An INNER VIEW with Acclaimed Concert Performer, Transformative Speaker and Houston Influence Women Chapter Director, Jade Simmons

An INNER VIEW with Acclaimed Concert Performer, Transformative Speaker and Houston Influence Women Chapter Director, Jade Simmons

BIO

Jade Simmons is an internationally acclaimed creator of transformational experiences designed to activate audiences into becoming the biggest boldest version of themselves possible. The world-class concert artist is also the CEO of Jade Media Global, a revolutionary live experience and global content distribution company specializing in 360 degrees of personal development and strategic transformation. Nicknamed “Classical Music’s #1 Maverick” and named one of the Best Keynote Speakers year after year, her electrifying, genre-bending concert adventures span Beethoven all the way to rap and include virtuoso storytelling, uncommon insights, and boundless inspiration. Her musical career has seen her performing in recitals and with orchestras in renowned concert halls, including the hallowed ones of the White House and the U.S. Supreme Court. Today, Jade’s experience not only delights concert audiences, but her dazzling, high-impact presentations are fast becoming the go to fuel for the world’s superlative brands and organizations from financial services to biotech, to entertainment, education, energy, and beyond. Companies such as Nationwide, Hershey’s, NBC Universal, Zillow, QuickBooks, and Raytheon bring Jade in to power up their most important resource…their people.

Jade is an ordained minister, creator of a dynamic coaching communiverse for visionary women of faith called Designer Growth Club, and the author of Audacious Prayers for World Changers and Purpose the Remix. She took her most audacious turn in 2020 as the founder of Operation Restoration, which powered her run as an Independent candidate for President of the United States.

 

INNER VIEW

Kathleen Cooke: People often think artist careers just take off like rockets. Has it been for you, and what have you learned about a successful career?

Jade Simmons: Don’t wait around to be discovered. Discover yourself instead. God has front-loaded us with purpose, mystery, surprise, delight, and ever-evolving identity. We get to go through life on a perennial scavenger hunt to find out more about who we are in Him. I’ve learned that if we are not careful over time, we start allowing our goals to define us. We might let other people’s achievements change our direction, or we wait on others (as well as jobs, titles, and roles) to tell us who we should be. I personally like to spend time taking Revelation Walks, where I simply ask God, “Who am I in this season?” and “What do you want me to know now?”. You can ask these questions in relation to your art, your talent, your productions, and your projects. I’m never disappointed and always blown away by the discovery!

Kathleen: A life as an artist is one of constant uncertainty. How have you broken through that fear?

Jade: In a conversation about my tendency to leap fast when I sense the voice of God, my sister said to me: “You’re not just a leaper, you’re a free-faller in faith!” The biggest smile came across my face because I am so proud of that part of my identity. Today, I teach other visionary women how to get a little quicker with their jumps, leaps, and free falls where faith is concerned. I’ve learned that God rarely spells out the whole plan at the beginning, so you might as well take the first step so you can get on with the next one. And, it never fails that when I simply pick my foot up in the new direction, He begins to reveal more about what’s coming next. Secondly, I expect the things that are being revealed in my quiet time to start appearing in reality. So, when they do, I trust I can say yes to what’s being presented. Lastly, I also trust that if I make a wrong move, God will show me and help me make a new move or extract myself if need be.

Kathleen: Today, our identity is being attacked like never before. What has God taught you about embracing your identity in Him?

Jade: I truly believe God has created us to be extraordinarily unique beings made in His inimitable image. Nevertheless, we live in a society that prizes conformity on many levels. Especially in the case of survival (personally, professionally, physically, financially, and emotionally), conformity proves safest. Ultimately, those of us determined to get down to what I call our “Factor of 1” are in for a lifestyle of risk-taking. Impactful uniqueness looks like harnessing all of our gifts, skills, personality, and abilities to be used in the direction of purpose, for the good of many, often in ways that are different than what the world has seen previously. In doing so, we will likely buck against the status quo, move opposite the crowd at some point, and combine things that were once thought not to go together. More scarily, we will not be guaranteed of the outcome on this side of the action! But, when we risk moving like a maverick and we see the impact we have on an expanded and unlikely audience BECAUSE we took the risk, it gets a little easier the next time…and the next. My own career is one of lots of Divine detours, zagging when others were zigging, and daring to bring seemingly disparate concepts (music, businesses, or even people) together. When we look back on our lives and careers, we see that what was really happening was that we were not just doing new things or living through new situations. Instead, we were becoming more of our fullest selves in the process, our most unique identities.

Kathleen: Finally, our culture is driven to be influential today. What’s the one thing you’ve learned about being an influence?

Jade: Influence is happening whether we intend it to or not…so we might as well be intentional with it. I believe we each have a unique type of influence and a unique way of being able to influence. It’s pointless to imitate other influencers unless, of course, we are talking about Jesus, a worthy model. Remarkably, He was committed to His mission and His ministry, but He did not obsess over whether or not people were following! He was not constantly looking back to see if he was becoming popular! He simply focused on being who He was called to be, doing what He was called to do. His fruit created the following. As a highly ambitious person who can devolve into hyper-competitive thinking and overanalyze analytics, Jesus’s example of influence is the best reminder of the posture we should take.

Learn more about Jade’s audacious journey at jadesimmons.com as she takes the baton as the new Influence Women Chapter Director in Houston, Texas. Join her as she and the outstanding Houston IW team grow and create a “transformative experience” at each event.

An INNER VIEW with Beth Townsend

An INNER VIEW with Beth Townsend

How can you wisely discern what to give your ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to? It can feel like a tightrope of expectations and motivations, but Baton Rouge Chapter Director and award-winning television show host Beth Townsend makes it simple. Read this month’s INNER VIEW as she dives into what it means to find your purpose!

BIO

Beth is an author, speaker, award-winning TV show host, and purpose coach. On her own at 17 years old, Beth had no choice but to go to work. Starting as a property manager in Virginia, she climbed the corporate ladder and became a young executive working as VP of Operations for a real estate company in Atlanta. Beth kept asking one question, “How did you know your purpose?” The depth of the question led her on a spiritual journey which led her to becoming a purpose life coach, writing an award-winning book, Life on Purpose, and her award-winning TV show, Life on Purpose. “Purpose is a mindset where passion lives, faith thrives, and God’s will is accomplished in the life of every Believer.”

Beth is excited to be leading Influence Women Baton Rouge as the chapter director, which launches on January 27th. You can find out more about Beth at bethtownsend.com, where she is changing the world one story at a time!

INNER VIEW 

Kathleen Cooke: We are thrilled that you will be leading Influence Women Baton Rouge’s chapter group. Your driving focus in your life is for women to know their purpose. What’s the one thing that you want to tell women about finding their purpose?

Beth Townsend: To ask and answer this question: Who Are You? We are human beings, not human doings. If you know who you are, you’ll always know what to do. Learning to have a strong sense of identity is a learned skill based on the knowledge of who God says we are, not who we ‘feel’ we are or who others say we are. Once we dig deep into our sense of who God created us to be apart from the roles and relationships, we learn that a better me means a better we. The me affects all the we’s! A life of purpose is the result of a strong sense of self. Do you like yourself? Are you for you? God has a plan and a purpose for your life.

Kathleen: You’re constantly juggling speaking, writing, and hosting your TV show. What have you learned about prioritizing your time to make it all happen?

Beth: One of the purpose principles that I live by is to ‘know my “nots.” Many people do a little bit of a lot of things, mostly in the pursuit of trying to ‘find’ purpose, and they are afraid that they will miss that one big thing. This leads to confusion as opposed to clarity. “Where are you, God?” We will often have to say no to people to say yes to God. “No, thank you” is a complete sentence. Colossians 3:23 is quick to clear up confusion. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” Before we say yes to anything, we need to honestly ask ourselves, “Will I do this for the Lord?” And with excellence? Give it all I’ve got? Otherwise, it’s a not. We are not called to mediocrity ever. Your commitments must reflect that commitment to the Lord. He gets only our best.

Kathleen: We are living more and more in a world of uncertainty. How have you learned to break through the fear and go for it?

Beth: Better voices lead to better choices. If I’m not hearing from God, I’m listening to the wrong voices. Certainly, others can add wisdom and offer encouragement. God just used to be one of the opinions that factored into my decisions, and I was about running in circles. Been there, done that, and didn’t like it. We live in a loud and noisy world where everyone has an opinion. Don’t fall for the noise. God planted within us all we need to be us. We seek Him, and then others can add. He made us and knows us, and He must be allowed to lead us. “Seek first his Kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you.” Matthew 6:33. If we don’t put our firsts first, what follows will be frustration and a lack of understanding of who God is and, therefore, who we are.

Kathleen: God tells us to go and be an influence in the world. Why is this important?

Beth: I’ve been interviewing people since 2001, many well-known. Athletes, politicians, celebrities, and ordinary people who are doing extraordinary things. Not one of them ever asked for anything in return; they simply wanted to share their story for God’s glory. We can change the world, one story at a time, but we must be willing to share that story. To do that effectively in today’s soundbite world, we plan and prepare for that magical moment. How? We do what movie producers and book editors do: we edit and edit some more! Start with a defining moment, and fill in the blanks. Sharing your story starts with preparing your story. I once heard a professional editor say, “No one wants to hear your life story.” That is true, but I’ve since learned a valuable lesson on timing. “While no one wants to hear your life story, everyone wants to hear how your life story can help their life story right now today.” With the advancement of technology, we are all influencers! Be ready. Share your story for God’s glory, but take time to do so with excellence.

Will 2024 Be A Year of Procrastination or Fortitude?

Will 2024 Be A Year of Procrastination or Fortitude?

I love writing, producing an award-winning program, or hosting a great event that nourishes souls. But it is often agonizing getting there. I know the destination, but the journey of getting there never stops being challenging. I have a beast inside me that occasionally rears its head, hissing that I’m not good enough, not worthy, and blowing flames of ensuing failure at me if I awaken it. This beast can wake me up in the middle of the night, prompting me to avoid the pain of attempting what God says I can do – “all things.” I end up in the pit of procrastination while watching others from the sidelines instead of doing the hard work to move forward.

Procrastination is a form of anxiety and fear. 

Judson Brewer, a psychiatrist, neuroscientist, and the author of “Unwinding Anxiety: New Science Shows How to Break the Cycles of Worry and Fear to Heal Your Mind,” said in a WSJ article, “Procrastination is a distraction. Anxiety triggers procrastination, especially for perfectionists, because we worry our solution to the problem won’t be good enough. Procrastination feels better than being anxious or trying to come up with a solution.”

No one wants to live in pain, so we stop moving forward to avoid failure and suffering. Procrastination holds us back. But it is a mindset that can be broken. God is a forward moving God who wants us to go forward and trust Him. Throughout the Bible, in story after story, God reminds us to make decisions on His Kingdom’s purposes and His will. We may not be good enough yet, but we can do “all things through Him who strengthens us” (Philippians 4:13). The issue is whether we are fully engaged and aligned with Him and His will, or are we just running to Him with our willful desires when fear sets in.

Our mind needs to be sound and calm when we are anxious so we don’t lose sight of the road in front of us. It’s a choice. When we only focus on the pain and not God’s promise to be with us through the struggles, we freeze and procrastinate. The squeaky wheel (our pain and fear) is heard, but the wheel isn’t broken. It’s still going around. Our job is to keep going forward; in time and with God’s guidance, we will prevail. The Bible tells us that we are to be “anxious for nothing” and to take our requests (not demands) to God (Philippians 4:6-7). He will empower us and find solutions to the squeaky wheel if we stay connected to His will, which may not turn out the way we planned. It’s a message I have had to be reminded of again and again and why my quiet time with God is essential.

Want to break through the fear and learn how to gain fortitude in 2024? 

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines fortitude as “strength of mind that enables a person to encounter danger and bear pain or adversity with courage.” In the world we live in today, we need fortitude and the strength to face the oncoming cultural winds that often bring pain and suffering. We need to take on the “mind of Christ” living within us. This year focus on where God is taking you. We are to “walk by faith and not sight” (II Corinthians 5:7). Kingdom purpose must be at the forefront of all we do, both for our families and for our careers. This year will you watch from the sidelines or push forward?

God’s on the journey with you, so trust Him to be there. Let’s roll!

An INNER VIEW with Stylist Alaina Griffin

An INNER VIEW with Stylist Alaina Griffin

BIO

Alaina is an LA-based wardrobe stylist with more than five years of experience in personal, commercial, and editorial styling. Passionate about turning concepts into reality, Alaina specializes in putting together essential pieces that elevate her clients’ personal brand and tell a visual story. She is currently a stylist for Nordstrom at The Grove. As a freelance stylist and consultant, Alaina is happiest when she is bringing ideas scribbled on paper and images posted on a vision board to life for others to experience – her version of art.

INNER VIEW

Kathleen Cooke: Fear. It is saturating our lives with wars, strikes, and ongoing uncertainties. What has God taught you about dealing with fear?

Alaina Griffin: One thing that God has recently taught me came from a dream. In the dream, it was dark, and I was walking to my vehicle. An overwhelming sense of fear and of being lost swept over me. Suddenly, all the lights around me went out. I fell on the ground in crippling fear, unable to move. After some time, I realized that an electrical outage did not cause the darkness around me and in front of me, but because my eyes were closed. I started praying to God that my eyes would be opened. This struggle caused me to wake up from my dream.

What was God revealing? To move forward, we must pray, as Paul prayed in Ephesians 1:18, that God opens our Spiritual Eyes so that we can confidently know and understand God’s WORD and God’s WILL. This enlightenment will transform our walk with God and change how we navigate waiting seasons, tough decisions, life lessons, trials, and triumphs to get to the blessings and promises of the Lord. Finally, spiritual sight causes us to seek God in order to capture in the Spirit what is not yet manifested on Earth. Spiritual sight activates us to speak by faith into existence what is seen, not by the natural eye. The Word God gave me to share is: See it so that you can seize it (even by force if necessary). With this, we are powerful, and all things become possible.

Kathleen: We are living in an increasingly competitive world. Our ambition to succeed can often overpower us, and we can make bad choices. How have you learned to wait on God’s perfect timing and will?

Alaina: Ambition is a topic that is definitely an issue in the town we live and work in – Hollywood. As believers of Christ, we can get swept up in chasing ambition and dreams if we’re not mindful and rooted in God. We must remember that we are IN the world and not OF this world. We are called to infuse and push God’s culture into this world. To do this, we must do as it says in Matthew 6:33: see first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (ways of doing things). The ways of the Lord are and will always be contrary to the way of the world, which measures success in riches and the number of followers, titles, and degrees a person has.  When we seek God daily and trust Him, He will help us to navigate through each day in our professional careers. Sometimes it is a waiting season, and sometimes it is a “go now moment!” God must be the One speaking and leading, not ambition, society, vanity, or cultural pressures.

Kathleen: Many women today are struggling with an identity crisis. What has God taught you about being unique and finding peace in who He says you are, not what the world wants to define you as?

Alaina: I have found that people in this town suffer particularly from identity crises. I have encountered people who are always “ON”- in character, preparing for the next role. As children of God, the Bible makes it clear that we are special – a royal priesthood, 1 Peter 2:9. We are fearfully and wonderfully made, Psalms 139:14, and set apart, Deuteronomy 14:2. God invested time in creating and forming each person to fulfill the plan He has laid out at the beginning of time for Kingdom advancement. How do we find peace and come to know who God called us to be? One way is through our proximity to others- community. Groups like Influence Women, with other like-minded women on similar journeys, will help God’s calling for our lives to become clearer. The other way is through our proximity to God – intimacy. As we grow closer to God, He shows us how to love. How to love Him, ourselves, and others. In loving ourselves, we see ourselves and value ourselves as God sees and values us.

Kathleen: God tells us to Go. To be an influence in all the world. Why is that essential?

Alaina: When Jesus left His disciples, He gave a mandate that echoed throughout the generations, and it was to make disciples of men. As believers, we all have been given a mandate to lead others to Christ and into a deeper relationship. We were created and called to be leaders in this world- influencers. Matthew 5:13 tells us that we are the salt of the earth. It then goes on to say in the next verse that you are the light of the world. As believers, we were created and formed to function as salt and as a light in the world. By its design- light cannot be hidden, and salt cannot not be salty. It is just not possible. We are called to be a light at our jobs, at home, on the subway, in line at the grocery store, and in neighborhoods.

Thanks to technology, we can go and be influencers around the world without leaving our homes. As God has freely given us life, purpose, identity, giftings, spiritual blessings, healing, deliverance, His Word, and so much more, how could we possibly not share the good news and our testimonies with others? Not operating as God’s light or salt causes us to have an identity crisis and creates frustration and feelings of hopelessness, meaninglessness, and restlessness in us. It creates God-size issues that only God can correct. Answering the mandate to go simply means allowing God to navigate our next move and to work through us so that we can become the answers God called us to be on earth.

Connect with Alaina:
Find out more about her work at: arashedastyling.com
Facebook and Instagram: @arashedaconsulting
TikTok: @arashedastyling

 Singleness or Marriage – Embracing Contentment

 Singleness or Marriage – Embracing Contentment

God’s plans for us are perfect. But somehow even though we know we can never fully accomplish perfection, knowing that we can’t attain it never stops us from trying. Most who are single want to be married. Yet most married couples, if they are truthful, often wish they could return to their days of singleness when life was less complicated and without the responsibility of a significant mate and added children.

Paul, the apostle, openly shares his thoughts on the cultural issues of his time, and what was best for him and his calling. In 1 Corinthians 7:25-38, Paul explains that he chose singleness as the most favorable choice for him because he believed marriage would divide his thoughts and responsibility. He made the argument that a single person only has to think about their engagement with God, but married couples must engage with God and also leave time for their spouse, thus requiring a division of focus.

We often hear that the opposite sex “completes” us. That isn’t true. God completes us. Our mates, if we have chosen well, complement us. The reality is that marital status is a label depicting a relationship. Couples in long and successful marriages must be secure in their relationship with God first and who they are in Him. They have learned that a spouse will never be able to fulfill perfect love and that only God can bring contentment and fulfill the desires of their hearts.

However, whether single or married, Paul reveals in Philippians 4:12 that we are to be contented in all circumstances. God’s purpose is for us to be in His will. He has a reason for you to be where you are at any given moment. His purpose and plans are perfect for you and will always be far superior. The world says we must follow a certain cultural agenda to be content. The truth is that lots of married people will become single again through various life issues. We are born as an individual into the world, and we will leave single.

Pew research reports that 30 percent of U.S. adults admitted that they are not married, aren’t living with a partner, or aren’t engaged in a committed relationship. It went on to reveal that 63% of men in their twenties are single compared to only 34% of women. Men in their twenties, in fact, aren’t pursuing women as they once did because of the massive consumption of media that is now available to them, which diverts their attention. They are consumed by social media, porn, playing video games, or engaging in online sports gaming.

We often get ourselves “into a dither,” as my granny used to say. When we seek what the world says, we must follow it to be happy. Remember that the world can only bring shallow happiness, but Kingdom choices bring joy. Joy is rooted in our souls and in eternal promises with lasting security and peace in our lives. We will stay depressed, fearful, and emotionally distraught when we unwillingly wallow in our selfish choices. Both singleness and marriage are gifts – but different gifts, each packaged with different challenges and benefits. They both allow us to accomplish the purposes God has for us, and that fact, not whether we are single or married, is what will bring our ultimate joy.