It is my privilege to present an interview with Linda Olson, inspirational speaker, leadership coach, and author of Exceeding Your Expectations.
Linda, you have a strong leadership background. You have served for more than thirty-five years both in Canada and the United States as Dean of Women, Marriage & Family Therapist, Women’s Ministry Director and a Creative Memories Director. Recently you founded a program called, Made for Something More. Share with us how that came about?
LINDA: I served as Women’s Ministry Director at three churches over a fourteen year period. As I was invited on full time staff to entrepreneur a women’s program with over 5,000 attendees, I knew this was more than a position, it was a calling. During that time I searched for resources to develop my leaders and came up empty-handed. It was at that time God laid on my heart to begin developing a program for Christian Women in Leadership. In the program, Made for Something More, I was developing a five-part series with books, teleseminars, DVD’s and other resources. When it came down to getting my first book published, God laid on my heart a sixth book, Exceeding your Expectations.
Why are you passionate about the message in this book?
LINDA: Like many people today, I didn’t have any dreams or expectations. Growing up on the farm in mid-west Canada, life was more about surviving than it was thriving. It seemed the biggest expectation was to bring in a big enough crop or sell enough cattle to pay the bills and cover basic living expenses. I learned to survive rather than thrive.
When did that change for you?
LINDA: I entered Bible College as a shy, inhibited teenager seeking God’s direction for my life. It was there that I met students with dreams and aspirations. They were enjoying life and had a purpose. It triggered something in me that made me realize I was made for so much more. During those three years at a dormitory college my life blossomed.
So, how did that change things?
LINDA: I knew God had a special purpose for my life. I had gained confidence, self-esteem and many leadership skills. Big doors began to open. At 21 years of age I was invited to become Dean of Women at Trinity Western University on the west coast of Canada. It was the beginning of a 35-year leadership journey where God has exceeded my expectations beyond my wildest dreams.
We are all affected by our present economy in one way or another. Besides a job and enough money to hang on to our home what are people looking for and how can we help them?
LINDA: Besides the tangible things people are looking for encouragement, hope, peace, health, and security. When the woman at the well said to Jesus, “Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep”, she was looking to the well for practical answers. It’s the same thing we do when we look to our circumstances hoping for changes that will transform our life. The answers are not in the well nor are they in our circumstances. They are in the Almighty. We need to look to Him and trust Him to fulfill the many promises He has given us.
What was the turning point for the woman at the well?
LINDA: The turning point occurred when Jesus brought her face to face with her fear. He said, “Go call your husband and come back.” Jesus knew her struggle with relationships, so why would He ask her to call her husband? He needed to know if she was willing to confess her situation and take responsibility. She needed to face her fear and know she could move beyond it.
How can we learn to exceed our expectations?
LINDA: Before Jesus exceeded this woman’s expectation with living water she had to:
*Recognize her need for change
*Be willing to take responsibility for herself (take down emotional barriers)
*Commit herself to Him (believe in Who He was and What He had to offer)
It isn’t any different for us. We need to be open to change (recognize our need for change), be willing to take responsibility and commit our day and our situation to Him (and leave it in His hands). When we do that He will exceed our expectations.
Where do we often fall short?
LINDA: It’s not in having an expectation we go wrong, but rather in hanging on to our expectations. We want something to happen at a particular time and we hang on like it is our right. The other area where we often fall short is NOT being willing to wait silently. If we are willing to submit our expectations to God every morning and wait on Him, He will far exceed them.
“My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my (personal responsibility) expectation (hope) is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense.” Psalm 62:5,6
What resources do you have available for us?
LINDA: There are several things available that you can find on my website which is www.madeforsomethingmore.com.
*Coordinating Journal, Goliath Challenge – My gift to you.
*My new book & DVD, Exceeding Your Expectations
*Capturing your Vision – is a program where I will work with a leadership team and teach them to Capture their vision, Explode their influence and Bring $ back to their organization. As part of that program I speak to their group equipping and empowering women to recognize their value and their potential. Teleseminar Series – for anyone who wants to go deeper. This series consists of 6 teleseminars as well as time for leaders to ask their personal questions.
Thanks, Linda! God bless!