Good morning! Hey, it’s a great Monday morning and what a week we’re gonna have this week. You know, the week of last week is already in the books. You’ve had a great week, I hope. I hope you listened to last week’s podcast and gained some knowledge out of that, some tactics on how to improve your life. Well, this week we’re taking it over the top. This week we’re gonna focus on areas of living a fulfilling life. And I have a special guest today with me that’s gonna share her life story, and some good things that she has done in her life to help her community, her state, and those in her community that need improvement in their lives by being inspired. I’m telling you this lady inspires me to no end.
Before we get there though, I want to talk to you just a little bit. If you haven’t subscribed to the podcast, please go to iTunes, Spotify, and go ahead and subscribe. You don’t want to miss any of these episodes, because over the next few weeks we have some outstanding guests that are gonna be on the show. And they’re gonna be sharing what has given them their point to success at this point in life. And we’re gonna show you how they’ve done it and you can learn from them.
Living A Fulfilling Life
So today we’re gonna talk about living a fulfilling life. You know one of the most important factors, in my opinion, is the legacy you leave by investing in others’ lives. You know your philosophy of life is critical to achieving any form of long term success. Sure, many instant millionaires have begun their lives with poverty, attained riches, but lack the perspective or life philosophy to maintain their financial growth for the long term. You know, think about those lottery winners. You know these are people that had never had money of any form and all of a sudden they’re thrust into the world of being a millionaire. You know there was even a show on tv a few years ago. The title of the show was interesting to me, it was How The Lottery Destroyed My Life. Now, you know I always said, hey give me the challenge. Dump 25-30 million on me. Give me the challenge, right? But you see the money didn’t do anything for these people but amplify the weaknesses in their own philosophy. They didn’t have the background, the education, or the mentality and dare I say the philosophy of life to handle such a responsibility of that large sum of money.
You see, their concept of money was nowhere near what was thrust upon them. And so today we’re gonna talk about how that’s not the most important part of life, but the fulfillment of your life will come from helping others achieve greatness in their lives. So I’m excited today, to share a few minutes with this guest. I tell ya, she has been a leader in every sense of the word. Her contributions to her community and state have been numerous. To name just a few of her activities, she is an influencer and mentor to many young women through her involvement with local, regional and state scholarship competitions. As an active member of her city, she has contributed to the growth and development through her local Chamber of Commerce. Along with her husband, they’ve established a foundation to provide scholarships to those students that wish to increase their knowledge by going to a university or college of their choice. I mean, I could sit here all day and name these, but I don’t think that’s what you want to hear from me, I’d like for you to now welcome with me, my good friend Lori Few. Lori, thank you for being here.
LF: Thank you for having me, good morning everybody.
JW: I tell you this is gonna be a fun time folks, I have been asking for her for about a year now, to come in and just visit with me. And so you know, she’s got a busy schedule, and I understand that, and she and her husband never slow down. Matter of fact, I’ve asked them how many hours of sleep do they get at night, and you’d be shocked. I don’t think they sleep at all, but anyway, so let me just start off Lori, give me a little background for our listeners of what was your childhood like?
LF: I had a really interesting childhood, I think I got to see childhood on both sides of the fence. The way I referred to it. I am the oldest of four, and I grew up in a really complicated situation as a young child. My parents divorced when I was 8, and my mother suffered from drug and alcohol abuse as well as mental illness, which wasn’t diagnosed until much later in her life. My siblings and I actually wound up in the foster care system when I was 15 years old. There’s no doubt that my parents, biological parents, loved me as a child, but they just weren’t able to take care of us. They didn’t have the skills, the knowledge, the equipment to be able to raise children. And I had the most fantastic foster parents who are still my parents til this day, and I love them, and I had a very interesting childhood where I saw poverty and domestic abuse and drug and alcohol abuse and then I was able to see the other side of that with a positive family who were able to give me the skills and knowledge that an education was important and being involved in the community was important and that a college education was a possibility for me.
JW: So can I say now that I have a greater understanding of where you’re coming from so I understand now more where you’re going.
LF: Yes, I think it’s important that people remember no matter where you start it doesn’t matter where you start, it’s where you finish.
JW: I think that is excellent, excellent advice. And you know one of the things too, it reminds me, I’ve read a lot of great biographies, and one of my favorites of all creators and entrepreneurs is Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs came through a similar type path, of course. But his birth parents, either didn’t want or couldn’t raise him at the time, and he had an adoptive set of parents that really instilled in him the motivation to do better, but now Steve Jobs is just wired differently is all I can tell you. The guy achieved greatness on his own terms, and that’s all we’re about here, on Live a Life by Design, just like what you’re saying. And so you started out a little bit, um, shall we say, maybe a little more challenging childhood then some of us. But you’ve taken that and said, hey you know that’s my experience, that’s not me. Tell me how that’s impacted your future? How did you decide what you wanted to do in a career?
LF: I honestly think that it comes from an influence of an adult that is willing to take a child by the hand and say this is possible. I don’t necessarily think it’s from your biological parents, it can be, I don’t want people to think that I’m not saying that your biological parents don’t do that for you. But I think if you don’t have that background or that experience with your biological parents that any adult can take a child by the hand and say you can do this, you are capable. It can be a teacher, a pastor, a youth pastor, a community volunteer, any adult that takes that time to take a child and say, you may not have the best of what you need right now, but if you really put your heart and soul into it, you can achieve great things, you just need that positive adult influence in your life.
JW: You know when you said a positive adult influence. We can be that to people that aren’t even related to us, right? That’s the whole purpose of us giving to a community. Let’s talk a little bit about that, so your husband and you give a tremendous amount of your time, but also your resources are shared in the community. Give me some idea how you decided to start philanthropy as a cause.
LF: I actually started philanthropy here in the McAlester community by accident. I am obviously not from here, but when I graduated from college I had a gentleman propose who became my husband, I said yes, and I moved to this community not knowing a single soul except my soon to be husband and his parents. And my mother-in-law actually introduced me to the idea of being part of a women’s philanthropy group locally called Beta Iota, and I was 24 years old, did not have any idea about what these women did, but I was new to the community, and thought well what do I have to lose. So I showed up to one of their chapter meetings and they have been in the community since 1973 and their soul mission is philanthropy and to help all aspects of the community. All people, children, adults, and help to support other organizations and once I saw that in action, I had to be a part of it. I was hooked.
JW: I gotta say, when she says she had to be a part of it folks let me say it like this, she is the actual cog in the wheel that keeps the thing rolling in my opinion. You know, I will say this, and our guest today has been such a powerful influence on our two daughters. Our older daughter, Alexandria, was of course fortunate to come through the competition system and to learn from our guest today, Lori, was a great mentor, a tutor, helped her with all aspects of speaking, interview process, how to appropriately, don’t laugh, how to walk correctly. Now those of us that have been walking since we’ve been walking since we were 10 or 11 months old thought we had it right, but apparently as a dad I did not realize I didn’t know how to walk. And Alexandria taught me that through your great tutoring. But to make a little bit of fun of that, I don’t think I could pull off that walk that you have, Lori, that you have to do on that stage.
LF: I’m not sure I know the walk, I just know the confidence side.
JW: Oh, I like that the c word has come out early this Monday morning. I love that. So Lori, let me ask you this, who are your mentors in life that keep you motivated and inspired, and go achieving new heights in life, and why are they your mentor?
LF: I think the greatest mentor I had, it’s interesting, a lot of my adult life, and even in my childhood life, I feel like I’ve had people inspire me and pour into me a lot of times by accident. And I don’t know any other way to really explain it, I had the chance meeting to meet probably my greatest mentor in 2006, I showed up for a job interview, not knowing anything about what was about to happen, and she took a chance on me, and gave me a job when I probably was not the most qualified person for the job. But she evidently saw something in me that I didn’t even see in myself and that was Judge Donnita Wynn. I had the pleasure and the opportunity to serve as her clerk, her judges clerk from 2006 until 2012 when she passed away, and in that time, she taught me how to be elegant and have grace, and have poise, and have confidence and really instilled in me that you are your community, and that every person is responsible to give back to the community. No matter if it’s financial or if it’s not financial, if you don’t have those means, through community service. And giving of your time is something that everybody can do, and she was just the epitome of selflessness. She taught me everything I needed to know about how to navigate this community. Who I needed to contact in certain situations, to work with people, to accomplish goals, and at that time I was a young mother who had no idea what I was getting myself into when I finally decided, well when we, it takes two obviously, when Justin and I finally decided to have a child, and she really helped me navigate those first couple of years, sleepless nights, teething, colic, crying, and was so kind and gracious to say, you’re going to get through this even though I didn’t think I was going to make it. So she is probably the greatest mentor I had, and I miss her everyday, and I try everyday to incorporate her memory and her legacy into my life, because it was so impactful. Everything that I learned from her, and I try to impart those on everybody that I come into contact with, cause it’s just so important.
JW: Got to tell ya, so I knew Donnita Wynn and her husband. A great guy, still one of my best friends, we play golf a lot together. Or I should say, I carry his clubs, and get his balls and things, and anyway, we were on the golf course together, let me say it that a way, and I will tell you, she didn’t just leave a legacy that affected your life, she touched hundreds, if not thousands of people, but she also touched a couple of young ladies, her two daughters. And they were involved in philanthropy from day one, I remember their older daughter Julia, was actually involved in, I believe, raising money for Red Cross. And you’re gonna laugh folks out there, a lemonade stand, now I know what you’re thinking, a little lemonade stand you sit on the side of the street. This young lady raised thousands of thousands of dollars with a lemonade stand.
LF: Absolutely, Thirst Aid for First Aid. I had the opportunity to work alongside Julia, and Donnita, and Alana, Alana actually, her younger daughter, carried on that tradition and did a golf tournament with carrying on the legacy of Thirst Aid for First Aid in her own right. I just think that no matter if it’s a lemonade stand, if it’s a golf tournament, if it’s selling cookies, or anything to help raise money and not necessarily raise money because I feel like sometimes people get discouraged when they’re not able to raise x amount of dollars, it’s not just that, it’s picking trash, it’s painting curbs, it’s you know, glorifying making the community better. Not glorifying, beautifying the community in any way that you can and it doesn’t take anything to pick up a paint brush.
JW: I agree. And I must stay with your glorifying, you know anyone can add to their community in a positive way, and this is one way that they perform their task of giving back to the community. You know what have you, our listeners, what is there in the area of your life that you believe you could help your local community, that’s what we’re trying to bring out today, is that fulfilling life is that life that doesn’t just focus on one’s self. You see the pouring out of one’s self allows the person to grow more cause now you have space to absorb more information and knowledge right? So let me ask you this, why is it important to you, just as you said Judge Wynn left a legacy, why is it important to you to leave a legacy?
LF: I think people remember, let me rephrase that, I think once we are gone from this life, we’re, you know, once we’re gone, people remember us for what we did, not necessarily what we gave in terms of money or the organizations that we’re a part of, but it’s that old saying that people will remember not what you said but how you made them feel. And if I can impart a positive experience on someone, or leave that with an organization, I think it’s probably the most impactful for me. To leave a legacy of commitment and compassion and just knowing that at the end of the day when I lay my head down on the pillow that I’ve done something positive to impact someone else.
JW: You know again, you go back to this point of your not doing this for Lori, and I love that fact that you’re doing this to help leave someone’s life better. Reminds me of a young lady you may recall, that was in India that sought out one of the most poor destitute communities in India, with a population of people that were not wanted, the dregs of society, if you will, not to be harsh. But the diseased and so forth and her name was Mother Theresa. She had no money, she had no means, matter of fact, didn’t even have a home. She lived on a cot in the actual church or her place of worship for example, and she touched millions of lives. Ya know, that’s legacy, right?
JW: So, if you could have any career, Lori, I’m going to shift gears a minute. If you could have any career in the world, what would it be and why?
LF: Oh, I love this question. Any career in the world, I would like to be a party planner, and I know that sounds kind of hokey, but I feel like being a party planner, I’m extremely organized, and I love having a schedule, and a calendar and details. But parties are just fun. And people bring their ideas and their creativity to someone who can organize all that for them. And so, I would absolutely enjoy being a party planner, because I would love to see other people happy and celebrating something and having a good time. So if I could pick a career I would definitely do large scale party planning.
JW: So party planner. So could I call you maybe, I don’t know, at my next birthday which is the double nickel by the way, that’s a biggie for us older guys. You know when you’re only 29 Lori, and you’ve said you’ve been involved since you were 24 with your sorority, you know I’ve gotta tell you I’ve got a lot more experience in years, but not probably in the actual activity, you know, so I may call you for that party.
LF: I would jump at the opportunity to plan your party.
JW: Let’s ask you this question, then. This is a hard one. Can you provide a story about someone you’ve seen flourish, that began life similar to you?
LF: Oh, absolutely, I think there are a lot of people that don’t, you don’t realize that came from a similar background, that I did. The one that comes to mind, most recently, is actually a young woman whos making a tremendous impact in the world. And that’s Simone Biles, fantastic Olympic gold medalist who started out, her and her siblings started out in the foster care system. Bounced around for a while before they were actually adopted by their grandparents, and what a tremendous selfless act to adopt your grandchildren. But she overcame so much adversity as a young child and now is actually giving back to people who were in the foster care system by providing college tuition assistance, and I think that is amazing. I think that is so impactful, especially for a young woman in this day and age, that is so courageous and selfless to say, I have had great success, I did not have the greatest start in life, but I was able to turn that adversity into something positive and something philanthropic to impact other people and not just herself.
JW: You know, that is a great story, and she actually scored a perfect 10, if you’ll recall on the floor, I believe during her time in the Olympics. I’ve got to tell you, those kinds of stories really motivate me, so I actually look, Lori for biographies and books and so forth for the people, not those that start out with 20 million dollars and built up a large fortune, but those that may have started with 20 dollars and did something great outside of just building money, you know. To me the money is such a small part of success, and I tell people it’s how you define success in your own terms is whether or not you reach it. But for me it’s not ever been money, I will tell you though, and our listeners know this from previous podcast episodes, is to me the resources allow you the freedoms to help others, and the freedoms to choose which you wish to take on in terms of tasks, and what you wish to do in your life. So that’s all I really say is that resources we may be fortunate to accumulate, while a short time on this planet, will allow us freedoms that we couldn’t otherwise have. So, let me ask you another question, that for your information is spot on for me today. I’m taking copious notes over here. But what would you say, for Lori Few, has been the most fulfilling moment of her life? What one thing would you say has really given you the most satisfaction in life?
LF: One? I don’t know that I have just one.
JW: Oh, well give me several.
LF: Obviously becoming a mother. I think that, and I know that probably sounds, you know, stereotypical, or a typical answer, but obviously becoming a mother is by far one of the most fulfilling experiences. I’m like 100% certain that I’m not doing it right, but we’re getting there, everyday is a new day, and everyday brings something new, and a new challenge, but probably aside from being a mother, I think the most fulfilling thing for me is watching the young women that I work with call me or text me or email me and say because of going through the program and competing for scholarships and being part of the Miss McAlester organization, I want you to know I got a college scholarship. Or I got a job offer, or I got accepted to an internship or an academy based on the knowledge and the skills that I gained. That to me is the most fulfilling, the work that I do, helping young women cultivate their potential, and helping them understand that every young woman is different and just because you’re different, that doesn’t mean that what you bring to the table isn’t valued and isn’t worthy of being in a playing field with other people. You’re just as prepared and just as capable, and so that to me is the most fulfilling and sometimes, like I said it comes in the form of an email, or a text, or a phone call. I had a young woman call me one time crying, I thought oh my goodness what has happened, oh my goodness something bad has happened. And she said, I can’t believe this, there were only 14 scholarships available and 500 people applied and I was given one of those scholarships and I know it was because of the work you helped me do. And to me that is absolutely the most gratifying, the most fulfilling and makes it all worth it.
JW: We call that ROI, now most people think that means return on investment Lori, but in this podcast that means, return on inspiration. In other words we see more people that come back after you’ve planted that seed, it may be years, right?
JW: And they come back to you, and they go, I can take back to one point in time where you impacted my life so deeply that this was the end result, or that I’m still achieving that success in a certain form.
JW: And so at the end of the day, you know, we don’t know who we inspire. We don’t know how deep that inspiration is actually planted. But you know it’s just like growing crops, you gotta let the seed get in the ground, you gotta water it. Nourish it and so forth. Sometimes it may take years. But I do believe that anyone that inspires someone to do better in their own life is not sowing a seed that falls on the rocks, as the good book says. So that is wonderful. So you know, I’m glad you said there are many fulfilling stories. Now I gotta ask you a question. Were you a dinosaur lover when you were a young girl?
LF: No, absolutely not. I was the barbie girl. I will tell you that I buried my youngest brothers matchbox cars in the yard because I despised everything that had to do with boys, and so I think it was the good lords way of saying hahaha, by giving me a son. So absolutely not, I knew nothing about dinosaurs, but I can tell you I can jam with some dinosaurs.
JW: Well, those of our listeners that are friends of you and I will tell you the reason I ask that question was obvious. Her young son, which is turning 10, by the way. Her young son, double digits now. How’s that make you feel?
LF: Oh, it makes me sad. It makes me so sad.
JW: Let me say this Lori, this is only the sloping of the aging curve getting steeper. It just goes faster from here on. So just don’t blink, that’s all I’m saying, don’t blink. But her young son is a dinosaur I’m going to use the term expert, but I’m gonna even go further with the f word, he may be fanatical. This young man wears t-shirts, socks, shorts, puts a blow up dinosaur in the yard. If there’s a dinosaur show within a 4 hour drive, he’s gonna ask mom or dad to take him. It’s incredible. I love your son, he’s an incredible kid.
LF: He is a fanatic. That is a word to describe him, and what started out as one plastic dinosaur from Wal-Mart when he was three years old, just to get him to calm down in the cart. You know how you do, you walk through Wal-Mart and you’d do anything you can to appease them so you can finish your shopping, has really turned into a love affair. He absolutely, he tells people that he wants to be a Paleontologist when he grows up, I think we might have to get second jobs to afford college, wherever that may be. Then I’ve already been told that wherever he goes to college, I’m not allowed to come.
JW: Boy, you know you’re gonna hear that a lot folks from your kids when they go off to college, mines already told me when just send money don’t worry about being there in person, if I need you I’ll call. Now that’s not true, I’m just kidding. But you know one way to get your child’s love, I think, is to show support for the areas they have interests.
LF: Absolutely yes, for sure.
JW: And you know I can’t say I was ever a dinosaur person, but boy I had an interest, don’t laugh, I really wanted to be Evel Knievel when I was a kid. Now those of you that don’t know how that is, Google it or whatever, but Evel Knievel, was the hero, real man hero, not a comic book character, but a real man hero of the day and the reason we described him as a hero, he did things that was so outlandish, out of this world that you would have thought that this guy has lost his brain, he is out, out of his mind. But he would take motorcycles and jump buses over fountains, he would jump in Las Vegas, on fire, he’s have some of em on fire, he’d have cars, he would do these crazy things, he even tried to jump the Snake River Canyon of Idaho in a rocket. You know to me, I’m like, this guy is like indestructible, right? And you sit back and look now and I go, you know, I had a crazy childhood, I ramped motorcycles, I had wreaks, I ended up in hospital emergency rooms, my mother going, why son, why? And I could utter two words as I was being given pain medicine. Evel Knievel.
LF: And I’m the exact opposite, and you know this about me. I don’t do risk. I don’t do risk personally, financially. I try and not to do it emotionally which doesn’t always happen, but I look at Evel Knievel and people, well even Vine videos now, the three second videos that the kids are watching and I think, Oh! I just cringe. I cringe. And I worry for them, because I because that’s what I think, broken bones, emergency room visits. Stitches. Oh, no.
JW: Well for my listeners that know me, they obviously know now that I measure risk and manage it. I don’t go ramping motorcycles off of, over ditches or over my sisters car or anything anymore, but anyway. It was a fun time as childhood.
LF: No doubt I’m sure.
JW: And I did prove one thing, that health insurance is a good thing to have when you have children. I did prove that, I remember. Oh my gosh, you’re such a busy professional. And your husband, Justin, very busy person. You guys have so much going on, but you never lack perspective, so tell me how do you manage your energy and how do you manage your time. What are your rituals or routines you use?
LF: One word. Coffee.
JW: Coffee. Ok, can you elaborate a little bit?
LF: My husband says all the time that I, he should probably own part of Harbor Mountain Coffee House, selfless plug. I also, I love all coffee. I love Spaceship Earth coffee, I love Harbor Mountain coffee, I love coffee in general. Double shot everyday. That is probably the thing that keeps me going in the morning, but Google calendar is another amazing form of technology that I probably could not live without. I’m kind of old school, I started out with a pencil, paper calendar, but then, you know, had to get with the times, so we have a saying at our house, that if there’s not a dot, it’s not happening.
JW: Not a dot, referring to on the calendar, there’s a dot on Google calendar.
JW: Something is going to happen.
LF: Right and multiple days and multiple dots, it just, we laugh we don’t get a whole lot of sleep, but between the two of us, we keep a very busy schedule, but we absolutely love it. I, if we’re not going and doing and being somewhere or participating, I don’t idle, I can’t be idle. It’s just not in my nature, and unfortunately I think my son is going to be that way. I feel sorry for his teachers, he tends to try to micromanage the classroom a little bit, I think. I think they’re very gracious, God bless teachers, they’re very special people. Especially to put up with, you know, kids like mine who are very animated and maybe a little dramatic. Maybe. But I definitely Google calendar, lots of coffee, lots of prayer, and sometimes we miss things, but it’s ok. You know we forgive ourselves. But we try to keep a good rein on the schedule.
JW: You know the key thing you said to it, I want our listeners to take away with, you know we miss things, and you gotta understand too that it is hard in this day and age when both spouses are working careers or active and challenging. Family then comes along, and what it boils down to when you say, ah Lori, is we don’t miss the priority things.
LF: Correct. We don’t miss the priority things, we may forget a birthday party, but we always send a gift, or we forget a family get together or dinner. Or halfway through we realize, Oh! We should have, we missed it, but you know we just try to forgive ourselves and we always tell all of our family and friends, you know we love you and if we accidentally forget something we’re sorry.
JW: You know, and that’s a great point too, we have a difficult time as well trying to do all the things we want to do. So we have to prioritize some of those things to the highest priority, first of all we dedicate at the time whatever is needed, for our daughters for example, and then next after that we take care of Dena and me for example, you know I think sometimes you have to be careful in life that we don’t order ourselves out so much that we don’t take time then to refill. So it’s kind of like your tank on your car.
LF: Absolutely, and I think, part of that, you know, the funny term that people use now is self care. You have to do self care. I don’t think growing up my parents knew what self care was. I think that they just absolutely 100% family, church, work, kids, I do think it’s important to have. We try to implement date night. It’s hard and it may just be, you know, a movie, or it may just be driving around having a snow cone. But we try to do that. But people who are involved in the community, it’s interesting because it’s a family in itself. You see the same people that are involved in philanthropic work, community work, clubs and organizations, and those people really kind of become your family. You get to know people, I always tell people who live in McAlester, they’re new to the community. It doesn’t really matter what activity you’re involved in you’re going to start seeing and networking with the same people, and those people become your family, and those people pour into you and your family and its reciprocal. And I think that’s the great thing that people don’t necessarily realize about McAlester, yes we’re a big town, but we all have the same goal at heart. And that’s to invest in the community and make the community better. And I love that, I love being part of organizations that cross over into other groups, and you might not know someone personally, but you recognize or you remember them and you remember the great work that they’re doing and you cheerlead for each other. That’s cheerleading, you know, helping for lack of a better word, but if we’re all doing it together in different facets, I think that makes, it extends your family. You really do, you become a family and a community of families.
JW: What I think too, that one of the most important words you said was self care. And I’ve talked a lot about how important it is to be balanced in life, Lori, so have you ever met one of those individuals that was just so Steve Jobs like that neglected maybe other areas of life that are important but sought after this one area that was their ideal area they loved the work, perform and put their energy?
LF: Oh my goodness, well the first person that comes to my mind that’s like that is my husband.
JW: Now wait a minute, before we talk about Justin, I want you to know Justin, this was not asked or scripted.
LF: He is very, he puts his blinders on. When he’s really motivated to a certain area or a certain task and he will dedicate 110% to fulfilling that first. And he’s a very much of a checklist, post it note kind of guy.
JW: We have a lot in common. Go ahead.
LF: I love that about him, and I think that’s one of the most endearing qualities about him is that he will absolutely put down what he’s doing to focus on something that’s very important at the time. And he will make sure that he checks all the boxes from A to Z, to get that done before he moves on to something else, because whatever it is that has his focus at that time, you know, he’s very dedicated to that. I on the other hand, am the squirrel. I will chase nuts everywhere, all over, and like a, I say squirrel, or maybe like a ping pong ball, follow the bouncing ball. I’m everywhere and trying to do multiple things at once, and sometimes I’m great at multitasking, and sometimes I’m not. You know, like I said earlier, we dropped the ball, or we forget things, but I do love that endearing quality about him, because not that he will neglect other things to meet a task or a project, but he just has the ability to be laser focused in an area on something first to, you know, complete it.
JW: So I’m gonna say something here on the air, of which I didn’t intend on saying, Lori, that I hope doesn’t offend Justin or you, but our marriages are very very similar by the parties that are involved. My poor wife has got 18 things to do today, and I’ll be honest with you I put my top three, you’ve heard me talk in earlier episodes, I do my primary three things, if those get done, I’ve got a win for the day. Now I may have those other 10 or 12 minor areas after that, but until those three are done, I don’t touch anything else. My wife will say, ok I’ve got 18 things, what’s closest. Let’s just get one of them checked off. Now that could be item number C-4 and not A-1, so to speak for priority, and I’m a lot like Justin, so I like checklists. I do one every day and everybody goes, you know what, you’re a robot, but that’s how we entrepreneurs get things done and do the highest priority that generates the most value for our clients. I love that aspect about me.
LF: We’ll ask Dena how she feels about that later.
JW: Yeah that’s not gonna be broadcast either, is that you may not want to know what she says, after 32 years of marriage, this fall by the way.
LF: 32 years, that’s fantastic, we’re just at 15 and I thought 15 was great. But 32, wow, congratulations.
JW: So our date nights now don’t extend as late as till probably 830 or 9, then we go to bed. That’s a joke. So carrying just a few more questions, and you’ve been so helpful today for our listeners, I’m telling you they’re going to get a lot of impact from this. But what does the next phase of your career look like? If I could talk to Lori 10 years from now, what would have happened for her to say it’s been successful?
LF: Obviously, I love my day job. I call it my day job. I love my day job working with McAlester Public Schools. I have a very soft spot for education, I’m obviously, my foster parents were both educators, that’s how I got to be their daughter, their bonus child. They witnessed me go through a very difficult time as a 15 year old who was basically in a system that wasn’t going to serve me well, and they really stepped out and took a chance on me. So I love my day job of working with administrators and students, and families, and I probably will do that until I, I would love to say that I’m gonna be able to do that until I retire. I may never retire. But if I ever get the chance.
JW: You know, Lori, you’ve known me for a long time, and we don’t use that r word in that fashion. We call it refire. We’re not going to allow her to quit anything, she just changes direction and tries her energy in another area.
LF: I like that word.
JW: She’s never gonna retire folks, I’ve know her. Matter of fact she wakes up, she puts on roller skates, that’s how fast she moves during the day. Oh gosh.
JW: Oh I’m sorry, I’m old school.
LF: Rollerblades now.
JW: Yes. Well, you know I, it’s come to the point though, I want to ask a couple of really hard questions, she’s saying those weren’t hard before. I’ve got a couple of questions I think are really going to challenge that’s gonna help our listeners understand how you’ve taken where you’ve started, maybe of less means then some and really advanced your life toward fulfilling. Not necessarily defined by money or wealth, but fulfilling in the fact that you’re giving back. And I think that is so critical to anyone’s life of being mature and giving back their community. But if you could leave our listeners with just one statement of advice about influence, leadership, or philanthropy, well, what would that one word, or one sentence, or one phrase of advice be?
LF: I’ve always lived by the phrase ‘grow through what you go through’. I think that pretty much sums up my entire life to this point. Every opportunity that you experience is an opportunity to grow, whether it’s positive or negative. You have the ability to change your mindset. It could be an absolutely amazing opportunity that you grow through and you have growth, and you have success, and then there obviously, I mean life is full of failure too, but it’s all about how you interpret that failure. You can not let it define you, you have to find some piece or some nugget of positivity in that, something that you’ve learned, something that because of a failure you know that you will never try or do again. That really to me is the phrase that I live by, of course my mother will tell you ‘that the only thing that’s sat it’s way to success was a hen’. Obviously.
JW: I like that.
LF: That’s one of my favorites. But for me, personally, ‘grow through what you go through’ is the most important piece of advice or statement that I motivate myself with everyday. You look back and you say, oh that was a complete failure, and it may have been, but even when we fail by sharing that experience with someone else we may keep someone else from making that same mistake or we may show someone a different way to accomplish something or get through a situation, just by experiencing that.
JW: That is fantastic advice. I’ve often used the phrase, ‘let go and grow’. And too often, you know, I actually in one of our second episodes of this podcast, I encourage you to go back and listen if you haven’t folks, it talks about that same thing. Too many people have hung on to the trappings of failure on one instance, influence their entire life, and that’s just so sad for me, because they had such potential that they couldn’t realize because they couldn’t let go of that one time that things just didn’t go right. Folks I’ve gotta tell ya, in our office, in our team, they’ll laugh if you go ask them. Does Jimmy ever fail? Ask that question. I promise you you’ll need a long notepad and two or three sharp pencils, cause they’ll say, all the time. Let me explain the last ten. And what it is is I have the great ability, though this is, I’m not bragging, but I do have an ability that once I fail on something, I really just kind of pivot. I don’t set there and just sit in the mud and just dig and dig and dig. So it’s kind of like being stuck, like we say in OKlahoma, and we just keep revving up the engine and we’re digging a deeper hole. I kinda go, ok, that didn’t work, what’s the next door look like, and I pivot and I go another direction. Now I may not totally let go of that dream. I may not totally let go of that ideal, but it may come in a different form. Does that make sense?
LF: And I think that comes in the form of community as well. You can apply that to the community. The McAlester community has such great potential. And we have so many amazing people in this community that are willing to share those ideas and it’s an absolute pivot if one thing doesn’t work, we’re not gonna give up, we’re not gonna be down in the dumps about it. We’re gonna pivot and find a way, or an avenue, or another partnership or another door of opportunity to accomplish whatever goal it is that we’re trying to do. Whether it be quality of life for citizens, whether it’s bringing industry and business, whether it’s cultivating you know our downtown community, which is so vital to our history, we as a community are just full of people that are willing to say, just like that, ‘let go and grow’. I mean, it’s just a perfect mindset, and we need more people in our daily lives, we have to surround our people, surround ourselves with people that have that mindset. And I know that there are Negative Nancys and Debbie Downers out there, but if we find someway to even influence them or find an idea, a common ground a conversation starter, it would be advantageous to all of us to really work in that direction. And focus our energies that way.
JW: I totally agree, and you know, recently we’ve shared with you. We had a vacation for our family, we took our whole family out to Oahu, Hawaii, and we toured Pearl Harbor. I’m a big fan as most of you know on the podcast of history, especially the era from 1939 to roughly say 1946-47. Coming to that time that we had the WWII era. And I was out there standing on the deck of the USS Missouri, which was actually bombed that day. Floated down the bottom, sank, and then they rebuilt her, put her into action. But what you just spoke about, as if we see a failure and we just get ourselves mired in the failure and we let it overcome us, instead of looking for that one glimmer, sometimes that little faint light looks like a candle in the distance of hope. Or positivity is the term you used. You know, I looked at there, across that bay and I’m setting there in Pearl Harbor looking and I go, what if we had taken that one time, one day defeat and said, oh my goodness, we can not overcome this. But instead what’d we do. These brave men and women got up the next day, literally that same day I guess, got up and started repairing the ships, getting the things in order that need to be taken care of the sick, so you don’t sit down and wallow, is a bad term to say, but that’s what I’m gonna say. In that failure, but you as you say pivot that, find something positive and move forward.
LF: I couldn’t agree more. I just it’s the mindset. And there’s so, I feel like there’s so much negativity in the world. But you have, but you don’t have to participate in it, and you don’t necessarily have to look. I love social media. I’m addicted to my phone just like everyone else, can’t go anywhere without it, if I lose it, I’m in a panic. But sometimes you have to shut it off. And you don’t have to look and you don’t have to participate, and I feel like, yes there are some negative things in life. There are negative things in your personal life and your professional life and your community. And in the United States, but if you’re willing to just say you know I’m not gonna go down that road today. I’m gonna find something positive and I’m gonna, you know, channel my energy into something counter to that.
JW: I think that is excellent advice. Lori, you have been an excellent guest and we thank you so much for coming and joining us today. Is there any last words of wisdom you’d like to leave our listeners with?
LF: I want to know if there are pictures of Jimmy in a hula skirt.
JW: That will not be published unless it’s somewhere from Hawaii. We banned all the phones and everything during that instance, and I’m saying it may or may not have occurred. While on the island. But let’s just say that the Williams family participates in the culture of whichever country we visit or state.
LF: As they should.
JW: Absolutely. Thank you so much for joining us today, Lori, you have been a wonderful wonderful guest as I’ve said. And folks one thing I want you to take away from all this, is this is one empowered young woman that is out there making a difference in our world, but she didn’t start from the top. You know not many of us are fortunate to start from the top, and I did do some reading on a very powerful gentleman, the one time world’s richest man. And he developed Microsoft. But Mr. Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda, have three beautiful children, now grown children, and it was wonderful what they said to their children, if the account is correct. They simply said to them, you know you’ve been raised in this certain level of expectation from our family based on our lifestyle. And we’re going to help you by donating the bulk of our wealth to a foundation they developed called the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Now that’s not a plug, they don’t pay for anything, I don’t have sponsors for this podcast, I’m just saying that’s what they wanted to do with their wealth. Because they understand that wealth is temporary, legacy is the difference. So they’re leaving a legacy for future generations with their wealth. But they gave each of their three children a small amount of wealth. Now, this is going to seem like a lot of money to most of us, but to their children, when you’re worth billions with a b, they’re only getting 10 million dollars apiece. How do you think that’s going to impact their life, Lori.
LF: I hope they choose to do something amazing with it. I can’t even imagine that kind of money.
JW: I gotta say this when I read that, and I thought oh no, these poor kids.
Folks, thank you so much for joining us today. I do want to leave you though, with one important challenge this week. Every week I try to pick some area that I think will help you grow as a person, and this week is no different. So this week, would you do me the honor of identifying an area of your life that you want to see improvement. Scroll down a little here and you’ll see an area that says ‘let us hear from you’. I’d love for you to list that area that you wish to seek improvement in for your life in there. Give me your information and we’re going to answer one of those anonymously, you will not be named. We’re gonna answer some of those questions you have about how to seek that improvement and give you some tangible advice and tools to move forward in life. Also, if you’re a subscriber to our podcast, all subscribers will be offered an opportunity to join our VIP Facebook page. This is gonna be launching August the first of this year, and this page will provide resources, tips, and other powerful tools to help you gain the growth in life that you desire. Don’t miss out on these wonderful complementary opportunities to grow, and get information.
So with that said, if you like the show, please tell your family and friends about it. Also, we would be very appreciative if you would leave a review of the show wherever you listen to podcasts.