Amanda Doyle Stops Keeping Score And Stays In The Moment

It’s the start of a new series, For The Love of Wonderful You! Spring is arriving and as the winter slumber fades away, many of us are likely plunging into a frantic pace of commitments and To Do lists. But we want to take a minute (or approximately 45-mins to an hour) to create a moment where we can punch the brakes a little. Let’s tell that inner taskmaster to relax; and instead, reflect on finding value in who we are in this moment, and how worthy we are just as we are

Jen’s amazing conversation partner today is Amanda Doyle. Amanda is many amazing things but you may know her first and foremost as “Sister” on the We Can Do Hard Things Podcast with Glennon Doyle and Abby Wambach. She’s also part of the leadership team at Together Rising, the amazing non-profit that has raised over $50 million dollars and given it away to people all over the world who need it most. Amanda has been a longtime social justice advocate and she uses that knowledge to break down deep truths and complex social issues in all her conversations. Today, she reminds us that spending the energy to stay vulnerable in our relationships will always pay out.

 In this episode Jen and Amanda talk about:

  • The struggle to be vulnerable and truly open up versus managing perceptions and staying in control in relationships
  • How Amanda chose sobriety and the surprising clarity that emerged in her marriage, especially during the pandemic
  • Jen’s journey to understanding herself and her avoidant tendencies in the aftermath of her divorce
  • The profound impact of the “love letter” exercise guided by Liz Gilbert, where “Love’s voice” urged Amanda to stop keeping score in life 

Sparking Change In America: Joy Reid Calls Out Injustice Everywhere

We’re wrapping up our series featuring Black Trailblazers, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to have another guest who has broken barriers and basically created their own space as part of the national conversation, becoming the first black woman to anchor a cable primetime show. You may know her from her seat as a political analyst on MSNBC, or as the host of her own show, The ReidOut.  It’s the amazing Joy Reid, everyone! Joy is a Harvard grad with a degree in visual and environmental studies and a concentration in documentary film. She also worked on the Florida branch of the Obama campaign. Her political writing prowess has landed her columns and articles everywhere; The New York Times, The New Republic, The Guardian, The Daily Beast, and The New Yorker, to name a few. PLUS she has a new book coming out that she gives us a special peek into; it’s the important and moving story of slain Civil rights pioneer Medgar Evers and his wife Myrlie, also an activist. It’s not every day we get to talk to someone who brings the goods about so many profound topics—civil rights, the fight for reproductive rights, immigration issues, the sacrifice for equality—and she and Jen shy away from none of them here. Joy’s passion for calling out injustice and her unwavering belief that we all hold the keys to preserving our rights and our freedoms gives us a reason to believe that we all can be trailblazers toward sparking change in our world.

 

From Small Town To Big Influence: Jerrie Merritt’s Legacy of Giving Back

In this week’s episode in our Black Trailblazer’s series, Jen may have leveraged her connections, and we couldn’t be more thrilled that she did. We’re excited to have a wonderful sit down with the amazing Jerrie Merritt (who just happens to be Jen’s boyfriend Tyler’s mother–and a Black trailblazer in every sense of the word). In addition to being Tyler’s mom, Jerrie’s currently the Senior VP of Community Development at the Bank of Nevada in Las Vegas. Her banking career spans 40 plus years, where her job now is discerning funding for community development projects in the city of Las Vegas (as she puts it; “I’m the only person at the bank who’s actually giving money away!”). She’s been the board president of the Rape Crisis Center, The Urban Financial Services Coalition, and the Chamber of Commerce in Las Vegas. She even recently got to work with the NFL when the Super Bowl took place in Las Vegas to lead the dispersion of funds they made available to 14 worthy organizations, which she chose. In 2021, Jerrie received an actual Trailblazer Award, presented by the National Coalition of 100 Black Women from the Las Vegas Chapter. Jerrie takes us back to where it all began; in a tiny town called Eutaw, Alabama, where Jerrie didn’t see much modeled to her in the way of dreaming of who she could be, but through generosity of spirit and a willingness to take a chance, she started blazing her trail. It wasn’t without its challenges, coming up during a time where women–especially black women–were often shunned in business and leadership settings. Despite this, Jerrie paved a way, and in turn is paving a way for those coming up behind her. Her infectious courage, intertwined with a humility that hits you right in the feels—will incite a fire with all of us to leave our own indelible mark on this wild, beautiful world.

Two Friends Compare Notes On Therapy: Jen and Kelly

We’re bringing a close to our series on therapy, and we couldn’t be happier to have Kelly Corrigan with us to have a candid conversation with Jen around their thoughts on therapy, including when it first entered their awareness, and now, in a more enlightened age, how the next generation has more access to therapeutic help. Even as recently as 20-30 years ago, therapy was not talked about a lot in public. For Jen and Kelly, they didn’t see it modeled from their parents, it wasn’t mentioned in their church circles, and only earth shattering situations seemed to require it. But as they look back, they realized there were people in their lives who were likely touched by a host of mental health issues–like panic attacks, depression, anxiety–and they usually suffered in silence while others wondered why they were so “moody” or “different.” Now that therapy is enjoying its day in the zeitgeist, we can all benefit from the openness around mental health that is evolving daily. Kelly’s a dear friend of Jen’s and has been on our show numerous times–winning the coveted title of most appearances on our pod! Besides offering wonderful conversation and amazing insight here, Kelly is the host of her own podcast, Kelly Corrigan Wonders, and is the author of several amazing books including Tell Me More, Glitter and Glue, and The Middle Place. She also hosts a show called “Tell Me More” for NPR, and she and Jen discuss the value of the statement “tell me more” when relating to others about our deepest thoughts and feelings.

 

Sheltered Kids Who Grew Up To Be Funny: Trey + Katie Kennedy and Jake Triplett

We’re back with more funny, and this week doesn’t disappoint. For those of you who grew up in the Bible Belt and maybe went to a conservative church (or even if you didn’t), perhaps you were a bit sheltered like our guests this week. Before racking up over 12 million combined followers on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook and elsewhere, and hosting the hit podcast Correct Opinions, comedian Trey Kennedy came to fame on the short-form videosharing app Vine. His hilarious and pointed videos ranged from imitating a church youth pastor who is cornily trying to be cool and up on pop culture, to an overly sunny Dad who tries to drag his teenage son out of bed to go to church. Now, Trey has teamed up with his friend Jake Triplett, who he met at a Christian camp, and the two co host the podcast, along with Trey’s wife Katie (who keeps the pair on track and from going down too many rabbit holes). In this episode, the trio and Jen share the commonalities of their Baptist church upbringings, their naivete about dating customs (hearing Jake’s assessment of what he thought french kissing was will make you howl), and how Trey’s Bible wielding grandmother had a serious talk with him about rumors of him being gay (He’s not. Not that there’s anything wrong with that). They’ve managed to turn being ‘sheltered’ into comedy gold, and they’ve been taking their brand of comedy all around the country with their recent “Grow Up” tour and their clean comedy is resonating everywhere. Their funny spin on their past doesn’t just give us a good laugh; it also makes anyone who had a similar childhood feel like part of a big, quirky family.

 

Redefining Community & Friendships When Faced With The Unexpected ft. Emma Nadler

As we close in on the end of our Community and Friendships series, we’re reflecting on the great conversations we’ve had toward building relationships in our lives. And this week’s convo puts the cherry on top as we discuss our friends as “chosen family” and the shape that our friendship and communities take when we are in a place where we need extra support. Our guest this week, Emma Nadler, is a therapist, author and speaker who is doing valuable work in helping people build deeper relationships. Emma knows firsthand what it means to rely on her circle in ways she never thought she would, when her daughter was diagnosed with a DNA disorder, shifting the life she knew, and navigating the special care, multiple hospital stays, and more than full-time parenting her daughter needs. By leaning on her community and being brave enough to ask for help (when sometimes the tendency is to act like we’ve got it all under control). Emma’s goal is to show us how we can look beyond preconceived notions about what it means to be valued and to belong, and leads us toward building a world where thriving in community is possible for every single person. 

Emma and Jen touch on: 

  • What it looks like when our “family” looks different than expected in the context of friendships and our communities
  • How to understand and learn to tolerate our emotions when it comes to interacting with friends and community and how to find meaning in everything—good and bad
  • Practical steps on fostering really authentic connections, asking for help, and creating inclusive spaces
  • The power of being direct when reaching out to connect with new people, or friends you’ve drifted from, to foster a deeper relationship 

There’s so much value in learning how to meaningfully connect with others and create communities and friendships that celebrate our joyful times and anchor us at difficult times.

 

The Hardest Part of Friendship; When It’s Time To Say Goodbye ft. Erin Falconer

We’re back with our “For the Love of Community and Friendship Series, and this week, we delve into an area of friendship that all of us may face, but inevitably dread. It’s that moment when you know a friendship has run its course, or perhaps has become toxic, or you’ve just drifted apart–and you don’t know how to go forward. When life changes, when we change, and a friendship no longer serves us, how do we gracefully (and honestly) communicate about it? Our guest this week, who is here to walk us through this touchy topic, is writer, former standup comedian and political consultant Erin Falconer. Erin’s written a book called How to Break Up With Your Friends: Finding Meaning, Connection and Boundaries in Modern Friendships. Lest you think this is just a conversation on how to wipe your friend slate clean, stick around–you’ll hear Jen and Erin talk about how to create and maintain the healthiest friendships through all the seasons of our lives in order to avoid the painful friend breakup. 

They also discuss:

  • Erin’s “Six Pillars of Friendship” that help us take stock of who is in our life and how we’re serving each other
  • What to do when we see a friendship has run its course or needs to shift or change in some way
  • How to keep the source of joy going in our adult friendships, and minimize the pain

It’s tough to grapple with the complexities of friendship breakups, but it all starts with building healthy relationships from the start. 

 

Shannan Martin on Friendship: “It Starts with Hello”

When was the last time you reached out to one of your neighbors? Not just the people you feel comfortable with, but the ones who live near that you might not know beyond a “How are you?” in passing. As we continue our Community and Friendship series, we’re taking a look at why it enriches our lives (and the lives of our neighbors) to invest in the people around us. It doesn’t have to mean they all become our best friends, but a little curiosity, a little paying attention, and a little effort to listen will go a long way in developing the kinds of relationships that make life sweeter. To help guide this conversation, we’re delighted to welcome author and speaker Shannan Martin back to the show!  Through her writing, Shannan has revolutionized the way we think about relationships with her refreshing perspectives. She articulates the need for genuine, deep-seated friendships that stretch beyond conventional norms. She also unravels the complexities of forging meaningful connections in our modern world, and her last book “Start with Hello” beckons us toward extending hospitality in ways that might feel awkward at first, but will net us that sense of community and belonging we all long for. 

Shannan and Jen discuss: 

  • How Shannan, a self proclaimed introvert, faced her loneliness after she and her family moved from the country to the city by getting outside her comfort zone and making herself available to meet her neighbors
  • What it means to be deeply embedded in a neighborhood where you are both a good neighbor, and your neighbors are good neighbors to you
  • How making new friends, no matter how big or small, always starts with a simple “hello”  and the small steps towards getting to know someone by making eye contact, paying attention and helping when we can

Shannan and Jen agree that when we reach out beyond our fears, beyond our comfort level, and beyond our borders with radical hospitality, good things start to happen in our neighborhoods which then trickle out to our communities and begin to affect society as a whole. And, be sure to stay with us ‘til the very end–you won’t want to miss a little bonus chat among friends about whether ice cream is healthy for you or not, and what flavors Jen and Shannan swear by.

What Is Your Friendship Attachment Style? Ft. Dr. Marisa Franco

Hey friends, we are back with another episode in our For the Love of Community & Friendships, and we happen to have a true friend of the show returning to lay down some expertise about what it means to make and keep friends. We’re delighted to have Dr. Marisa Franco, (who also partnered with Jen to create a MeCourse on Friendship) who delves into the fascinating world of friendship attachment styles. Dr. Franco shares her extensive knowledge and insights on how our attachment styles, often formed during our early years, can significantly influence the type of friendships we form as adults. She discusses the three main types of attachment styles—secure, avoidant, and anxious—and explains how understanding our own style can help us navigate our friendships more effectively. Jen and Marisa touch on:

  • How the three main types of attachment styles can change over time as we typically become more secure as we mature
  • How, when we’re younger, we tend to have more friends (and friends who are very similar to us) as we look to expand our identity, and when we become more solid in our identity, we’re more open to be friends with people who are different from us
  • Why friendship doesn’t just typically “happen,”–it takes effort, and some ways you can put yourself out there to make new friends, and how to do the work to keep the friends you already have
  • How to approach conflict in friendship where we kindly share our needs with a spirit of reconciliation over an attitude of defensiveness 

The Friendships That Save Us: Maggie Smith

Genuine heart friendships have an incredible impact on our lives, including our health. Many recent studies tout the connection between health and the quality of your relationships, and that loneliness (not to be confused with being alone) can have a negative effect on our health–possibly even bigger than smoking or drinking or poor eating. So is it possible that our friends can actually help save us? Our guest today thinks so; writer and poet extraordinaire Maggie Smith recently went through a divorce and she credits her close knit friend group for being “her parachute” in that process (much like Jen’s friends have been for her as well). 

Jen and Maggie discuss these topics around friendship: 

  • The way friends can invest in you in a way that family isn’t able to when you’re going through disruptive life moments
  • The friends that intuitively know what you need during a rough patch and show up proactively with solutions so you don’t feel so lost
  • How we can nurture those “life saving” friendships by being a good friend ourselves

Thank God for the friends who remind us of who we are–of our core goodness and worth– when a disruptive time shakes up our identity. They help bring us back to ourselves.