An interview with Dr. Melissa Bird about intuition, social justice and politics.
Melissa Bird, PhD, MSW is a passionate feminist whose education in social work has led to a career advocating for children, women, and their families. She is a fierce believer in social justice advocacy and preparing women for leadership roles in politics. As a writer, professor and fiery public speaker, Dr. Bird creates the genesis for a new brand of leadership. Her words awaken revolutionaries, trailblazers and powerful innovators in the quest for justice. When she’s not building her public speaking Empire, she can be found reading trashy novels, drinking fine whiskey, playing mom to three delicious humans, and loving her punk rock scientist James Thomas Kelly.
She’s a fierce believer in social justice advocacy and preparing women for leadership roles in politics. For women who want to be heard. Women who want their families to be respected. Women who believe they can make a difference in their communities and create lasting change, Dr. Bird is creating the genesis for a new brand of leadership she calls The Graceful Revolution.
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Well, I used to say that I was like a political badass. I'm more of a hellraiser than a trailblazer, and I help people tap into their passion to engage in advocacy in their communities. And so, for years, I was teaching at a college level and I worked as a lobbyist for Planned Parenthood in Utah and I was really involved in politics in Utah.
I've kind of taken all of those years of working on the ground and in the Capitol, both at the state level and at the national level, and I decided that it's time to build the Bird girl Army, and really bring people to the place where they are super tapped-in to their passion and their jam and what lights them on fire so that they can go out and do the thing that lights them up.
That's become so apparently critical to me right now in 2018 because we are getting inundated constantly with SHIT, and it's coming down on us all the time. And so, every morning you wake up and you have 500 things on your phone talking about how the nation is exploding and people are freaking out. And they don't know what to do.
So what I do is, I give them the tools to go out and do the thing so they can get past the paralysis and into intentional action. Because it's going to take intentional action at a COMMUNITY level, not at a national level, at a community level, to build this back up. So that we can feel like we're not stuck not making a difference in our communities.
And so I've taken all these years of being a lobbyist, like, on the front lines and making changes in policy and politics and taking it to this really passionate, lit up, on fire... I had someone say that I was an igniter and I just light everyone on fire, which could be really dangerous.
That's a huge responsibility and really taking it to the next level so that people can have the tools to engage in action in their communities and engage in dialogue with people who are holding elected office at a local level, so at city county and state level.
Because, I tell this to my students all the time when I'm teaching in a classroom, but basically, the federal government is a wash at this point. You're not going to make a huge gigantic difference at a federal level, and I don't know if that's good or bad, but that's where we're at.
But now we have this huge opportunity to directly impact our local leaders, no matter what their party affiliation is.
We have stories to tell and we have... There are ways that these policies directly impact our lives and it is OUR time to be telling those stories to people. There's no bigger time to be doing that, so I teach people how to have the tools to scream their passionate dreams from the mountaintop and go out and do that thing.
You know what? Let's get into a big topic here.
I'm going to ask you a big old loaded controversial question. I believe in synchronicity and timing, and there is definitely a big beautiful Divine timing for me personally with you being here in this moment talking to me today. It's very significant because we've been talking about spirituality and politics in the Automatic Intuition community, the group of people that I mentor privately.
We've been talking about it this week for the first time, very civilly, I must say, so I'm very proud, but I think one of the reasons why we haven't touched it in so long is because it's such a hot potato kind of situation. But somebody went there in a really good way, in a kind of adjacent issue, and so... there is a big dissension among spiritual practitioners, right?
Some of us believe that it's really important to disconnect from the news in order to preserve your psychic hygiene and to protect your energy and your vibration, and that you just need to tune it all out.
And then some of us believe that part of being conscious for us is being plugged in and observant of all that stuff, and aware of the bad and the good.
So what are your thoughts about being spiritually conscious and politically conscious?
So the first thing I want to say is, I have been wanting to email you for like, months and months about coming on the show to talk about this, and it was only in the last couple of weeks that I was like, You HAVE to do this right now.
So I was like, What?
And I was nervous! I was like, What am I going to say to Slade?? What if he thinks I'm this whackadoodle noodle, like, We're gonna talk about how to use your intuition to engage in politics!
And I was like, That's exactly what you're gonna say. You're gonna type it out. It's gonna be fine. He's not going to reject you and everything's going to be magic.
Which it was.
Which it was.
So the fact that you just barely had this conversation while I was like, I really need to talk to Slade, was really... You know, Divine intervention and all the magic.
So, I have to say that because I'm really excited to be having this conversation about using your intuition to engage in social justice work and politics. I call it 'social justice work' because no matter where you fall on the political spectrum, it doesn't matter where you're at because everything that is happening has to do with how our society is going to thrive or just survive, moving forward, because of all of the policies that are being enacted at a federal level that are going to trickle down to the local level.
I can honestly say that, I feel that need to be completely disconnected from the toxicity of the media. And I also feel the need to be completely inundated with what's happening currently in our nation and in our world.
The way that I have sort of pulled that apart and teased that apart is that, I choose, and I'm really active on social media, I LOVE Twitter, I LOVE Facebook, I love Instagram. I love being online and connecting with other people in that way.
But I have figured out how to use my intuition to lead me into places where I am going to be connecting with people who aren't just like me, but who appreciate my differences of opinion.
And this is, I think, where people are getting stuck and later on today, for example, I do Facebook live on Mondays and Fridays, I have Monday Mayhem and Fuck Shit Up Friday. And at noon my time, Pacific time, and I have been having conversations with my darling friend Amy Wolf, who I consider a dear friend who's completely the polar opposite of me politically. She's a conservative, Christian Methodist in a really small conservative town in Oregon.
But she and I have connected on this level that is just unbelievable. And we have people from my friends and her friends and people in the community who keep sending us messages thanking us for having honest conversations about politics, about fundamentalism, about abortion, about really tough conversations about justice and social justice and what that means to each of us.
And we do it in a way that is so respectful that you can't not get something out of that.
You know, and I come from a conservative place - I was born and raised in Utah. And what I learned when I was walking the hills of that Capitol is, elected officials just put their pants on one leg at a time. We're all people. We all get up in the morning and think, How am I going to make a difference in my world today? What do I want to do to really make a difference in my world today?
And it may be the difference is, My god, I'm going to vacuum my house, and that's an accomplishment. It may be that you're going to write a bill and pass it into law like I did. Oh god, it's been 15 years since I wrote that bill. I'll talk about that in a second.
This idea that we have to be divisive about politics is a new idea. That is something that was created out of, I would say, 1980s during the Reagan administration. That was when the divisiveness of politics came along. Were there separation of parties? Totally. Were there Democrats and Republicans fighting against each other for power? Absolutely. For years and years and years.
But there was a discourse and a nuance to politics that has been lost as, I would say, really starting in the 80s and it got worse during the Clinton administration and now it's just all gone to shit.
And I believe that we have so much power to make a difference.
And I know it because I've done it. And I'm not saying - I don't do any of my work because I'm like, up on some high horse pedestal. I'm probably on a soapbox, let's be fucking real here. I love my soapbox. My husband, he even bought me a soapbox that says 'Fairy Soap' on it from the 1920s.
I love that.
So that I can have an... I love my fairy soapbox. And it says 'Fairy' so clearly. That makes me even happier. And so...
I can get on my soapbox all day but when I was getting my Masters degree in social work in 2003, I did the very first research in Utah about homeless LGBTQ youth so NOBODY had been, this was, you know, 2002, 2003.
Nobody was talking about homeless kids. Nobody was talking about homeless queer kids, and here I am, in Utah, trying to figure out how many of our youth identifies LGBTQ and I did this research for my Masters research class and Utah was no different so at the time, 35% of youth identified as LGBTQ, and I was like, We have to do something.
Our shelter law was so bad it said that you couldn't shelter a youth for longer than eight hours without parental consent or emancipation. And I knew that our kids, we didn't have an emancipation bill because I worked in child welfare, and I knew we didn't have an emancipation bill and I was like, Ohmygod, I've got to write one!
I sat at my dining room table listening to Ani DiFranco and Metallica and I took the 26 lines from 26 other states and wrote them out line by line and hashed out a lot... I picked the lines that I thought would work in Utah because Utah is a more conservative state and I knew that the parents' rights' folks were going to lose their minds about it.
And so, I wrote this law, and I threw everything in it and I called the woman who was an elected official and I said, Hey Roz, I think I just wrote a bill and I'm wondering if you'd sponsor it.
And she said, What's it about?
I said, Homeless youth.
And she was like, Great!
And I emailed it to her and she called me back like five minutes later. She goes, Missy Bird, you just wrote a law! People don't do that!
And I was like, Oh, they don't?
She's like, No, they come to you with an idea. We take it to leg. research, and then they figure it all out.
Oh! I wrote a law!
It's the only thing, Slade, I've given birth to for real. That bill is my baby.
I learned how to lobby. I taught myself how to lobby. I taught myself how to advocate, and I got it passed into law two years later, and that bill has helped hundreds of homeless youth get emancipated.
I learned how to stay away from talking about LGBTQ kids with certain people but I knew that that was part of the story for other people who were in power. I learned how to talk about polygamist kids that were being kicked out of their homes, as a way to sort of leverage this conversation up to a different space.
And I just listened to my gut the whole entire time.
So every single thing I do when I'm talking, whether it's a person in the community or an elected official is, I use my gut instinct to have conversations about what's happening in our communities. I have followed my intuition throughout my entire career as an advocate.
And so, I think as you're having this broader political conversation in your group, it's not just about politics the way we see it on Fox news and MSNBC. It's about, How do the things that are happening in our neighbourhoods and in our cities and in our counties and in our states directly impact what's happening, our ability to access safe and clean water, our ability to access safe and clean food, our ability to stay in the homes that we're building for ourselves and for the people around us and our families and our friends.
That's what policy is. That's what politics is.
Politics isn't this bullshit Mitch McConnell flipping Paul Ryan ridiculousness, Dianne Feinstein and all this national distraction. The national distraction keeps us from looking in our own backyards and seeing what we can do to help the little old lady who lives next door who might be having a hard time getting her newspaper every damn day.
Yeah, what do you say to that person, because you must meet these people, right? Who say, I'm really spiritual and I just don't want to engage in politics, it's just all too negative.
What do you say to that person because, we have to believe, first of all, let's be compassionate. We understand why they're wanting to tune out and protect themselves. I mean, it's a given. I get it.
But there has to be something deep within them that responds to what you just said, that has some feeling of, like, Ohmygod I've got to do something.
But then they also feel overwhelmed and helpless.
So when you are confronted with that, I can't do politics because I'm too spiritual, what do you say to light that person up?
I ask them what matters to them.
I say, You know what? I get it. You don't want to... I don't like politics as usual either. I get it. I know that your conviction says that you just want to stay the hell out of this because it's just too much. But what is one thing you can do, that you feel like you can do from your spiritual centre, to make an impact potentially?
Are you willing to tell your story to one of your local elected officials?
Are you willing to help support a candidate at a local level who resonates with you either by donating money or your time?
Is there something you can do to raise the vibration of the people we actually have serving in office that you would be comfortable with?
I understand you think your vote doesn't matter. But I'm going to tell you right now, at a local level, your vote matters SO... I mean, I get that federal politics has completely shut down a lot of people from wanting to be able to engage in this process of voting. But we are the only democratic nation in the world where a majority of the people who live here don't vote.
Yeah, that's insane.
I mean, in every other democracy in the world, the majority of people who are of voting age VOTE! And we don't. And it's...
And I actually was in a conversation about this in a Twitter group that I'm in. They have some research that says the millennials are like, I'm not voting.
So people are trying to figure out how to get the millennials to vote. And my response was, their parents don't take them to the polls because their parents don't vote. My kids have been going to the polls since they were little wee bits, right?
They go with us every November. It doesn't matter if it's a city election or a state election or a federal election. Every November, we vote. And our kids go with us, so our kids just know that that Tuesday in November, that's what you do. They've never NOT voted with us.
And I think that part of the problem is that millennials are like, Well I'm not going to vote because my parents don't vote. Why the hell would I vote?
And I feel like, from a spiritual space, if voting is your thing that you're like, 'Screw it, I don't care', find some other way to tap into your centre and your intuition and what you want in the world, and make THAT the thing.
If you don't want to vote, fine. I'm not gonna force you to vote. Although I am gonna, I might have a little judgy voice inside of me that's like, For reals?
I don't care what it is. But do something to elevate the vibration of making a change in our communities, because this is why we are where we are at in 2018.
Mmm... It's so funny because, I'm going to throw a bumper sticker at you, but you are going to remember it: Think global, act local.
Yeah, I mean, that's really what you're saying. That's the answer.
And you know something I've noticed too is, I was thinking about that the other day, I was thinking about the fact that, my daddy took me to vote for every Republican he could. And I ended up with such a completely different political opinion than him, but I do remember being taken to vote and thinking it was really cool to go behind the curtain.
And it used to be all very like the Wizard of Oz...
You know, it was that big machine... And so I thought it was amazing and I thought it was cool. And I can remember in elementary school - ELEMENTARY SCHOOL - we had mock elections.
I remember when it was like, you know, the Jimmy Carter Gerald Ford election in 2nd grade or whatever.
We were taught to do that, and we were taught that it was this sort of holy thing that you did, you know?
And you just said it, Slade. It is a HOLY thing.
The power of that vote is given to us as a GIFT. It is a gift just like our spiritual intuition. It is a gift just like our ability to breathe air and drink water.
It is a GODDAMN GIFT to be able to vote in this country. It is an HONOUR and a PRIVILEGE to be able to vote for the people who represent you in office.
It is NOT some bullshit strong-arm tactic that we have been led to believe it is by very conservative and very liberal groups of humans.
And I will say this flat out until the day I die - this extremist bullshit that we have going on on the right and the left, there are so many of us that are in the middle, floundering, going, What the HELL do I do next?
THAT'S why I do the work that I do. Because especially for women, but I think also for the LGBTQ community, and for minorities, and people of colour, there are... AND I will say, I will put Republican women in this camp as well. There are a shit-ton of us sitting right in the middle, going, What the hell do I do?
Nothing. I got nothing.
I don't know... The parties are completely out of control. The party platforms on both sides of the aisle are becoming ridiculous. Extremists. A line-in-the-sand views. It's not real! And we know this as spiritual practitioners, right? Like, we know that this extremist, hard-line, no nuance, black or white, there is nothing else, that's bullshit! That's not how it works!
There is not a hard and fast way to do politics. And there is not a hard and fast rule to doing this.
Trusting your gut to engage in social action is the way that we can be the leaders and shift this dynamic. That's the way. There's a whole ton of us in the middle.
I will say, I don't... I cross party vote all the time. Especially at a local election level because I like fiscal conservancy. I've seen what happens when you've got a bunch of fiscally liberal people running child welfare. It doesn't work very well. You've got to find moderation in the middle.
Well you know what's interesting too at the local level, my mom was asking me. She said, When you go and vote in local elections, you can't even really tell from the ballots, at least the way it's presented to us, locally, who is a Republican or Democrat. It's not necessary...
That's because they're all non-partisan. They're all non-partisan.
Right. It's not spelled out, and you know what? When I vote locally, a lot of the times I'm voting for people that I personally know. I'm voting for a doctor that I know that's running for office. I'm voting for someone that I've met in a cafe that I always talk to. You know what I mean?
They're actual real people.
And I even notice when I went to vote this week, there was this man out there canvassing for someone who, honestly, I would never vote for in a million years. But he engaged me in conversation about something completely random, and we were kind of just standing there having a conversation on the sidewalk and it wasn't really about politics at all.
But the whole time, I was thinking, Oh, I'm so glad he's standing here because my computer's in my car.
And I knew that because I parked next to him, even though politically he was my enemy, I knew that he'd protect my shit when I went inside. Nobody's gonna mess with my car with this dude standing here. Like, he's just looking to bust somebody, you know?
That whole experience and the conversation about the way that the parties are kind of not identified with at these really, really local elections, I was very much in the space of, a lot of that shit just falls away when you're dealing with people who actually live down the street from you. When you're dealing with people that you actually look in the face and have conversations with.
It does matter less. And everyone hates "a group of people" except for their cousin that is one. Except for their hairdresser that is one.
Those people they love, and that's why it's so important to kind of really authentically represent who you are in the world and just... go out and be friends with everyone. And be a nice person. And be yourself.
Because, to me, that IS a form of political activism, you know what I mean?
And it's not just about voting. Voting is a piece of this democracy, but it's not the entire democracy.
It's also about us being really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really invested in getting out of the echo-chamber of our politics.
So part of what happens is we tend to surround ourselves with like-minded individuals who think exactly like we do. That's the echo-chamber. We do it on Facebook, we do it on Twitter. We do it... We get entrenched in these spaces where we are just listening to ourselves talk over and over again because it's reflected in the people that we're surrounded with.
The beauty of what you're talking about, about the dialogue that you're having in that group, is that you're not in an echo-chamber. Because there's people from all over that have differences of opinion. This is why I will always maintain this relationship with Amy in a respectful, intentional, delicious, glorious, graceful manner.
Because I love connecting with people who aren't just like me. I love that!
And I think, to keep ourselves safe, especially now, because of all of the threats that are coming at us, we have become even more entrenched in the echo-chamber and we're afraid to expand that conversation outside the people that think and behave just like us.
And I think it is to our detriment.
Because if I, I as this queer, you know, at the time I was married to woman at the Capitol and I was lobbying for Planned Parenthood, so here I am, this lesbian-identified, platinum blonde punk rock girl with hair like Pink, at the Utah State Capitol wearing high heels and fishnet and miniskirts, you know, like my inner Erin Brockovich, going in to the Capitol, talking about Planned Parenthood and sex...
And I got 6 laws passed!
Now if I can do that at the Utah State Capitol, don't tell me y'all can't make a difference somewhere else. Because that's where the rubber meets the road right there. You can go in...
And by the way, those state houses, those are our houses. City Halls, the County Council, the State Capitol, we pay for that with our tax dollars. You wouldn't not walk into the front door of your own home. Don't be afraid to walk in to the front door of a house where policy is being made. Because you paid for that.
That's ours! It's just like paying rent. Those are our houses. We own them. And we have to remind elected officials that those are our places too. They're public. They're not walled off from the public.
It's different at the federal level. It's not - this is where I think the beauty of being involved and looking around our neighbourhoods and the spaces that we're in every single day, where we go to the grocery store, where our kids go to school, where the neighbours kids go to school, where we connect and interact at a very local level is where we should be getting involved politically.
Well, and we, just to touch on a little bit, like your relationship with your friend who's conservative, we need ALLYS. When you were talking about safety, you know, if some jumped-up group is coming after your ass, you need somebody on their side of the fence to calm their ass down.
You need to be able to call into and talk within their bubble. You need a connection in there.
Because that's how... that's where their consciousness, like if you want them to be conscious of who you are, they have to know you. And somebody within there needs to identify with you and connect with you as an individual person. Because when you think about people as human beings, you treat them differently.
That is exactly right. That is exactly right.
And you know, when I left Utah to go get my Ph.D in California. When I left Utah, they roasted me at an Irish pub in Salt Lake City and Gayle Ruzicka, who was the head of the Eagle Forum, which, Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum, right? Super conservative group. Gayle Ruzicka came to my roast and roasted me and pinned me with an Eagle Forum pin, because she was like, You know what? I don't agree with you on almost every single thing, but I honour you and I respect you and I am going to miss debating you on that hill.
And for awhile, she would call me and say to me, Missy, I really miss you. I miss having that debate with you because it was always intentional and respectful.
And this goes back to me using my intuition to talk to people who have absolutely not one damn thing in common with me. And it was scary.
This is the other thing. I think people are just so fucking afraid to say the wrong thing, especially now. Because, you know, if we identify as Liberal Progressives, if we don't say the exact politically correct thing, we get ANNIHILATED by the Liberals. And if we identify with the Conservative Republican ideas, we get lambasted because we're not conservative ENOUGH. We're not hateful enough against the gays or whatever that is.
And I think that that is what really... Like, stepping through my fear and being like, Okay, well I've got to get this bill passed because I want to help the homeless kids.
And that's the other thing about tapping into your passion and tapping into your jam, and figuring out what lights you on fire. Because if you can tap in to that one thing, I don't care if it's the environment, or housing, or homelessness, or food or being pro-choice or anti-choice.
Whatever your thing, I don't care what your thing is. I want you so tapped in to it that you know what lights you on fire so that you can advocate for that thing, because I actually think it's going to bring us more towards the middle and it will take people out of these extreme spaces and bring them into this space where they are acting from intention and love.
Because you can't NOT when you're in your sweet spot.
When you're in that place where you know without a shadow of a doubt that that THING that lights you on fire is the thing you're going to talk about all the time. And that's what I do. That's what I help people do, is figure out what that thing is so that they can go out and do that thing.
Because when you do it, that's when people come around you from both sides of the aisle. It doesn't matter because you're so lit up and tapped in and turned on and just moving and flowing that you're like, Hell yeah!
That's the person I want to be around.
That person who's so excited and not being divisive. I'm not talking that excited divisive way. I'm talking the person who's willing to be imperfect in their activism, who's willing to be vulnerable in their activism, who's willing to say, This is who I am and this is what I believe in at the very core of my soul and my heart. Because this is what I want to do in the world.
And that's a very different space than 'all the gays should be banished'. That's not the space I'm talking about. That's not passion. That's not speaking from a space of love and intention and grace. THAT is mean.
Yeah. Be FOR something. That's always my rule is, when I start to stray into harping on what I'm against, as opposed to trying to come from a place of what I'm for.
Yes!!! There's a bumper sticker.
Just be FOR something. Because it's hard to be FOR things that are terrible. You know, it's harder, in a way.
I think if you can come from a place of what you're for, you're also less likely to make people defensive. Because, like you said, you're vibrating in a high energy and a positive energy. And I've met people before who were, like at authors conferences and stuff, who write about really conservative Christian concepts, I mean, I live in the Bible belt, so if I go meet other authors, there's a really good chance that there's a minister in there somewhere who's written a book.
One of the coolest women that I've met at one of those spaces is completely different mindset from me spiritually, but she desperately wanted to have lunch with me because she liked my energy.
I was like, 'Of course you do.' Because she was so lit up about what she loved and what she cared about, and it was like we recognized each other's light, you know what I mean?
It wasn't about the filter that we had on it or what the container was or anything like that. It was just the light itself that drew us and made us say like, 'We need to have lunch because we're having too much fun talking.'
And when I have those experiences, I'm like, why can't this be what, you know, it always feels like.
But it CAN be because, I feel like, you know, we forget that people are equally as passionate as we are about certain things. So the reason Gayle and I work so well together is not because we had one damn thing in common. It's that exact thing: The passion in me recognized the passion in her.
And I was like, Listen, you and I aren't going to get along on a policy level but as human beings, we can get along just fine. Thank you.
And that's what we're forgetting in this whole thing. I don't have to agree with your policy or your politics, but I am deeply driven to respect people's difference because I don't want everyone to be just like me. I don't want to be trapped in my own echo-chamber. It gets a little bit loony in there sometimes!
You don't want everybody rocking your look!
No, listen! I am an individual, damnit.
You know what I'm saying though? This diversity of thought is what makes this so fucking awesome.
Yeah. All diverse systems are more healthy.
Alright. So I want you to tell me about something. So you have this program called Candidates Secret Weapon program. That sounds pretty badass, but just tell me what exactly is that all about?
I'm so excited you asked me about this.
So the Candidates Secret Weapon, my friend Melanie Childers, she and I met randomly though some groups online somewhere. And Melanie lives in Georgia and she and I connected and we were like, What are women missing...
So we have all these women running for office in record numbers across the country. They're all being trained by these great organizations like Emerge, and all these fantastic organizations. But what Melanie and I have known from the years and years that we've been working together, or working in politics, is that in coming together, what Melanie and I really recognize is, we're training all these women to run, but then, and they've got this campaign staff and they're super awesome but then the criticism comes in.
The personal attacks come in. The things we see when women run for office, where they get criticized for who they are, and they just get annihilated in the press. They get annihilated by the voter. They get this sort of... the patriarchy comes out and the sexism comes out. And the crap comes out.
And the you've got women who worry about getting up to speak to their voters. They worry about making a mistake doing an interview with the press. They start to worry. And so their mindset and their energy gets off because women are running in a system that was created for white straight men to win.
So now you have all these women and women of colour who are running, who are like, running in this system that's meant to keep the power in its place.
And so the Candidates Secret Weapon is all about shifting the mindset and the energy and the intuition so that women are running as women.
And so they are coming from this space of badass connection to their passion and their jam, so that their platform and their story fully resonates with people, so that they can manage their fears around fundraising and asking for money, because it's really hard for women to do that, for some weird reason. (I haven't figured that out because I love asking for money. It's like my favorite thing on Earth.)
And managing their inner critic and dealing with all of the voices that come up, just in general. As women, we deal with this SHIT coming into us and we have to manage these critics that say you're not capable of doing this. You're not going to win. You're not going to be able to make this happen.
We create, sort of, this confidence framework for women to be able to - THAT'S the secret weapon. The secret weapon is...
There's a woman who's running for office somewhere in middle America. I can't remember off the top of my head right now, but she was being told by her campaign staff not to bring her kids with her on the campaign trail. She's like, I'm out of dissonance with this because I'm a mom! And I'm proud of my family.
And I was like, Girl, take your kids out!
What are you talking about!
Be in integrity with who you are! That's what this secret weapon is all about. It teaches women who are running for office how to hold, stay in their power, and communicate with confidence and do all these things that are intentional and vibrational to help them stay in that space of power, of their own spiritual power and their own intentional power and their own confidence so that they can win.
So what's the response been like?
So do you... Was it you that said you were like, paying your teenagers to track down their contact information to make a list for you?
That was me!
I was like, Listen, girls, I got a job for you.
There's a lot of women running for office, right? And so, I'm like, I don't have time to do that! But I have teenagers who are doing nothing right now so I'll pay them.
Ooo... very cool.
Yeah. Because they're in-between work right now. It's my daughter and her best friend.
So we have about 10 women right now who are going through the program. We're waiting for their feedback right now. I'm really excited to hear about it. I'm just sitting back here waiting. I kind of feel like I'm having this pregnant pause where I'm like, Ohmygod, When's it coming when's it coming?
I'm just waiting.
So this is a new...
Brand new! Like, this is the first time I've ever actually talked about it.
In the media.
In the media! And so, it's kind of exciting!
We set it up... When we first envisioned it, it was this sort of, 1-on-1 coaching program, because Melanie and I are both life coaches, and so it was this sort of 1-on-1 coaching thing and I was like, That's not big enough! It's gotta be bigger.
And so, it is out online so all of... Melanie and I did videos and then we have workbooks. So it's me and Melanie whipping up all this stuff. And so we've got six videos that are an hour long, a little less than an hour long, apiece, and then workbooks that go with them.
And I don't know what the response is, because we just barely launched it this week.
I just had this flash of what it could grow into and I was picturing you with your army and that your army was actually women who would go and take that training and that message and go and be on these campaign teams.
Like, you could just send all these people from the mothership to go to Georgia, to go to Iowa, to go to all these places and be that voice of what you're talking about, in that person's environment, right?
That would be really cool.
That would be really cool.
We are, Melanie and I are gonna be, we've connected with, we're going to be at Netroots Nation, probably we will be doing that right when this airs or right after this airs. So I'm excited about that. We'll be talking to all these activists about the secret weapon, the activitst secret weapon, using the same kind of concept.
So you are absolutely right in that vision, Slade. I can see it now!
So someone who, this is really kind of cool actually because when we think about that person, who is this spiritually minded woman, I don't want to plug in to the toxicity of the network news broadcasts but I want to do something.
Maybe their something is being part of your organization. You know, going out and representing.
Yeah. I think that's absolutely, absolutely true. Is that connecting with the work that I'm doing so that you are tapped in to your passion and your jam and the thing that's lighting you up, that's exactly what I want to create in the world. Is people who are so tied in to how they want to BE.
And it is the spiritual women who are like, I just don't want to sit down and be quiet anymore. I'm done being quiet. I can't sit here while this is happening but I don't know what to do.
That is what I give to women and that is what I do.
Well I was going to ask you about your legacy and you already told me so... That was gonna be the next question. That sounds like a good enough answer to my question that you psychically heard.
So, when you go to your website, you have a free download that's called 'Five Can't-Miss Steps to Finding your Voice'. How does that feed in to your message and what you're talking about here? Is that an extension of this, or a tool people can access RIGHT NOW that will give them a piece of what you do.
It is indeed a tool.
I was so driven to figure out how to help people immediately figure out their passion. And so, when I came up with the 'Five Can't-Miss Steps', this is sort of based on all of my work that I learned, you know, 15 years ago, doing my work at the Utah State Capitol, so it's all about tapping in to your WHY and really being clear on why you want to do the things you're doing.
Again, it goes all back to your passion and your jam. Tools to actually find your jam, which is not just the thing that makes you excited, but also your favorite song and how your favorite song makes you feel.
There's that music that we hear that makes us... and I can't dance, let's just talk about white girl can't dance. I have NO rhythm at all. But man, when I hear, One Girl Revolution, that's one of my favorite songs, or even Pink or Ani, or even Carmina Burana's my most favorite symphony. When I hear that, I MOVE.
My body cannot sit still. And that's your jam.
And so one of the things that I'm trying to help people do is figure that out so that they can just put that song on all the time and be in their jam, so that they vibrate at a difference space, so that they can go out and do their thing.
Oh! So it helps you figure out your theme song?
It helps you figure out your theme song AND so... it reminds you when you're listening to that song, I'm going to take action. Like, go do something. Send an email to an elected official. Send a thank you note.
One of the things I talk about in my freebie is saying thank you and being grateful and putting your gratefuls out into the world. And saying thank you to someone who's actually making a big huge difference.
So I am a big fan of the handwritten thank you note, because it's how I was raised, and I will write random thank you notes to Brené Brown, and Hilary Clinton and the people that I love. The people that inspire me. And I will write handwritten thank you notes to people like my county council people or my city council people.
Or the guy running... we have a huge homeless problem here in Corvallis, and the guy who was running HOAC (Housing Opportunities Action Council). That guy needs a thank you note. He's getting lambasted right now. Like, people who I see in the community who are taking the shit but doing the good work, I'll send them thank you notes and say, thank you so much for doing what you're doing!
I mean, yeah, like connecting to our community - that's what I teach.
And I give people, in that 'Five Can't-Miss Steps to Finding your Voice', I also give people permission to be imperfect. Because I think that's the other neat thing we're really really wanting right now, is, how can I be imperfect when I'm terrified of being imperfect, because I've been told my whole life I have to do it perfect. I have to do it right.
And I'm like, No. Fuck that. Be imperfect. I'm not perfect. But I am not going to shut up for nothing. And you can't make me.
Missy, ohmygod, I want to talk to you about a million things and we probably will after we stop recording. (Sorry people, who are listening and want to hear all that.)
So we make sure and let everyone know where they can go find you online, tell us where we can find you.
Well, in Bird Girl fashion, I am my own industry and so you can find me at birdgirlindustries.com on the interwebs. I am also on Patreon, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, @birdgirl1001, because I'm a Libra so I have to talk about my birthday in all my things... Maybe I'll get birthday cards on 10-01!
And so I'm on all of those things and I absolutely love engaging with people. It just makes me so happy. I had a woman the other night who was just... asking for how to just stop the chaos and move forward and I was like, Just breathe.
And she's like, she sent me a message two days later and was like, That's revelatory! That's like revolutionary, so even if you aren't involved in one of my programs, even though I hope everyone gets involved in one of my programs...
Oh! I also have a 'Marginalized No More' training online that's super easy to do that's got a couple of things that launches off of that freebie. So there's another thing online that's super fun that you can tap into.
But I just, you know, I love connecting with people and giving them little nuggets of joy to just go off into the world and take with them.
So... I'm all about creating that army.
Well, and I want to say to anyone who wants to follow you on Facebook. You are a really fun person to have on your Facebook friends because you ARE super enthusiastic, you like the hell out of stuff, your comments are always, you're a cheerleader for all your friends and I can see that...
I like to call myself a professional Enabler. I am re-claiming the concept of 'enabling' because it's become such a dirty word but I find that so much of what I do is about hearing someone's dream and then thinking, Ohmygod YES that's an amazing idea. Let me convince you that you can do it. You know what I mean?
Ooo I love that!
And you're a kindred spirit in that way. And your presence is, that really comes through in your online presence. So I want to tell everyone, Don't be shy to be friends with you online. Because you're super fun and excited friend to have.
And I swear all the time so that's a bonus.
Yeah, yeah. If you like the swearing then that's always available.
Of course you are! Why would you be on my show if you weren't.
Listen, that is the goddamn truth.
Missy, thank you so much for letting me capture this conversation with you. It's super timely and I'm sure that we will find many many more things to talk about in the future. But for now, I just want to say thank you.
Slade, thank you so much for having me on. I'm so stupid happy about it I don't even know what to do with myself.