Transcription

[0:00:05.3] JR: Hey, there. Welcome to the Call to Mastery. I’m Jordan Raynor. This is a podcast for Christians who want to do their most exceptional work, for the glory of God and the good of others. Each week, I’m realeasing a conversation with a Christian who is pursuing world class mastery of their jobs, of their vocation. We’re talking about their path to mastery, their daily habits and routines and how their faith influences their work.


Today, I am excited to share this conversation I recently had with my friend Jena Viviano. Jena and I met a few months ago and I was so blown away by her and her story. I knew I had to have for on the podcast. Jena started out her career as an investment banker on Wall Street where a coworker actually introduced her to Christ. Today, she is a super impressive consulting practice where she helps ambitious professionals find their dream job, find work that they love and that’s all very much fueled by a really solid theology of work that we’re going to talk about on this episode.


Jena and I recently sat down in Franklin, Tennessee. We talked about the story behind her radical conversion on Wall Street. We talked about how she has helped more than 900 clients land their dream jobs and we talked about the good, the bad and the quite ugly about being a three on the enneagram.


I think you’re really going to enjoy this conversation. I think you're going to get a lot of really practical tips about your career in finding work that you love and more importantly that can serve others well in this episode. Without further ado, here’s my conversation with Jena Viviano.




[0:01:56.5] JR: Jena Viviano, how are you?


[0:01:58.5] JV: I’m so good, it’s a beautiful day in Franklin, Tennessee.


[0:02:00.9] JR: It’s miserably hot. I literally just got off the plane from Tampa and I realized this morning I hadn’t checked the weather because I’m like, you know, it’s like September, I don’t expect it to be cold somewhere but I’m like, it might be cold in Franklin, Tennessee.


No, it’s going to be hotter than it is in Tampa today, it’s wild. You just moved to Franklin, right?


[0:02:22.8] JV: I moved to Franklin about two years ago and moving from the northeast. I moved from New York City, I lived in New York City for about five years and I moved to Nashville to Franklin, I really don’t know the answer why, it just kind of felt like I was supposed to move here which is very weird.


Everyone asked me, why’d you move to Nashville? What’s your reasoning? I said, honestly, I just felt like I was supposed to. That was pretty much my straight answer. I just felt like I was supposed to was close enough to home where I’m from, it was you know, creative and pretty much –


[0:02:47.5] JR: Where are you from?


[0:02:47.9] JV: I’m from Pittsburgh.


[0:02:48.9] JR: Okay.


[0:02:49.1] JV: Yeah, we’re Steelers fans, although they’re not playing very well right now.


[0:02:51.6] JR: That’s interesting. I was just saying before we started recording, I feel like I’ve moved to Nashville, in a way.


[0:02:59.2] JV: I feel like everyone lives here.


[0:03:01.3] JR: I know. Ever since I committed to writing and producing content to help the church connect their faith with their work, I’m still up here a lot and just naturally for conferences and all that good stuff. I’m learning a lot about the city, learning a lot about Nashville and Franklin, what’s your favorite thing about Nashville? The greater Nashville area we’ll call it.


[0:03:20.6] JV: What I think Nashville does really well that other cities, I don’t know if they do as well because I’ve lived in a really big city and then I’ve lived in Pittsburg, which is a medium sized city, I’d say Nashville is smaller than that and Franklin, for sure is smaller than that.


It’s like the [inaudible] of the south. I think that Nashville has a really good taste of the city life that’s growing and vibrant and also you can get the country in 20 minutes.


[0:03:39.3] JR: Yeah.


[0:03:40.2] JV: For me, that was like – I couldn’t have moved from New York City to like Birmingham, Alabama like I don’t think that would have worked for me but Nashville is like that good taste of both and yeah, it’s beautiful.


[0:03:50.0] JR: Where’s your favorite place to escape in the country out here?


[0:03:52.7] JV: In the country? Gosh, Lever’s Fork which is right around Franklin, honestly. It’s a little bit, it just has all that more country area, a lot more open spaces, you see a lot of horses, a lot of like farms, I keep telling my boyfriend, if we get married, I’d love to live in the country.


[0:04:07.7] JR: Just saying.


[0:04:08.2] JV: I’m just going to drop that in there.


[0:04:09.5] JR: Just saying, dropping clues. We met three months ago, four months ago, something like that? Its’ one of those conversations where there’s like this instant connection, like we’re very much kindred spirits. Your story though is like fascinating. I remember, I have like the very quick version of it because I was running into a meeting.


[0:04:31.3] JV: It was such a great conversation, by the way, that was so encouraging to me, I don’t think you even know. I left that conversation and I was like, he prayed for me and it was just what I needed in that moment and the Lord knew that that was the conversation I needed to have because I was feeling sort of discouraged and a lot of just stuff that was going on, so I just want to first applaud you.


[0:04:47.9] JR: Well, I appreciate that. It was encouraging for me too, we won’t get in details right now but we’re both coming up against some very big decisions and I think you were encouraging me as well. I got the short version of your story in that call. Tell us the slightly longer version of your story. Who are you? I mean, you’re this world class career strategist helping hundreds and hundreds of clients today. What’s the past from the beginning of your career to today?


[0:05:15.3] JV: Messy, that’s my short answer. I mean, I grew up in a Christian home like a Presbyterian church growing up but I would say that I wasn’t really a believer at that point, I would have had knowledge but no heart connection at all whatsoever so what the gospel actually meant. I went to college and I was, you know, having fun in college and I think I kept trying to engage my faith but there was just like nothing happening.


You know, you go to college and I really didn’t know what I wanted to do and my parents said to me, we think you should do finance because it makes sense, like my dad wasn’t going to charge me and he was an entrepreneur. He owned a business and they didn’t know. I was first generation in my family to go to college and he saw that people that he was doing this customs like projects for were in finance, he’s like all right, well you're going to be set up if you’re in finance. I went to Lee High University which is in Pennsylvania, the only claim to fame in the south.


The only reason why we went to Lee High is because we beat Duke like one year and if you're familiar with basketball, [inaudible] went Lee High, that’s like our literal only claim to fame. But I went to school there and I had this finance degree and I got an internship this summer before my senior year and I got this opportunity at CitiBank to be an investment banker. I had no desire to be a banker, I really didn’t even know what Wall Street was when I was a kid. Again, blue collar Pittsburg, you know?


I had all these boys that were around me that was their dream job and I just kind of like landed it and I didn’t really know how. I think I’m more like a red blazer, something like, I shouldn’t have worn, I was not appropriately dressed.


[0:06:46.9] JR: Not dark blue.


[0:06:47.7] JV: No. I had this job before my senior year, they gave me – had the internship and then I had an offer before my senior year of college. I was like, I’m smooth sailing, Jena had a lot of pride and what you know, the girl that got the job before she even started to senior year. I was very wrapped up, I think. I got there, started my first week of work and then I had training and then reality sat in and you're done with your training and you’re like in real life, I’m working 80 hours a week.


It was at that point that – I will get very honest, it was at that point that I had a really bad eating disorder that started from that experience and I really do think that was from the stress of what I was under in that job and I mean, I was working 80, a hundred hours a week and I remember laying on the bathroom floor of the building, I won’t give the exact address. Know exactly where I was –


[0:07:39.3] JR: Easily googleable.


[0:07:39.7] JV: Easily googleable in the 32nd floor on a Saturday morning and I had just had another episode with my eating disorder and I remember sitting there and I said, "God, I don’t know if you’re real but if you’re real, you’ve got to get me out of here. I can’t do this anymore, I just can’t."


I was physically ill, mentally ill, emotionally ill, I had no creativity left and a couple of weeks later, I had interview at the New York stock exchange. Sorority sister kind of like threw me a bone basically, I went to the interview, I think I cried. I cried during my interview because I was so tired and so overwhelmed.


[0:08:10.6] JR: It’s a heck of a strategy.


[0:08:11.1] JV: Then yeah, it was my worst one ever and I always joke that they saved me from investment banking and so, it was there actually when I worked at the New York stock exchange that I had a coworker. I think floated out that I was interested in church or something like I was just kind of like throwing bones out there and there’s a coworker that I had and he doesn’t think anything of what he did whatsoever.


He just kind of invited me into his life acted as a whole person and just showed up and was very honest about where he was in his faith and he kept on inviting me to this thing called Crew Millennials. Have you heard of Crew?


[0:08:41.0] JR: Yeah, sure.


[0:08:42.1] JV: They had this like new pilot program in New York City with this leaders for people that were just out of school, for millennials which is super awesome and they were having this retreat and they kept asking me to go and I said no, I’m not going with these Christians. Probably super weird, I was not feeling it.


He just kind of kept asking me till finally we were at a happy hour event with work and he was trying to – "I really think you should go." I was like, "Okay, if I go then he’ll maybe stop asking me the questions."


[0:09:09.3] JR: You just caved in.


[0:09:10.3] JV: I just totally gave in and I went and the woman who picked me up from the train station ended up being my mentor and she sat with me over many a tear stained salad, Carrie Walker, now Lower. She’s just was amazing and she just met me where I was at and just let me process through a lot of the stuff that I was going through. Yeah, I just feel like that was really the catalyst to help me grow my faith and figure out like who am I. I joked that I found Jesus on Wall Street which is very weird. It’s not normal.


It was because of a coworker who literally just showed up as a whole person, he wasn’t like throwing a bible on my desk, he wasn’t like – he just showed up as a whole person and invited me and which I appreciated and so from that perspective, that’s how really my faith started to grow and then I realized, hey, I want to figure out what I’m really good at because I think that God cares about that.


Finance was not it. Terrible place to figure out you’re bad at finances on Wall Street. And I figured out and then I ended up pivoting and worked at a startup for two years, was a career advice startup called The Muse.


[0:10:05.3] JR: Yeah, not just any startup. Pretty impressive startup.


[0:10:07.9] JV: Yeah, it’s pretty impressive, yeah.


[0:10:09.3] JR: Raised 30 million dollars.


[0:10:10.9] JV: I actually was there, I think that 33rd employee, the 10th or 11th sales person. I made a massive pivot from finance to sales and then carried with them for about two years until I moved down to Nashville and took my business full time.


[0:10:22.1] JR: Yeah, that’s amazing. I want to come back to The Muse and the work you're doing today but I want to back up to this guy. You’re working on Wall Street, you’re working 80 hours a week and this guy literally introduces you to Jesus.


[0:10:37.5] JV: Yes, he wouldn’t say that but I would say he did.


[0:10:39.0] JR: Sure, right. But I’m really curious kind of how that played out. You talk about this guy showing up as a whole person. What do you mean by that? Was there a relationship built there before there was an invitation of the gospel presented? Like what did that look like?


[0:10:53.9] JV: Yeah, I think that he was very clear that he was a Christian, he would talk about like maybe going to church or he was in a community group and I was like, "What’s that?" You know, I had no idea, no context for that. He would just talk about it as very matter of fact way in the office. I remember that being the case and then with me, we got along really well and so he was just a friend, he was on my floor and I was hearing about what’s going on in his life with his friends, what he was doing on the weekend and I was like, "I want to do this, this sounds fun."


Honestly, he just kind of showed up and like you could see – radiate the peace off of him I would say, he was very confident in himself but like a quiet confidence. I’d experienced a lot of cocky confidence at Wall Street but he was just like this – there was something different about him. He had this quiet confidence and I just enjoyed being his friend and so then, it was just the invite naturally happened because I was starting to talk to him about life. We kind of evolved from there.


[0:11:43.3] JR: Was he great at his job?


[0:11:44.6] JV: Yes, he was very good at his job. I’m like thinking back on it, it’s been a long time but yeah, he’s very good at his job.


[0:11:50.6] JR: I talk about this in Master of One, this book I’m releasing in January. This idea that when we are masterful at our craft, people just want to be around us.


[0:12:00.7] JV: Yes, I do agree with that, absolutely.


[0:12:02.8] JR: It makes us winsome. I don’t know of a better word than that. Yeah, it’s being a whole person it’s being engaged in people’s lives but it’s also just like being good at what you do and having that confidence, I like that term, quiet confidence.


[0:12:15.9] JV: Yeah, he was not audacious, he wasn’t like a bragger or anything like that, you just knew that he knew who he was and what he was doing what he was supposed to be doing.


[0:12:24.6] JR: Yeah, I love that. All right, you realize you’re not great at finance?


[0:12:29.0] JV: Yeah, I was terrible and began to realize it. Not good at finance.


[0:12:31.3] JR: okay, you make a pivot in the sales. I’m curious about your state of mind in this transition. You come to faith in Christ and now you’re like looking – I mean, if you stayed in investment banking, even if you weren’t great at it, you would have made a heck of a living doing that work, right?


[0:12:48.8] JV: Most people quite frankly in banking, a lot of them, it’s survival of the fittest.


[0:12:52.9] JR: It’s survival of the fittest.


[0:12:53.1] JV: It really is.


[0:12:53.3] JR: Who can work 90 hours a week the longest, regardless of somewhat regardless of competence, right? You make it. Excellence was important to you it sounds like.


[0:13:02.5] JV: Yes, 100%. I was like always brought up on that notion of being from Pittsburg, it’s like you work really hard at the things that are in front of you. I couldn’t work any harder at that thing in banking but I started to realize that there were things that I was pretty good at and when I worked at the New York stock exchange, they were not related to finance.


And I was – instead of trying to – I think a lot of people do when I see with my clients, they try to fix the things that are their weaknesses and while we need to be aware of our weaknesses and tweak them, I think there’s huge merit in looking at the things you’re really good at and then going all in on that.


[0:13:35.8] JR: Yeah.


[0:13:36.4] JV: Saying like, "My gosh, God has gifted me in this way, this is not like something I’m bragging about myself. God has gifted me, it is my duty and responsibility to live that out with excellence." I realized, I was good at like giving the CEO’s of these IPO companies like tours around the New York stock exchange, I was good at the relational part of things, I was good at being in those sales meetings.


I was good at thinking about creativity on marketing plans, I got thrown in front of a camera one day and said, "Hey, can you report live from the trading floor?" There were things that were much more creative that I wanted to focus on.


[0:14:07.3] JR: Yeah, we haven’t talked a lot about my next book, Master of One but like, this is the whole concept.


[0:14:12.1] JV: That’s the whole book, yeah. I started it.


[0:14:15.8] JR: It’s this you know, I think you know, developing your weaknesses is a really poor strategy, if we believed that our mandate as Christians is excellence in all things for the glory of god, right? Double down on what you’re great at, right? Double – find the work that God has uniquely created you to do and focus on it intensely so for you, it wasn’t finance, it was more relational that’s I’m assuming what led you into sales, is that right?


Talk about the pivot from there, I don’t know that it’s a pivot as much as it is a continuation of what you're good at. Talk about how you went from The Muse into New York stock exchange to the work you’re doing today.


[0:14:51.5] JV: Yeah, when I was at The Muse, I always kind of knew I wanted to own a business one day. I had no idea what it was going opt look like. I was – I kept on actually had a survey I sent out to my friends, I was such a nerd. "What do you ask me for advice on? What do you think I’m good at?"


[0:15:04.6] JR: Interesting, yeah.


[0:15:05.6] JV: Because I wanted to know what people thought was valuable and I actually resisted it for a long time was career stuff. I was like, I want to be that person, I want to be like I don’t know, a fashion blogger. Those things have merit but I do think that the Lord was like, I have a bigger plan for this and since your story was rooted in coming to faith on Wall Street and then we’re going to make this bigger picture, bigger thing.


I realized a lot of people were asking me questions about how I made so many – I had five or five years, I had four jobs at three different companies. People were like, how did you do that? I just started teaching people how to do it and that kind of snowballed from one client to two clients, to having all of my nooks and crannies and extra time, filled it up with the side hustle to finally, I was – the Lord gave me like the go ahead, it’s finally time to leave New York and I was like all right, this is do or die, we’re going to try this thing, we’re going to see what God has in store for me.


And, it led me to this place now where I’m helping predominantly mid to senior level corporate people switch jobs and grow their incompetently solely through personal branding.


[0:16:01.8] JR: Yeah, you describe yourself as a career strategist. Go deeper into what you just mentioned, what exactly do you do for your clients?


[0:16:08.3] JV: Yeah, if a client is you know, in a job right now, I typically don’t work with a lot of people that are in between jobs. People that are like, "Okay, this strategic move in my career for the next 10 years, 15 years, I kind of have an idea what I want to do but I really don’t know how to get from point A to point B." It’s getting them unstuck where they’re currently stuck in their career and helping them navigate that pathway forward.


[0:16:28.9] JR: I love it. Give and example of that with one of your clients?


[0:16:32.4] JV: Right now, I have a client, she’s awesome, she’s a senior leader at a very well-known company, I won’t say the name. But she currently was – she’s a little confused about what he want to do, she want to stay in corporate or go and work for, start around consultancy with what she’s been doing in her work.


And so we created this plan where she realized, within the first couple of weeks, she thought she was going to try and find a new job but actually, she want to start a consultancy. Since we started working together, she’s actually already have her first clients.


[0:16:56.4] JR: Yeah, wow.


[0:16:57.1] JV: Started to bring in money, quit her other job and it’s like moving forward and this thing she’s really good at. She’s really good at like launching and building organizations, she’s not good at staying there for the long term and maintaining. That’s like one example, I have another client where she was a marketing leader and she knew she needed to get out of the current culture and situation that she was in and wanted to make a very smart pivot that’s going to lead her for full time position and she ended up getting a CMO role where she like went up a level or – two and we just created the marketing materials around that so a resume, LinkedIn, cover letter, personal brand and we really just taught her how to tell her story better.


[0:17:28.0] JR: Yeah.


[0:17:28.0] JV: I think a lot of people don’t know how to talk about themselves.


[0:17:30.7] JR: I think that’s really interesting, all throughout the website you talk about like career strategy as like branding. Personal branding. I don’t hear a lot of people talking in that language but I really like it a lot. I think it’s a really smart – talk about why you use that sort of story driven, brand driven framework.


[0:17:48.7] JV: when I was coaching people and I’ve coached about 900 people one on one on one. That’s not even like conferences and stuff like that. I work with a lot of people and when I realized is that every single person’s career is kind of like its own business and that with just the right amount of marketing, you can get into any door that you really want to get into.


I’ve seen this with clients too, were stuck and couldn’t get the deal closed and we go through interview prep session and they just learn how to talk about themselves differently in a way that’s relevant for the employer that’s listening. It differentiates them, it makes them excited about what they’re doing again and it gives them hope that they actually can make a change in their life.


[0:18:22.7] JR: Yeah.


[0:18:23.2] JV: It’s really about helping and there’s thousands of candidates that apply for one job, right? How do you differentiate yourself in the mix of it, you use your own personality, your own story, things that you or strengths and relate that to what the company really cares about?


[0:18:37.0] JR: I’ve heard a lot about this idea of like career is narrative in the past like – I remember, all right, back in 2016. I don’t think I’ve ever talked about this publicly. But back in 2016, I had this very lucrative consulting practice, I was working with early stage ventures, helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses and I got an offer from one of my clients, Threshold 360 where I’m still chairman of the board to come on board as CEO and I was going through the thought process, trying to figure out whether or not I wanted to do it.


One of my best friends and I had a conversation and he gave some really interesting advice, he’s like, "You know what? If you stayed in your consultancy, maybe you do it for another five years, another 10 years but the narrative doesn’t really develop. Like sure, you’ll help more clients, you’ll help different clients but taking on – you know, taking over is the 2nd CEO for this tech startup, bringing it to market, doing something you haven’t done in your career before, it turns the page, you start a new chapter and it moves the narrative of your career forward."


I think that’s like a really interesting way to think about career, right? It’s like the story you're able to tell in the narrative arc. For you, for your clients, what are the tools that you give them to help kind of craft that brand story, craft that narrative?


[0:19:52.7] JV: I think the biggest thing that I do with every single one of my clients that I find is the most helpful is answering the question, tell me about yourself.


[0:20:00.1] JR: Yeah.


[0:20:00.8] JV: Because that is the root of what we put in your resume, how you tell your story at networking parties, how you tell your story when you are talking to a mentor, how you tell your story whenever you are in an interview. That why I named my podcast, Your Career Story because I believe that to be such an important piece.


Where people are like, well I started here and then I went here and I went there, that’s not the way to answer that, that’s the fullness of the picture of who you are and what you’ve been able to accomplish. That is the biggest thing is helping them solidify what is the answer to that simple question.


And then from there we really delve into and understand like what do you actually want in your career? How does that reflect into your life because we’ve learned and I think, society talks about this but I definitely talk to my clients about this, what happens at work doesn’t stay at work, it goes of home. Same thing happens at home, it goes to work. For us to not think about showing up as whole people, both of those things have to correlate, both of those things have to relate and so if your work that you’re doing does not affect the lifestyle that you envision for yourself, we have to figure out how to make that marry.


[0:20:56.8] JR: You mentioned doing this yourself when you were trying to figure out what was next in your career. I’m curious if you recommend that clients do this but like surveying your friends, surveying those closest to you to say, "Hey, what am I good at, right? This is what I’m interested in but what am I actually good at?" Do you recommend the clients do that?


[0:20:56.8] JV: 100%. I actually think that you should ask people that are your coworkers. Be like, "This is a really awkward question but I’m trying to just take stock of what are my skills, what are the things that people think that are really valuable and which why I enjoy doing in marrying those things together, what do you feel like I’m really good at?"


It’s so awkward but it’s so helpful if you actually get an answer somebody.


[0:21:34.4] JR: Yeah.


[0:21:34.0] JV: Formal reviews don’t really work for that, honestly.


[0:21:36.4] JR: Why not?


[0:21:37.4] JV: I don’t feel like people are – I don’t feel like managers are going to be as truthful and honest and they’re very more project mindset-oriented. As much as they want to maybe – a leader maybe wants to bring out the skillset of their individual. That doesn’t always happen. Sometimes, you have to be your own career advocate. The best way to do that is to put a step forward and ask the question.


[0:21:54.8] JR: Yeah. I talk a lot about this in Master of One. Kind of the path to mastery is I see it, right? Step one exploring your options, step two, making a choice, at some point in your career saying, this is the thing I’m doubling down on and I’m going to be world class after the glory of God and the good of others.


Step three is what you’re going to eliminate from your life, in your commitments and say no to and step four is mastery, right? The keys to mastering what makes anyone world class at what they do. But in that first step, in that experimentation, exploration stage, I think a lot of people think that means just inward seeking, right?


Asking myself what do I love to do, what do I want to do. But I think there’s a lot of biblical wisdom and say no, humble yourself, work is not primarily about your happiness, it’s about service to others and the only way to figure out what you're good at in serving others is asking other people, right?


What in the world am I good at? I love that a lot. I want to go back, somewhat to your story. You say on your website, that because of your salvation experience, because you met Jesus on Wall Street. Which is bizarre. You are so passionate about people not having to be in ministry to minister to others.


[0:23:12.4] JV: Preach myself on that.


[0:23:14.4] JR: It’s really not a question, it’s an invitation for you to get on your soap box and talk about — and encourage our listeners to them.


[0:23:21.5] JV: Yeah, I think there’s a – I didn’t experience this because I didn’t grow up in a southern Christian world and so I think there was a lot of learning how I think a lot of Christians, specifically in the south, it's a generalization but would approach work and vocation. Vocation, we are all called, there’s like what, the great commission right? We’re all called to go out and make disciples in every area of our life and God cares about every area of our life, so why would our work be no different?


I think so many Christians separate their Sundays from their Mondays and leave Jesus in the parking lot at 9AM and pick him up at 5PM and there’s like this disconnect where we don’t see a lot off of that. There’s less sermons about it, I mean, there’s so many other reasons that could say that but at the end of the day, you do not know what showing up to work as a whole person will do for the other people around you.


That gentlemen had no idea that he was going to impact the whole trajectory of my future life, right? It’s not going to somebody and beating the bible over their head or anything like that. It’s showing up to work as a whole person to be excellent in your work and I think there’s a large part of community also that matters in that. That’s where you are, your ministry is wherever you are and if that means you’re in accounting and you’re closing the books, you’re in a much ministry as somebody who is a youth minister, it is the exact same thing in God’s currency and so many of us are saying.


Well that’s not really my thing, my volunteering is where I’m ministering to people. No, you are ministering with every email you send, with every interaction you have with a coworker with how you take seriously your work or not. Your work is a huge portion to that and I just – my big priorities that more people will start to realize that because I think if more people started bringing their faith into work, what that would mean for our economy, for the community, for our relationships with internally and our family and with our coworkers and then finally for the kingdom.


[0:25:06.1] JR: I promise Jena and I did not swap notes prior to this but yes, she’s reading the script of this whole show, this is what we love talking about here. I think about this a lot. I pray about this a lot. What is that vision? If every Christian deeply understood that their work mattered, was a means of ministry, was a means of making disciples, what would the world look like?


[0:25:29.3] JV: I believe that we’re all designed, we all want to have purpose and I believe vocation is just one of the ways that God has allows that to happen for us and so if people actually woke up every day, excited to go to work because of not just like some self-actualization or the salary we’re going to get or the promotions that we’re going to receive which by the way, I have my own idols with that so it’s something I continually work through.


But if we actually woke up with a servant heart for that and for the people that we experience on a day to day basis, what that would actually mean, that is literally going out into the mission field every single day and showing up to do the work that God has in front of you. What a privilege and an honor it is to use the gifts that god has given to me. I didn’t do anything for these.


Maybe I’m nurturing them and becoming more excellent in them. But God is the one who gifted me to them so it would be an insult foot the creative for me not to celebrate them and act in them.


[0:26:13.9] JR: Yeah. I can’t remember if I mentioned this on the podcast before but there’s this sermon that really significantly influenced my life, probably on a four or five years ago, this guy named Dr. Kennon Vaughn, he’s a PC pastor in Memphis.


[0:26:26.3] JV: Okay, I need to listen.


[0:26:27.0] JR: he’s brilliant. But he pointed out that in Jesus command, go and make disciples, the word go, the Greek word for go is what’s called an Ares tense passive participle.


[0:26:37.5] JV: Okay, please unpack that.


[0:26:38.7] JR: Yeah, we’re getting real nerdy now. Yeah, it’s an Ares tense passive participle. Basically, what he says is that go was not the command. The going was assumed. Essentially what Jesus is saying is having gone from here turn men as disciples and Vaughn points out that Jesus didn’t go more than 200 miles away from his hometown and he’s the greatest disciple maker of all time, it’s not about how far you go, it’s about what you were doing as you go throughout your daily life. As you go to work tomorrow.


[0:27:11.9] JV: Yes, I’m a huge fan of the local. The local piece, I think a lot of us think globally, that’s awesome and amazing and we need that but so many of us miss the local.


[0:27:19.4] JR: Yeah.


[0:27:21.0] JV: So many of us miss the local of what’s happening in our own lives and our own circles, it’s small. It’s okay if it’s small.


[0:27:25.2] JR: Yeah. That’s exactly right. I’m curious for you, you got a small team around you, I’m sure you’re thinking about how to make disciples at work but really, you’re creating disciples in the sense that you’ve worked with 900 individual clients who are now going out into the world. Not all of this clients are Christians, right?


[0:27:44.1] JV: Many of them are actually not.


[0:27:45.5] JR: Yeah, I believe it. How do you think about your faith influencing your specific work today? What motivates you in this business that you're building now?


[0:27:55.5] JV: Yeah. I think the biggest thing for me is there’s a lot of heart transformation that goes on in this. So it’s not just giving you a strategy and helping you go, it’s also giving you strategy, helping you understand how your inner dialog affects what happens outwardly for a lot of my clients. A lot of my clients will come to me and their confidence is not there. They don’t’ think they’re really good at something.


There’s a lot of that building up. I consider myself ministering to clients on a one on one basis and I’ve actually been a sounding board for some people that have had questions about their faith which has been a really cool experience, that’s not something I’ve been like hey, do you want to talk about – I think for me, that’s a huge part of it and then also at the same time, it’s, I want to get really good at the work that I’m doing. So I’m currently kind of moving away from a certain business model. Moving it into another way to kind of move my business so that I can kind of reach more people but then also at the same time, do that work really well.


Because I feel like there’s been – when you’re growing a business, it’s very easy to get spread really thin and I found that for the past year, my work life balance has not been there, my idols have shown up quite loudly. I’ve just been reevaluating what am I really good at Lord and just asking that question again, what am I really good at? What do I need to be more doing and you’re going to have to – I make this comment a lot of times to a lot of my followership or whatever I say that my job is not the provider, God is.


And so if I really trust in that and believe that what will actually do in my career and what are the things that I am really good at is how do I keep doing more of that and let God take care of the money.


[0:29:17.7] JR: Yeah, so when I made the decision to focus on writing and producing this content full time, I have always said my one thing is actually pretty broad. I am a talented entrepreneur, I am talented at bringing new products to market and meeting needs in the market and when I was running Threshold 360 and writing a book at the same time, I still saw that as one thing. I was creating new products and bringing them to market.


But I made the twist to get even more focused and even more nuanced in my one thing but now that I am doing this work full time, I am finding myself in the same spot. I am spreading myself too thin across — even though it is all focused under bringing out content for the good of you all who are listening, I am still spreading myself too thin. So I think that question of what is my one thing and how do I get more focused on the work I believe God’s called me to do. I don’t think we ever stopped asking and answering that question.


[0:30:11.0] JV: I think if we stop asking it then we are probably doing it wrong.


[0:30:12.8] JR: Yeah I think so too. For those of you who subscribed to my weekly faith and work devotional, you know I recently did a series titled The Meaning of Work. So I am really curious to get your take on this Jena. So the hypothesis it that we all know the data. Gallop says 70% of Americans are disengaged from their jobs. It is so depressing –


[0:30:31.5] JV: It’s so sad that is another reason why I do what I do I’m like that needs to be up.


[0:30:35.9] JR: It so depressing and everybody has their theories as to why, right? Why 70% of the world seems to hate their jobs. By the way, the number globally is 80% which isn’t surprising that is higher other places. So you know my hypothesis that ultimately most of that 70% is a result of falling on one of two extreme ends of the spectrum of what we believe the meaning of work to be, right? So either on the far left end of the spectrum we expect far too little meaning from the work.


So I think this is true with my parents’ generation so I went to work to get a paycheck, so that I can move onto the more meaningful things in life, right? Family, church, whatever it was. But I think millennials myself included fall in the opposite end of the spectrum of expecting far too much meaning in our work. We no longer look to the family or to church for this cosmic meaning and satisfaction in our lives we look to our work. So I am curious to hear how you help your clients think about the meaning of work, not expecting too little meaning from work but also not expecting too much. Do you have those conversations?


[0:31:42.8] JV: We do. Typically in the beginning it is usually when we are starting to get clarity of what that person wants to do next is like what does work mean to you and most people have never asked that question to themselves before because you get a degree, you move on, you got a career and you work up the corporate ladder hoping that you are on the right ladder. And I don’t think enough people ask the question of what does work mean to me and my job as somebody who is coaching through this never to judge whatever they’re saying it’s to just –


[0:32:06.4] JR: Or impose your –


[0:32:07.0] JV: Exactly just to open up the conversation to allow them to hear for themselves, is that actually what you want, right? What is work looking like for you right now? Okay, well based off the way you are scheduling yourself, based off your no time off, you are making this thing like the thing and it is going to disappoint you every single time. Do you really want to use that to be your narrative and you know that is the conversation that I am often having with clients.


It is the conversation I have with myself. It is the exact same conversation that I am constantly actually – God is quite humorous and that I'll have a client that’s probably dealing with the things that I am dealing with the things that I am dealing with and it is like a mirror in my face of like, “Oh that is a good point. I am going to receive that for myself.” But I think it is just opening up that conversation of asking them the question, “What does work mean to you?” Because most people don’t ask it.


[0:32:51.6] JR: Do you find that your non-Christian clients buy that premise that work will never ultimately satisfy?


[0:32:59.3] JV: I think that they understand that narrative very much so, once they start to realize that it’s not satisfying them now and I work with people that are making multiple six figures that are VP level and it is not really cutting it and so I always talk about giving them this analogy I heard this comedian. He is actually a Christian comedian, John Crist and I have to merit him. I listened to a podcast that he was on.


He said, “You know I always had this goals like I want to be on this night show” or something like that and then – “Or I wanted to this, I wanted to do that but when I reached those things, I realized what if I get to the Tonight Show that that’s not it. That is not the thing that I made it and that is not the thing.” And that resonated so deeply with me and I tell that story to my clients and I say, “Well what is the thing for you?” Like you felt like you would have made it and you haven’t made it? Maybe this is a little bit too much weight here so —


[0:33:45.1] JR: Yeah so your work today, you are helping people find new jobs, find that next step within their career. So I am curious what advice you have to the people listening to this episode right now who are faithfully following after Jesus Christ –


[0:34:00.6] JV: Yeah, which is so fun that we get to talk about this.


[0:34:02.7] JR: Which is so awesome. I know I love it, who love Jesus, maybe they don’t love their work, maybe they are looking for what’s next, what advice do you have for them for how to be faithful to the job they have today and faithful for the ministry of excellence while also looking for what is next and being a good steward of the gifts that God has given them?


[0:34:22.5] JV: I think it is not only Biblical but it is also just a smart career move to be excellent in what you’re doing. So I think there is a lot of people that are out there and I totally understand them. I was that person, right? I switched my jobs a lot, so there is no shame in that game at all whatsoever. But I feel like for myself when I was what I tell other people when they’re in a job where they can’t really get out yet, I think about it similar to how I was in New York City and I didn’t want to be in New York City.


But I knew God had me there and I felt stuck there and I felt frustrated but my whole thing was how do I get the most out of this experience, what is God trying to teach me and then also how can I give out in this experience. So if you are in a job right now and you are just feeling like this is not the place for me. I am not using my gifts. I am not using my talents, what if using your gifts and talents just look like showing up at work and loving on your coworker who is going through a divorce?


What if showing up for work and just maybe you pray for your leader on your way to work? What if it means that you just invite someone into your home instead of trying to separate work from life too much? It could look very different. It could add a relational element to it even if we are not maybe using our gifts and talents in this present moment.


[0:35:28.6] JR: So you mentioned working 80 hours a week. I have been there before. Which is such a blast! What does your days look like today? I am really curious what is a typical day from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to bed, what does that routine look like for you now?


[0:35:42.8] JV: The big thing for me is I spend a lot of my time now in this direction of taking my business is writing. I love writing. I am realizing that God has gifted me in that way and so I need to be doing more of that and so a lot of my days are now wrapped up in writing and not dealing with clients, serving clients and working with clients and helping them. So that is a large portion of my day but honestly, I feel like I am most thriving and I am not always good at doing this.


I have not been good at doing this but the past couple of months but my most ideal day would be getting up early, probably going for a walk, doing something active or listening to worship music, get in the shower, put on the coffee mug and sitting down for a little bit of quiet time and that could look like journaling. It could be reading my Bible, it could be reading your devotional, it could be doing any of the things. But just having that small space and I think for a long time I thought that I had to do like an hour.


And check it off my list and this expectation, right, but really it could just look like jotting down, “Hey Lord, this is what’s in my heart today. This is what I am praying for and these are the people I am praying for.” I really try to make it a rhythm to pray for my clients and so the people that I know that I am going to interact with in the day like I pray for them before I even interact with them. And so those are the small rhythms in the morning that get me going and then I really try to end my day, I have been toying with what time in the day do I leave. Do you ever read the book Rest?


[0:36:56.9] JR: No by whom?


[0:36:57.4] JV: Oh my gosh it is so good. You need to read this book. I forget his name it’s Alex something I will send it to you afterwards. Rest by Alex. It is the blue cover, I can see it right now. Do know Rebecca Lions?


[0:37:07.4] JR: Yes.


[0:37:07.8] JV: She recommended it and so I have been preaching it to everybody. I think it is a really great. It talks about the rhythms of the most creative people and the rhythms of the most creative people is they usually end their work day by 12 and their afternoons are free. That doesn’t really fully work for me. So I have been trying to adapt that for myself but I’d say my days end about three, four, five, depending on the day. So it is a lot of writing for now.


[0:37:28.6] JR: How do you rest, right? So 3:00 you’re done, 4:00 you’re done, what does rest look like for you?


[0:37:32.9] JV: Yeah, I have been exploring that too. Someone asked me the other day what do I do for fun and I looked at her and said –


[0:37:38.5] JR: Fun?


[0:37:38.9] JV: Fun? Because my business is fun. When I started it out it was fun for me and it still is fun for me and so that for me is I love exploring new ideas but I am realizing that my creativity is not at its fullest potential if I am not incorporating art into my life. And so for me, art is a huge catalyst. I was a musical theater kid growing up. Yeah, I used to be able to sing, don’t ask me to sing because I can’t now.


[0:38:02.0] JR: Okay we got lots to talk about then yeah.


[0:38:03.8] JV: You know I was on the stage, I guess it makes sense now. So I think for me, I am actually starting to read more fiction books now. I am starting to read not just books that is going to help move my business forward or my Christian life forward. I am moving things around. I am actually doing more things with my hands, so I am trying to take a calligraphy class.


I am cooking more like there are things that I feel like I was valuing more so and that rest really looks like an act of rest for me. It doesn’t look like taking a nap. It is more of a posture and really allowing myself to be creative.


[0:38:31.0] JR: There is a lot of wisdom in that. I am a big fan of this act of rest I think I have talked about on the podcast before like breaks in between writing for me are usually washing dishes or like doing laundry. Yeah I love washing dishes. Yeah I am weird, it is a very weird thing but I love it, since I’ve been working at home over the last couple of months but yeah, I am not great at resting at the end of the day and part of this is I’ve got young kids, right?


So rest for me is playing with them, which is restful for sure and helps me creative connections but yeah, there is so much like C.S. Lewis was very famous for in the afternoons taking a very long walk from his home.


[0:39:09.3] JV: Yeah I think they talk about him in the book. Yeah I think they do.


[0:39:12.0] JR: Do they? Yeah he would have these long breaks in the afternoon where he would take a walk from the kilns where he lived and it is pretty far away from there too the Eagle and Child the pub that they used to hang out at. So yeah there is a lot of wisdom there and by the way, let me follow up on the quiet time comments. You said something that I think is really true. I think a lot of people have these huge expectations for what a quiet time has to look like that it has to be 30 minutes.


And it has to be an hour, the Lord doesn’t command that of us, right? So for you, do you find when you only have 15 minutes to sit down and pray and write the scripture, then that is centering for you? Is that enough time to center you for your day?


[0:39:52.4] JV: I actually timed it this morning because I have been trying to toy with different things and really feel that and I was listening to a sermon while I was getting ready moving around. So that was part of it but the actual sit down time, it was probably only 15 minutes. It was only 15 minutes not only but it was 15 minutes and I felt like rejuvenated. I felt centered. I was like, “Okay now I can tackle my inbox for Monday."


[0:40:11.3] JR: Yeah, so a random question. I just remembered this after [inaudible] that you are enneagram 3?


[0:40:17.3] JV: Oh yeah, hardcore like Harry Potter style, the sorting hat just barely touches my head, enneagram three.


[0:40:23.2] JR: So I am the same way and I feel like if I am in Nashville I have to ask about your enneagram number. You guys are very cultish about this.


[0:40:32.3] JV: Yes, it is very funny. When I moved here I was like, “Is this like a dating app I need to know about?”


[0:40:35.9] JR: Right, what is – I am searching for enneagram in the App Store. I cannot find it, it does not compute. I am the same way, I started coming up here more. I’m like I guess I need to study up on this, you guys are freakishly cultist about this. So here is my question though, so we’re both performers, right? That is our enneagram number, which by the way is one of the worst numbers to be. There is so much baggage.


[0:40:57.9] JV: Actually I love being a three.


[0:40:59.7] JR: No I like it too obviously but there is a lot of baggage that comes with that. What do you think drives you to be a performer? You always had that urge what –


[0:41:10.9] JV: I mean how long you want to talk for. No, I mean I was definitely a performer as a young kid and my parents would tell you that, which was also ironic because my dad and I had a conversation after the finance days of I remember my dad saying to me, “We should have probably pushed you more in the creative direction.” Because as a kid I was always putting on skits.


I created a – which is funny I have a podcast now but I created televisions shows. And I would make my sister be one of the guest most likely a boy and I was just always creating something. I had a quote book when I was a kid like what kid has a quote book, you know? So I think that for me I for sure always was performing. There was always a part of who I was and it became such an identity portion, which was why it was so difficult being in investment banking because that was such a huge part of my identity and that is why I think why I felt this need to look at a certain way, physically.


That is why my eating disorder went its way, a hairy way and then also just in my job and that I have to be very careful not to let that take over in this new season of life. It’s been something I have been working through and always working through.


[0:42:16.3] JR: Yeah, I think it is like the ultimate battle of threes right? For me, earlier in my career, failure wasn’t an option because I wouldn’t have a self. I was so concerned about — the only thing I cared about was how others perceived me. That is like a prime characteristic of threes and so yeah but by the grace of God, I think the Lord is doing a work on that and that my heart has been for years. But I think it is always going to be a struggle.


I think that is one thing I have come to accept is okay, this is my lot in life. I am going to always have to battle against this and the best way to do that is to have conversations like these right? With other people who share these gospel truths and say, “Hey, regardless of how many downloads the Career Story Podcast gets it doesn’t matter. You’re loved, you’re worthy because Jesus says you are worthy, right?


[0:43:07.5] JV: Can I tell you what I do for goals now? Because I am a three and I know if I look at – I know metrics are important, I put that on somebody else because I give myself projects and things that I want to accomplish. Like I want to write a book by this time or I would loose guidelines. I say I have a five year plan but I am nimble and I feel like that has given me a lot of freedom. So I don’t have like I need to make X amount of dollars and maybe that’s wrong.


But for me and my sanity I do not do that because I believe that the Lord is going to give me the money that I need or how many downloads that I need that he’s got the numbers taken care of that I just need to keep on moving in the right direction.


[0:43:38.6] JR: So you are more focused on, "I feel the Lord calling me to do this, to create this," and not paying as much attention as much of the results? Interesting.


[0:43:46.7] JV: Yeah. I try not to live so much in the results. It is hard not to of course because we want to be like that but I found that the best things that happen in my life never happen when I am white knuckling it down the rollercoaster. It is when I have open hands and so that is very, very true in my career. I made a lot of decisions in my career that never made sense to outside eye. But it made sense because I had made peace about it and so I just go where the peace is. That is my career mantra, go where the peace is.


[0:44:11.7] JR: Interesting. I am going to have to chew on that and come back to that. I don’t know that I can do that.


[0:44:17.3] JV: Yeah I had to pass it off to somebody else. Because I want to make sure that I am being wise about my business and being strategic of course but it is a marriage of the two. I put much less weight on the metrics.


[0:44:28.5] JR: Interesting, I love it. All right so three questions I love to ask every guest. First one, which books do you recommend the most of buy the most for other people?


[0:44:37.7] JV: I have bought Love Does by Bob Goff for a zillion people. I have also bought Anything by Jennie Allen, she is my crush. Her book changed my life I think, it was a huge impedes and change in my faith, those two and then from a more business career oriented I always buy Designing your Life. I buy that for pretty much every single clients that go through my 101 program.


[0:45:01.1] JR: I love it. What one person would you most like to hear on this show talking about how their faith influences their work?


[0:45:08.6] JV: Can I give you two people?


[0:45:09.5] JR: Yeah, give me all the people.


[0:45:11.4] JV: Okay, Kathie Lee Gifford.


[0:45:12.7] JR: Really?


[0:45:14.0] JV: I just think she is very fascinating because she’s very vocal about her faith on her show. In a very like – that is not easy to do, so I am just fascinated about how she gets the confidence and the gumption to do that and how she incorporates that. And then Jason Kennedy. So these are both entertainment people. Jason Kennedy, he was on E-News so how does he rationalize that world, the Hollywood world because he is very public about his faith.


He is best friends with a lot of famous pastors. He is very public about his faith in Jesus, the whole story about how he met his wife, it is crazy. So I would be really interested to hear his story of how faith at work meshes together. He had a bible study in Hollywood. He is very fascinating and I think he is hilarious too. So he would be comical yes.


[0:45:57.1] JR: Those are really good answers, yeah okay great. I love it. By the way, where is Kathie Lee Gifford?


[0:46:00.8] JV: She lives here now.


[0:46:02.6] JR: She is in Nashville?


[0:46:03.2] JV: That is what I am telling you everyone lives here.


[0:46:04.4] JR: What are the chances that we can get Kathie Lee in 24 hours’ notice onto the show?


[0:46:07.8] JV: I think you should try.


[0:46:08.7] JR: Well we should try, let’s track her down and Jason's in New York I am assuming?


[0:46:11.5] JV: No, I think he is in California.


[0:46:13.1] JR: California okay great. All right, what one piece of advice would you give somebody who like you is pursuing mastery of their craft, whatever that vocation might be, right? But they believe in the call to mastery, they believe that they are called to do masterful work for the glory of God and the good of others, what one piece of advice would you leave them with?


[0:46:30.1] JV: Patience is a virtue. It is not going to happen overnight. Mastery doesn’t happen when with one client, with one project you work on with one job that you have, it is a lifetime of achievements and a lifetime of small pivot turns to the right. And so having the patience to live that out I think is such a huge – it is a hard thing to do. But if you are able to do it that is when mastery happens.


[0:46:50.8] JR: One of my favorite quotes of all time is Warren Buffett, you probably know this, was asked, “Hey Warren your investment strategy is super simple. Why hasn’t everybody else is like this Warren Buffett?” And he said, “Nobody wants to get rich slow,” right? And there is so much wisdom there. Hey Jena, I want to commend you for the work you are doing. I just thank you so much for sharing your testimony so publicly.


Thank you for your commitment to the integration of faith in the workplace and thank you for serving the Lord by helping others find and focus on the work that they were created to do for the glory of God and the good of others.


Jena Viviano, a masterful career strategist, just a masterful professional. If you have any questions about your career or need some guidance on your next career move, I cannot recommend Jena highly enough. You can find her at You want to spell that one for me?


[0:47:45.3] JV: Yeah so J-E-N-A, so it is one N and then Viviano, is yYah.


[0:47:53.2] JR: Jena thanks for hanging out.


[0:47:54.3] JV: Thanks so much.




[0:47:57.1] JR: I’m such a big fan of Jena Viviano. I hope you guys enjoy that episode as much as I did. I hope you enjoyed that conversation. Hey, if you are enjoying the Call to Mastery, make sure you subscribe to the podcast wherever you listen to podcast so you never miss an episode in the future and if you’re already subscribed, do me a huge favor. Take 30 seconds to go and review the podcast. If you have no idea how to do either of those things, go to where we have made it really easy for you to do.


Hey, before you go, I’ve got another shorter conversation I want to share with you all. As you guys know, I am an avid reader and a few months ago, I started sharing with you all some of the books that I have added to my personal reading list. I have been sharing these recommendations in my weekly devotional email, which if you don’t receive you can sign up right now for free at and I recently sat down with the author of one of the books I have added to my reading list.


Her name is Debra Moerke and she wrote this really interesting book called Murder, Motherhood and Miraculous Grace and you know listen, most of what I read is directly applicable to my work. Most of what I am reading is professional developments but sometimes I want a break, right? I want a break, I just want to pick up a great story particularly stories that have a redemptive edge that will help me grow in my walk with Jesus Christ and that is why I have added Murder, Motherhood and Miraculous Grace to my reading list.


I actually just got it in the mail and started reading it and this is one of the most tragic stories I have ever heard. But it is a story ultimately of forgiveness and grace and obedience. I don’t want to give away too much because I sat down with the book’s author, Debra Moerke to answer three questions about the book for you. So here is my conversation with Debra Moerke.




[0:49:47.2] JR: Debra, thank you so much for joining me. I was just telling you I just got the book, Murder, Motherhood and Miraculous Grace in the mail and my wife and I are sitting down and reading the jacket and started reading the introduction. I am like this is going to be a great book. So tell our audience what is this book about? This is you memoir, right? So give us a snapshot of what this book is all about?


[0:50:08.8] DM: Well the book is about a little more than 20 years ago my husband and I were foster parents and we had fostered close 140 children at that time, plus we had our own five children and in a week, we felt God was calling us to do this, to minister to these children, to help them to minister to their parents when we are allowed to but this particular family had one targeted child that came to us and we were able to take the whole family of five and have them for almost a year.


And one of the children I was very, very concerned about. Because I knew the mother really targeted to her as far as abuse and the court suddenly sent them home with no real warning and I was very afraid for her safety and her welfare and kept calling DFS, kept calling people to see have you seen this child since they have gone home, the kids have gone home, I went to checked on them every once in a while. I didn’t see the child and just about something was extremely wrong.


So the story is partly about just the lack of control we really have in other people’s lives and in many of the — even the organizations in our community that really oversee all of us and my gut feeling saying that there is something really wrong was very correct and then we found out a year afterwards just the devastating situation that this child’s life was taken. So the story is much about not only fostering and all the things involved with that but also walking through issues of forgiveness and resentment and bitterness and redemption and so that’s what really had to take place the 20 years following.


[0:51:48.8] JR: Wow, so the child’s life is taken. How old was the child at the time?


[0:51:52.4] DM: She was five.


[0:51:53.9] JR: Five years old, oh my goodness. And so the book really tells your story of forgiving that mother and I mean I haven’t gotten to this place in the book, I am looking forward to but I assume there is hopefully some redemption here. Is there some redemptive aspect of this story that we can look forward to?


[0:52:11.6] DM: Absolutely there is. And you know part of this is I felt God is putting the pressure on me to write this for many, many years. But I just didn’t know where to begin and plus I was still walking through it. So I started to realize it in our community, even 20 years later there is still suffering and hurt and bitterness, concerning this story and that part of the reason of writing this too was to bring healing not only to my community but this is something that happens all over our country. All over the world and how do we walk through it when we were in a sense either part of it or even the outsider looking in, how do we deal with it.


[0:52:48.2] JR: Yeah, hey Debra, who is this book for?


[0:52:51.3] DM: This book is really for a number of people but I believe for people who have been seriously hurt or wounded by someone else. You know if a child dies, I just recently had a granddaughter, five years old, pass away two weeks ago from cancer and you know we may wrestle with God over that. But you don’t have an individual to blame other than God and so there are many crimes against people and so we can blame that person and carry bitterness against them.


And point the finger at them and pour all our bitterness on them. This book is really for people who wrestle with that and just need to find healing in their own heart and forgiveness and redemption. Because we are not free as long as we are carrying bitterness and forgiveness. We are not free. So this is for those who have suffered in any way that they have had something done against them that was out of their control when they are seriously hurt or wounded by it.


[0:53:44.8] JR: So you are in the middle of promoting this new book and your granddaughter passed away and you are literally forced to live out the principles of this book. That’s got to keep you honest, right? As you’re going about talking all of these topics and I’ll tell you what I will certainly commit to praying for you and your family with regards to that.


So Debra, we talked a little bit about this before we started recording but the people listening this show. Listening to the Call to Mastery, they are ambitious, Christian professionals. They are ambitious not for their own fame and fortune. They’re really ambitious for how they are work can glorify God and love neighbor as self. And these people, myself included read mostly business books, read professional development. But what about a story like this can that type of individual take away from this book.


[0:54:37.6] DM: Well I am so glad you asked that question because in and throughout this story there are a number of professional either organizations or even businesses that are involved there is the law enforcement is involved. The social services involved, even schools are involved and I was the director of a crisis pregnancy center at the time. So we touched the whole community as a well-known organization in town.


So there is a lot of professionals that are involved throughout this story. And I believe that part of my heart is for these professionals, we put so much emphasis on them thinking they know all they should see all, they should be able to handle everything well because after all, they’re either trained, educated or they’ve had experience in all of these different realms and so we put a lot of pressure on them.


My hope is that professionals will stop and look into this book say, “Don’t fall back on just your experience or just your education or diploma or title. Pay attention. Pay attention to what is going on around you. Pay attention when there are people that truly need help and are seeking you for that help or seeking you for some serious information and advice that could really help their life for people that are hurting."


Sometimes we just get too cut up in the professionalism of our jobs.


[0:55:58.2] JR: Yeah, I love that and I am sure after reading this book there will also this deep seated belief that all of our work matters. You can find certainly for law enforcement, for DCF or in the system our work matters. We are called to be salt and light to this world and we are called to be competent and excellent in what we do.


[0:56:17.9] DM: Absolutely.


[0:56:18.6] JR: I love it Debra, thank you for writing this book. I know the story started 20 or so years ago and I am sure was not an easy book to write. I am sure as you are promoting it right now it is not an easy book to market giving to what you are going through personally. So thank you for writing it, thank you for sharing this message for the world and thank you for sharing a little bit about the book with our audience today.


[0:56:38.8] DM: Well, thank you for wanting to visit with me. I appreciate it so much.




[0:56:43.9] JR: What an incredible story of forgiveness of grace, thank you so much Debra for joining me for that conversation. The book is Murder, Motherhood and Miraculous Grace and it just came out yesterday. So you can go pick out a copy wherever books are sold.


Hey, that’s it for today’s episode. Again, if you are enjoying the Call to Mastery, make sure you subscribe. So click the subscribe button on Apple, click the follow button on Spotify wherever you listen to podcasts. If you are already subscribed, do me a huge favor and just take a second to review the podcast.


That is the best way that we can help get this content in the hands or ears, I guess, of more listeners. So I hope you guys enjoyed this episode as much as I did. Thank you so much for listening to the Call to Mastery. I will see you next week.