Make a Difference

Preparing for a talk on Designing your BEST ThirdThird, I made an icebreaker activity, noting people who made a big difference in their ThirdThird. People like Ronald Reagan (was elected President when he was 70 years old), Lady Bird Johnson (Beautify America), Mother Teresa. They did amazing things in their later years. Impressive.

Reality is that most of us are not going to make some significant difference in a worldwide or even national arena in our ThirdThird.

But, we can make a difference in the world around us, locally and relationally, in our ThirdThird. The differences we will make will most likely be similar to the ways we have been impacting people and situations in our lives so far, so you don’t have to look far or become a difference person to make a difference in someone else’s life.

The real challenge is to figure out what we CAN and SHOULD do to continue to contribute what we know and have experienced, wherever we are.

I am, obviously, interested in people who are making their ThirdThird their BEST Third. My husband has a friend who lives in Mexico City who writes about the great restaurants and food places in her adopted country. She is influencing many to try new foods and to explore new places.

Another friend has begun to create art in her 70’s. She has developed a personal style of expressing her perspective to enjoy life to the fullest in whimsical pieces of art that are selling well. She even offers workshops in her basement studio, encouraging others to express themselves and find an outlet for their creative interests.

I know there are men and women who love to offer their babysitting services to free up their kids to pursue their dreams and careers. An article in the local newspaper highlighted the courtesy car drivers for car dealerships who are mostly retired and make a difference by being interesting and cheerful for their passengers.

The women’s shelter in my community ran into serious financial problems when the State failed to come through with promised funds. When the news was discussed at the dinner table in the dining room of a retirement community, several women decided to get involved. They heard of the plight through another resident, the treasurer for the board of the organization. These 4 women decided to start a “$5000 Club” by each of them giving $5000 to the Shelter. Then, they wrote letters to their friends, inviting them to join their $5000 Club. Before long, their campaign had raised $120,000 and had started a larger awareness that resulted in $350,000 in total revenue raised.

That is making a difference!

So whether it is volunteering to mentor a student or to teach a class or contributing to a cause or reading to a child, you can make a significant difference.




Photo Credit: Amanda Creamer via



One of my Mantras is, “Be Intentional”.

Do what you say you will do… but think about it first.

Hmmm.   I can’t remember the moment I decided to live with intention, but most people who know me would probably use the word to describe me.  It might have come from watching people not be intentional.  It might have come from the hard lessons of the frustration that comes from letting others direct my efforts or decide my focus.  Whatever the source, “be intentional” has become an almost daily mantra for me.

I can’t just tell myself to be intentional, I have to have a strategy or a plan to guide my behaviors, thoughts, and actions so that I actually become intentional.


[a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim.]
Here is my intentional strategy: 

Be Intentional-

  • Know what I believe.  I don’t have to tell everyone every thought and/or opinion I have, but I should know what I believe and why if I want to be sure I am doing or not doing what is important to me.
  • Decide for myself how I spend my time.  There are television shows that I might enjoy or benefit from.  There are books and magazines worth reading.  There are people who will add to my life if I spend time with them.  If I choose for myself, I will be less likely to succumb to advertising and marketing ploys for things I really do not want to steal my time away.
  • Don’t say “yes” or “no” too quickly.  Take time to consider how I commit my time and energy.  There will be consequences to any decision and I am wise to be as much in control of my decisions and actions as possible.
  • Don’t blame others for my own choices and results.  Own my own efforts and decisions.  Apologize when necessary.  Reimburse when appropriate.  Accept credit and praise graciously.  Say thank you and “I am sorry.”
  • Live without regrets.  If I consciously, intentionally decide what to say, how to spend time, who to be with, what to do, then the chances of having regrets is slim.

We can’t become intentional on accident. What is your strategy?


Your Story

your story


What is the story you are telling?

I am at an age where I have told my story a number of times, in a number of places, to a  number of people.  My story has become more and more consistent as I have worked hard to define what is important to me and what I believe deeply. “Worked hard at” means faced fears, listened to criticism, changed behaviors, stood my ground, moved, cried, laughed, stayed, left.  I determined long ago that I would live my life with intention rather than letting my life live me.  And that has taken work.

I determined long ago that I would live my life with intention rather than letting my life live me.

The most important people in my story are my husband and my kids… though none are “kids” any longer.  And I don’t think of any of them as “kids” at all now, but as adults to be admired and valued and respected, each in their own right.  Their lives, intertwined with mine, are the fabric I wear now.  It surprises me, because “family cohesiveness” has never been a stated goal for me. The theme of my story is responsibility and choices–and personal discovery so that my choices are intentional and so that I am responsibly being the very best human being possible.  My modus operandi?  Grace and truth, always finding the balance.

What story are you telling?

We are all telling a story. To tell it with purpose and with as little regret as possible is a worthy goal.  That isn’t easy… but it is worth the effort… continually.



Objective & Subjective



Designing our best ThirdThird requires that we be able to merge objective information and subjective information.

Subjective information like….

  • What gives me joy?
  • Who do I like to be around?
  • When am I most satisfied?
  • How do I like to be treated?

Objective information like….

  • How have I been successful in the past?
  • When have I been able to accomplish my goals?
  • Who has been there for me?
  • What is my skill set?


The DiSC Personality Profile allows me to connect the dots on both subjective and objective information I have about myself, to allow me to design my life for the greatest satisfaction and joy.

Personally, I know about myself that I …..

Am not afraid of hard tasks,

Need to be learning new things,

Function best with some, but not strict, order,

Have stories to share that will inspire others,

Love to make people laugh.

DiSC explanations make me realize why these are true about me…

I enjoy a challenge, 

I bore easily, 

I’m wired to like to sort and organize, 

Meaningful interaction energizes me, 

Adding to others’ lives makes me smile.


You can learn a lot about yourself and be designing your own BEST ThirdThird now, no matter what your age, with our Understanding Your Wiring DiSC program.








You Spot it, You Got It Mantra

you spot it, you got it

You Spot It, You Got It

I have “ThirdThird Mantras.”  Words to live by. Lessons learned. Guidelines for designing my BEST ThirdThird.

An important manta for me is “You Spot It, You Got It.”

It goes like this…..I meet someone and they begin to explain to me that (or treat me like) they know more about our topic than I do. Without ever clarifying my interest or experience. Assuming that I know nothing.  It is very annoying to me.  A “pet peeve,” in fact.

But guess what? I realize that I can be just like that if I am not intentionally caring about others. I can jump in and run on and slash and burn with the best/worst of them if unchecked. It takes thought and care and practice for me to genuinely care to hear other people’s thoughts and experiences and concerns.

“You Spot It, You Got It” is a gentle reminder that being critical of someone else is often shining a spot light on a personal area of need.

I remember clearly from my childhood an instance when I was critical of a friend’s approach toward another person. My mother pointed out to me that, quite often, what you notice as a deficit in others is probably a deficit in yourself.

Ouch. I remember at the time reacting to that, confidently stating that I didn’t have the annoying character defect I noticed in my friend. Of course, privately in my own thoughts later, I could clearly see that my mother was right.

It is a principle that I have not been able to forget. I have passed it on to others and have used it for my own efforts at living life on purpose, letting my occasional 20/20 insight into others’ lives be mirrored back to benefit my own growth.

As an example, lateness is an irritating habit in other people that I have to constantly monitor in my own life. I can be highly offended when others are late to meet me, but effectively justify my own tardiness.  Unless I am remembering this gem from my childhood. You Spot It, You Got It.

How to use this life mantra

This is a good mantra to get into your head.

If you have a friend who is a constant complainer and you can’t help but notice, there is a good chance you are a complainer.

If you easily spot the person who demands to be the center of attention, you might be, just a little bit, wishing you were more noticed.

If you are frustrated with people who make assumptions without facts, guess what?  Check your own facts.

When there is a habit or behavior that you quickly pick up on and react to in others, chances are it is a quality that you, yourself, are demonstrating to others.

“You Spot It, You Got It” is a useful tool.  When you are annoyed with someone, stop and think about it.

Does “someone” use social media when you are in a conversation and it annoys you?  You might check to see how often you find yourself checking your phone during meetings or at dinner. It is often easier to spot the truth in others than it is in ourselves.

The “You Spot It, You Got It” mantra might be a slightly painful tool to use initially, but it can become fun.  It is certain to be instructive for your efforts at designing your BEST ThirdThird.

It took me a while when my mother pointed it out to me long ago, but it is a lesson I learned early and for some reason, it has stuck with me.

photo credit: amseaman Binocular Boy via photopin (license)

Five Good Reasons For You


DiSC solves five good reasons

Need a reason to take the DiSC Personal Profile System?

I’ve got five good reasons for you…


1.) You can know your unique wiring.

You are wired uniquely and understanding your wiring (with DiSC) is a major key to success in relationships, whether personal or professional.

There was a time I tried to be quiet and un-opinionated.  I was around people who told me, often, that I was “too” quick to speak, “too” bossy, “too” independent.

I had a husband who loved me and tolerated my sassiness, but even he thought maybe I should try to calm myself to have less conflict (a reflection of his wiring!).  I had potential but not knowing what my strengths were, I was insecure and way too concerned about what others thought of me.

It didn’t last long, me trying to be quiet. Though I tried, even my version of quiet was not the same as others’ expectations. The result was that I was unhappy trying to satisfy others’ expectations of me and they weren’t satisfied, anyway.

It was about that time that I found the DiSC Personal Profile System (PPS) and my life was changed forever. I was not a “mistake” and there would be a place for me.  I just had to find it.

Debbie Hensleigh and DiSC

2.) You can be comfortable in your own skin. 

Understanding yourself can make you comfortable in your own skin, which makes you less likely to compare yourself to others.

For me, realizing that my behavior style was on the chart (so to speak) was a great comfort. I was beginning to think, limiting myself to a small group of peers who had specific expectations, that I was “wrong.” I tried to change myself to be like others around me, thinking that they were “right.”

Comparing either will lead to hubris (I’m better than…) or depression (I’m worse than….) Comparing rarely leads to positive relationships with yourself or others.

Comparison is the thief of joy… -Theodore Roosevelt

The DiSC (PPS) gave me the freedom to recognize that I am going to be happier and more effective in an environment where my fast-paced, task-oriented style is welcomed.

3.) You can acknowledge and celebrate your strengths.

Knowing your wiring allows you to recognize areas of strength that you can celebrate.

The interesting thing about strengths is that it is usually strengths in excess that get us into trouble.

In my example, my willingness to share my opinion, my quick decision making, my desire for action (often, including change) was threatening and overpowering to my peers.  My strengths were the very aspects of ME that were squelched.

As I began to see my “flaws” as strengths, I gradually began to see that I could bring these traits to an organization or a group of friends to everyone’s benefit. Instead of hiding them, I needed to name them, be grateful for them, and learn to manage them well.

4.) You can find new energy for your dreams.

Your strengths celebrated can help you realize new and powerful potential for meeting the dreams and goals you have.

As I learned to be thankful for my bold approach to life, I found ways to benefit others.

  • I started a not-for-profit and learned new skills as a facilitator and team-builder.
  • I built a business from nothing to something fairly significant by getting people to try our product.
  • I helped several organizations make changes that were necessary for growth.
  • I encouraged many, many individuals to make lasting change for their success…often by helping them discover their DiSC wiring.

I continue all of this to this day (and beyond).  It’s what I’m good at.

Learning to use my wiring and finding a way to benefit others is part of my mix.

5.) You can find power and purpose.

Embracing your wiring is the key to learning to live your life on purpose.

When I was trying to be someone other than who I am wired to be, the results were frustrating. And not just for me. My kids felt it, my husband knew it, and even those I was frustrating before were still frustrated with me.

When I learned that I had strengths that could be celebrated and used well, it was the beginning of finding my purpose.

A huge part of my purpose is to help others find theirs!  It is reflected in my personal life mission statement:

My mission is to live a life of Grace and Truth with stories
to tell that will inspire others to live a life on purpose.

Those are five reasons to take the DiSC Personal Profile System. I could give you more! It truly  has the potential to change your life.

Understanding my unique wiring has changed my life for the much, much better.


We have several options for learning more about DiSC and YOU.

♦ In person with Debbie Hensleigh ♦

December 10, 9:00 – 11:00 a.m.

Pizza M/Flying Machine Coffee
206 W Main, Urbana, IL 61801

Small group atmosphere // $40, includes self-scoring PPS
with instruction and discovery


♦ Understanding Your Wiring ♦

Special $97 offer for online course…



Contact Debbie if you have any questions about our upcoming event or if you’d like to begin understanding your unique wiring.


Life on Purpose… Change Yourself


At a workshop presented by Christie Clinic Foundation last week, the topic was “Live Your Life on Purpose.”

Life on Purpose is the sub-line of Your BEST ThirdThird. Since this workshop was focused on what I focus on, I thought I might learn something. I went because it was sponsored by people I respect. AND because I am invested in the topic.

From the workshop, I came out with three great questions worth pondering.  They are challenging, but one way to be sure that you are designing a life that will eventually lead you to the BEST ThirdThird possible, is to challenge your thoughts.

Here you go… Good questions for defining your Life on Purpose:

Question One:  What problem would you want to solve?

A participant suggested this as an alternative to asking a child what they want to be when they grow up. But what a great pondering for adults.

Hunger? Abuse? Educational opportunities? Neighborhood connections? Fear of change? Shedding Shame? Addiction to…? Sports for kids? Running?

That list is off the top of my head, thinking of possible answers of friends I know. For a life on purpose, zeroing in on a problem you’d like to solve is a valuable exercise.

It can also be a great conversation starter!

Question Two: What are three key moments in your life?

And what lessons did you learn from them?

I like this because it keeps changing for me.  On the day, with a short period of time, I came up with … changing careers at age 54 that resulted in me realizing in a new way that I am intellectually capable of a lot more than I had always thought.  There was time for only one to be shared.

I keep thinking, though, about that question and now have three key momentes that are significant in what I am doing and where I am going right now.

  1. The day I, usually the “worker bee,” organized and led a group of 45 people to build a low-ropes team building course at our Retreat and Training Center.  I had the knowledge and the vision of the end result so was moving between projects and giving encouragement and direction. At the end of the day, I realized that I had MANAGED and LED that day to great results.  A Leader was born!life on purpose 1
  2. The week spent in Honduras on a mission trip with my daughter. She was 15, too young to go alone, so I agreedlife on purpose 4 to be a chaperone. I was concerned most about being away from home for 12 days. What if I got tired of what we were doing and wanted to return home? At the end of the trip, I was struck by the changes in the team members.  We were each changed by the experience of being with people who had so much less than we did….and seemed so much more content.  I was hooked on providing opportunities for North Americans to get outside their comfort zones by joining work teams into developing countries.  I was changed by the people I met and places around the world I visited over the next 10 years as a volunteer trip leader with churches and Habitat for Humanity.

    A concrete and on-going result is our not-for-profit in Mexico and my pet project, The Chicken Project.

  3. A long time ago and truly significant, I received a letter from woman I respected, encouraging me to “Write.” I told her I didn’t have time. Five young children, one with a disability, home schooling, a husband with a job that needed my support. Writing for publication did not fit on my list of to-do’s.

“Then, keep a journal of lessons you are learning so that when you DO have the time, you will remember accurately.”  That letter, that exhortation, has stayed with me now for 36 years and I am finally doing it, right here, right now.  My journals are one of my most valued possessions. The chronicle of risks taken, lessons learned, the proof that “this too shall pass” and other situations will come along.

Question Three: State your personal mission in 2 words.

This came from discussion at our table, from a woman who had been challenged to state her mission in two words.  At our table of four, we came up with “Encourage others,” “Give Care,” “Special Needs Children,” and mine…… “Inspire Change.”

I offer a Life on Purpose workshop that involves writing a personal mission statement. I have worked with hundreds of people with this topic as focus. Distilling it down to 2 words is a good challenge.

I like my longer statement that encompasses how and for whom, but for decision making situations, for considering options for my time, for an instant reminder, two words work.

Inspire Change. Yep, that’s me.

I’d love to know some of your reflections and reactions to some of these questions!






A Good Story



I love a good story. I’m always a little bit in trouble in the fall when all the new tv shows come out.

I like drama. And action. So when “Madam Secretary” and “Blue Bloods” and “Chicago Fire” come on, I want to watch them. Now, there are few new ones and they can draw me in, too.  Jury trials, FBI intrigue, forensics.  I try to limit my time in front of the tv, but with such good stories, I have to work to ration myself.

I’m a reader, too. And I like reading stories. Historical fiction, good novels (new and old), and non-fiction when it is written like a good story. A good book with a good story is a good way to spend a day.

I like to tell stories, too.  And I have a lot of them!  With five kids (all grown), 17 moves, a long marriage, jobs and churches and in-laws and siblings and travels, there is a lot of story material.

Stories have the potential to change lives.

That’s why the abbreviated version of my personal mission statement is to “tell my stories.”14450020_495901827273255_620911801150940418_n

There is a brilliant stage show in our town called the “That’s What She Said.” This is the fourth year it has been produced and, this year, I get to be one of the speakers! I’m honored and thoroughly psyched! It’s been a lot of work to get one of my stories (a core one, I believe) down to 7 minutes and memorized and stage ready. Thankfully, I’ve had tons of encouragement from the other lady speakers, and I appreciate having help to hone and edit from the founder/producer of That’s What She Said and the director of this year’s show.

I’ve attended the show once before and was struck by hearing other women’s stories. This year, seeing the process from the inside-out, I am struck again by the heart and soul of the women who are involved in this.  We all have stories and these women see that taking the time to listen to one another’s stories is valuable beyond measure.

The phrase that connects with me at a deep level is “each woman’s story can be a window or a mirror to another women who hears it.”

How beautiful is that?

I wonder this afternoon how much it would change our perspective if we listened and told our own stories to each other instead of taking so much time forming opinions about people in the news who, undoubtedly, we have very little accurate information.

After the show this Saturday, when I am not spending my extra time memorizing my own stage-worthy story, I am going to intentionally seek out LISTENING to other women’s stories, even more than I already tend to do.

People love stories (just look at the evolution and success of Humans of New York). Your story can be a window for another woman to understand something she has not experienced. Or it might be a mirror, to give hope and connection to someone who thinks they are the only one who has a struggle you actually can relate to.

We are not going to be the answer to each other’s problems.
But we can surely come alongside and support and understand one another to give each other courage and compassion as we all face forward into the future by telling each other our stories.





photo credit: lanuiop over coffee via photopin (license)

Know Your Strengths


Having a clear Mission Statement is at the core of designing Your BEST ThirdThird.

That’s why we have been devoting this blog to taking you step by step through a process to write your own Personal Mission Statement.

If you are participating and are in the process of writing your own Personal Mission Statement, you have considered and evaluated…

  • How you think of yourself (drew an image),
  • How others have articulated their belief in you (remembered others’ prophecies),
  • Your personal values, and
  • The qualities you most hold dear.

Why? So that you can focus on the MOST important opportunities you have.

And now, you are ready to consider your strengths… how you are wired and how that fits in with your great mission statement.

[It’s not too late to start writing your Personal Mission Statement]

You have a personality (though a common joke when I am presenting on this topic is that someone is fearful that they won’t have one).

It could also be said that we are wired to have certain Behavioral Tendencies. Or, we might suggest that a certain percentage of our emotional make-up is genetic wiring.

Whichever way you want to think of it, it is very obvious that we are each unique, and that we fall into similar categories, depending on…

Whether we are motivated by Task or People.

Whether we are Fast-paced or Slow-paced.

Where on the spectrum of each of those we fall.

How that all fits together.

Understanding our “personality” is crucial to our success in life.  Even understanding a few basics about your strengths will clarify your Personal Mission Statement.


For a basic, quick quiz to give you an idea of your tendencies, click HERE.  After you choose a few options given, it will give you a percentage of each of four “tendencies” and some suggestions as to how you might want to use your strengths in your BEST ThirdThird.

P R A C T I C A L   E X A M P L E 

At some point, I realized that the BEST use of my wiring was to stop trying to become a “pianist.” I could get to the right notes (eventually), but I could never feel, hear, sense the music like some of my friends could.  Instead of the precise, detailed piano playing that was not a natural connect for me, I  eventually helped to recruit and organize musicians for our church worship team instead.

Basically, while I can fill certain roles with some ability (one-handed piano notes), there are other roles that I can actually flourish in (seeing the possibilities in others).

I have other, more in-depth ways to help you tap into your personality and tendencies, if you are interested.

The Tendencies Quiz is a good place to start but there is so much more to discover about yourself. Contact me or leave a comment here if would like to explore more!