We had the good fortune of connecting with Tammy Whitehurst and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Tammy, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
As a full time motivational speaker now, risks are a part of what I do. I say one-liners that might make an audience roar or worst case scenerio–snore. It’s all about hooking them in, bringing them to a risky point of gut punching and then leaving then soaring on wings as eagles feeling like they can accomplish the dream that has been waiting in their heart. You have to be risky in the approach and the delivery.

I began as a middle school teacher in my twenties. Twelve year olds were my first audience. I learned then if I could make people laugh they could learn anything. Let’s just say I taught one lesson about the Texas Revolution that involved stinky catfish bait. (That was the smell of Sam Houston and the other soldiers because they did not bathe on a regular basis.) My principal always said, ” You can risk it. If it works I will back you. If it doesn’t you are on your own.” The lesson worked so well, he had me teach it at conferences regarding how to bring history alive.

If “risk” took on human form, I think it would remind us that we cannot wait for things to get easier, simpler, or better. Life will always have complications. We must do what we feel we were created to do NOW or we will run out of time to do it.

I left a job with benefits to step out and go into business for myself. No insurance. No 401k. No security of a steady paycheck.

We have all been given gifts and talents, but fear can overtake us when it involves risk-taking. I try to live life fearless and kicked up a notch. Taking risks has paid off in many ways.
I could have listened to fear and never stepped out on faith to begin as a speaker. I had no agent. No experience besides classroom teaching, no website, no business cards, nothing. But…..I had a dream and I knew I was supposed to do it. So… I began. We all start somewhere.

The key is to START.

Many people stop instead of start. I refused to listen to the negative committee that met in the boardroom of my mind telling me I would fail, no one would like me, I would be laughed at and rejected.

In the beginning, I stared fear in the face and marched forward. I hosted my own event with several other speakers and people came. That was the first step. I even had a sponsor who gave me $500 to start because he believed what I was doing was in line with what the calling on my life was to be. The rest of the money was out of my own pocket. That is how I began. My own money funded events.
One day at a time and now 13 years later I speak full time and even have to turn down bookings from time to time because of my booked schedule. I am also a co-owner of the Christian Communicators Conference. A conference that trains speakers. I have written 3 devotionals and written several articles in publications including Christianity Today and Lifeway magazines.

When I was considering buying the Christian Communicators Conference, I had many say to me, “Why in the world would you train your competition? Your calendar is going to go empty.”
I never looked at this as a risk. In my mind I was building a team of speakers who collaborate not compete. To this day I feel the same way.

If we are not willing to take the risks involved in life we will have regret because we never tried. Cemetaries are filled with dreams never risked. Writers who never wrote and speakers who never spoke. I was bound and determined I would not die with buried treasure. If God called me to speak–then I would battle risk after risk to overcome the hurdles to make it happen. I have never taken the word NO to mean anything except “find another way” to do something. In my mind, “No” never means something is final. It just means we have to weigh the risks and keep moving forward with confidence.

Taking risks always involves the possibility of falling flat on our face. It has happened a few times to me. However, we get back up and run the race with endurance. We do not hobble over to the sidelines and quit.

We have a choice. We can look at life from the rearview mirror or we can live life in a forward direction regardless of our age. We are never too old for a new beginning. Then on the day our time is done, we will know we stayed strong and finished strong.
Risks are a part of the faith required to grab the bull by the horns and ride this life out with the air blowing through our hair and our hands in the air. Risks say, “Saddle up and ride!”
I’ve taken the challenge and never regretted it!

Tammy Whitehurst.com

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
You can have JOY in your journey…..is the foundation of my message. As an author, blogger, and full time speaker I try my hardest to encourage and challenge audiences to live life kicked up a notch. I have been described as a hoot with a capital H! That always makes me laugh, but it also spikes the expectation up which makes my knees shake. I could go on with accomplishments, but why? To those who know me best I am simply Davis’s wife, a proud mom to four grown kids, a grandmama, and a former middle school teacher. I struggle like the rest of women with dust, dishes, cellulite, junk drawers, and wrinkles.

I have learned life isn’t easy, but it’s worth every hurdle we have jumped, every risk we have taken, every relationship we have had, and every laugh we have thrown our head back and roared. Life is short. We must smile while we still have teeth.

Life will be filled with ups and downs, grins and frowns. There are times tears will overwhelm us and grief will try to stop us, but when we keep looking forward in hope we can overcome whatever life throws our way.

If life were a classroom, I have learned opinions given without being asked for is really criticism and love is more important than holding grudges. Bitterness will steal our days and being better is the goal. I have succeeded and I have failed–both are a part of life. Problems and trials suck the life out of us, but faith keeps us going forward. However, one of the most important things I have learned is heartbreak is a part of life, but that doesn’t mean we have to invite it to have a permanent residence in our heart.  Life kicked up a notch doesn’t work that way. Forgive for good and run forward with arms open wide taking in all life has to offer and realizing nothing is more valuable than people who love you for being you. But most of all, I have learned in order to have a life-well-lived it will only cost us a little bit of courage.

I have learned a good book is better than 10 good movies.
I have also learned there is nothing more valuable than people who love you for being you.

But most of all, I have learned in order to have a life-well-lived it will only cost us a little bit of courage.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
While in the DFW area, I love to visit the Gaylord Texan at Christmas. We love theater of all kinds and musicals and southern gospel are in abundance. Texas Roadhouse is one of our favorite places to eat and we top it off with cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory. Reunion Tower is an amazing place for lunch with a trip to the Dallas Zoo. Dinner at Mia’s Tex Mex tops it off! We love to watch the monkey exhibit. Dogparks are all over Dallas and an occasional stop at one of these will entertain you for an hour or two.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
If life is like a house, meet my construction crew. I wish each of them could step out and take a bow and we could give them all a standing ovation for believing in me through the years.

First and foremost is Jesus Christ. I never took a leap of faith that was not bathed in prayer.

Then my beloved husband, Davis, my husband of 24 years who has always been on board with my risk taking. He deserves more than a standing ovation—he deserves medals and applause! I love you, sweetman.

My Mama from the beginning cheered me on. I wore her out with my constant talking and risk taking. There were times she thought I was crazy. I proved I was. Ha! She wears my logo tee shirts and proudly says I am her daughter.

My brother, Brad, created my very first website. Thank you for believing your big sis could do it.

My friend, Rita Clawson, has been there since the beginning from being a technology person for me, a photographer, videographer, and editor. She has been a one-stop shop and I appreciate everything she has done. She could have thrown her arms up and been done with me, but she saddled up alongside me and we are still in this together. I love you, friend. Always.

My friends, Missy Bailey and Shelly Brown, would steady me when technology pulled the rug out from me or I hit a brick wall. They were the calm in the chaos. I am forever thankful for you both.

Lori Boruff is my business partner with the Christian Communicators Conference. We have jumped hurdles, stayed in hotel rooms together and experienced the tough stuff side by side. From friends to finances she is always a praying friend and I am giving her a virtual hug now.

Thank you, Mike Clements, for believing in me at the very beginning and being so generous. I hope God dumps blessings on your business by the truckload.

And finally, my church family at Woodland Hills in Longview, Texas has prayed for me, loved me, and believes in the gifts God has given me. May God bless you beyond belief and continue to drop whopping blessings your way because you bless others so much.

Website: www.TammyWhitehurst.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TammyWhitehurstSpeaker/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/Joy4theJourney

Other: www.ChristianCommunicators.com

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutDFW is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.