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#28: Passion and Purpose: Interview with Amy McLaren

Book Club Information

Hi there. It’s Dr. Moira. And I just want to take a minute of your time before we jump into this amazing podcast episode. It’s an interview with book author, Amy McLaren. And I wanted to take a minute before we do that, to let you know that we have a book club forming on the book, passion to purpose by Amy McLaren.

The coaching hive book club is a virtual live opportunity to come together. Have discussions. Think about how to lean into your passion and purpose and how to let others know about your passion and purpose in life. We have our very first conversation on August 16th at 8:00 PM Eastern, but this is just an introduction. It’s a conversation. It’s a welcome. And then we have our very first book discussion on August 30th at 8:00 PM.

Eastern time, we will come together, meet, live for conversation, and we will break the book down into manageable chunks. I know August is a busy time of year, especially as we move into the school year as we move into the fall months. So we’ll take a laid back approach to this. We’re going to break down the book into several parts.

Amy has done a fantastic job doing this for us, and we are going to follow her lead. She hasn’t been so thoughtful in making this book manageable and relatable, and you’ll want to grab a cup of tea, cup of water, cup of coffee, whatever it is you drink, sit down and settle in with the book. You may find that you can’t put it down once you get started.

I had that problem. So if you would like to join us in the Coaching Hive, passion to purpose but club, I would invite you to go to bit.ly/passiontopurposebookclub. And just fill out that quick form and we’ll get you all of the right emails, all of the right links. You need to join us to participate in the coaching high passion to purpose but club.

And without further ado, you have been so patient, here is our next Coaching Hive podcast episode with Amy McLaren.

Music and Intro Message

I’m Dr. Moira. I’m a college professor, instructor, coach, and passionate mentor to health coaches around the world. But I haven’t always been that confident and committed to my coaching career. I was hesitant to take the next step and wasn’t sure what the best approach was to success and fulfillment. I decided to step into my passion and purpose of guiding health coaches on their journey from hesitant health coach to committed health coach,

with a unique approach to coach growth, the Coaching Hive Blueprint combines creating a mindful vision with inspiring guidance and progress-driven learning. The coaching hive podcast is your glimpse into the concepts, ideas, and approaches that underscore the coaching hive while giving you the opportunity to implement tools and tips along the way. Are you ready to dive into today’s podcast, then let’s go and remember that this podcast is family-friendly.

So go ahead and play it through your speakers.

Introduction

(Transcript is auto-generated.  Please excuse any inaccuracies.)

Moira: Today I have the pleasure of sitting down and chatting with Amy McLaren about her brand-new book that releases in August passion to purpose.  And Amy is the CEO of Village Impact, which is a charity that she and her husband’s do found together. She’s also a mom. She leads a mastermind and she wrote this book. I’m not sure how she found the time, but it is amazing. And I know this isn’t all that you do, Amy, but I think I hit the high points there.

Amy: Yeah, no, you’re good. And I chuckled to myself because it definitely wasn’t an overnight thing with the book. It’s about a three year journey in the making, as you said, like I have two young ones and run a couple of businesses and in between all their it’s kind of here it is today, but it’s definitely been a few years in the making.

Moira: Well, I am so excited to sit down with you today. Everything that I have heard from you and Stu over the years, listening to you speak, it’s so inspirational and you have a wealth of experiences, a wealth of knowledge as a world traveler. You’re a successful CEO. It’s no wonder of that. Passion to purpose is so inspiring. I sat down and I think that I need stock in Kleenex because it just makes you feel all the feels and makes you realize that you need to dig deeper. Thanks. So this is amazing. I think that this is going to change a lot of lives as it hits the bookstores and the bookshelves. I’m so excited.

Amy: Well, thank you so much. I appreciate it.

Moira: Absolutely. So to set the stage, let’s kind of just jump right into your book, passion to purpose. I wonder if we could start with something basic though, like the definition of passion, it’s something I hadn’t really given a lot of thought to, honestly, until I read your definition and it just stuck with me. So how do you define passion? 

Amy: Yeah. So passion for me is a really exciting word. And that it’s something that, you know, you’re really engaged with. It’s something that gets you excited. And I think like you said earlier, I’ve had someone say this to me before, actually in another interview where they’re like, I thought I was passionate about these things. Then after reading your book, I realized those, I am passionate, but it’s not my true passion. It’s not something I’m truly passionate about.

So for me, it’s definitely something that you love, something that gets you excited and these passions change over time. So something you’re passionate about today may be different than you were years ago. And maybe you’re going to explore new passions, but it’s definitely something that like lights you up like up and it gives you that and it gets it in the booklet that pixie dust kind of excitement feel.

I know when I think of my daughter, who’s 10, she’s an obsessed reader. So I just took my computer. Sorry. She’s a huge reader. She has been since she was three, she polishes off probably more novels than I do, but she gets into her books and she’s in this whole world. And she reads at night in the morning and the bathroom and the car, like wherever she can, but you kind of get lost in that. And I truly believe like when you’re truly passionate about something, you’re so excited about the possibility of what that will be, because I believe like a passion mindset is like a possibility mindset. You don’t think about what could go wrong. Cause you’re too excited about all the passionate or all the things that could go.

Right? So it is something that you’re truly engaged with and believe in.

Moira: I love that example of your daughter, just getting sucked into those books and absorbed into them. Our son who’s 10 does the same thing. He’ll read for two hours in the morning before even leaving his room and reads everywhere. Yeah. I know. That’s always a book, always a book and series.

Amy: My daughter’s big on series. Like she loves like series books. So she sees on like the number fifth of the wantons right now as a new series maybe, or I’d have to, we’ll have to share that after. I’m sure there’s some theories we can share.

Moira: Absolutely. So you’re, you’re thinking about passion as being engaging with what you love, kind of what gets you in that flow of life really absorbs you.

And that’s, I think that’s two sides of the coin here. It’s really all inspiring, but it’s a little intimidating too, because you think about, wow, I have this big responsibility to find my passion and I work primarily with health coaches who are just starting their career. So they’re excited. This is a big shift. A lot of times it’s a career change and they’re full of possibility.

They’re excited, but there’s that moment of hesitation where this is my passion, but how do I, how do I do this? So how do we unlock that passion in a way that’s not scary or intimidating so that we do have that possibility mindset.

Amy: Yeah. It’s I think a lot of people, when they hear like, you know, I, I need to be focusing something that’s, I’m more passionate about or this it doesn’t have to be. And this is where I think a lot of people get stuck is it doesn’t have to be a big, gigantic thing. Like you don’t have to change your career to live more passionately. You don’t have to, you know, get into a new relationship to change you’re to change it. And that’s like a recipe for disaster, if you want to completely change everything. Yeah. I think like there are some things in our life that are, are meant to be there and are meant to be on your path, but it’s all about, you know, going into your life and sprinkling it on a little bit, maybe changing one or two things because that for everybody and myself included, like being a mom and running multiple businesses, like you’ve got to start somewhere and you don’t, there’s no need to change everything, but it’s and changing some little things that you can easily do today or tomorrow. And then those little things I think begin to add up over time. Now I know it sounds so simple and so easy, but I think we get stuck because we think like it’s, and I’m not passionate enough where we get stuck when we just don’t move, but it’s, it’s changing one or two little things or it’s experiencing one or two little things and then letting those things build on something else and something else I love to share when it comes to like unlocking that passion is maybe someone’s like, I don’t know what I’m passionate about. Right.

Because I think when you have, you know, yes, we both have, we have children. And I mean, not even if you don’t have children, life sometimes takes you in a different direction, then you kind of forget about the things that you used to do, or you say, oh, when I was in my twenties, I used to do that and I really liked it. And now I’m like in my forties and I don’t do that anymore. So there’s so much value, I think in going back and looking kind of like, I like to call it like a passion timeline of going back when you were 10, going back when you were 20 and going 30, 40, 50, 60, and kind of revisiting some of those old things that you used to do and engaging in that again, and kind of experimenting and, and sprinkled it in. Like, if you did something, when your thirties that you love to do that, you’re not doing now, like what’s one class or one call or, you know, one experience that you could do to kind of light that up again. And who knows, maybe you won’t like it, but that’s okay.

And then you find something else because they do change over time. Like we all change as, you know, as we get older, as we try new careers or we do different things. But the biggest thing at the end of the day, I think is you just have to start somewhere and you don’t have to change your whole life to live a more passionate life, but you do have to honor it and recognize it and start by doing some little things like tiny little things that kind of can get you to that bigger spot where you want to be.

Moira: I love that idea of creating that timeline. I was on your website, Amymclaren.com. And I found, I didn’t realize you had a planner that went along with the book and I was scrolling through it.

And I saw that timeline and I thought, Ooh, this is so wise. It really makes you more intentional about identifying what those passions might be, but not within the strictures of it has to be this within this exploration.

Amy: Yeah. And I think another thing too, when we kind of identifying that passion and unlocking it, I think sometimes we, we can also ask like friends or family to what, what they see excites you. Do you know what I mean? Cause I, I remember when I, I’m a bit of a crazy nut and traveling and you may know this, but like I do these crazy travel adventures where people are like, you’re insane. Like I’ve driven motorcycles across Morocco with no places to say I’ve driven like a rickshaw through India.

So I went on a 1200 rickshaw, like race and I drove this workshop through India up like 1200 kilometers and down the coast and had to get to a different hotel every night. It was like amazing race. And I loved it. But when I was sharing these Instagram stories, one of students’ friends, my husband’s friends was like, man, I, Amy is so lit up. It’s like, when she’s overseas doing her religion pack stuff or whatever, she like she’s so I can see the excitement in her face, like in her eyes, like the energy that she had. So I think there’s also value in talking to loved ones and people where, you know, what do you see in me? Like what, what do you see that maybe I’ve kind of, don’t realize that I’m really lit up and can talk about it all night at a dinner party. Do you know what I mean? So for me that’s travel and stuff, but that’s, I think that’s really important to recognize as well.

Moira: I have certainly had my husband say, oh, this really lights you up. Why aren’t you doing more of it? Let’s find some time let’s carve it out, put it on the calendar and make sure it gets done.

Amy: Yeah. And it’s just about being intentional. Right. And like you said, it can be five minutes a week or like, you know, an hour a week and that will bring you so much joy.

Moira: Yeah. So I know that I mentioned that you’re the CEO of village impact. And if I’m reading your book correctly and hearing everything that I’ve heard about village impact correctly, that’s really deeply connected to your passions, not just travel, but so many other things. So can you tell me a little bit about how you have found that connection to your passions through village impact?

Amy: Yeah. So if I were to go back a little bit to my earlier days, I, I always, I’ve always had this kind of desire to give back and travel have been kind of like interwoven into my life since I was little and I grew up in the UK. So I’m proudly British moved when I was 10. I know I don’t sound like it.

I purely sound Canadian, but if you were to talk to me long enough, apparently there’s a few words that I still say. And when I go back home or when I go back to the UK, it comes out a little more, but I was born in the UK and was my family was great at like giving back and traveling at the same time.

So I can, you know, my mom would have strangers over for dinner that had nowhere to go because she just, you know, we’d go to soup kitchens and help the homeless. And like, we were always volunteering at the, the elderly center, like, you know, all these kinds of things. And my mom volunteered at the hospital. So I think this desire to give back and travel was like interwoven since I was little.

And it kind of traveled along with me and always stayed with me through university where I traveled overseas, teaching English as a foreign language, and then ended up like living with Thai families and Thailand. And then I’m living in refugee camps in Africa. And I, for me when I was there too, and when my husband had been, you just see like how far $1 could go and like an impact of what you can have with money and business.

And that kind of came into, you know, starting our other businesses and starting the nonprofit to where we are today, where we village impact. But our overhead is paid by one of our other companies. But what I love about what we do in our charity is, you know, I get to see how far a dollar goes and how we can help, but what’s more, even more important to me too, is the relationships that we’ve built and how we work as a community led organization, working with our team on the ground, families on the ground. I learned so much from them every day about myself, about what I can do better. And we work as a team because I think have a bigger impact as a team, but it was definitely that desire of giving back and helping other people. I think that started when I was little that continued to thread into our lives to village impact. And then on the business side of things, because my husband and I don’t take any, like we don’t get paid from the charity or anything. Like I said, we fund it pretty much, but it’s also like when we were in Africa and in these other places, you just see like the impact that you can have. And like my husband always says, and it’s, I really believe it. Like, you can have the more money you have a more impact you can have, it just provides so much opportunity and possibility. So for other business to fund the overhead of our charity, it’s like, what makes that possible? So we’re all big believers in, you know, when you’ve heard him say it many times, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with making money because you can consume so many amazing things with it and with your values and what you believe in. So we are, it’s all very connected.

And oftentimes we try to, you know, try to start there’s the charity in our businesses. But when you, like you said, when you go peel away the onion or all the other layers, everything in my life is very in her connected to our companies, to the charity, to giving back. I mean, even before, you know, before our other businesses, we’ve always set aside so much money to give back to locally, give back internationally. You know, even when we, when we started our small business in the basement and there was only when I do, you know what I mean? It was always part of us to give back that way. So,

Moira: I think that’s a great point that yes, your, your village impact is international. But if your heart is called more locally, you can absolutely feed back into your local community. If that’s where your heart is, that there are so many options that it doesn’t have to be. It doesn’t have to be international if that’s not where your heart is, if it wants, if you want it to be more local, it can be that too.

Amy: Yeah, absolutely. So it’s funny because so many people ask why, you know, why, why Kenya? Like why overseas? And like hearing a bit of my story, you know, like that’s what I love to do. Like it lights me up to be in a foreign country, learning from other cultures, learning from other communities and being immersed in completely different. Like that. For me, that’s exciting for some people they’re like, no, like that’s too, you know, a bit much. And that’s okay. Like, but the point is like, you’ve got to follow what lights you up because then it’ll last longer and, you know, helping domestically or helping in your local community or helping your family, whatever it may be. That’s, it’s all good because we just need to do more good in world.

Everyone wants to do good. So just do good by, you know, what lights you up and what’s makes You happy.

Moira: What a great point. That’s what sustainable, when it lights you up. If it’s something that you have to drag yourself to, and you’re kind of kicking and screaming in the moment, that’s not going to last.

Amy: It won’t last it’ll last, maybe a day, like, right. It’s like, I think in fact it didn’t just start overnight. Like, this is like this little baby’s 10 years old, like it’s, it’s old and you know, it’s, it’s definitely, there’ve been times I want to throw my computer out the window. I get frustrated. Anyone does when you’re starting your own business and things, but you’ve got to have the love of it to keep it going. That’s for sure.

Moira: Yes. So do you think there was a defining moment? You, you mentioned that this has really been ingrained in you since you were a little kid, this giving back, do you think there was a defining moment that let you know village impact itself had to happen?

Amy: Yeah. You know, it’s funny, I I’ve been asked this question to you before and I, and at the time I would’ve never thought that it would have been a defining moment. Like now I look back nine, 10 years later, I think, wow. That really was so for, for me and it with Stu and I, my husband and I were sitting on a couch, we were watching Oprah’s big Gibbs. So I don’t, a lot of people you have, you did you watch that sometimes? And it’s like this amazing show where Oprah went into communities to help the communities, help families. And it was just really inspirational. And I was like sitting there on the couch and you know, and at that time in my career,

I’m a teacher by trade. So I did teach grade one for 10 years. I didn’t enjoy it towards the end. And I was still teaching at that point and I was on the couch. So when I had had, you know, I’ve been teaching, we’ve been trying to start another business and the basement and we were watching overs begin. I had my glass of wine cause I enjoy a glass of wine.

My husband doesn’t drink. So like he has his water and we’re sitting there, we’re watching Oprah. And she’s like, I want to do that. Like, that’s what I want to do. Right. But I’m like, I, of course being me, I’m like, I don’t want to do it. Like there, I want to go to Africa.

I want to go overseas. Like, I, I want to go back to the families that I lived with. And like, I want, I want to go back to where that joy was for me or that passion not let me up. And so let’s do looks at me. He’s like, well, what do you mean? You mean, it’s like December?

And I’m like, well, I want to go away at Christmas. Because at that time being a teacher, I was, you know, I only have two weeks. That’s the only time I could go. And he’s like, Amy, it’s like December 12th. He’s like, we have like two weeks or something before. I’m like, no, I’m really good at details and organizing things.

And like, I will figure out the travel, who we’re going to help all of that good stuff. And if you can figure out how to raise the money, cause you’re more of the business oriented, then you do that. And he’s like, right. And I’m always like, okay. So we, we kind of put our heads together. And we came up with this idea of doing a prediction call.

And in that, you know, 10 years ago, that was like a teleseminar, which is now a webinar. And we pulled seven of our friends together who are influenced on the internet, but had big businesses on the internet. And they shared their predictions of what the next year would be in terms of business. And then we had friends and people sign up for it and pay to listen.

And then that money we raised, we took not literally, but we took it down to El Salvador and we went to El Salvador because it’s close one because couldn’t go too far. And we had a volunteer organization there that I’ve worked with in the past. So we went down there, we took the money, we helped to local school. We bought a photocopier, we went to an orphan entry kids. We kind of dabbled in all these different things. And then we came home from that experience and Stu was like, he’s on the plane. And he’s like, okay. He’s like, I kind of get now what, what you want to do. Because I mean, Stu grew up in a, in a wonderful home as well and, and volunteered a little bit, but I definitely have more of the thirst for international travel and that side of things. And so it was like, okay, so we, we did that. And then the next year we did it again and we raised, so the first year we raised about 14k. Okay. And then the next year we did it again around the same time. And we raised about 45,000 point. We’re like, okay, we need to stop. Cause we were running it for our business because this is how it’s a hot mess. Like do what you do to get it going. So we’re running it through our business and we were paying taxes on it. And then I’m like, I need to start a charity like this.

I can’t keep doing this. If I want to like really take it a step further. So then I began the paperwork with the charity to get to where we are today. And now we’re like 15 schools later. We’re still working on our, met our goal then. But yeah, I kind of started from that moment of, you know, watching Oprah and seeing Madam being expired and then just starting.

And like I said, I wouldn’t mess it. You at the beginning, like it wasn’t easy, but that’s kind of the root of where it started to where it is today.

Moira: And how cool it’s not this huge lightning moment that happened. It was Oprah. It was watching TV on the couch with Stu and you go, this is it. I want to be like this. This is what I want to make happen, but I want to do it internationally.

Amy: Yeah. And lie, we had said, right. That’s for me, that was my passion. And I’m like, well, that’s, that’s what I wanted to do. And yeah. So that, that little moment of watching TV then at night kind of led to let’s sit today.

Moira: Hmm. Oh. So I’m a teacher too. And education is right there at the top of the list. So I love, love, love, love that you’ve already have built 15 schools and now passionate purpose is going to help you continue that mission. That’s amazing.

Amy: Thank you.

Moira: So as you got started, you know, you talk about that first time.

It was this really rush two weeks. I’ve got my two week Christmas break, holiday break and we’ve got to raise money. We’ve got to get travel, taken care of all of this organized the next year. You raised more, if this is still a new venture though at that point. So it’s easy. I would imagine for self doubt to creep in. And I know that, especially when you’re starting something brand new, when you’re going through that transformation, it’s easy for that to happen.

Amy: Yeah. And you know what? I think it’s important to recognize that like, you know, self-doubt happens all the time for everybody. It doesn’t matter. Like, you know, I had it before I got on the call with you. Like, I, you haven’t have it every day. There’s self doubt, no matter where you know what you’ve done or where you are. And yeah, there’s, I even remember when we, we adopted our little guy, Sam from South Africa is, you know, and he’s seven now, but that international adoption journey in itself for me took eight years and the amount of self doubt and like, should I do this? Should I not? I don’t know. I’ve got like my family thing to me. Why don’t you just have another one, like have another one of your own, but I’m like, no, like I want to adopt, we’ve always had, we’re going to do it. And that was a really hard moment for another hormone in, for me personally in my life was that adoption journey. And then even resigning from teaching, which I haven’t taught now in like seven years or six years. But there was self-doubt in that too.

And a few things that come to mind that kind of helped me through these parts of my life, where I think number one, it’s, you know, paying attention to what we say in our head. We all have that voice in our head. Everybody does. And unfortunately I’d love to say that you can totally kick it to the curb, but it won’t go like, it just it’s there. And it’s learning to, you know, like manage what you’re saying to yourself. And I think it’s acknowledging some of the things that maybe happening or your self doubt that you had, but then learning to reframe it and telling yourself a different story of like asking yourself different questions. Like, you know, oh, like what happens, what happens with this interview will go great. Or how can I do this? Or reframing things that you’re saying in your head. So it comes, it comes, you think about it differently and reframing those thoughts. That’s something that’s been super helpful to me.

The other thing I think is realizing, you know, the thoughts that we have, it’s like, are those your thoughts? Or are they thoughts that have been passed down to you? That you’ve kind of inherited from, you know, and I love my parents and we all do. We love those people around us, but sometimes there’s thoughts that are put onto us. That really aren’t our thoughts. They’ve just someone else. And I think of how my friend Alyssa and she was been my trainer for a number of years, beautiful person inside and out. And I was encouraging her to try to come on my motorcycle trip for Morocco. And she’s like in her twenties, so she’s younger than me or late twenties.

And she’s like, she’s like Amy, she’s like, I don’t know, like, this sounds so exciting, but I don’t know if she’s really nervous, but she kept talking to me about it. And I’m like, oh, you shut on. Like can with, through my other friends, we’re going to have fun. We’ll stick together. Like I know it’s crazy.

But she said, she said, and then she, she didn’t. And then we talked about it after, and she’s like, I really regret not going, I should have gone with you. And I’m like, why do you think you did it? And she’s like, she’s like, well, I think it’s my dad. And my dad told me that I shouldn’t go because it was too dangerous.

But then I think of like, she was like, but then her dad doesn’t like to travel. Like her dad, he goes to Florida and he like, he’s the most, he’s the most amazing guy. He’s fixed stuff at our lake house. And he’s been wonderful, but he, that’s not his thing. Right. Like he doesn’t like international travel.

He likes doing like Florida home, that kind of thing. And that’s what makes him happy and works for him. But at the same time, like I could see in her eyes, in her excitement that like there were part of that really wanted to go. And it’s like art now. It’s like, you know, you’re old enough to kind of make your own decisions and live your own life.

But like you know, sometimes it’s like, so you’re listening to someone else’s thoughts that aren’t really her thoughts, if that makes sense. And it’s like, (Moira: absolutely). Right. So I think oftentimes there’s, we don’t realize that until you sit back and you look at it and she kind of said, she was like, yeah, I think it’s, I should have gone. I should have gone. And we just sometimes just let those thoughts get in. So that’s kind of a couple of things that I would encourage people to do.

Moira: I think that’s powerful, especially when you move into adulthood and even into middle adulthood. Yeah. Remembering to shed those thoughts that aren’t yours. I had someone tell me right out of grad school, it was my second job. And they said, you’re, you were overpaid in your first job. You should never have made that much. Now I’m a teacher in the us, which is not the same Now. It’s very, yes. And I let that stay with me. And it shifted the decisions I made for almost 10 years.

Amy: Wow. Yeah.

Moira: Because it wasn’t my thought, I thought I was worth more of, I thought my education, my experience was worth more, but I let that one person tell me, yeah, you’re not worth it.

Amy: Yeah, Exactly. And it could be like parents, it could be one, you know, one person, one thought or one thing that stays with you. And I think it’s the first thing is like recognizing it and, you know, and seeing it, and then like, kind of trying to let it go and put other thoughts into there that are true. Yeah.

Moira: So when kind of taking that a step further health coaches tend to be really passionate, not only about health and wellness, but they also want to do good in the world.

Amy: Yeah.

Moira: So it just kind of goes with the whole, the whole schema of health and wellness. We want to do good. We want to be able to help communities here and abroad be healthier so that they can meet their full potential so that they can take care of all of those things they want to do, that they can live their vision. So what kind of advice do you have for someone who wants to this passion with doing more good in the world while still finding their way in a career?

Amy: Yeah. So I would, I think there’s, there’s two things that you can do. And this is something that I learned in kind of growing our nonprofit that I think you can adapt to business or whoever it may, it seems. But I think number one is like, first of all, like getting clear on your message and what you do and how you want to help.

So understanding that fully. Cause I know when we started our non-profit, we, we were kinda all over the place. Like we were, you know, we helping with health, we were helping with all these different things, but we were really putting a bandaid on things and not making long-term sustainable change. And even in that too, our, our messaging was all over the place.

Do you know what I mean? Like it’s like when you spoke to somebody and I shared what I did, people were like, kinda like, oh, but what do you do? And I was like, well, that’s not clear. And it’s like, so I think it’s important to know what you stand for and know what you are. So your messaging is clear, so whatever you’re doing, people understand it and they can then share what you’re doing in your message with other people. It becomes easier for them to, to share it to others.

Moira: That ripple effect.

Amy: Exactly. Yeah. So I think number one is like getting clear on that and what your mission is or what your goal is and where you’re going towards and break it down into easier words.

And then the other thing that I encourage people is all like it’s community. And, you know, we have all these things that we want to do and it’s it’s, we work better and like re like my husband says, and like, we both agree. It’s like, you work better together. So, and like we said, at the start, you don’t have to start a whole new thing. And like, maybe you find a community that relates to you or is lined in the same values and you jump on board with them and you help. But I know with me and my, the charity that we started, you know, we are better together because I’m community led, like I’m not there to go into our villages and change it by any means, like we’re there to work alongside a community and do more good together and learn from each other and create these last, the schools that will last forever. So it’s like doing that partnership. So I think it’s definitely number one is like making sure your message is clear. So when you’re sharing it, everybody understands what you do and what your vision is, and it’s easy to interpret it.

And then people going to share it. And then the second thing is just, you know, looking at the community around you and, and learning to how can we work together or how can you work with someone else to create more change or to create a bigger impact or to share your business further,

Moira: That, that idea of partnership and collaborating that’s so strong. One of the things we talk, we talk about in health coaching is that there’s no pushing, pulling, tripping, or shoving someone into change. You need to walk alongside them to be a partner.

Amy: Yeah. And be a partner. And I think oftentimes it’s where people get stuck is like, there’s nothing wrong with partnering with people or working together with someone, because I think you can, you know, a good team effort is of, and you’d get so much further than like trying to trudge it through and do it yourself all the time. Yeah.

Moira: So, so what do you do then when you have this desire to do more good, but you want it to be more than a small gesture. You’re ready to kind of take that next step, but oh my goodness. Having a global nonprofit. Ooh. That’s so far out of reach mentally, where do you take actions so that you don’t get stuck in that feeling of overwhelm that uncertainty from small gestures that I feel really good about, but I’m ready to step it up.

Amy: Yeah. So first of all, like I said, I love small gestures. I’m a huge believer in like, please, and thank you then, like, it’s the littlest thing that can make such a difference. And like some people come to us with the charity and like, oh, I don’t have enough funds to donate for school or, you know, whatever it may be. And it’s, to me, it’s like every dollar counts, but more importantly than that, those little gestures that are verbally sent the sharing of the non-profit or working together are worth just as much as donation. So those small things do matter. And I love those small things. And I think for getting it to the next level, it’s, you know, identifying like at the same with your messaging, it’s like identifying what it is that you can do.

So it’s like, okay, so say that they’re interested in like, you know, food or whatever it may be. It’s, it’s spending the time just to research a few organizations that are doing similar things that you’ve wanted to do, and then reach out to them and putting, just doing a zoom chat, doing a zoom chat with somebody that you’ve, you know, that’s doing what you want to do, because there’s probably guarantee there’s somebody out there doing something similar. Maybe not totally exactly the same, but similar to what you want to do and reaching out to them and jumping on a zoom call and just chatting about it. And then going from there, it goes back to those little things like you ha you just have to move because at the moment, it’s probably an idea in your head and it’ll stay an idea in your head until you start to like, navigate how you’re going to make that idea, come to fruition or bring it to life. And when I started my nonprofit or started my other businesses, like I can sit in the basement all day long and think about like, you know, what I could do or how I could do it, or all these different ways, but you just have to put one step in front of the other. And I would encourage, like, if you, if you’re listening or if you’re listening and, you know, kind of what you want to do, do some research and look at other organizations that are already doing what you want to do. Join a board.

You can even join a board to sit on for a nonprofit or a board of a business, or just get, get involved. I think physically moving your body to a different spot and helping is, is a huge, a huge thing. Like, you know, being in Kenya for me is like, I love it. And I miss it so much with COVID I’m going to have a chance to get over, but I think actually physically doing something towards what you want to do can then maybe, sometimes maybe you’ll realize you don’t want to do it. And there’s nothing wrong with that too, because I think some people think like, oh, I was so passionate about that. This is what I need to do, but sometimes like you can get into it and you could realize like, oh man, I really don’t want to do this anymore. And that’s okay. You’re just kind of go back and then try something else. And then that little thing could lead to something else which then leads to something else and so forth.

So it’s yeah. It’s but I think, I think what women and men have to do is, you know, you have to be intentional and you really do have to take the time to sit down and share your thoughts with your spouse or with a loved one or whatever you’re going to do, but take the time to do it. And what I often like to do with Stu and I, we do it every year is we go to a hotel naughty and we just have room service and we plan, or we dream, or we scheme, or like, you know, what we want to do in this little things. But I think it’s important to, you know, go somewhere where you can think about that and, and be really intentional about taking the time. And because I don’t think that’s, I think that’s one of the biggest fallbacks is a lot of people push that to the side and they don’t acknowledge it to take the time to really think about, you know, what are you passionate about? Like, what do you want to do? Because before we know it, we go from like, you know, 30 to 40 to 50, and all of a sudden, maybe those passions or dreams that you really wanted to do when you were 20, maybe you’re 60 now, and you can’t do them as well.

Because I mean, we know we all want to fight aging, but at the same time your body is going on, he does change. So I think it’s just, you know, taking that time to acknowledge that and to look out for it.

Moira: I love that concept of, you know, taking time away. You guys don’t do this at your house now there’s laundry and there’s kiddos and there’s the, oh, there’s dust all over that. Maybe I should have, I should just go wipe that down real quick.

Amy: Yeah. Or I, I always used to, when I was teaching and it came to report card time, I would always do the stainless steel appliances and my stainless steel appliances would look so great. Hm. My husband can come into the kitchen.

What are you procrastinating about now when he sees me cleaning, cleaning the stainless steel.

Amy: Yeah. That’s funny. Yeah. It’s funny what we do, right. But it’s, you do really have to take the time to do that

Moira: Stepping away. And one other thing that I heard you say was to, you know, kind of put yourself out there and get involved with boards, get, you know, set up those zoom calls. And one thing you said at the beginning of our call today was you had a little bit of that self doubt creep in right before you hit let’s go.

Amy: Yeah. Oh exactly.

Moira: And we have to remember to say, okay, it’s there, but this is not going to take over.

Amy: Yeah. And I think, I think that’s, I think I was listening to, I think it was Brooke Castillo’s podcast. She was talking about this too. And how, you know, it’s too often, many people are trying to completely vanish it and get rid of it, but it’s like, it’s, it will always kind of be there. It’s just like managing it and acknowledging it and having strategies that you can use to, to put it away or to reframe it or to think differently. But yeah, I’m a full believer, like you said, in, in getting away, getting somewhere to think about it, because when you’re in a different kind of inspiring place to you, I dunno, you begin to maybe think differently or you think about the possibilities for sure.

Moira: Some of those other weights are gone for just for the moment. It’s not that they’re gone, but they’re gone for the moment and you have a little bit more brain space, brain power to think about the possibilities when you do that.

Amy: Absolutely.

Moira: So you now have village impact. We’ve talked about it. It it’s a movement of change. My goodness. Can you tell me just a little bit more about where you are right now with village impact?

Yeah. Yeah. So, so we have a small team in Kenya and then so how our organization works is that we build schools. So we’re building our 15th now, which will be our girls school and all the proceeds from my book, passion of purpose that I have been able to see on this little shelf up there, go, go to the girls school.

And so how we work is when donations come in, we build the school, but we also partner with the government. So all of our schools that are built and now we have, I think it’s close to 5,000 kids that are going through the schools, but we up here partner with the government. So if Stu and I were to walk away today, the schools would still run. They would still, they wouldn’t really notice anything for change. There might be a few things cause we do do different extracurricular activities that we kind of take ownership on. But the everyday running of the school is all run by the government. So the government funds the teachers, they do what the curriculum like it’s, it’s all, it’s very partner, community led. And I, I’m a big believer in that. And I’m, I’m proud of how we’ve run that and put that together in our partnerships. So, yeah, we’ve got 15 working on our 15th school and then we have a little team in Kenya that my staff that’s been with me for like, oh my goodness, like five years, six years. So we have five teams on the ground and then we partner with another NGO. That’s run by a lovely named lady named Irene. And since 10 years ago, I’ve been, I sent her the funds through our organization and then she helps distribute them for me. But what I love about her and what she still does to this day is she sends me a spreadsheet back down to the penny of like where everything’s gone.

And she is a lean machine. It comes to bargaining. Like she will get the best price for nails or what, or whatever it is to get the best price. So she sends me spreadsheets back and she has a staff as well. And she’s also, what’s crazy is she helps a lot of nonprofits. I think we’re the biggest one that she works with.

But she, she also is a, she’s a really savvy business woman. And she’s actually the, the most successful avocado exporter out of Kenya. Like she, and she’s got a jewelry business, like she’s like this amazing.

Moira: She is on top of it.

Amy: woman that is like, got everything down. Like she has multiple businesses, but her heart, her true heart is then she loves her business. But is it alongside of mine and the values of like giving back in the community and she’s built these wonderful relationships with the community and government, which in partnership with us that has allowed us to do what we do today. Oh, wow. Really lucky to have her and our team in Kenya. And then I have a couple of staff here in north America that have, have been helping me too. So.

Moira: So you really ha really have that movement of change where you have people abroad, you have people everywhere kind of working toward this similar vision of education and really making sure that the possibilities are there for kids who previously didn’t have that possibility.

Amy: Yeah. And a big thing for me and with you being a teacher as well. I think it’s like for us, why we chose to focus in down on education is that, you know, education is kind of like that gift no one can ever take away. So it’s like, they’ll always have that gift no matter what happens of going through school. And then it has that a ripple effect where, you know, it helps the family, it helps the communities. And then what I love is the schools become hubs. And they now they’re used for a lot of the mamas to meet in the communities and they have meetings there and like all, and our first school that we built many years ago, they’ve got almost like a strip mall by the school where it’s like, there’s a little cafe and there’s someone that’ll cut hair.

And like, so it creates this hub of like community and, you know, a place for people to come and share. And, and that the way our principals take care of the schools again, is all run through the government. But they, you know, they all have their own style and how they do it. And that’s really fun to watch too.

Moira: It’s amazing. And it just, it drives home the point we’re better together, right? When we can create those hubs, that community, those interactions, we are so much better together. And I get goosebumps. When you talk about education as the gift that no one can take away from You.

Amy: Okay. No, and I, and it’s, yeah. There’s so many guests with education. It’s like the education itself, but then like you said, it’s the relationships that come from education. It’s the friendships, it’s the things that you learned that then can be taken on to somebody else and their family and have the ripple effects like we talked about. Yeah.

Moira: Oh, I cannot tell you enough. How, how guiding your words in the book are for really digging deep and working through the mindset piece of this that can keep us separated from our passions and our purpose. I already have so many sticky notes in my copy. I just keep going back and brainstorming those action steps and thinking about, you know, where, where to go next. So I’ve got to know, as you were writing this book, it was a labor of love. It took a couple of years. What was the most meaningful part of it for you?

Amy: Yeah know, it definitely was a labor of love. I never kind of, I didn’t have a book on my vision board at all, which is crazy. I know some people like want to be writers since they were little. Right. I think my daughter will write a book one day cause she actually loves, it was like, she really loves writing, but for me like going back, well, first of all, I wrote it because I had so many women and men come back after speaking on stage about the charity, about, you know, wanting this whole thing of like, oh, I can’t start a nonprofit or I, I don’t have that much money to do this. And my big mission with a book is like, just to do more good in the world and that you don’t have to start a nonprofit. Like you can do more good in the world today with what you have. So that was like my reasoning for writing it.

But definitely going back through and being in these stories that you’ve read of, like are not only like the charity stuff, but starting the relationships that started building or other businesses and, you know, following those passion steps, you, you don’t realize in the time that they were big moments. Like, so that was to go back and identify, you know, five or six things that, you know, were crucial in my turning point in careers, in my career. And that it was interesting just to sit in that space a little longer, because I think oftentimes we, I mean, you’re probably similar to me and me. Maybe not, but like, you know, you get something that you want to do and you, and you get there and then you do it and then you’re onto the next thing. And like, I’m like that way with travel too, where it’s like, I get one trip out. I’ve already got the five next trips. My husband’s like Amy, like just like enjoy her at, but I’ve always, he’s kind of been driven like that. But so it was really emotional for me to go back in some ways, like sharing that story of our adoption with Sam and like even reading the audio book I was tearing up now, like at took me so many tries. And I still think if you were to listen to the audio, when it comes out, right, you can hear the emotion, my voice and the guy’s like, do you want me to, do you want to do it too tomorrow?

I’m like, no, cause it’ll be the same tomorrow. Like I just have to do it. And it’s like, so you can, it’s going back and visiting those, like turning points was refreshing, but also emotional. And like, you know, it was, that was the hardest I think for me that way. But yeah, you just, I just don’t think you realize, I didn’t realize the possibility when I was in that moment, but then when you look back, you you’re like, wow, that was like a turning moment because I look at it now and I’m like, there’s, there’s just so much opportunity. Like there’s so much opportunity with what can come from your passion. If you’re, if you allow yourself to, you know, follow it or allow yourself to like take that class or talk to a person on zoom or, you know, follow it, or even like the, the whole theme of the book of like just giving back. And because we all, I all believe that we want to do good in this world. Like I all believe that we all do.

And that can be as simple as a please and a thank you to, you know, naming a building, which is great, but it’s, it’s all the little actions that we take at the end of the day that are so important. So I feel like I Just rambled, sorry.

Moira: No, you didn’t. Those little actions all fill up and no, and honestly your emotion and your heart shines through in the book, because I’ve had an opportunity to hear both you and Stu speak in the past. I sat down, it was like coming home to another conversation with you.

Amy: Oh, that’s awesome. Well, that’s, that’s really great to hear. It was, yeah, it was, it was definitely interesting, but really like really lost them the same time. Like I said, just really refreshing. And then, you know, I mean, I kind of learned from myself as I was going back and like what I, some of the things in directions that I had took and then going back to that moment and using some of those things that I know I did. And then, and then combining them with what I know now, like 10 years later, it’s like, you know, it’s like different, it’s different that way as you get older, I guess you learn More.

Moira: All right. So thank you so much. I know we’re getting to the end of our time together, but as we kind of get ready to wrap up, do you have any last words of wisdom just for someone getting started down their passion path, they’re saying, oh my gosh, it’s time. I need to really focus on this.

Amy: Yeah. Well obviously number one would be got, I would get my book, passion and purpose. Absolutely. But it’s, it’s, you know, it’s just honoring that exactly thing that you said is like, you know, it’s, it’s digging deep and finding just, I just find one thing, you don’t have to change everything. Just, I just want women to know that, you know, you can have all these things, but you’ve got to identify one thing and you’ve got to be consistent with it. And if it’s anything, just revisit something and pick something and sprinkle it in and just start that way and just, yeah, go back to that thing that you’ve kind of put on the table or push away or said, oh, I used to do that, but I don’t do it anymore, but why, why, like, why don’t you do it anymore? Because you still could probably for weather thinking.

Moira: Yeah. That’s such a, such a good reminder to us to take that step back. And even if we’re busy as moms, life never stops going. Right. But we have to stop

Amy: You have to stop. And I’m a big believer this, and I share this in my book too, where, you know, I, I want my daughter, like, you know, for those of us that have children, like I want my daughter to see what’s possible by life for her life, by watching where she’s watching me live mine. And like, I tell her to dream big and think of the can do anything like all, like we all do, but if you’re not, or if I’m not showing up and doing what I am walking, the talk that I’m sharing with her and putting myself on stages where I absolutely do not overly enjoy.

It’s very uncomfortable for me, even all this stuff, the book, but I’ve got to show her that, you know, she’s watching me in and other kids. And we, I think oftentimes people, they don’t realize like yourself, like you’re inspiring people every day and you never know who you’re going to help or what, one thing that you say just by you following your passion or doing good or, or whatever it may be can lead. Right. And a, from my kids, but for other people that are out there, I hope they just get encouraged because it can change lives. Like you can change your life and change lives you don’t even know about because you’re leading by example.

Moira: Absolutely. Oh, Amy, thank you so much for your open and honest conversation, your insights, your vulnerability in the book, passion to purpose. I just keep, I’ve only had it for a short while. I just keep grabbing it. It’s one of those things that I reach for in the morning, because I just want to read a little bit of it. And when I go to bed, I want to read a little bit of it. And those difficult times in the middle of the day, I pick it up and come back to it. And so I know that my listeners are going to want to grab a copy of their own. Yeah. How can they do that? What’s the best way.

Amy: So if you go to passion to purpose book.com, I’m on there. I do have, like you mentioned earlier, I have a, if you purchase one book, you get the bonus of the whole passion planner that I’ve created. So it goes back to creating that passion timeline. I put it in a calendar I’ve made it like super easy for people to organize it. So there’s the passion that there, we also have an opportunity if you wanted to buy bulk we’ve, which I’m super excited about. We have bookmarks made by some of our Kenyan mamas and our communities that are part of our bulk purchases. If you’re interested in that. And there’s various other bonuses within that page too. So yes. Passionate purpose book.com is where you can find it. And of course on Amazon and Barnes and noble. But if you want the cool bonuses and it’s probably a passionatetopurposebook.com.

Moira: Absolutely. And how can we connect with you on social media?

Amy: Yes. So you can follow me on Amy down. McLaren. It’s so funny can sit down with my maiden name. So I’m always in there, Amy Dow, McLaren, and then on, we have village impact Instagram as well. Of course. So those would be the two main channel.

Moira: Perfect. And I will link those in the show notes so that it is easy. Just one click away, make it super simple. Thank you for sharing your words of wisdom and taking time today. I appreciate it. I appreciate you sharing your experiences and ideas. So willingly and open openly. Really? I know it’s been a labor of love, a good one, but certainly it’s a good one. It’s a good one. I wish you all the best. I cannot wait to see the stories of the girls being supported by this book, by your foundation and all that. They will all the possibilities that they will now have because you stepped outside your comfort zone and said, I need to do more. I need to do good. And I need to do this.

Amy: Aw, thank you so much. Well, it’s been great talking to you. I really appreciate the time and sharing the message about the book.

Moira: Absolutely. Thank you so much.

~Moira

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