Episode 16: Hardship is Never Wasted

In this episode, I give you some of my biggest business takeaways from my two-week journey over to Kenya Africa, and what happened when a business snafu happened while I was thousands of miles away.

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Full Transcript:

Hey everyone, this is Julie, I’m back. I have been gone for the last two weeks in Kenya and I tried to batch my podcast episodes so that I would leave you with stuff while I was gone, but alas, I didn’t get as many done as I wanted. Today, this episode is a little different.

I want to just tell you about some of the things that happened to me in Kenya and some business lessons that I learned. And so I actually in my group, I have a membership community at createyourlaptoplife.com and every week I go live and I tell them stories and I answer questions. And somebody asked me what was the biggest takeaway from your trip to Kenya and how is that going to impact your life and your business? And there was a 20-minute response that I gave to her and so rather than rehash it here, I’d just like to share that with you.

So today’s podcast episode is actually an excerpt from my Q&A hour inside of my membership group createyourlaptoplife.com. Where I’m answering the question about the key takeaways I had from my two-week trip over to Kenya. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you can always go to my Instagram account @Juliechenell where I have all the highlights there. I also have a really long blog post I wrote about Kenya. I was there for both business and personal reasons to help build a school in a county in the [inaudible], Kenya. I also was there, you know, kind of as a personal thing for me to go experience another part of the world. I traveled with Russell Brunson and a bunch of people from ClickFunnels. Anyway, it was a completely transformational experience, so I’m gonna share with you this clip for today’s episode and as always, I appreciate you and thanks so much for listening.

Helen asked me this question. She says, what was your biggest takeaway from Kenya and how will you be applying it to business and your life? That is such a loaded question.

Many of you guys don’t know this about me, or maybe you do. But I got married at 21 and had three babies really, really fast. Which means when everybody else in my world was adulting and figuring out what they wanted to do with their life, I was nursing children and changing and in the swarms of motherhood.

So I graduated high school with a boyfriend, went to college with that same boyfriend, got married in college with that same boyfriend. Really didn’t have any space to do anything other than churn out babies. So going to Kenya was the first time since I was 18 years old because I only went away to school for one year, first time since I was 18-year-olds that I was without a husband, like in the vicinity without a spouse, without children and really without any work responsibilities.

So it was very, very, very uncomfortable for me because I have been very crowded with responsibility my entire life and so not only was it the first time in 17 years I had been alone for 10 days, it was also in a country on a continent that was completely foreign to me.

It was like I knew Dave and I knew Russell, right? Those were the two people I knew going on the trip. Everybody else was a complete stranger. And with the exception of two other people on the trip, everybody came as either a couple or a family. Right. So they had somebody that they were experiencing this brand new, very overwhelming situation with. There were two other people that I came to find out later had come on their own.

So that first night I was terrified. I was terrified to touch the water to do anything because the health clinic guy made me paranoid. I was like, the mosquitoes are going to give me malaria. I can’t take a shower. The guy gave me juice and I was like, I don’t know if I should have that juice.

And I just remember laying in my bed being like this was the dumbest idea ever. I have nobody to talk to. My SIM card wasn’t hooked up and it was really scary. The first, two or three days I barely ate, barely slept. I just felt so out of my element.

I have a pretty strong spiritual background. So for me, I think one of the biggest things that happened was that I had to dig deep and find my ability to talk to God again because it’s been a long time for me and. That was big. He was the only one I had. There was nobody else and as the trip went on, I developed relationships and friendships with people where I’ve started sharing those experiences and so there were other people that I could lean on and talk to and I got a SIM card finally. I was able to reach Alex and text him and talk to him and share with him my feelings. That first night was probably the scariest in the camp.

I think one of the things that I learned about it is that hardship is never wasted. And I would see these situations where there’s so much poverty and so much hardship and yet it was like I couldn’t decide if I wanted to take the hardship away or if I wanted to just be in awe of what the hardship produced.

And so for example, we had this gathering where we were opening the school and it was a two and a half hour presentation and the politicians were there and there was 200 children sitting in the hot sun paying attention for two hours. I was like, there’s no way in hell any American kid would sit here for two hours in the blazing hot sun without food, without drink, without any entertainment, no phones and pay attention.

Right. It would just be complete mayhem. People would be on their phones and get a snack. They need water, they need shade, they need this, that and the other thing. So I’m watching this and I’m in awe at these children and their ability to focus and so I’m like, I don’t know whether to be like, oh my gosh, this is so amazing. Or if I should be like, what kind of hardship do they endure on a daily basis that creates the kind of character needed to be in that situation as a six-year-old and handle it.

I don’t have the answer, but all I knew is I was watching this. I’m like, hardship is never wasted. A couple of days into the thing, I got word from on Voxer that my ad account… actually it was like an email that my ad account got shut down.

So here I am in the IDP camp and I’m looking at kids who come in and they have one meal a day. There’s this little three-year-old boy. He comes to the camp. I don’t even know where his mother is. I don’t see him eat or drink all day long. I don’t see an adult. And then he just leaves when it’s dark again. And I’m freaking out that my ad account got shut down because now I’ve got this huge business. I got all these expenses and my revenue goes from here, and it just tanks.

And I’m like okay, I can panic about this. There’s nothing I can do. I am abajillion miles away on a mountain somewhere or I can just remember that hardship is never wasted. And I’m so stupid because like who fucking cares that my ad account shut down because look at what I’m looking at, you know?

But in my world, an ad account being shut down is a really big deal. Right? It’s, you know, I’ve got, I’ve got bills to pay, I’ve got people to pay, I’ve got things I have to do.

But I just had that moment where I was like, I felt God say to me, “Julie, any hardship that you’ve come across, whether it’s personal hardship, relational hardship, physical hardship, no matter what, I’m not going to waste it.” And so to me that was like, okay, so then that means no matter what happens in the entrepreneurial journey, whether good stuff happens or bad stuff happens, it’s not going to be wasted.

So that was huge for me and I think I was able to then relax and be like alright, this freaking sucks. And so for you guys, you know, you don’t get a contract or a client gets really mad at you or your ad account gets shut down or something doesn’t go as planned and you’re just like, why me? Right? That’s your sensations. What did I do to deserve this? How do I fix it? Everybody else seems to have a perfect life, perfect business…

And it’s an opportunity. Every hard thing that happens becomes an opportunity and it becomes an opportunity to be bigger, to be better, to learn more. And as I watched that happen over and over and over again, I was like I wanted to take all the hardship away from the kids. I wanted to feed them and I wanted to do all those things and yet I was like that hardship wasn’t wasted in them.

And so that was a really big deal for me and that was probably my biggest takeaway. Definitely at the camp… right? Because the trip was divided into two sections and I would love to take you guys to this camp.

In fact, Stu and Amy at the end, By the way, Stu and Amy are like the most amazing humans in the world. I have never met people that are as awesome as these two people. So just Yay for them. They made a comment that they’re hoping that the donors who went on this trip will start to bring in their communities and so the Indaho community is where I was. So I told Stu and Amy I have a community, I can rally the troops. And so I think coming in the future, there may be some opportunity for us as a community to impact this community. Maybe even go to Kenya, which would be amazing.

So anyway, that was the camp part and the second half was a safari. The safari. So we went back, we got off the mountain, we went back to Nairobi. We spent a day in Nairobi doing touristy things, the market, the shops, all that kind of stuff.

And then the next morning we hopped on this little puddle jumper, in a 12 person plane and we flew an hour and landed in the Maasai Mara Reserve. The airport is dirt. It’s like a big square piece of dirt, you know what I mean? And the very first thing I noticed when I got off the plane was how quiet it was. No electricity, no streets, no lights, no cars, no nothing. It was just like, there’s nothing. I wish I could bottle up the silence and share it with you guys because it was the most profound silence. Very unnerving, very unnerving.

So we get to the camp. Camp is beautiful. I mean it’s like next level camping. I mean this is not camping like you think. It’s amazing. Right? But we go and they dropped me off in my tent. Right. And I’m in my tent alone so this is yet another experience where I’m like all alone and they’re telling me that I can’t leave my tent at night because there’s animals and it’s ungated and I need a guard and all this kind of stuff and I’m laying there and I hear this slap, slap, slap noise, what is that?

And I go outside and I look outside my tent and there’s a crocodile on the riverside, slopping…I didn’t know what it was, like some giant lizard trying to decapitate it. And I had no books with me. I didn’t bring my laptop, I had nothing and I was like, the only thing I can do is sit here and watch this crocodile decapitate its prey.

And for me who is workaholic extraordinaire. I didn’t even have anyone in my tent to talk to. It was so uncomfortable. I can’t even tell you. It was just like, what am I going to do? Like what? What do I do now? And so then I sat down and I was just. I had a piece of paper and a pen and I started journaling and so again, that was that, that eerie silence.

But then as I started to lean into it, the lack of choices was so freeing because there was only one thing you could do in that camp, right? It was talk to your people, which if you were in a group that was fine, but if you weren’t in the group, all you could do is just hang out with the animals. That was it. And so that created a tremendous amount of space for me to think, for me to figure out what I love, what I don’t love. It was an amazing experience.

The actual safari itself, I have always, always been attracted to animals, always my whole life. In fact, my mom, she read my blog post, she’s like, Julie, when you were little, you wouldn’t go on rides, you would always hang out with the animals. It didn’t matter how many dogs bit you or what, you never were afraid of animals. You were always afraid of other things.

And for those of you guys who don’t know, I struggle with anxiety. I have a tremendous amount of anxiety in my life. But there’s one area where I’m not afraid and animals I’m not afraid of animals. And I noticed that some other people were more nervous. That was one thing I wasn’t nervous about.

And so I don’t typically do anything with animals because it feels really frivolous because I’m just like, people need help more than animals. You know, I need to help my kids. I need to help my clients. Animals, you know, that just seems like a luxury to be able to help animals, you know. But when you go on safari and you see animals completely wild, it’s a spiritual experience that I don’t really know how to explain because it reminds you that life… when you release your white-knuckle grip on life, the world keeps working, right?

Right now, lions and elephants and giraffes, they’re just out doing their thing. They don’t need..they just are living who they are, their true north. Whoever they are, whatever their instincts are, whatever God gave them. They’re just doing it. They’re just existing. They’re just being.

And so that was… I felt in that moment for me that I felt God kind of touch down and be like, okay Julie, you see all these, they’re all just fine. They’re, you know, some days they have a great win, some days they don’t, but like they’re just being like, what about you? Do you know how to just be? I have no idea.

So it was an amazing experience to just be, to just sit and be and to let that, that passion that I have for wildlife kind of come back because I was like, this is not anything that I care about normally, but it’s actually something that in my personality I’ve always loved.

So the last day there was a really early morning drive from six to seven in the morning and most people said no because we had to pack and we had to eat, we had to check out and do all this stuff and I was like, I have to do this. I have to go out. And so I woke up really, really early so that I could pack and check out and eat and do all of this stuff so I could get on the drive. And there was, I don’t know, there’s like 12 of us out of 40 that managed to get on this drive and within 30 minutes we found that male lion, I’m sure you’ve seen the pictures. And I came within four feet of this ridiculous lion and had way more eye contact with him then I was really comfortable with and I will never forget it as long as I live.

I felt the presence of God in that experience that I don’t even know what to do with it. So it was pretty remarkable. It was amazing. And I cannot wait now all I want to do is take people back that I know love these things that I want to be like, come back with me. Come check this out.

I’m exhausted. You know, it was, it was an exhausting travel trip and there was a lot of things that, you know, I had to adjust to. But it was amazing. It was amazing. So I’m very excited. I’m very excited to continue to invest in what Stu and Amy are doing to kind of bring you guys along and also to try to like take the things that I’ve learned and to try to make them a part of my marketing, my business as much as I possibly can because I don’t want to lose the lessons that I learned in those moments because I know that it was a gift that not everybody gets to get.

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