89 episodes

It's time for you to embrace your God-given gifts, skills, and passions and lead with confidence. Host Esther Littlefield is a pastor's wife and business owner, and she is joined by co-host Holly Cain. They discuss issues related to leading as a Christian woman, and they also interview other women who share their leadership journeys. Through this podcast, Esther and Holly offer encouragement, tools, and resources to help you live out your unique calling as a leader.

Christian Woman Leadership Podcast Esther Littlefield

    • Christianity

It's time for you to embrace your God-given gifts, skills, and passions and lead with confidence. Host Esther Littlefield is a pastor's wife and business owner, and she is joined by co-host Holly Cain. They discuss issues related to leading as a Christian woman, and they also interview other women who share their leadership journeys. Through this podcast, Esther and Holly offer encouragement, tools, and resources to help you live out your unique calling as a leader.

    87: Simple Self-Care for Christian Leaders [Simplify Series]

    87: Simple Self-Care for Christian Leaders [Simplify Series]

    Is it okay for Christians to focus on self-care? And if so, how can Christian leaders simplify their self-care to make it practical and doable?
     
    Self-care often gets a bad rap in Christian circles, but I believe it’s not only okay but also wise for Christian leaders to invest in their self-care. Because when we do not, we are more prone to the risks of burnout, compassion fatigue, and becoming overworked.
     
    In this episode of our Simplify Series, I’m sharing with you why self-care, when viewed in the right way, is okay for Christians. Plus I’m giving you 3 steps to simplify your self-care as a Christian leader.
     
    Key Points Discussed: What Self-Care is and is not, and Why it’s Okay for Christians 3 Steps to simplify your self-care Shift your Mindset about Self-Care Determine what Self-Care Means to You Make a Plan to Incorporate Self-Care Regularly Take Action Get my free Personal Wellness Worksheet at 
    Connect with Esther and Holly: Esther’s Website Holly’s Website Instagram Facebook Group Facebook Page  
    This episode was originally published on estherlittlefield.com/episode87.

    • 29 min
    86: When Unexpected Life Circumstances Force You to Simplify with Elissa Joy Watts [Simplify Series]

    86: When Unexpected Life Circumstances Force You to Simplify with Elissa Joy Watts [Simplify Series]

    Sometimes simplifying your life happens by choice; other times, life circumstances force you to find a new way of living. And it’s when you let go of the illusion of control that you can truly understand what it means to trust God completely.
     
    In this episode of the Simplify Series I chat with my friend Elissa Joy Watts about her leadership journey and her experience with learning to simplify. But her journey isn’t one marked by a moment of deciding to declutter for the sake of aesthetics. Instead, she shares how circumstances in her life and health forced her to learn the value of living a simpler life.
     
    Key Points Discussed: Elissa’s Background & Leadership Journey [4:00] Simplifying journey [7:57] Physical belongings [34:00] Social calendar [35:25] Culture shock Car accident caused her to re-evaluate her goals and values [11:15] Dealing with imposter syndrome [14:05] Identity implosion [18:23] The story of 2 days [22:10] Yoga mat moment [25:00] Stillness is an invitation [30:00] The practical ways Elissa simplified her life The value of walking [38:50] Returning home [40:00] Faith’s role in Elissa’s journey [44:00] Letting go of the illusion of control [48:00] Being okay with stillness and void [51:21] Why Elissa is taking a year off social media [53:00] Legacy [56:00] Leaders are Learners [1:00:00] Minimalistbaker.com Rediscovering what a hidden life is Discernment by Henri Nouwen* Saving money - batch cooking, nesting, and preparing for baby #4 Final encouragement from Elissa [1:03:10] Key Quotes from the Episode: "Stillness is an invitation; it's not a void that needs filling." - Elissa Joy Watts
     
    "You think you need certainty, or you think you need the plan, but what you really need is just God's peace and His presence." - Elissa Joy Watts
     
    “There’s great peace that comes with knowing I don’t have to strive, my identity is in Christ, and I am beloved before I even do a thing or have a thing or wear a title.” - Elissa Joy Watts
     
    “For some people, simplifying their possessions looks like a really beautiful design spread, and they think that’s going to make them happy, but that’s not the truth.” - Elissa Joy Watts
     
    “Every single day we have an opportunity to invest in ourselves, in the lives of others, our communities, and how those minutes and hours and days and weeks form our lives--it’s really an important thing to consider.” - Elissa Joy Watts
     
    “Where is my trust, and who is it in? Is it in my stuff and in my accomplishments, or is it in the creator of this whole universe?” - Esther Littlefield
     
    “If you can get to a place of clarity, and intention, and action before it’s too late, do it.” - Elissa Joy Watts
    Other Resources Mentioned:  
    Esther’s blog post - Freedom Journey: Free From the Fear of Crying Elissa’s post - Befriending Inconvenience

     
    Connect with Elissa Joy Watts: A formal introduction would neatly state that Elissa Joy Watts is the Managing Editor for Simplify Magazine, a quarterly digital publication for mindful modern families, founded by Joshua Becker and Brian Gardner. She'd rather introduce herself as an analog-favoring work in progress and leave you with a word of encouragement. You can simplify your life and still be a leader before you end up unconscious and face down on the floor.
     
    Since leaving her corporate job and suffering a frightening seizure as a new mother in a foreign country, Elissa has learned the importance of paring down and taking one day at a time. Raising kids in a tiny Scottish apartment taught her that less is always more; living out of suitcases for 13 months straight after returning to Canada confirmed it. Lesson: If you ask Jesus to be your story's undeniable hero, expect the unexpected and hold on tight.
     
    When she's not channeling the power of lipstick

    • 1 hr 6 min
    85: Simplify with Strategy - How to Create a Strategic Plan for your Ministry or Business [Simplify Series]

    85: Simplify with Strategy - How to Create a Strategic Plan for your Ministry or Business [Simplify Series]

    Often as ministry leaders, business owners, or in our regular work or home life, we have big goals. We can see the vision of where we want to go. But we sometimes get sidetracked and end up spending a lot of time on things that aren’t actually moving us closer to that goal.
    In this first episode of our Simplify Series, Holly and I are discussing the idea of simplifying with strategy. Specifically, we are sharing some basic steps to creating a strategic plan for your business or ministry. 
    “When you create a plan for doing something, it actually helps you to simplify your life, your business, and your time.” - Esther
    Note: Holly and I are not experts in strategic planning, but we do have some experience in this area. We are keeping this episode simple because we want it to be actionable for anyone, even if you have no project management or strategic planning experience.
     
    Why do we need a strategic plan? There are 4 benefits to creating a strategic plan for your business or ministry:
     
    Time savings: When you have a strategy and a plan, you’re less likely to waste time on things that don’t matter.  Focus: You’re more likely to focus on the things that have the highest return on investment, as Tembi Secrist shared in episode 83. Clarity: It makes it easier for everyone to know what you are doing, where you are going, and how they should spend their time. Stewardship: we can be better stewards of the resources God has given us when we implement a strategic plan.   
    A Simple Framework to Create a Strategic Plan: I’m going way back to my years as a social worker to help us through this concept of creating a strategic plan. 
     
    That might seem strange, because social work is not usually associated with strategic planning. But as a caseworker working with kids in foster care as well as kids with behavioral challenges, I had to write treatment plans. These plans were essentially the guide that we used to show what we were providing for services with the kids and how we were supporting them towards making improvements in their situations.
     
    The framework below is based on the plans that I used to write as a social worker. We’re keeping it basic, but you can do some research and find lots more resources to get into more details on strategic planning if you wish.
     
    We will walk through the basic steps of creating a strategic plan, and during this process, Holly will share from a specific example of a project we worked on at our church.
    Step 1: Identify the overall vision In episode 26, we talked about the idea of creating a vision for the future. It’s important to get down on paper what the vision or end goal for your ministry or business is. This step may also include creating a summary of what the strengths and weaknesses are within the organization.
     
    Step 2: Identify 2-3 goals that will help move you towards the vision In this step, you’ll want to ask: What are the projects or goals that are going to help that vision actually come to fruition? Ideally these are things that will be more specific than the general vision.
     
    “Most of the time, whether individually or as a business or ministry, we are more effective when we focus on less things and focus on finishing them.” - Esther
    Step 3: For each goal, identify 2-3 objectives needed to accomplish each goal You can see we are getting more granular as we go through the process. These could be the daily habits that you need to put into place in order to accomplish a goal. Or they could be smaller mini-goals. 
    Step 4: Determine who is responsible for each of the items on your plan Without this, your plan is doomed! If there is not clarity around who is doing what, then there’s no way the plan will be accomplished. Or, it is very likely that things will be missed or time will be wasted.
     
    “If there is not clarity around who

    • 59 min
    84: How to Multiply Your Impact & Face Fear with Tembi Secrist: A Leader’s Journey Around the World Part 2

    84: How to Multiply Your Impact & Face Fear with Tembi Secrist: A Leader’s Journey Around the World Part 2

    How can you multiply your impact far beyond what you could imagine? And how do you overcome fear when what God is asking you to do seems impossible?
    In this episode, Holly and I conclude our conversation with Tembi Secrist about her incredible 14-month journey through Southeast Asia and Africa. She shares with us about the additional lessons she learned on her trip, including how God showed her that her impact could be multiplied through the power of community and the truth about overcoming fear.
     
    Did you miss Part 1 of our conversation with Tembi? Go back and listen before you dive into this episode.
     
    Key Points Discussed: Leadership lessons Tembi learned during her 14 month trip You are the product of you and your people [2:30] The work is not going to be accomplished just by you. Your impact can be multiplied by the power of the people you know. Sometimes you have to ask. [7:56] Don’t be discouraged if people don’t say yes right away. [9:25] Listen for God’s voice, obey it, and don’t be afraid [13:38] Take it one step at a time [16:11] Once you step out, it’s easier to keep going [21:30] It will be uncomfortable in the moment [24:00] Tembi’s family and friends’ reaction to her decision to go on this trip [26:15] The importance of trusting God even when things don’t make sense [28:30] Advice for a woman who senses God is calling her to something big [31:28] Family is your God’s call - He won’t call you to something that would disrupt your marriage or your children Be creative with what “something big” looks like [33:15] What’s next for Tembi [34:30] Writing about her trip Interested in making connections between using your professional expertise and what’s needed overseas  Leaders are Learners [39:00] If you don’t stretch, you won’t grow. Enjoy the adventure.  Read management books: The Four Disciplines of Execution* Connecting with Tembi Links for connecting with Tembi are below She is available to speak and share about her experiences. She resides in the Seattle, WA area.


    Key Quotes from the Episode: “It’s not just you. It’s who you know and who else God wants to involve in what He is doing.”
    “You don’t realize until the end what God has brought you through.”
    “Only you understand the nuances of your situation.”
    “It’s easy to find excuses because things are scary.”
    “If you don’t stretch, you won’t grow.”



    Connect with Tembi Secrist: September Secrist is a management consultant, writer, and speaker, based in Seattle, Washington.  She recently returned from a 14-month solo trip through 22 countries in SE Asia and Africa, volunteering her professional expertise with 45 NGOs and mission-based projects.  
     
    Previously, September was the Director of Global Healthcare Initiatives with the U.S. Commercial Service, the export promotion agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce. She led a global team of 200 responsible for national and international events, education, and healthcare sales.  She was with the agency for 16 years, and served details as the Deputy National Director and Advisor for Congressional Outreach. 
     
    She served as Board Chair and advisory member of the Center for International Business Education and Research at the University of Washington and has done volunteer service projects in Mexico, Russia, Poland, Haiti, Armenia, Turkey, and Greece.
     
    September received her Bachelor of Arts from Northwest University in Business Administration and her Master of Arts from the Naval War College in National Security and Strategic Studies.
    Blog Facebook LinkedIn *Affiliate link - If you choose to make a purchase via one of the links, we will receive a commission at no extra cost to you. This helps to support the costs of running the podcast and blog.
     
    Connect with Esther and Holl

    • 44 min
    83: When God Shifts Your Path Into the Unknown with Tembi Secrist - A Leader’s Journey Around the World Part 1

    83: When God Shifts Your Path Into the Unknown with Tembi Secrist - A Leader’s Journey Around the World Part 1

    Tembi Secrist always thought she would be a missionary in an impoverished country. But instead, God took her into a career in government where she continued to advance into leadership roles. Until one day when everything shifted, and she sensed God calling her to leave it all behind.
    In this episode, Holly and I talk with Tembi Secrist about her incredible 14-month journey through Southeast Asia and Africa. She shares with us about her leadership experiences that led up to this trip, as well as the pivotal moment when everything shifted for her. 
    She also shares the leadership lessons she learned during her volunteer trip around the world, often through hard to believe as well as hilarious stories.
    Our conversation with Tembi is so good, but it was quite long, so we are breaking it into 2 episodes. This is part 1, and next week we will be sharing part 2.
    Key Points Discussed: Tembi’s leadership journey [5:05] When God shifted Tembi’s path from her government career to leaving everything behind [10:21] Leadership lessons Tembi learned during her 14 month trip Even when you step out, it doesn’t always come together [16:00] You never “make it” with faith [19:20] Look at where your best return on investment is - what are you created to do? You are the only you who can do what you do Things will probably fall apart in the middle of it, and that’s okay When the why becomes the Y [11:43] Sometimes you have to just take the first step [14:30] Understand what your biggest value is [20:00} The greatest adventure sometimes starts with the unknown [24:00] God puts people in your path at the right time when you need them [29:30] God will use your experience as preparation for the next thing [34:00] How Tembi balances the tension between confidence in God's gifting vs. arrogance [36:20]   Key Quotes from the Episode: “Clarity comes in movement.” “When things fall apart, it still can be part of God’s plan.” “God is going to use every experience as preparation for the next thing.”


    Connect with Tembi Secrist: Blog Facebook LinkedIn September Secrist is a management consultant, writer, and speaker, based in Seattle, Washington.  She recently returned from a 14-month solo trip through 22 countries in SE Asia and Africa, volunteering her professional expertise with 45 NGOs and mission-based projects.  
    Previously, September was the Director of Global Healthcare Initiatives with the U.S. Commercial Service, the export promotion agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce. She led a global team of 200 responsible for national and international events, education, and healthcare sales.  She was with the agency for 16 years, and served details as the Deputy National Director and Advisor for Congressional Outreach. 
    She served as Board Chair and advisory member of the Center for International Business Education and Research at the University of Washington and has done volunteer service projects in Mexico, Russia, Poland, Haiti, Armenia, Turkey, and Greece.
    September received her Bachelor of Arts from Northwest University in Business Administration and her Master of Arts from the Naval War College in National Security and Strategic Studies.
     
    Connect with Esther and Holly: Esther’s Website Holly’s Website Instagram Facebook Group Facebook Page  
    This episode was originally published on estherlittlefield.com/episode83.

    • 42 min
    82: Three Shifts You Need to Make as a Christian Leader and How to Make Them

    82: Three Shifts You Need to Make as a Christian Leader and How to Make Them

    Sometimes the smallest shift can make a world of difference. And as a leader, there are times when you need to make a shift in your life or leadership so that you can become more effective and fulfill your purpose.
     
    In this episode, I’m sharing with you the 3 shifts you may need to make in order to become a better Christian leader this year. Shift is my word for this year, but even if shift is not your word for the year, I believe this episode will help you as you continue to grow and develop as a Christian woman leader.
     
    I have a free worksheet, which actually turned into more of a guide, that goes along with this episode. You can get it by texting SHIFT to (202) 410-4202.
     
    For the full show notes for this episode, visit estherlittlefield.com/episode82.
    Key Points Discussed: What “Shift” Can Mean 3 Shifts To Help You Become a Better Christian Leader Shift 1: Your Actions Habits Stepping Out Words & Conversations Shift 2: Your Beliefs About God About Yourself About Others Shift 3: Your Commitments Your time Your energy Your boundaries  
    Key Quotes from the Episode: “Sometimes the smallest shift can make a world of difference.” “When God is calling you to do something, and you feel nervous or unsure, you’re not alone.” “When you can get an accurate view of God and an accurate view of how He sees you, everything changes.” “We need to be aware of our thoughts and we need to make our thoughts obedient to Christ. That isn’t something that just happens automatically; it takes intentionality.” “It’s vital for you to get clear on what your priorities are and to say NO to some commitments in order to be an effective leader.”  
    Episode Sponsor: Confident Conversations If you’d like to learn how to initiate and lead hard conversations as Christian woman–even if you struggle with confrontation, aren’t sure what to say, and want to avoid hurting people in the process–then grab my mini-course, Confident Conversations. 
     
    Learn how to have courageous conversations that lead to more connection and conflict resolution in this 5-step minicourse for Christian women.
     
    You’ll learn how to:
    Get the timing right Be guided by your faith in hard conversations Know how to approach the convo Develop the right mindset Use the exact words and phrases to help guide your hard conversations Get the mini-course here: http://confidentconversations.co
     
    Connect with Esther and Holly: Esther’s Website Holly’s Website Instagram Facebook Group Facebook Page  
    This episode was originally published on estherlittlefield.com/episode82.

    • 45 min

Customer Reviews

Mel Reinhardt ,

Thank you! Inspired

Thank you Esther and Jill for sharing your thoughts and encouragement for the Type A leaders. Too often those of us who lead tend to everyone except ourselves and it is easy to forget that Gods grace extends to us as well. I also appreciated the encouragement to make changes slowly and not set ourselves up for just another achievement.

SheConnex-Shelli Warren ,

Nurturing Leadership

Thanks so much for creating a unique platform nurturing more leaders to recognize their calling to serve in all aspects of their life. You are certainly offered a wonderful opportunity for women who want to step up and lead, beginning with themselves. Bravo ladies!

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