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This is 43 — Josie’s Version.

Josie and the Podcast shorty episode banner. This is 43.

We’ve made it through another season of Josie and The Podcast – and as we celebrate the end of Season 6, we’re also celebrating my birthday! To commemorate these milestones, I wanted to use this final episode to reflect on this past season and this era of my life.

One of several themes this season was technology, specifically AI. What better way to help me recap the season than by asking AI to help pull moments that sparked conversation and community for us all. Turns out, we talked a lot about change, community, and mindfulness – a few of my favorite things!

Birthdays are a big time for reflection. I asked you all for questions to answer, and you delivered. The episode is packed with life lessons, reminding you that progress doesn’t require a grand plan. I advocate for starting small because the momentum created can be transformative. The episode ends with a powerful message of self-acceptance, reminding you that we are all a blend of strength and vulnerability, deserving of grace and moments to pause.

And while the season may be over, I’d love to stay connected over the summer break! Follow me on social media and/or sign up for my monthly newsletter delivered to your inbox to receive updates, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and a healthy dose of fun. Plus, don’t miss the Real Talk Higher Ed Series – a monthly show where we tackle the big issues in higher education with an experienced and caring panel of professionals.

 Thank you for being part of season 6! I look forward to seeing what’s in store for season 7. Until next time – sending all the digital love and hugs.

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Josie and the Podcast is produced in partnership with University FM, a podcast agency dedicated to higher education. University FM works with leading colleges and universities to tell stories on campus that build branding, drive engagement, and connect communities. Reach out to to connect on podcast strategy, production, and growth. We look forward to talking with you!

Element451 is a proud sponsor of Josie and the Podcast. Element451 is an AI-powered, all-in-one student engagement platform, helping institutions create meaningful, personalized, and engaging interactions with students. Our platform harnesses the power of Artificial Intelligence to seamlessly tailor content for each individual, bridging the gap between broad outreach and personal touchpoints. Fueled by intelligent automation and deep data insights, teams are free to focus on what matters most — building real connections with students. Learn more at 

Notes from this Episode:

[00:00:00] Josie: Josie and the Podcast is produced by the lovely folks at University FM. University FM is the higher ed podcast agency partnering with higher ed communicators to share stories that resonate with students, alumni, and the broader community. They help institutions use podcasts to maximize impact on branding, enrollment, and alumni engagement.

Whether you’re a beginner or a veteran podcaster trying to figure out podcasting as part of your communications plan, they can provide guidance and get you moving in the right direction. Lately, they’ve also been developing podcast trainings for students and faculty to learn the basics and get involved.

So, if you need help with podcast strategy, production, or marketing, you can connect their team at The link for a discovery call is in the show notes.

Hello, and welcome to Josie and the Podcast. I’m Josie, and I am so happy to have you here with me today. What does it mean to lead in the digital space with heart and humanity? On this podcast, I spend time answering this question with heart, with soul, and lots of substance. My goal is to share conversations that encourage you, empower you, and even entertain you to rethink digital strategy for yourself and the organizations you support.

[00:01:57] This episode is the season finale of season 6. I’m going to talk about this little podcaster’s birthday, of wild and wonderful retreat I went on. I’m also realizing now, hence the title of this episode, I’m 43. And apparently, now, I have seasonal allergies, so, welcoming me to the party. I’m going to do a wrap up today of what season six has all been about. I’m going to reflect on life, I know, so dramatic. But I have learned a thing or two. And I asked listeners to send me questions.

And then, finally, of course, I’ll share what is coming next.

So, we talked about AI quite a bit in this season. No surprise. It is just, you know, it’s like pollen around me and the change of season, sometimes it makes people sneeze, sometimes it congests people. Other people really enjoy the flowers. AI is going to come with waves of chill and, maybe, challenges. But what I got to do as an experiment is we threw the transcripts from the whole season into AI and asked, Hey, what are the themes that you can pull from all the different topics in interviews and when it’s just little old me with shorties?

And so, here were the themes from season six: change and adapting. Every episode, we talked about change, my change, the industry’s change, individuals change, new platforms, career transitions, society, all the stuff. There was also a theme of student-centered marketing. Multiple episodes talking about how to integrate students into social strategy, but also creating content that’s really going to resonate.

This next one, I would be upset if it wasn’t included: community. The concept of community, explored in a variety of different contexts, whether if that is on campus, online, and everything else in between.

Especially in my interviews, the next topic of personal branding, one might call it, or one’s own authenticity and how they show up as a human in all spaces, in a genuine yet relatable way, no matter your position.

The next theme was technology integration. Of course, that AI episode was just packed all in there, but even our Gen Alpha episode, we talked about that, too.

Mindfulness was the next theme. Again, I think this is just, kind of, coming out of my pores, how much we need to take care of ourselves, our fellow humans around us in the face of social media and constant change and crisis within higher ed.

And then, the last one, and knowing that I research and publish about digital leadership, leadership was a theme, but also advocacy, whether that’s advocating for yourself, your students, or your communities.

So, those were our themes. Pretty cool! Can you imagine if you were able now, my master’s and doc students, and my faculty might hate me for this… it’s just a draft. Okay, just hear me out. You throw in all of your interview transcripts, or, like I did, you know, like, roundtables. I did focus groups. What if you threw all those transcripts into AI to just get you started on working on some themes? Oh, my gosh.

Okay. Faculty, please don’t be mad at me. So, I shared earlier that I recently had a little bit of a birthday. And you know birthdays, you get thinking about life and where you’ve been and where you’re going. And I will admit, some birthdays have been a little bit more rocky than others. I mean, heck, when I turned 39, it was 2020. And that, obviously, was spent at home. The last couple have been all right, but I’ve had to be really intentional about them. I’m an Aries. I’m a fire sign, a little feisty. I get thinking about, like, oh, how things are going to be, they should be, especially on a birthday. So, I’m learning to just chill, girl, chill, Josie, just a little, a little bit.

I thought about telling my consulting story, which I thought would be cool to, maybe, kind of, just tell my story, period, by answering questions from listeners and people from social media. So, I put out these questions on Instagram, on LinkedIn, on some groups that I’m part of. And so, I’m going to answer some of those. And you can still send me questions. Maybe this is the way I kick off season seven in the fall.

So, Clarissa Mae… hey, Clarissa. She asked, what’s your best advice you would give to your younger self? And a similar question from Laura Pasquini, my girl back from doc research days, who now is a higher ed expat doing her thing. She asked, how would your 12-year-old self be proud of you now? And how can I not just start crying just reading that question?

So, a couple things that came to my mind, young, young Josie, it’s not fully about you. And I know that sounds like I’m talking to a little girl that’s full of herself, but it’s actually the opposite. Growing up in cowboy country, in the wild, literally the Wild West… Wyoming is still wild and gritty. And some people were mean to me as a child, but I have learned, now looking back, that it wasn’t about me. They were having their own heartbreaks at home. Now that I know, you know, so much more about human development and family dynamics, and I just remember just always sitting there asking a question of why. Why, why, why? What am I doing wrong? What is it about me that I can change? I did really so much want to be liked, and I think that’s something I’m still evolving with, as a 43-year-old. It’s so funny that I work within social media, how a like is a literal data point that I have now evolved from wanting to be liked to wanting to, I mean, kind of, have a legacy. I know it’s cheesy, like Hamilton, but that’s, that’s that.

And I would also tell my younger little self that life is going to be awesome, that you’re going to do stuff that you can’t even find in a book yet, that you’re going to explore far beyond what you thought even imaginable. And just get ready, it’s going to be awesome.

Hana from over the pond in the UK, she asked me, what’s your biggest life lesson you’ve learned, and how did it change your perspective? And I got a couple other questions a little bit like this. Meghan asked, what would you tell your 20-year-old self? And my roommate, Lloyd Ahlquist, asked, what’s something you would tell your 32-year-old you? All these so specific of ages, 12, 20, 32, and I’m just putting a little pin here. These are questions that would be great for you, maybe, to reflect, in general, about.

And so, especially thinking about more into my early adult life is to ask for what you want and be prepared to get it. Every time, whether if it was putting it out into the world or old days of working at a campus and advocating for myself to my supervisor, even if it wasn’t what ended up happening, it was even a, a centimeter baby step, a Josie step, into moving forward.

And I guess I would say for listeners, especially if you feel like you have to have some big grand plan, that you have to, you know, you want to start to tell your story and create content, so then you have to have this perfect YouTube channel or podcasts or Substack, just start writing in Instagram captions. Just start capturing audio notes on your phone. Like, what is just the simplest thing that I guarantee is going to be sloppy. And maybe it’s really simple, but it’s something. Don’t minimize just what that momentum can bring, because you’re going to look back in 10, 12, 15, 20 years, and it will just be that slight, again, like a little ripple that gets further out into the waves.

My next lesson, because again, we got three questions. So, I get more than one answer, okay? This is the deal. I want you to be your number one fan. And this is also speaking to myself, my 43-year-old self, is, you may not know this about me, or you may not have picked it up. Actually, a life-long journey in self-confidence, I wouldn’t say I’m, like, faking it, you know, like, the fake it till you make it, but I am extremely hard on myself. Sometimes, the reason why building community is so easy and inspiring for me is because it’s outward. And I then, like a ricochet, get a high and I feel included because of that.

And so, I’m everybody’s fan. I want everyone. I want you to succeed. And there was a time, for example, I would go on stage and I would convince myself that, even if I got compliments afterwards, that they were lying, that it wasn’t true, or make it… like little things, like, “Oh, I like your hair,” or I assumed… I know it sounds horrible, kind of, the worst. I didn’t believe the goodness from people. And maybe, the lesson is I need to cultivate my own reservoir in me of my own fandom.

[00:13:25] On a different note to that is, sometimes, because then I was defensive and I worked, and continue to work very hard, there were times back in my earlier career, where I may not have played as well with others as I had wished, that I would get so focused on the goal and doing the work. And I remember so many times leaving meetings and being like, “Why won’t y’all just do your jobs? Like, just do the work.” I was, kind of, not outwardly. And there was some regret of maybe more significant relationships I could have built when I was campus-based.

But I would also say that came into play with even the way that I approached, for example, my book, that I felt like I needed this claim of only me writing this book about digital leadership. And I will never write a book again. Okay, I can’t say never, never, but I now lean into collaboration way, way more, because it’s also so much more fun.

Because what I learned from writing that book and creating a business is you are not a renewable resource. And you can argue with me about this all day, but this is just from my lesson. We can renew. I literally had a retreat about it. That was the title of it. We can take days off. We can take vacations. I’ve just learned from injuries and from meltdowns that you can replace your podcast mic, you can upgrade your computer, but our bodies, our minds, our spirits are so much more sacred.

And I don’t remember if I’ve told this story on the podcast before, but when I first started to work with a business coach, she got to know me pretty quick to realize, like, “Oh, this is a workaholic, like, she is.” And one of her first homework assignments for me was to take Sundays off. And I laughed at her and negotiated that down to one Sunday off a month. And I’m a little embarrassed to say that. And I, you know, if you want to go down this entrepreneur path, there is going to be both flexibility and some work that you may not have needed to do in other types of capacities.

But yeah, no, I learned that I sometimes would work more, especially when things weren’t going well because I thought that was, kind of, then, it sounds so bad, but like a punishment. And… but now that I know taking time and even bigger periods of time, there has been two summers where I have almost taken a month off, that then the work actually improves. And that was, kind of, mind-blowing.

The last thing that I would give as a life lesson, especially to my younger self, is tell your story. Again, it doesn’t have to be this TED Talk, like I saved a dog from a burning house, because what I have found, the more I share, even little bits and big things, that there are so many others it gives permission to or there’s some me too connection moments, that that can be one of the most powerful things we can do. And again, that is why I’m such an advocate and a strategist for using digital communication tools, because that’s how I did it, especially at the beginning.

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[00:18:45] Okay. Whoa. Okay. So, talking about building business, making big life decisions, Ken asked me, “So, you decided to leave academia, start your own consulting long before people were talking about self-care and burnout openly.” Yes. So, I left campus work in 2014. And she said, “What gave you the courage to make the transition? Did the transition come with any sacrifices?”

So, I’m going to link my recent interview on SA Voices from the Field with Jill Creighton, where I, kind of, tell the full story. And I think I have shared it here before now, so I’ll give you the highlights in, I had felt I, kind of, reached the mountaintop, one could say, in the current role that I was in. And even at the time, I was getting a lot more responsibility and visioning to work on social media and marketing for the division. But I had also started my doc program. But I was ready for change, even if it was lateral. And so, I applied for an internal position. And it was the first position I’ve applied to for six years, since I even started at that institution and was not offered that role.

And it really rocked me. And the fact that I was, like, for those that have applied internally, you’re going to get this. Like, you have… you get the… continue to show up and do the work and maybe even collaborate and work with the individuals you interviewed with or the hiring manager. It was also, like, the beginning of the academic year. So, it was wild and busy. But my husband and I were out for a run, good old self-care. And I just stopped out of nowhere, which, of course, I think frightened him because I don’t stop running. And I started to cry and share. I mean, he obviously knew that I hadn’t received that position. And he said, “What if, why don’t you just step out for a minute? What if you just do school?” And I just shook my head. And, you know, we turned around and headed back home and… but it started to warm something in me to think about, what could it be?

Because what… another life lesson that I learned is your value is not your work. I get a little… a lot of value from my work, but especially when I was at an institution, it was my full identity. Even in higher ed and student affairs, we get very much, kind of, indoctrinated, almost like the sunk cost fallacy, that, like, well, my master’s is in this, all my years of experience are in this, what else can I really do? And I just started to, kind of, let my mind play around with it. And honestly, the people that I was most nervous to tell wasn’t my institution or my supervisor. It was my parents. Because I have worked since I was legally allowed to work in Wyoming and South Dakota. Work is a core identity and value of my family.

And so, the courage, I would fully credit to my partner in crime, to my partner, Lloyd. And I find so much courage from him daily, because the second question about sacrifices, entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. It is terrifying. I am standing in shaking knees and sometimes collapsing constantly, and learning and unlearning over and over again, because, and this is probably a future interview or episode or something, that we have our own health insurance privately. I don’t know what my contracts are going to be in the fall, but I also know that the flexibility brings with such freedom and my impact that I can have is mind-boggling.

[00:23:01] Okay, next question. Ashley, on Instagram, asked, “How did you get over the fear of being seen by mass amounts of people?” Okay, this is fun because we’re, kind of, going back and forth, back and forth. So, I’m so thankful for my parents, for many reasons. But at the time I hated that I had to be in 4H. I wanted to be in Girl Scouts so bad. But in 4H, we had to learn public speaking. You had to run meetings. You had to give presentations. And even if it was a small group, and then you were, kind of, mentored and coached by the adults, which were basically like the parents, too. And that was, that, kind of, just planted seeds of the skill of speaking.

And let me tell you, there are definitely times that I am scared to talk in front of people in a variety of sizes. Sometimes, larger rooms are actually easier than much smaller. And so, some of that just takes time. But I’ve also learned they’re just people. There was once I got this really cool opportunity to be a keynote in front of, like, 300 college and university presidents. And I just had to keep reminding myself, these are people, these are grandparents, these are aunties, these are, you know, at the core, this is who they are. And that is what’s so… my approach is I’m trying to teach them to be more human online. Great question.

Okay, next question. Day asks, “When did you get into the woo-woo stuff? And how has it served you?” Well, I live in L.A., so I’m surrounded by it. And I just lean into it. It’s also interesting when you start to, like, really look back to the past. My mom, I remember buying me a couple crystals, or we would have dream catchers, or I just had, like, some memories early on of, kind of, like, seeing deeper meanings in things.

And so, again, it never, kind of, like, turned me off or scared me. And for me, who can get so heady and so doey, to have, like, a tarot card, or meditation, or a crystal, it’s just something to, kind of, pull me out, honestly, of all this Aries happening. And it’s also, like, little experiences to go into the crystal shop up the street or to a meditation class.

And I find the biggest growth that I’ve ever had, whether if that was when I was in student council in high school and got to go to a leadership conference in Kansas or, you know, just going to a student affairs conference and hearing a really amazing keynote speaker. For me, I know, doing experiences, I have the biggest moments of growth. So, that’s just me. Woo-woo away.

Okay, Meghan Grace, I’m giving awards. Her question is awesome. And she says, “How did you get to be so amazing? Please outline a 10-stop model.” I love you. I got so awesome because of hanging out with people like you and collaborating with you and laughing with you. And I, kind of, shared at the very beginning how the message I would give to my younger, younger self in looking back to the work I do today, they say when you do research or especially your dissertation is me-search. And what I can connect is, today, where I am so corely driven to educate around belonging and inclusion, is because I know what it feels like to not feel included or to not feel like I belong.

And this isn’t, like, in my family, by the way. And I’ve grown up with a ton of privilege. So, I always, maybe I’m just, like, really empathetic. If I experience that, I can only… if I even put myself in the shoes of a variety of identities and walks of life, that, by the research and just reality, that could be so much more impactful on their life, both in harm and in help. And at the end of the day, no matter our walk of life or who we are, that we all really crave to be seen and part of a community. And because, just like Day’s question about, how did I get into woo-woo stuff, I am open to all things on the table, including social media. How could we use this tool to help people not feel alone, that you could find your people, that you could feel seen?

And maybe I have picked a tool that is a stretch, that is harder, but we also have seen it be helpful when used strategically. When I even talk about that, I feel it deep into my feels, that, gosh, I wish when I was alone journaling or making up dances in my room, in, like, sixth grade and just wondering who else was out there, that would just accept and love me and be my friend. And maybe that’s what all sixth graders do. And I think that’s also why I fell in love with college so hard. The minute I stepped foot on a college campus, I started to find people. I got it.

All right, Laura Pasquini asks, “What’s something no one has asked you about, but they should?” Oh, my gosh. So, I’m going to give you some random facts. How about that?

And also, Meghan, this could also be included in my 10-step model of what makes me so amazing. And again, you think about, what is your 10-step awesome outline? Okay. How tall are you? Great question. I’m 4’10”. Something random, I fell over a chainsaw when I was young. And I have two pretty big scars on my right foot. Another random, kind of, heartbreaking story is, my pomeranian in, I think it was 5th grade, ate my retainer, or she tried. And then the next day she passed away.

Better news, my favorite thing about Los Angeles is going to concerts. And concert season is coming. And that just makes my heart really happy. This one, I really need Lloyd to hear. I want a golden retriever so, so badly, like, deep into my bones badly. Okay. Again, I’m putting it out into the world, and I am prepared to receive it.

Okay, another one. I didn’t learn to really cook, like, even probably vegetables until I was in my mid-30s, maybe even mid-late. And good times, college, Malibu and Coke was my drink of choice in college. So, okay, I want to hear some random, awesome things about you, because it’s, again, it could just be the little things that make us all so amazing. And this is my version of who I am and what 43 is.

Because, also, what I know 43 is, is and I won’t use expletives, but I am moving into a era where I am embracing big girl business vibes that I have been chipping away and working on mindset stuff, working on momentum and all that stuff that’s sustainable, that’s scalable, that still can be simple. It can provide security and is significant. So, I’m putting that out into the world, and this is why you’d be like, “Hey, Josie sounds like she’d be a really fun and strategic thought partner about innovation, about change, about internal communications, social media,” and that could come about in consulting and coaching or speaking. I’m your girl. I’m here for you, because I want to make sure what you do, with the tools we have, are also sustainable, scalable, simple, and significant.

If I sound super, I don’t know, soft and woo-woo today, it’s because I’m coming off of a retreat. This retreat was, I don’t really have words. It was amazing. Amazing is like this… it’s not enough. That is not enough of a word. It was awesome. It was… it’s still working its way through me. And so, it was almost a week-long retreat, all women up in Ojai, led by some phenomenal humans, using tools of poetry, of movement, of astrology, of wellness. We did cold plunges. We ate yummy food. We played. We danced. We journaled. I mean, my favorite things.

And learning to claim space and my voice, but also importantly, a big takeaway is the gift of rest. And you might be listening to this, and you’re like, it is the end of April, or maybe you’re listening to this in May and you’re not yet quite to the finish line. You’re like, “That’s nice. That’s nice you got to do that.” I get it. Trust me, I came home to a lot, a lot. But how you just let hear it from me, you deserve rest. Your brain, your body, your spirit deserves it.

And I’m also playing with more about this retreat concept. I’ve offered retreats in January and December online, but how much I know that, when we bridge the online and the in-person with some very much experiential stuff, some really cool stuff can happen. And whether if that is at a conference or even just in a phone call, it’s just giving me more stuff to play with.

And so, talking about what I’m playing with next is, now that the podcast is wrapping up, I have a new series. And I don’t know if it’s going to show up in this feed, so make sure you’re subscribed to my newsletter and you follow me on social. It’s called Real Talk Higher Ed. And it’s a monthly series that’s talking about super timely topics. We’re going to talk real, real, real, but also have some resources for you. So, I’m bringing in different experts. And I’m trying to be really strategic in bringing different voices from different pockets of the industry — from faculty, to marketing, to student affairs, enrollment, executives. I want to get different perspectives.

The first one is about wellness and wellbeing and really trying to, like, is this unsustainable? Like, what are we doing? We are in chaos. We are in a free fall. How do we need to approach this work differently? I’ll link the registration in the show notes. It’s on Zoom, and it’s recorded after, so you can catch it there, too.

We are also working on the supervisor version of the Student Social Media Academy. Supervising students is awesome and challenging, especially when you’re tasking them to run social. And there will be modules, so you can learn those skills and see what students are experiencing in the academy. Stay tuned for that when it’s available.

I’m doing a lot more coaching of mid-levels — so, directors of marketing comms and social media, especially within student affairs, but also in central offices. And I really love that, because we get to, kind of, grapple with front end, back end, you know, like, whether that’s staffing, strategy, and all the stuff in between.

And then, finally, and it’s far too early for me to talk about it, who knows when the season comes back, I can share more, but I am both holding a lot more space and creating spaces for women and consultants and some behind-the-scenes helping people become those things, coaches and consultants. And so, just send out some, if that’s something you’re like, “Ooh, keep me in your periphery,” or reach out and let me know what you’re dreaming and scheming about.

[00:36:23] As I come to a close, we really should rebrand these. These aren’t shorties, this is just Josie, okay? But as we wrap up season six, I thought back about when this thing started, was the first kickoff episode was October 3rd, 2016. I am a freaking anomaly in the podcast industry because podcasts, on average, don’t last too long, especially through all of the things. And I will tell you, podcasting is not for the faint of heart or voice, but it is worth it.

And so, I want to give some thank-yous, especially to the sponsors this season, University FM and Element451. Mallory, Robert, Cheska, you’ve been amazing. I have to thank my team, Kati Hartwig, Giselle Cancio, and Katy Spencer Johnson, for all your work behind the scenes.

My hubs, I think he’s napping right now, as he should. He just brought a new mic into my office one day. So, if you have heard just a slightly different sound quality, you can thank him for that. It was in the middle of the season. And then my guests this season, Myla, Rachel, Shea, Day, Mike, Jill, thank you for your willingness to share your stories and your light.

And listeners, I want to thank you. And my hope is that you can share your stories, whether that is in private, with your mentees, with your staff, with your team, with your friends, your family, and your light out into all the different programs and initiatives and strategies that you are doing.

Before I do something kind of special, I want to leave you with some quotes from the podcast guests from the season that really stuck out to me.

So, we started with Myla Edmonds. And she said, “My why is to encourage people to keep going even on the hard days, but to know that you have some influence on the direction of your life. You don’t have to just let life happen to you. I hope that I leave people with, you have a choice and you always have a choice. Even when things happen to us, we don’t have to stay there.”

Okay. Next one is from Rachel Putman. She shares, “I think it’s so important to be real and be present when you’re a mentor. Not every student you hire is going to think of you as a mentor. I don’t think that’s necessary to have a student who’s excited to learn, but most of mine have. And so, modeling behavior of, this is how you present yourself as a professional, but you should be presenting as yourself, is really important to me.”

And then, Day Kibilds shares, “After so many years of striving and climbing and having to prove myself over and over, now that I feel people see that, I want to give it away. For me, my purpose is giving.”

Then, we had Shea Kidd Brown, who said, “People might think social is actually the opposite of mindfulness, but it is a great way, particularly in stories, for me to share what might be on my mind on any given day, but also, like, a quick tidbit on my way to work. ‘It is cold.’ That might be a pose I have tomorrow. People, it is cold, but y’all doing it out there, kind of thing.” It’s this mindfulness practice. It’s simple. It’s just a way to provide connective tissue.

Next, Mike Muñoz shared, “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. And what I mean by that is that, oftentimes, people want conditions to be perfect before we act and change or do something totally different. And so, I had to really be okay with things being a little messy, and that’s okay, because it was really about forward movement.”

And finally, from Jill Creighton, “I try to do my best to be a traveler and not a tourist. And for me, that’s a mindset, but also a resource usage thing. I try to be quite aware of my impact in the world in a lot of ways. Environmental is one of them. I’m aware that, when I choose to go to a new place, I’m taking resources, and I’m also using resources from the people who occupy that space on a permanent basis, whether those people are indigenous or simply local to the area. It’s about cultural appreciation for me.”

Oh, thank you, all of the guests this season, and I can’t wait to start to dream and brainstorm what next season is going to all be about.

The final thing that I’m going to leave you is something that I wrote and, believe it or not, performed at the Radiant Life Retreat that I was at earlier this month. It’s called Grit and Grace.

I give you my grit, the grit of my ancestors, trailmakers, ranchers. I come from cowboys. Yeehaw! They grind as a team, working around the sun and the moon. Earth people moving mountains, literally 120 years ago, carrying a piano over the Grand Tetons of Wyoming. Wilderness, laugh lines, card games, cattle, quite ornery, dirt under your fingernails so deep and so dear. Fighter, survivors, Grandpa Clark remembering, hiding from wolves that he could see between the cracks in the family-built cabin. Resilient, quietly creating a legacy.

But for those so full of grit in your bones and in your blood, dry in your eyes and a bit weary, looking at the horizon for the next mountain and wondering if you must keep climbing, I give you grace. Relax your shoulders, unclench your jaw, and breathe with me. Feel the feelings. Love the feelings. Chase the freedom. Experience the flow. It’s time to set down your pack. It’s okay to slow your pace. You can fight and have fire and rest and release.

Grace of my great, great grandpa Hutchinson. Giggles, porch, rocking chairs, cookies, looking people in the eyes. Tell your story. Softness and steadfast. Work with your hands and your heart. Grace of my mother, the healer, the lighthouse, the mother to anyone in my life. In seventh grade, she welcomed in with open arms the rougher kids that I had befriended and gave them lemonade and monkey bread.

Grace, like my father finding his faith late in life, turning down promotions to spend more time with family. Your grace comes with you, too. She dances and sings and twirls and taps. You are grace. You are grit. You are a gift, just by existing, by breathing, by simply being.

[00:44:35] Thank you for joining me in this shorty episode of Josie and the Podcast. This has been the season finale of season six. Thank you for joining me for this season and all other episodes.

Make sure we are connected during this break. I’m @JosieAhlquist. And, of course, all the show notes can be found at Make sure you’re subscribed. There might be some surprise episodes. And make sure you are sharing with others.

If you are interested in working with me, because I would love to work with you, find me at

I have got to, again, thank my podcast sponsors, University FM and Element451. And finally, I am sending digital hugs, loves, and waves to whatever corner of the world you’re listening in from. This has been Josie and the Podcast.

About Josie

I’m Dr. Josie Ahlquist—a digital engagement and leadership consultant, researcher, educator, and author. I’m passionate about helping people and organizations find purposeful ways to connect, engage, and tell their unique story. I provide consulting, executive coaching, and training for campuses, companies, and organizations that want to learn how to humanize technology tools and build effective and authentic online communities.

My blog and podcast have been recognized by EdTech Magazine, Inside Higher Ed and the Chronicle of Higher Education. My book, Digital Leadership in Higher Education, was published in 2020 and was listed as a #1 new release for college and university student life. I have been growing my consultancy since 2013 and am based in Los Angeles. When I’m not helping clients lead online, you might find me training for a triathlon, spoiling my nieces and nephews, or exploring with my husband and our rescue dogs in our new RV called Lady Hawk.

I’d love to connect! Find me on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

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