The Human Impact with Elisabeth Jordan
In Episode #70, I have the absolute pleasure of sitting down with Elisabeth Jordan of The Human Impact. Before I interviewed Elisabeth, I joined her and her team for street outreach. I was able to watch her in action as she showed me what it looks like to do what they are doing with the Human Impact.
Elisabeth grew up in one of the wealthiest zip codes in Dallas, and through her lens of privilege never realized what was happening on the streets just a few miles down the road. After losing her job in corporate America, she began a quest to find her purpose in life and realized that she most felt like herself when serving the community of people on the streets. She and I speak about how God can stop us in our tracks in order to truly speak to us in a manner where we are able to hear his call for our lives.
Elisabeth identified friendship as the need that would drive her mission and quickly realized that it would need to be more than just her to really affect change. What started as a volunteer position that fed her soul 7 years ago quickly grew into an organization where she, team members, and volunteers build relationships with people on the streets. As they forge friendships and learn about their new friends, they work through what issues are keeping them on the streets in hopes of eventually helping them transition off the streets and back into society, a place of their own, and employment. The Human Impact has been a thriving organization for the past 4 years and has recently created a partnership with Bonton Farms where people can work on an urban farm and live in homes of their own as a first step along the restoration process.
I encourage you to lean in to Elisabeth’s message of learning to see this population not as “Homeless People” but instead just as people.
She challenges us to ask ourselves the same question she asked herself in the beginning. Who are the homeless? What are my assumptions about the homeless? How can we serve others when we humble ourselves?
Elisabeth discusses her original thoughts of providing a solution for the homeless community.
“Coming with a solution to a problem when I had never experienced homelessness was actually pretty arrogant of me.”
She quickly realized that she needed to lay aside what she thought she was going to the streets to do and instead start listening. She tells us about her friend from he streets that was the first to welcome her into the community. She shares that he was the first to recognize that she didn’t know what she was doing but that he was going to love her anyway. After that first bond was formed, she realized that God was using this community to heal her and teach her to love herself because they accepted her for who she was. We discuss how forging meaningful relationships by sharing our humanity with one another, including our pain and vulnerability is what truly makes us stronger as people.
“Often times, people of privilege are coming to serve the homeless and we don’t realize we can relate to them in such a human way.”
She and I both found the most surprising part of street outreach to be how most of the homeless community choose to focus on the good and beautiful things that God has for them.
Elisabeth brings her husband and children along for outreach because they want their family to be in close proximity to people who are different from them and have different needs and different stories because there is so much life to that. While discussing her children, she tells us that as an Enneagram 1, her greatest desire for her children is for them to remember that they played because it is easy to get lost in the world of perfection and miss those moments.
She gives us 7 Tips for following your purpose in life
1. Know that following the purpose that is within in you is worth the risk
2. Don’t let fear keep you from walking your purpose journey.
3. Don’t let the risks outweigh the purpose for which you were made.
4. Purpose can be served in both business and the non-profit space. Neither one is more purposeful than the other.
5. Be willing to take chances and continue to pursue the path of purpose no matter what comes.
6. Take small risks so that you’re prepared to take the bigger risks when you’re called to
7. Change how you view failure, learn from it and grow from it.
Elisabeth also shares with us how she has taken lessons from failure and applied them in learning and growing.
5 Ways to Handle Failure
1. Do a post mortum
2. Ask yourself what could we have done differently
3. What could they have done differently?
4. Assess what you can do different next time.
5. What can you take away from that moment to learn for the future.
You can learn more about The Human Impact and ways to get involved over at www.thehumanimpact.org
You can follow along with their weekly outreach over on IG: @thehumanimpact
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