What happens when you end up in leadership roles after devastating circumstances? How do you navigate the tension between building a business and being faithful to God’s calling?
In this episode, I interview Abby Rike Rockenbaugh and discuss how she learned how to embrace unexpected leadership after loss. You’ll hear some powerful reminders about the importance of sharing your story.The Reluctant Leader
Abby’s leadership journey started when she was young. She was referred to as “bossy”, but learned to tone down those skills because she wanted to have friends.
Abby was often chosen as the leader within group projects growing up, but she truly realized she was a leader when she was in college. She shares about an experience when she was in a group project where she was not the designated leader.
After the project was over, Abby’s professor shared with her that the other members of her group all indicated that they felt that she was actually the leader. Her professor then called out her gift of leadership, which was a turning point for Abby.
Instead of viewing herself as bossy and annoying, she was able to embrace that being a leader was a good thing.Abby’s Defining Moment & The Importance of Your Story
Abby shares about her defining moment that changed her life forever. She explains that during her grief, leadership was not even something on her radar. She was simply surviving. She had to wrestle with whether God was who she had always thought him to be.
After walking through that experience, she felt that now leadership was not just about her natural giftings, but rather about a calling. She now had a responsibility to share her story and point people to Jesus.
Abby believes that everyone has a story, and that it’s important for people to know how to share their story.
She and I chat about when she recognized that it was time to share her story, and how some of these opportunities turned out to be completely unexpected.
Abby ended up being chosen to be a contestant on The Biggest Loser. After this, God opened more doors for public speaking and other platforms to share her story. We discuss how many times God just asks us to take the next right step.
I ask Abby how she manages the tension of growing a business vs. following God’s calling on her life. Her best advice is that if something doesn’t rest well within your soul, don’t do it.
With leadership, you have to be willing to swim against the current.Embracing Your Gifts & Your Identity
Abby shares that she has found the spiritual gift test to be extremely helpful to her as a a leader. She believes that it’s important for us to claim the gifts God has given us. As a reluctant leader, stepping into her gifts and owning them has been the best thing she could do to become a more effective leader.
I ask Abby what she has done to embrace how God has wired her. She says that she believes that if she does not accept her identity, then she is calling God a liar. She goes to the source of truth, God’s word, to determine who she really is.
We discuss the source of confidence, false humility, and the tension between accepting your gifts and becoming prideful in them.
We chat about the importance of having mentors and people who will help you to stay accountable. It’s important to find people who get you, but who will also tell you the truth. You also need people who can be there for you when you are really having a difficult time.Abby’s Passions
Abby is passionate about equipping women to be in the word of God. This stems out of her own experience of being a prodigal for many years, and being wooed back to God by His word. She became a Christian as a young child, but she wasn’t truly discipled.
Her passion now is to help women understand the character of God. She wants women to experience the transformation of their heart and life.
Abby’s ministry, RockThis, was born out of this passion.
We also chat about her Speaking For Bloggers business and the history behind this, including when God said “no.” Abby shares how God ended up opening some big doors, including having the opportunity to be on Ruth Soukup’s podcast, Do It Scared. Following the podcast, Ruth invited Abby to be part of a bigger speaking opportunity.
In Christian leadership, there are some things that are different than what the typical business advice might be. Instead of beating down the doors, it’s spending time in prayer and having your speech prepared. You can do the preparatory things so that when God says “go”, you’re ready.
The bigger doors sometimes open when we’re obedient in the small things.Abby’s Advice for Younger Leaders:
Abby and I chat about what Abby is learning. She shares that she knows her weakness in her current business is marketing, and she’s been working to learn more about this area.
In a noisy world, we need to choose what we are focusing on instead of trying to do everything. We have to limit the voices we allow in.
Abby's final thought for us is this: "Stay true to God, stay true to yourself, and God will bless those endeavors."How You Can Connect with Abby:
Abby Rike Rockenbaugh is a professional speaker, published author, and former teacher who now helps bloggers hone their public speaking skills. She believes everyone has a story to tell, and she aims to help bloggers craft theirs in such a way they authentically connect with their audience. She has had the opportunity to share her story on Ellen, the Today Show, and as a contestant on The Biggest Loser. When she’s not traveling for a speaking event, feeding her fainting goats, or eating Mexican food with her husband, you can find her at speakingforbloggers.com.
This episode was first published at EstherLittlefield.com.
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