Stepping out on Faith with Tammy Whitehurst, Motivational Speaker


Michael chats with Tammy Whitehurst, his former middle school teacher turned motivational speaker about trusting God's plan, and the problem that arises when we step out on what she calls one-footed faith. 


Show Episode Transcript

Manufacturing Leadership

Stepping Out On Faith with Tammy Whitehurst

Intro:Welcome to manufacturing leadership, a podcast for young professionals in and out of the oil and gas industry. And now here's your host, EnergyWeldFab’s Michael Clements.

Michael C.: Hello podcasters, welcome to manufacturing leadership, an oil and gas podcast. I'm your host Michael Clements, and I'm with good friend, keynote speaker, and my seventh grade teacher Miss Tammy WhiteHurst. How are you doing Miss Whitehurst?

Tammy WhiteHurst: I'm doing great, and it is great to be here, I can't even tell you how happy I am to be sitting in this chair right now.

Michael C.: Well this is exciting for myself, and we don't get to see each other very often it's usually just kind of in passing or I saw you here. But to have the opportunity to sit down and speak with you, and also let our listeners hear this is really a great opportunity for myself, and I am beyond happy for you to be here today.

Tammy WhiteHurst: Well thank you very much, and I feel exactly the same way.

Michael C.: Well Miss Tammy welcome to the show, we got some good stuff in store for our listeners today. And yes, you want to give us a little background on yourself?

Tammy WhiteHurst: Yes, I taught middle school for about 15 years, and you've already mentioned that you were one of my students, and I always say all of my students will my favorite students. I loved teaching, I knew that I wouldn't teach forever, but you guys were where I began and I loved every second of teaching out at Sabine.

And I think that's where God trained me to do what I do now, because now I still teach but I teach to a totally different audience, but starting with 12 and 13 year olds. So he gave me the toughest audience to start with, and everything now is just cheesy up against all you guys. But yes I am a full-time speaker now, and love every second of what I do.

Michael C.: A little background on Miss Tammy, now that as life has played out a little bit and you're a keynote speaker, and you go to different events and you lead people. One of the things in seventh grade I don't know if we knew the value of the teacher that we had in front of us, because everybody knew there was a little bit something different about Miss Whitehurst, and not in a bad way it was in an exceptional way.

The projects that we did class, how interactive we were, right before we came on the show we were talking about the thing how we remembered rivers through the state of Texas and it had booger in it, it's just B for Brazos. So it was a lot of fun, and it really does not shock me at all that you're doing what you're doing, if anything I would say that you stayed in the Lord's will and you're going down the path that he set for you.

Tammy WhiteHurst: Well thank you. You know I was not a typical classroom teacher, we had couches, we had bean bags it wasn't just desk in my room. We had crazy posters and things all over the wall, but I wanted my students to feel at home, I wanted them to feel comfortable because if they could feel comfortable I could teach him anything.

If I could make them laugh, they could learn from me and when all the other teachers sometimes were telling me to Zig I often zagged. But with that being I know a lot of times I would dress up in certain roles, because if I could dress up in certain roles you guys could learn, and even with my audiences now it's the same thing. If I can make them comfortable, if I can get down to their level wherever that might be, then we can learn from each other.

Michael C.: Well that's whenever it just starts flowing, correct?

Tammy WhiteHurst: That's right.

Michael C.: It just starts going. Can you tell that with your audience, and I don't want to get it too much into the public speaking we're willing a little bit, but can you tell that in your audience whenever you can tell okay, we're starting to get to that point where everybody is on the same level?

Tammy WhiteHurst: Honestly as a speaker you have to be able to read your audience, and reading your audience for me and I speak a lot different than a lot of people do, because I start off with funny and if I can get them laughing that is what's going to connect them to me. Because a merry heart does good like medicine, and every single one of us need a whopping dose of that in my opinion. Because there's a lot of stuff in life that hits hard, but if you can laugh about something then all of a sudden you forget about the tough stuff that's going on.

And whenever we can get you right there I've got their attention, and then I can teach them anything. It was the same way in a junior high classroom, if I could make all of you laugh you could learn from me. I actually had a woman come up to me recently and she said I lost my only daughter and my only grandchild in Iraq, she said and for one hour I didn't think about it.

And I looked at her and I said because a merry heart does good like medicine, and I do believe that no matter what we're going through, God can get us through it if we can just laugh a little bit and sometimes life's not funny and we need to find our ability to get back to joy somehow.

Michael C.: Miss Tammy that's wonderful, and just thinking about the times in your class and I've known you, I don't know if we've ever had a conversation that I did not laugh at some point in the conversation. And just before we came in here we were all out talking me, yourself, my dad, another coworker and we had laughs, we had tears, we had everything and it was a 15-minute conversation.

So if you've ever come across Miss Whitehurst, you're going to experience all the emotions but it's a great journey and to know that you're led by the Lord and you're trying to lead others and to show them that way and to the Lord's working through you. After going through your website, reading the articles that you've written, listening to your other podcast, also hearing and being a part of some of the things that you've done absolutely wonderful stuff Miss Tammy and you are definitely in the Lord's will right now, there's no doubt about it you're right where you're supposed to be and that's an encouragement to all of us.

And for all the leaders that are listening start laughing, let's start laughing a little bit it's so uptight. I know for myself and the organizations that I'm a part of its always this is what we're going to do, these are our goals, this is what we got to do but hey let's laugh a little bit about it. And most the time when you do left, you get that encouragement feeling, I mean nobody walk out of a meeting like they, like you make critical decisions and you walk out like it was an awful day and you just made decisions that are going to impact people's lives and do a lot of things.

So I think as leaders we need to be learning how to laughs a little bit more, and so we're going to be talking a little bit about that in our show here. So Miss Tammy I know that teaching seventh grade wasn't your first job, correct?

Tammy WhiteHurst: Right.

Michael C.: So what was it?

Tammy WhiteHurst: Actually I was a sonic car hop, and I drove a red Pinto.

Michael C.: Did you have the skates?

Tammy WhiteHurst: I did not have the skates; you're dating me too far back. But I was about 14 years old, back then you'll have to be 16 years old to get a job. I was 14 and I was a sonic car hop and I was in the eighth grade.

Michael C.: Sonic car hop, wonderful. And when did you go into teaching?

Tammy WhiteHurst: I went into teaching, well first I got a criminal justice degree, because I thought that that's what I want, I thought I want to be an undercover agent. If you can even imagine me as an undercover, no.

But after that I did go to work for an attorney and decided that's not what I wanted to do, and so then I went back to school got a degree in education and I actually went for an interview I thought I wanted to be an elementary school teacher. When I went to the interview it happened to be at Sabine iced tea, it was for a third grade position and the woman who was interviewing me, Miss Hagan was her name.

Michael C.: I remember Miss Hagan.

Tammy WhiteHurst: She looked at me and she said after about 30-45 minutes and she said you are not an elementary school teacher, I was devastated, but what I'm so thankful for people who can see things in you that sometimes you can't see yourself. And so I looked at her and I said what do you mean I'm not an elementary school teacher, and she said you're a middle school teacher and we have an opening and I'm sending you up there right now.

And I went up there immediately, went up there interviewed with a man named Bobby Fortson, and got the job. So I love it when someone can look at me even today and they can see things that I cannot see that can make me better, because I think we always have room to improve and sometimes what we think we're going to do is far from what we're going to end up doing.

Michael C.: That's right, you also have a women's ministry certification from New Orleans Theological Seminary, is that correct?

Tammy WhiteHurst: I did, yes.

Michael C.: What took you down that journey?

Tammy WhiteHurst: After I finished teaching, even though I thought it was finishing teaching but it really wasn't, God just changed my audience if you want to put it that way. I decided I wanted to get certified in women's ministry, because if I'm going to be talking to women all the time I really want to know how to do it better, and I'm still about education.

If you're a teacher you're always about education, I don't think that I can ever learn enough, in the moment Michael that I think I have, I'm going to begin to fall.

Michael C.: Continuous learning, I think that is a strong leadership trait and a reason why I wanted to have you on as a leader not just for your motivational and encouragement, and all the other things that come with the Tammy Whitehurst package, but really wanting to do that.

So really just appreciate that you've been able to go on your journey, I don't know whenever you got out of teaching if that was an easy decision, I'm guessing it probably was not, but...

Tammy WhiteHurst: I always thought that I would teach 10 years, I taught a little bit longer than that, but I knew that I would never retire from the classroom in my first year students can probably remember me saying that, because even at the beginning I was never one of those people who thought that I would be a teacher in a classroom all of my life.

However, I will be a teacher all of my life, and I hope that I will also be a student because I always want to learn as much as I teach.

Michael C.: Well currently what do you have going on?

Tammy WhiteHurst: Well I pretty much speak every weekend somewhere; I usually speak across the south. And I talk about real issues with real women, and do a lot of women's conferences, events, and things like that. I also talk in schools to teachers, and I motivate teachers to understand why they are teachers, why God called them to be teachers.

Because in the education field today it can get tough, and then flipping back over to the other audiences that I have, because sometimes I'm at very large conferences, and you've got people of all different faiths in an audience at times. So I teach and talk and laugh and cry with people of all denominations, every walk of life.

As a matter of fact, in April I'm actually going to speak in a prison, and I try to speak in prisons at least once a year, because honestly one of the most humbling places that I go. I never leave that place, and the gates open at that I usually don't have tears falling down my cheeks.

Michael C.: What was that conversation like with God, whenever it was set on you to go to a prison?

Tammy WhiteHurst: I fought it for quite some time; as a matter of fact people kept asking me. Once I got to where I was speaking full-time, they would say Tammy I wish you would just come speak at the prison, I wish we could get a group together and you can come over there and speak, and I didn't want to do that, I had a criminal justice degree. I knew why they were in prison, I knew some of the thing that people had done, that was how I conceived it and it seemed to me like it would be a scary place to go.

But when I got there the first audience I had was about 400 women in a maximum-security, women that were in there for life. And at first they told me they said because I was a little nervous and they looked at me and they said you know what, for 10 minutes you're going to see them as prisoners, because they're all dressed alike, they all have numbers on.

But after about 10 minutes you're going to see them as women, and they're just going to become any audience and then the woman was exactly right, and I've done it ever since then. But I did fight doing that because I was scared, now every time I do that once a year I am grateful that those big gates open up and I can go in.

Michael C.: How important is it for I guess not only Christian leaders, but just a leader to step out on faith. I guess I would think I couldn't imagine being a leader without being a Christian leader it would be very difficult.

Tammy WhiteHurst: Well you know the minute I think that I'm doing all this myself, is the minute that it's going to fall apart. Because I have to follow the path that has been put before me by the Lord and that is what I always seek. Now to do I fail I do fail sometimes, but I know when I'm going out on my own and not where God's leading me a lot of times. But when you say stepping out on faith, I have found in my own life then what I've done at times is that I'll step out on what I call one footed faith.

And what that is I step out on one foot and I keep the other leg firmly planted just in case God didn't come through, that's a control issue that is not the way it's supposed to be. I will tell you when I am most in my element, when I'm having the most fun the best times are whenever I have stepped out with both feet, and when you step out with both feet that take total faith, faith is not easy you know that, faith is far from easy. But when we actually jump in with both feet, when we live life for like that, that's when the best times are happening.

Michael C.: I have an excerpt here from one of your articles that are on your website, I'll just quotes you here, don't get me wrong I believe God has me in the palm of his hand, I just keep jumping in and out of it like a kid in a mud puddle, how many miles am I going to walk in those same shoes. I have to remind myself that I am a Christian motivational speaker and writer; I can handle anything and if I can't I don't want anyone to know.

What a joke, I am as human as everyone else, I have issues just like everyone else, I get overwhelmed. I read that and I was thinking you know we tend to put leaders on a pedestal, we tend to put the keynote speaker, the person that's speaking in front of us on a pedestal that was humbling to read that knowing that all these things that you're talking about I experienced myself, but to know that Miss Tammy I've put her on a pedestal Wow, you know look at the good things she's doing, but to know that she battles that I just really appreciated reading that.

And I was reading it at a time when I was kind of in a crunch moment trying to put together some things for the show, and it was a good moment for me and I really just felt like hey, I'm really glad that we're doing this podcast and it kind of reminded me like hey just keep going, you're doing what you believe the Lord's leading you to do, so continue doing it. Stepping out on faith can be exhilarating, in the right way.

Tammy WhiteHurst: And scary.

Michael C.: And it can be scary. I think for a Christian it's scary, but it's also exhilarating knowing that it's not in my control.

Tammy WhiteHurst: That's exactly right.

Michael C.: And if you're one of those people, if you're an adrenaline junkie stepping out on faith is something that I think some of the greatest leaders are the ones that just continuously step out on faith, my pastor preaches about that. He says if what you're doing doesn't make you feel a little uncomfortable, then you're probably not doing what you were led to do, let's get out of that comfort zone. One of the things that we're doing at our church on Saturday is we're going to go give coffee to the homeless, we're going to the park here in town and like to give it out, well this will be my first time to do this.

And I am a little nervous about going and doing this, because I haven't hung out with too many homeless people. And I feel like it's something out of my comfort zone, but I'm looking forward to doing it because I know that the Lord's going to work through that. And I'm already instead of being nervous about it; I'm actually excited for what God's going to do through that moment.

But it's not like I mean I just woke up one day and was excited about it, you get a little nervous about it but whenever you kind of remember like hey nothing can separate me from the love of Jesus Christ, what's there to worry about? And you know what, if the worst possible thing happened I get to go home.

Tammy WhiteHurst: That is an excellent point.

Michael C.: So what is there to worry about, let's step out on faith a little more, Miss Tammy I'm getting pumped up just sitting in here right now.

Tammy WhiteHurst: You know in our weakness he is strong, and whenever we actually trust that it is hard to step outside the box, but I'm going to tell you when we just live inside a comfortable box, we will never bust through anything. We will be bored, we will wonder what our purpose is, and we will always think I've got to be made for more than this.

What we actually do as people, so often is we have a man-made ceiling across the top of our head right and we think we can only go so far, but it's whenever we trust the Lord to help us go further, the impossible is always possible.

Michael C.: Oh we cannot be fooled by the ceilings we put on our self. And then one of the things I see so many people doing today and a lot of my age group the Millennials, we think that those ceilings were put there by somebody else, get over it. Like the ceilings that you have on you or you that is nobody else, you need to get around that, you need to move past that, there are no ceilings.

Listen all we have is air and opportunity in this world, and we need to be using it, we all have that same amount. Now have we all been given the same gifts, the same talents, the same things no we haven't, there's a lot of things that I would never have dream to do, but I do believe that we all have a calling, we all have something we're supposed to do let's chase that, let's go after that, let's step out on that faith.

So Miss Tammy what gave you the idea to want to speak, was there just a moment, was there a click, was it a thought, was it something you'd been pushing away for a long time, what was that process?

Tammy WhiteHurst: When I was in school sometimes I was elected to be leaders in certain areas, I was on student council things like that. However, before I would give a speech I would always drink pineapple juice because I was terrified to step up in front of a crowd, I could do it once I got up there, and I will honestly tell you that even today I had a woman asked me just this past weekend she said you make it look so easy, she said are you never nervous when you step up anymore, I said nervous every single time.

And the moment that I think that I can do this all on my own, I'm in trouble. But I may be nervous before I ever step up on a stage, but the moment I step up on the stage I go. And I think a lot of that whenever I became a teacher you guys were my first audience, you guys were the first people who I was going to see if I could really make laughs. I was going to see if I could really touch your heart, and touching somebody's heart when you can do that I know when I speak at conferences, a lot of times people will say we giggled, we grinned, we even shed a tear or two but we left feeling like we could do anything.

And I often say we can't soar on wings as Eagles, if we keep waking up feeling like chicken nugget and that is the truth though. You know sometimes Michael, we wake up every day and we think of everything that we cannot do, whenever and just like you're talking about the ceilings we were just talking about right then. Whenever people think they can't do something they can't, whenever they are bound and determined they can they will.

Michael C.: That's right, my mom always told me if you set your mind to it you can do anything, and I believe that to be for anybody, that's not just for Michael, that's absolutely anybody. If you set your mind to it, and you believe with all your heart you can do it, you got the Lord behind you, if it's in his will oh yes you'll accomplished that.

Tammy WhiteHurst: And the key what you just said if it's in his will, and you know it doesn't matter who you are or where you've been or what you've done or where you've come from, if you are bound and determined then you can do it with if it's in God's will.

And I don't think that anybody is supposed to live a life that is just routine, boring, ho-hum, humdrum and then all they think about is themselves, often times whenever you live inside that box like that, the best times in our world are going to be when we are serving other people, when we are helping other people, when we're talking to strangers, when we are meeting people. I love people no matter what age they are, people exhilarate me, people are what keeps me going.

Michael C.: I have another excerpt here from one of your articles on your website, and this really goes with what we're talking about here. And this is: when he calls me to get transparent I'll tremble just like you do believe me I do, God often reminds me that it is not a sign of week to bury your face in your hands and ask him why, or to throw up my arms for a moment and doubt that he is in control.

How many times do we want to do this, but we think it will look bad to others. I have to stop at times and pinch myself, yes I am still human don't look now but my halo falls off sometimes and has a lot of tarnish on it too.

Tammy WhiteHurst: That's right.

Michael C.: You know we fall down and we pick our self-right back up, but without falling down how do we know how to pick our self-up. So the more that halo falls off, the more you kind of figure out well what is God's will, I know I'm not supposed to be doing this or well that didn't go right, that didn't go as planned.

Tammy WhiteHurst: But you learn from the failures and you learn from the successes, you learn from bad teachers, you learn from good teachers. And what I mean by you can learn from bad teachers is sometimes you can learn what you never want to do, what you never want to say to a another person. I remember when I was 12 years old I was in a math class and I've never been great at math, but I was trying so hard to be good at math.

And this particular person turned around and said to me, you will never be good at numbers, you will always hang on by the skin of your teeth. And so I took that with me for a long time that I would hang on by the skin of my teeth, there is so much power in words, in what we say to other people and that's why I think that we can learn from things that are negative and things that are positive, because we can learn what we want to do and what we don't want to do.

But I will tell you that two years ago, and it's been a long time since I was 12 years old and in that class, but two years ago I was speaking to a rather large group, and as I was scanning the audience and I'm looking across the crowd I see the very person who said those words to me, that I would always hang on by the skin of my teeth and I was the keynote for this particular group. And at the end, I mean it shocked me for a moment because when you're 12 years old and a teacher says that, by the time you're my age you figured they're probably dead, because when you're 12 years old every teacher is old, but that is the person who actually signed my check.

You never know, ever what someone can become and so we have to be very careful of the words that we use with people no matter what age they are. When I went back to my 10-year class reunion they were shocked that I became a teacher, no way you did not become a teacher, because I got ends in conduct all the time, I was always in trouble but I think those kinds of things made me the kind of teacher that I was.

Michael C.: We tend to remember those things that were said in elementary school or junior high or what somebody told us, and you know what's nuts is that it doesn't matter how many conferences you go to, how much encouragement you get some of those things just hang on with you.

I have a handful of my own that you know still to this day if I think about and they just they still irritate me, but you learn to turn that into fuel to your fire.

Tammy WhiteHurst: Absolutely, yes.

Michael C.: Which is critical and whenever you got started speaking, did you have the support of your friends, family or did you have to convince them hey this is what I'm going to do, how did that?

Tammy WhiteHurst: I don't think it really surprised anyone that this is what I began to do, although I will tell you that I would have never been successful in it if my husband had not been behind me a hundred percent.

And my husband Davis is behind me all the way in this, he travels with me when he can and I have a wonderful friend named Rita Clausen, which you know is a teacher from Sabine as well, who travels with me a lot also. And so I do have support of my family and my friends, and that counts for so much.

Michael C.: That had to be critical as you were getting started.

Tammy WhiteHurst: It did, because those are the people who tell you yes you can do it, those are the people that you are calling and you're asking to pray for you. On the way over here today, I was excited to be here today, but I still texted some of my core friends, I texted my mom and I said pray for me as I go over there and do this interview.

But I'm going to tell you it's very exciting to be able to be here with you, and it's also exciting to know that I have people that whenever I need prayer, I can have a group of people who are going to bombard heaven with my name.

Michael C.: It's critical; it's really hard to do it without the encouragement behind you. And if you're a leader out there and you don't have that critical encouragement behind you, I bet there's somebody you can seek out around you, I bet there's somebody there that can help, you just kind of have to be open with it I think that that's another thing. I think there's a lot of really good leaders out there that are introverts and they're afraid to talk about what they're wanting to do or their ideas, I know for myself I tend to be, when I'm alone I'm an introvert when I'm around people I'm still an introvert, but I try to get out of that a little bit.

If you can ever get me past that I'm an open book, but I do tend to keep things inside quite a bit and if you're a leader out there I think you just have to get to where you're okay with talking to others about it and sharing your journey. I know for myself the more I share my journey with other good people, now I could share it with people who are going to critique me and tell me I don't need to do it.

But if I share it with the right people I always walk away feeling more encouraged or like hey I'm doing the right thing here, but also like you said it also offers you that opportunity to be a leader and to offer encouragement to them as well. And there's something funny about encouragement as you give it you tend to feel it, and one of our values here at Energy is encouragement develops confidence, and a confident person can do anything, so why would you not want to encourage your coworker or your teammate.

So I want to just encourage you as a leader out there to seek out that, seek that encouragement out from others. Maybe you don't have that spouse or that parent or somebody behind you like you and I have been so lucky to have or blessed to have, but I know that there's really good people out there, and you know what we're going to give you our information, you know what if you need encouragement you can contact me, I offer you encouragement.

This is something that's important to me, leaders need other leaders around them and I think that we can be our best whenever we're surrounded by others that want us to achieve that, that want us to be great. And I don't think it's a me, me, me thing but at the end of the day as a leader you know that you're the one leading the train, you know that you're the one pulling the wagon, yes responsible, that's the ideal word right there responsible.

You know if you're responsible these are the things that's something you got to do, you're going to have to seek that encouragement out or you're not going to be able to support your team and encourage your team how really you want to as well. So I want to encourage our leaders to seek out those people that can get offer them encouragement, but also seek different things that can help you be encouraged. Whether it's reading a book, whether it's watching a video, whether it's listening to a podcast hopefully ours that's my small plug for the day there. But really look for encouragement, and you will find it.

There's a lot of good material out there that offers leaders a lot of encouragement and also how to deal with that self-doubt at times. I listen to a speech given by a kid at a youth conference; God sent it to me as a YouTube video. And the kid in it said, don't doubt God, doubt your doubts. So you know doubt your doubt, that’s an interesting concept. I don't think this is going to go well today, maybe I don't want to listen to that thought, your self-talk, how critical. Miss Tammy today how still critical is your self-talk?

Tammy WhiteHurst: You know I want to say something personal, I'm going to get to your self-talk. Whenever you said that you were an introvert, I think a lot of times a lot of leaders are introverts, because people who find it surprising sometimes that I don't have any problems staying in hotels alone, traveling alone, flying alone that you give me a book and I'm fine, I can go out to eat alone those things never bother me. Because people think that I am a person that has to have people around me all the time, I do have people around me a lot and so people assume that I'm an extrovert and a lot of times I can be, but I am perfectly fine being introvert as well.

And I had a woman about six months ago plugged me and she looked at me and she said you're an introvert now that nobody knows it, and I think when we're comfortable in our own skin we can do both roles, comfortably and we don't look at either row as a negative thing, but I know for me I have to be alone sometimes. If I'm around people all the time I never can stop long enough to do some self-talk, or even to hear the Lord.

Because he says be still and know that I'm God, if I'm rolling and going all the time I never get still, and as busy in my life as I am right now, and I know you're busy as well, we really have to fight to be still and it's very important for our well-being, it's very important just to be still.

Michael C.: I enjoy getting to leave, going to a conference, there's a network I'm a part of as well as a handful of conferences that I go to and usually I'll go by myself. My wife's going to be done with culinary school in May, but while she's been in school I have to go on these trips by myself, and I've actually kind of grown to like that time alone.

My time on the airplane, my time in the room, eating by myself those are things I've really been able to find that I actually enjoy this. I'm an only child or do you have any brothers and sisters?

Tammy WhiteHurst: I do, I have a lot, and I’m one of five.

Michael C.: Oh wow, okay, so yes you do have a lot. I'm an only child so I had to figure out how to have fun with my Ninja Turtles, and a window in my room. I mean I didn't have all these friends and stuff around me growing up; I had a couple of buddies down the road no brothers and sisters, so you kind of learn how to entertain yourself I guess per se.

And as you grow up you really start to realize how many conversations you have in your head with yourself on a daily basis, and I think it was probably three or four years ago that I started really understanding what it meant to have self-talk and good self-conversations, that was something that I don't know I didn't even realize I was doing it to myself.

I was putting a lot of doubts in my mind, I was putting bad thoughts, I was putting negative outcomes, I would have this great vision than a negative outcome, and then I would get into the situation and all I could think about was what was going to go wrong with it. And I can't remember I read an article that just talked about what's your self-talk like, and it was kind of one of those come-to-Jesus moments for me where it was like what is your self-talk, why do you talk to yourself like that?

Tammy WhiteHurst: Because if we talk to anybody else the way we talk to ourselves, we get beat up on a daily basis. And the thing about negative self-talk is it's a battlefield of the mind, that's what it is, and we have to wake up every single day and tell the negative committee that meets in the board room of our mind to sit down and be quiet. Because it's going to meet there every single day, but are we going to listen.

Michael C.: That's right. I'm hard on my team, I like progress, I like to push forward, but I also like to see others attain and do things that maybe they wouldn't have been able to do on their own or without a team around them. But also I like to see people push to an edge sometimes to see to get that feeling.

You know I was in athletics and I'm sure you're familiar with football practice, I got to play with your son, but you always ended practice with Sprint's, and you're running those Sprint's and the coaches where you we're going to run till we're tired today. So you're sitting there running these 40s, and they tell you you're going to run four of them, we get two four and then ah I'm not tired yet, so let's run some more.

Well you know it was always neat you would do that, and you're looking at a lot of other guys around you sitting there saying what are we doing this for, I'm just going to say it I mean we were awful at football at Sabine, just awful, terrible. But you know what there are some about looking around at your teammates and knowing I got a dig deeper, I got a push, I got to do this and then you'd have the kid that couldn't run very fast or by the time we're doing that is wharfs lap out and then the whole team starts clapping, and all of a sudden you remember while you're there, you remember exactly why you're doing it.

I think those moments are all around us right now, we're running sprints all the time at work, I think it's critical how do we put that into a place that's similar to when you're on the football field and you're running 40s, back and forth and you're tired. As a leader, how do you put your team in those situations, but without pushing them too hard you know.

Tammy WhiteHurst: For me the first thing that comes to mind is that the way that people tear themselves down is by the comparison trap, and if we don't get into the comparison trap, if we look at everything as we're a team and you know not everybody has every gift, but every person has a gift and every person has something that they can bring to the team.

And as leaders when we realize what everybody has that they can bring to the table, we can be an awesome team. And I think one of the most important things as leaders is that we have to realize that we may be the leader, but there are good leaders and there are bad leaders. People will follow you because they respect you, or people will follow you because they fear you. I never want people to ever follow me for any reason except that they see something in me that they want, and what that is the light and the hope and the joy that comes from Jesus.

Because the minute I think that it's all about me, and that's when we get in trouble, and that's when we turn into a different type of leader. Whenever our head gets way too big and we can fall over real easy, because we are who we are and we do what we do, because it's what we're supposed to do, not because we are better than others. But when whenever we get into a position to where we have been put as a leader, we got to start strong, stay strong and finish strong all along the way.

Michael C.: Sure, that's spot-on. Sitting here and you said the comparison trap, I'm thinking about running those 40s right now okay, I'm back in seventh grade, I'm running the 40 after practice the first few you wanted to be first or right there your sprinting, you're trying to get there but exactly what you just said by the time we're at the end they're saying nobody care we just want everybody to get done and in that time you've tore down the team, or you've torn down the individual of the team and now we're a team and now here we are we're clapping, waiting for the last guy to get across the line so the coach can finally be tired.

I don't know it just kind of hit me that like hey, that's exactly right, the whole thing you're in this comparison trap at the start of these 40s but then by the time you're at the end of it you're a team, you've went through this together. And the coach didn't care who finished first he just wanted the whole team to finish, BAM.

Tammy WhiteHurst: And you know we're all in the middle somewhere, we all have a beginning and we all have an ending. And no matter what age we are whether we're your age or whether you're my age or whether we're eight years old, because we don't know when life comes to an end. So it has been said and I've read it people aren't going to remember when you were born, they're not going to remember when you die eventually, but they are going to remember what you did in the middle, no matter how old you are.

And so if we live our life in a way that we want to make a difference in other lives, not necessarily make a difference just for ourselves, we want to make a difference in the lives of those people around us. You know I think of your mom, your mama her middle is known for so much good and really that world doesn't even explain it needs to be awesomeness or something like that, because what Amy did for people, and how Amy made people feel about themselves, how Amy shared the joy of the Lord with everybody who crossed her path, her middle is amazing.

And you have a great mom to look up to that you saw do it well, she started strong, she stayed strong, finish strong and there was not a time that I ever saw your mom that I didn't look at her and think winner, winner. Whether she was bringing me treats for the class when you were 12 years old, or whether I was speaking at something for house of hope and she was there, your mother was a winner in every sense of the word.

Michael C.: I have been beyond blessed with two amazing parents, my mom she was never one to be in the spotlight, she was never one that really, she was always behind the scenes, but mom really set an example that a lot of us could follow. Mom wasn't what she would call that just I'm going to be in front of you leadership style, if you would have asked mom are you a leader she too looked at you and said why are you even asking me that question.

But I think a little did she know she was leading a lot of people, and showing a lot of people a good path they wanted to be on. And I remembered after she saw you at a speech for the House of Hope, she said I saw your teacher today she is just so wonderful, and she told me a little bit about the speech you'd given that day. And she was someone that she asked about you quite a bit, and she was always encouraged anytime she was around you, and just thank you for those kind words.

Tammy WhiteHurst: Oh you're very welcome.

Michael C.: I appreciate. Well some of the topics that you go over in your speeches, what is teacher Rock?

Tammy WhiteHurst: Teachers Rock is one that I talked to school staffs, and I always tell them to have everybody from the custodial staff all the way up to the superintendent. And so everybody will be there because everybody is a teacher, it's not just the ones who are certified. You can probably remember some of the custodians, you can remember some of the people who worked in the cafeteria, you can remember some of the people who weren't necessarily the teacher in the classroom but they taught you something.

And so that's why I like to have everybody in there and I talked about their role as leaders, no matter who you are if you're an adult in a school you are a leader, you are a leader. And another one of my talks is get a grip on your lip, get a grip on your lip it has a lot to do with what we talked about a moment ago self-talk.

It has a whole lot to do with the words you say to yourself, with the words you say to others and how death and life is in the power of the tongue. And when we realize how powerful our words are, we can make a difference in someone's life.

Michael C.: And get a grip on your lip, I bet that is a really good.

Tammy WhiteHurst: It's got a lot of funny in it because I start off with some sayings that we all know sayings that we've all used, but we don't even realize how negative they can be sometimes.

I think that whenever we're aware of things then we can change things, but if we're not aware of something, you know sometimes we just fall into this thing of thinking everything is normal, it's normal to think negative. It doesn't have to be normal to think negative; it's abnormal sometimes to think positive.

Michael C.: Yes, that was really good.

Tammy WhiteHurst: Thank you.

Michael C.: You know being in the wool field, have you ever had anybody in the wool field reach out to you about get a grip on your lip because that would be a wonderful, that would be a great place to go with get a grip on your lip. I share with everybody when it comes to language and what I think get a grip on your lip, first thing I have to go to is words that you shouldn't say which that is part of your self-talk.

With that get a grip on your lip I think to myself in the workplace you come across a lot of bad language at times, a lot of stuff you would not want to say in front of your mom. And you get caught up hearing it, and then sometimes you get caught up saying it and you look around you say why did I just say that, when did I start talking like that.

You know is there something that can be used in any, I mean is there a specific type of place you'd like to give that speech or can it be given in any type of organization?

Tammy WhiteHurst: I have used that speech in secular environments, I've used that speech in church settings, and I’ve used that speech to teachers. I talk to leaders with that speech, because it is about the things we say. And oftentimes what we don't realize is whenever the words just tumble from our mouth and like a while ago and you said the things you'd never want to say in front of your mom.

If we can't say things in front of our mom that we're saying right over here, we're playing two different roles, and that will always lend us upside down. Because that is the main reason why people call us hypocrites, we do one thing here and one thing there, and we will be happiest in our life when we are the same all the way across the board.

Michael C.: We convince ourselves that it's okay to serve two gods, that's what happens there, that's a dangerous place. But the thing is that in the world we live in we've convinced ourselves that it's okay, that it's okay to have this conversation here that I won't have over here. I think that's something as a leader we have to be able to get through, you got to be able to get through that and if you find yourself falling into that trap as a leader, notice it and don't get down on yourself because you've done it.

Hey, it's going to happen we're all going to fall into traps, but if you can recognize it and you can pick yourself up and get out of it, that is what builds that character and what we were talking about earlier with falling down and getting back up and what you learned along the way, hey it's a battle scar get over it, yes you made a mistake let's go.

So you know you got something you can share with us as far as at a time, maybe in your public speaking or teaching that you didn't know if you were on the right path, or maybe where you just needed some self-motivation?

Tammy WhiteHurst: Well I'll tell you a time that I wasn't on the right path, and there was a job in particular that had called me, and it was a huge audience, it was a huge place and I got caught up in all of the bigness of it. I did not feel like I was supposed to do that in the least, but yet I got caught up in the amount of people, the amount on the check, the lots that would be a part of it everything I got caught up in the world end of it and I knew I wasn't supposed to do it.

Well when I got there and I flew in and they had me at a wonderful place, it was all wonderful. And then when I got on the stage and I looked at my audience, it was totally not the audience that I was expecting and I had to water everything that I, I thought I was going there to teach upper level teens, instead it was eight to ten year the girls. That is a totally different subject than what I had brought with me, but I knew I wasn't supposed to go whenever I got that phone call.

I used to not want to say no to anything, especially the things that have a name in lights. But I think we have to, that was one of the biggest lessons I've ever learned, because the Lord gives people gifts and say somebody who if you're a speaker there's a lot of speakers who aren't Christian speakers, and they're very good speakers, but they can be a whole lot better speaker if they trust the Lord. I could get up there and speak at that conference, but because I went out on my own and I did not listen to what I knew I was supposed to do and how God was trying to tell me do it I was supposed to say no, he let me do it on my own, I thought I was going to crash and burn.

Now did I get through it I got through it, but I learned a ton of lessons through that and whenever my gut is telling me don't do it, I say no now. We're used to I jumped on everything and if even for a moment it looked like there was going to be fame involved, now what I realize is it's not about fame, it's not about your name being in lights, it's about doing what you're supposed to do.

Michael C.: That's right. Did it take you a little while as someone who was, I mean I would consider you have to self-promote obviously?

Tammy WhiteHurst: You did.

Michael C.: So if someone has to self-promote, how did you get past that, I'm really interested to hear how did you get past that thinking, I mean did you ever think to yourself you're being selfish or trying to do a certain thing whenever it's Tammy Whitehurst?

Tammy WhiteHurst: Well whenever you are trying to promote your name, and especially at the beginning I have an agent now, but before I had an agent when I was self-promoting so much and my website is and my email all that is my name, and sometimes you think people are going to get sick and tired of that name.

And so you get a little shaky on they're going to think I'm all that, they're going to think I think I'm all that. And you have to start somewhere, but you have to believe in yourself and you have to know that this is what you're supposed to do and nobody's ever going to know it if you don't tell them at the beginning. But word-of-mouth advertising is the best advertising, you can have the best agent, you can have the best marketing group but word-of-mouth is the very best thing you can have.

And so I had to learn those things along the way and it was hard, I'm a co teacher, there are three of us that own a conference called the Christian communicators conference and we train speakers how to do what they do. They already have a gift, and we help them learn how to get better at that gift, and how to keep your priorities in line, how to keep your priorities straight. It's a great conference, you can find out about it at, but we limit it to 40 people, because if we keep it a small group we get to know everybody personally, everybody gets open about themselves and the fears that they have, because everybody there is a speaker and everybody there they understand why you do what you do.

Because you know whenever you're a speaker or you're a leader, a lot of times people look at you and they don't understand how you could do it, why you would want to do it or anything like that. And we have to realize that a lot of times as leaders not everybody's going to like us, that's a tough thing to endure. Because we really want everybody to like us, that's not the world we live in, and that's one of the things that we teach as well.

But we also do a lot of things like we do head shots, we helping with video work; it's a five-day four-night conference that's absolutely amazing. And I say that because I went first and I loved it so much that when the people retired that had it me and two other ladies bought it, I would never about it if I didn't believe in it. So whenever you're a teacher you want to keep teaching others, you want to equip people, you want to help people, and it's almost like a mission.

I know you and your dad you all like to help people and whenever you serve others that's the best kind of leader, when you're helping people when you're teaching people those are the best leaders. Not the ones who stay in an office and never come out, not the ones who just say what they want all the time and never say what people need, there's a big difference.

Michael C.: Miss Tammy that absolutely wonderful. The Christian community?

Tammy WhiteHurst: It can be a tongue twister at times.

Michael C.: The Christian communicators conference, how wonderful like not only are you speaking and going out encouraging, you're teaching others how to do it, and chances are I bet at least one of those individuals will teach somebody else.

Tammy WhiteHurst: You would not believe the networking that happens there, and how we all of a sudden we start speaking with these other people that we've trained, we go into different parts of the United States, you know it's positive people doing positive things.

Michael C.: You got to come across some just talented individuals.

Tammy WhiteHurst: Absolutely so talented, but it's a safe place and in that place there's not a spirit of competition.

You have to break down the wall at the beginning, because a lot of times people come in with that. But when they realize that they can learn from 39 other people who are there, you leave so much better than you came.

Michael C.: That's absolutely terrific, and I'm guessing that everybody does leave on a high note; you are feeling good whenever you leave. And I would take it that whenever you do leave you probably have that confidence that you've been looking for, that I'm sure there's some encouragement offered there at that conference as well.

So you walk out and I bet you've been able to hear some wonderful stories of people going back to whatever they're doing or their speaking, and...

Tammy WhiteHurst: We often have success stories that come in and they tell us, that all of a sudden the doors started opening once they did this or once they did that. We also really encouraged writing because writing and speaking go hand in hand, but you're a writer first and then a speaker or you're faker first and then a writer, but what you have to understand is you can't speak and not write, and you can't write and not speak.

Michael C.: That's right. Well Miss Tammy I got one more excerpt and we'll let you go: first of all we must take control of our lives, embrace our creator and trust him, limit our time around those who discourage us and spend more time with those who encourage us. Your life isn't behind you, your past is behind you and your future lies ahead. Whenever I read that the other day, I really offered myself a lot of encouragement; I appreciate you writing that by the way.

But I wanted to end with that, and we've had a great time since you've been here today, since you came in and it was really just a privilege to be sitting here with my seventh grade teacher. Yes, a seventh grade, are you ever going to grow up? No, I figured I'd be in school my whole life. Well here I am sitting here behind this desk, having a conversation with someone who had a great impact to my life, and had a great impact on a lot of others.

I don't know if there are many kids from those 15 years at Sabine that wouldn't tell you Miss Whitehurst was one of their favorite teachers, and just thank you Miss Tammy and I appreciate you being here today, it was a privilege. You have anything in closing?

Tammy WhiteHurst: Well I'm going to close the way I close every single time I talk, and what I say is age gracefully I think not, let's sage boldly, courageously, season life with both hands and riding it out with a skip in our step, with joy in our hearts and a sparkle in our eye.

And on the day that God calls us home, let's slide into home base weary, tired and worn out but we didn't throw in the towel, we took the towel and we wiped the sweat from our brow, and we didn't give up, we didn't give in, we gave it all we had and we look up into the eyes of our Savior and he says well done, my good and faithful servant, that is how I want to finish.

Michael C.: Miss Tammy thank you so much for being here today, this was absolutely wonderful. And you all if you all want to connect with Miss Tammy here, you can email her at you can also go on to her website there's a lot of great material there's bio, about, ways to book, as well as there's a phone number 430-702-3167 this can get you in touch with if you're interested in having Tammy come to your event, or being a part or offering encouragement.

And also she's on social media on Facebook and Instagram; her Instagram handle is @Tammy.Whitehurst and then you can just search Tammy Whitehurst and find her on Facebook. Thank you again for being here today, this was absolutely wonderful. If any of you have any questions you can always email us at, as well as we're on Instagram, twitter and Facebook at @EnergyWeldFab.

And also check our website out we're on iTunes and Stitcher, currently right now with our podcast and you can go onto our website to get links to that And guys we want to hear from you, if you have something or a question for myself or Miss Tammy you can send those in, we'd be more than happy to relay those to her, but also answer any questions you have.

And also I mentioned it earlier if you're looking for encouragement, if you're looking for someone to reach out to and talk about your journey with, am I an ideal person? No, but I promise you I'll pray about it before I speak with you, and we'll get you the encouragement that you're looking for.

And really as a leader this is something that I want to encourage you to do, reach out to me, let's get connected. So thank you for listening today, this was an absolutely wonderful show, have a great day and thank you.