Are you a driven, type-A leader who has trouble slowing down and receiving grace? Have you ever struggled to embrace your gifts and the way God designed you? Do you ever wonder if you are in the right role or position in your life?
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In this episode, I chat with Jill McCormick, a writer and speaker who has experience leading in a variety of settings, from a baseball club to children’s ministry. Jill shares about her leadership journey and some of the experiences that have shaped her leadership, including having children and a struggle with body image, and how learning to receive grace has been key for her.
Jill and I also chat about understanding your wiring, embracing your gifts, and the power of speaking truth over yourself and others. We also dive into how to lead as a woman in male-dominated environments, passions, and habits and routines.
Jill’s Leadership Journey:
Jill identified herself as a leader in college. She then got a position with the Houston Astros and was put in charge of a department at age 22. During that time, she learned that a lot of leadership is experimenting and trying and failing, and learning from those experiences.“A lot of leadership is experimenting, trying, and failing, and learning from those experiences.” - Jill McCormick Click To Tweet
Jill’s leadership path has also included working in trucking, healthcare, and children’s ministry. Working in children’s ministry was a shift because she was leading volunteers as opposed to paid staff.
Jill shared her tips for keeping volunteers motivated who are freely giving of their time:
- A lot of free food
- A lot of love
Jill is now a writer and speaker. She started her blog to help women who tend to be “try-hard” girls (Type A, driven, success-oriented) receive and experience grace in their lives.
Experiences that have affected Jill’s leadership journey:
• Motherhood. Becoming a mom helped Jill to recognize that work is not everything. It helped her to realize that the people around her also have lives outside of work, and it helped her to learn compassion and empathy. Having her daughters helped her to put life in perspective.
• Battling with body image. After her 2nd daughter, Jill went through a real battle with body image and decided to go to a counselor to help her through it. This process helped her to receive grace and know that she is not in charge of outcomes.
Something that was huge for Jill’s leadership was receiving grace. She shares a lesson she had to learn:
I am still God’s beloved, and I can rest in the truth that He is in charge of outcomes. I’ll put in the work, but he’s in charge of the outcomes, and I am loved no matter what.
We talk about the struggle of motherhood for some of us, especially if we are accomplishment oriented. Motherhood is so messy, and it’s very different from the workplace where it’s easier to see our success. But when you are weak, then you can rely on God and his strength to get you through.
Jill’s definition of leadership: “Leadership is bringing together a motley crew of people with various personalities toward a common goal.”
It also involves understanding who the people are on your team and using the gifts and talents and resources God has given you to lead that team well.
Jill’s Favorite Tool for her Leadership journey:
Jill’s favorite tool for discovering who she is: the Enneagram – ancient personality typing system.
Helps you understand not only what you do but also the motivation behind those behaviors.
Breaks down people into one of 9 types. Jill is an Enneagram 3 – the achiever. Wired to get things done.
We discuss both Jill’s type and my own type and how they can look similar from the outside, but the motivations are very different.
Book resource: The Road Back to You (affiliate link*)
It’s not about one personality type being better than another.
Jill believes that we need to understand how we are wired so that we can go out and shine our light into the world in the way that only we can.
He has placed you where he has placed you with the personality he’s given you to do what only you can do for such a time as this.
“When we fully embrace what God has given us, man, that light can shine so bright. And people are desperate to have Christ’s light shine in their life.”
We also discuss what Jill finds frustrating about her personality as well. Jill shares her struggles with listening to the wrong voices that condemn her, which is not from God.
Jill asks herself the question “Who told you that?” when she starts to believe certain stories in her head. She seeks to determine what is the lie and what is the truth.
Jill shares the importance of the habit of focusing on the truth. This means listening to what God says about us. This is a habit – it’s not something that you’re going to have figured out right away.
What Jill would tell her younger self or a young leader:
• Get out of your own head.
• Talk to God honestly
• Find safe people in my life to talk to
• Find a counselor when you need professional guidance
Embracing Your Gifts:
We discuss the importance of embracing our gifts as leaders. Jill shared her gifts: to write and speak truth to women to remind them who they are in Christ
Jill shared 3 reasons we struggle to to embrace our gifts:
1. We were brought up to be humble.“When we confuse confidence and competence with pride, that’s a problem.” Click To Tweet
“When we confuse confidence and competence with pride, that’s a problem. Because God has gifted you with competence and he has gifted you with gifts to use and to acknowledge, and you don’t do the world any favors when you deny your gifting for the sake of not wanting to be boastful.”
If God has given you a gift, let’s embrace it!
2. We are unsure of what our gifts are.
We can often think of the way others are gifted but we are not sure what our own gifts are.
3. We have a very loud inner critic.
We question ourselves when we start to think that we are actually good at something.
It’s okay to acknowledge how you are gifted, because God gave you those gifts not to hoard, not to ignore, not to deny, not to push away, but to embrace, because he wants you to use them. Because when you use your gifts, you are most fully yourself, and you shine Christ out into a very dark world.When you use your gifts, you are most fully yourself. Click To Tweet
The Power of Words
Jill and I talk about the power of words. There’s something about speaking truth out into the world that has more impact than just typing it or saying it in your mind.
You can see people’s demeanor change when you speak truth into their life. As a leader of the team, the more you can speak out into the world the truth of who someone is.
Being specific when calling out gifts can make all the difference for someone.
Tip: if this doesn’t come naturally, put it on the calendar so you don’t forget.
Leading in Male-Dominated Environments:
Jill and I chat about her experiences working in environments where there were a majority of men. She shares her wisdom for any women in a similar situation:
• Remember God placed you there for a reason
• It may be challenging, but that does not make you any less valuable or competent
• You were hired for a reason, and you can do the work
• Having a different (i.e. female) perspective is necessary in these situations
We need to be confident in the place that God has put us as well as in our gifts and the fact that we are there for a reason.
Jill’s Passions, Habits, and Routines:
Work passion: sharing the truth to women.
People passion: pour into her daughters and be grateful for the time she has with them.
It can be challenging to make your personal relationships your #1 ministry. Jill recommends taking baby steps toward living the life you want.
We chat about the tension between the urgency of work and ministry vs. the importance of your marriage and family.
It is easy to feel like all of the things are priorities and become overwhelmed. The question that Jill asks of God to help her when she feels this way is:
“Where do you need me to expend my energy today?”
Jill created her own planner to help her stay focused on the things that are most important to her each day.
Jill also batches her work – different themes for each day of the week.
Leaders Are Learners:
Jill’s favorite method of learning is listening to podcasts. Her current podcast recommendations are:
• For business: The Goal Digger
• For soul: The Next Right Thing
Jill shared a wealth of information and experience with us on this episode. Her final encouragement to us is this: God has made you a leader, and so lead in obedience to Christ in the way He has called you to lead. Your leadership style will look different from others, and that’s okay. It’s okay to lead differently than those people around you.
Other Related Episodes:
Connect with Jill:
Grab Jill’s resource to help you discover your gifts: Text “FORT” to 345345
Jill McCormick is the writer behind jillemccormick.com, a blog where she shares common-sense grace with the try-hard girl.
Jill’s married to her high school sweetheart Ryan. They live in South Texas with their two daughters, born 18 months apart. Most days you’ll find her with a book in her hand or a podcast in her ears. She starts and ends everyday with sprinkles: on oatmeal for breakfast and on ice cream for dessert.
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