Join us today for the Saturday Night Special with the founder of the Set Me Free Project...
In this episode, Stephanie Olson and I talk about resilience, human trafficking, and trauma...
In tonight’s Saturday Night Special I interview Stephanie Olson. I ask Stephanie about her focus on preventing Human Trafficking and resilience. I also ask Stephanie about how her faith intersected with her journey to lead her to this work. I also ask Stephanie about trauma and resilience and how it affects all of us.
Join in on the Chat below.
SNS 174: Saturday Night Special - Interview with the founder of the Set Me Free Project Stephanie Olson
[00:00:00] Scott Maderer: Welcome to tonight's Saturday Night special episode 174.
[00:00:06] Stephanie Olson: I'm Stephanie Olson. I challenge you to invest in yourself. Invest in others. Develop your influence and impact the world by using your time, your talent, and your treasures to live out your calling. Having the ability to develop real resilience is key, and one way to be inspired to do that is to listen to this The Inspired Stewardship podcast with my friend Scott.
[00:00:43] So that's gotta be the bottom line. Cuz when I recognize that I have value, I really do treat myself differently. I expect different things. But when I understand that this person next to me has value, I can't buy 'em, we can't sell 'em, can't even bully it. [00:01:00] And so that is the foundation of everything
[00:01:03] Scott Maderer: being.
[00:01:04] Welcome and thank you for joining us on the Inspired Stewardship Podcast. If you truly desire to become the person who God wants you to be, then you must learn to use your time, your talent, and your treasures for your true calling. In the Inspired Stewardship Podcast, you will learn to invest in yourself, invest in others, and develop your influence so that you can impact the world.
[00:01:38] In tonight's Saturday Night special I interview Stephanie Olson. I asked Stephanie about her focus on preventing human trafficking and building resilience. I also asked Stephanie about how her faith intersected with her journey and led to doing this work, and Stephanie also shares with. A little information about trauma and resilience and how this can [00:02:00] affect all of us.
[00:02:01] One area that a lot of folks need some help with is around the area of productivity. Getting not just more things done, but actually getting the right things done can be really, I've got a course called Productivity for Your Passion that's designed to help you do this and then to hold you accountable and walk with you so that you can tailor productivity, not just to be getting more done, but actually getting the right things done.
[00:02:35] What's more, we take the approach of looking at your personality and how you actually look at things in the world and tailor the productivity system to your person. Because the truth is, a lot of the systems that are out there are written really well for somebody with a particular personality type. But if you have a different approach to things, they just don't work.
[00:02:57] But there's tools and techniques and [00:03:00] approaches that you can take that will work for anyone, and we help you do that. And productivity for your passion. Check it out firstname.lastname@example.org slash launch. Stephanie Olson is a speaker an. The Chief Executive Officer of the Set Me Free Project, a prevention education organization on human trafficking, social media safety, and healthy relationships.
[00:03:26] Stephanie has a mission to share that each person has an intrinsic value that cannot be changed. Her work on teaching resilience in life and leadership has inspired people across the United States in her conversational and humorous style. Stephanie will inspire and. Living with years of parental abandonment, eating disorders, alcoholism, and domestic and sexual violence, she overcame through determination, faith, and resilience.
[00:03:54] Now a sought after speaker. Stephanie runs a successful non-profit organization and loves to speak to [00:04:00] audiences of all kinds, faith-based and non inspiring, encouraging, and bringing hope everywhere she speaks. Welcome
[00:04:09] Stephanie Olson: the show. S. Thank you so much. I'm glad to be here. Absolutely.
[00:04:14] Scott Maderer: So we talked a little bit about it in the intro with some of the things you do with the Set Me Free project and other things, but.
[00:04:22] Kind of let's back up a step. Would you share some of your journey and your past, your history, and what brought you to this point where this is what you want to focus on is around the ideas of human trafficking, resilience and trauma? Absolutely. These sorts of
[00:04:38] Stephanie Olson: topics. Yeah. You bet. I was born . I always start there.
[00:04:43] It sounds like a long conversation, but that is the beginning. to a very amazing woman, but definitely young and insecure and a very abusive biological father. And so that [00:05:00] right there that trauma that I experienced with the abuse of my. Just for the first year of my life, you think, gosh, you're a kid.
[00:05:10] You don't remember it. But it's amazing how that implants what is going on or what is supposed to be your normal going forward. And my mom escaped from that relationship when I was only a year old. Moved in with my grand. But my biological father did nothing to try and reach out to me, to find me.
[00:05:33] No, no Christmas cards, no birthday cards or anything like that. And so as a young girl that is a great thing that your mom is that brave and courageous. However, as a little girl, you wanna be daddy's little. And that is definitely something that I thought gosh, if my own biological father doesn't think I'm worth anything, I must not be.
[00:05:59] [00:06:00] And if my own father doesn't love me, I must not be very lovable. And that really affected the trajectory of my life and going forward. I had a lot of developed eating disorders. I, I really became that old cliche, looking for love in all the wrong places. And spent a lot of time in Just really bad situations.
[00:06:26] I became an alcoholic. There was drug abuse and had a series of sexual violence in my life and dating violence. And then I got married at a very young age to my first husband, which also became an abusive relationship. And so just this cycle. Abuse, a cycle of violence in my life.
[00:06:52] And fast forward by the grace of God I met and married an incredible man [00:07:00] who is now my husband and amazing. But still continued to drink. And I was by this point drinking daily. And really it was not until we had been married a couple of years and I had a kiddo who was about 18 months, I guess we'd been married three years that I finally found sobriety.
[00:07:23] And through all that, I really wanted to give back. And started to do that eventually through women's ministry. Did a lot of work with women on living a victorious life. Women who had been in domestic and sexual violence situations, addictions, homelessness, and Was really happy doing that . And then one day one of the women that I worked with said, Hey, let's help sex Traffick victims.
[00:07:55] Having no idea what that meant. And when I really researched it and [00:08:00] looked into it, I realized, gosh, this is not what we think trafficking looks like. And Kids at the time? I still have kids, but some are a little older, a little more adult. But kids right in the midst of that and I thought, okay, they are the targets and no one's telling them that, no one's telling me as a mom that, and that's really how we began.
[00:08:23] Scott Maderer: A couple of questions to follow up on that. First off, congratulations for finding sobriety. So thank you. How long have you been clean and. 20 years. 20 years. Yeah. Okay. Congratulations. Thank you. I had an alcoholic father and had started down the road of alcoholism and actually quit.
[00:08:44] Yeah. It's good for you. It's I understand that yeah. That challenge. But as well you, you mentioned of finding love in all the wrong places and repeating some of these same patterns. And then obviously now is a. [00:09:00] Different place for you. Yeah. In between all of that what do you think it is that allowed you or woke you up or what was it that made you realize, Hey, I'm repeating the behaviors that were imprinted on me at a very young age.
[00:09:16] I'm not doing what I need to do. I'm not sure if I realized that necessarily. I think that years later I looked back on that and said, okay, that's what was going on. But it was really it, I can only attribute it to God faith filled person. And I believe that it was something.
[00:09:39] Stephanie Olson: God knocking on the door saying, Hey, I need you to, I became a Christian at a very young age and really just turned my back on him during that time. And so when I really started listening again and paying attention, I think that's when it was okay. . We need to move into [00:10:00] a different direction and now I wanna use you in a very different way
[00:10:04] Yeah. So
[00:10:05] Scott Maderer: let's talk a little bit about your faith journey Yeah. And how that intersected with your journey. You just mentioned Christian at a young age. Yeah. But how did that play
[00:10:13] Stephanie Olson: out when My grandparents who raised me until I was six were my dad. My grandpa was Jewish. My grandma was Episcopalian.
[00:10:25] And so all I knew about religion was that at Hanukkah, I got eight presents every day. And then at Christmas I got loaded with presents. So I religion was great for me, but it wasn't until my. Met my dad, and this is a man who adopted me when I was six years old. And I always make the distinction between my biological father and my dad because just so important to me.
[00:10:56] But my dad adopted me when I was six. He didn't really [00:11:00] have much in the way of of religion and my mom met Christ when I was six years old, and so her and I started going to church and I loved it and I really loved the Lord, but I don't think I really understood how much he loved me. And that was the key piece that I was missing.
[00:11:27] And I, I really believe my. Who is a, who was a wonderful human being, just didn't have the ability to heal the emotional trauma that only God could heal. And so I know that was a lot of the issues. And so when I started to get into some of the the eating disorders and the alcoholism, I.
[00:11:54] God was always there, he was always present. But I think there was so much sin in [00:12:00] my life at that point, and I was so angry that I just could not see him. And so I literally turned my back on him. And I can look back today and say, wow, he was present there, he was present there always. So he never walked away from me.
[00:12:16] I completely walked away from him, but it was. Much later, what? In my right before we got married, my husband, my now husband and I both recommitted our lives back to Christ and it was quite a journey. Getting to a place of total intimacy with him, because that took stopping the drinking and all of that stuff.
[00:12:41] But, yeah. God is so faithful. .
[00:12:45] Scott Maderer: Yeah. It's funny sometimes I've described to people before that. We leave God, that doesn't mean God left us. Yeah,
[00:12:53] Stephanie Olson: exactly. . Exactly. And it's so fascinating looking back now at this time, it's [00:13:00] important to know that my mom my dad did finally become a believer.
[00:13:05] And she drug him along to church too, and it, instead just religion, it became a relationship for him. And my mom was on her knees this entire. Praying for me, and she has journals upon journals full of promises the Lord made her on my behalf. And it's amazing, looking back at those, you can really see the promises being fulfilled.
[00:13:32] So yeah it's incredible to see that.
[00:13:36] Scott Maderer: Yeah. So it, so there were others even lifting you up in that relationship, even when.
[00:13:44] Stephanie Olson: Absolutely. I used to tell my mom, Hey mom, I'm just building my testimony. That's what I'm doing. .
[00:13:48] Scott Maderer: Your mess is your message, right? So
[00:13:55] that doesn't necessarily mean go out and screw up a lot. That's,
[00:13:58] Stephanie Olson: that's really good thing, right?
[00:13:59] Scott Maderer: [00:14:00] Yeah. There's two ways to learn from mistakes. Learn from your own, learn from someone else's, yes. Sometimes. Sometimes it's we seem to learn from our own. Would it be better to learn from somebody else's?
[00:14:13] Stephanie Olson: Exactly. Yes.
[00:14:14] Scott Maderer: So let's talk a little bit about some of the topics that, that we've touched on throughout this. Yeah. What, let's define our terms a little bit. Yeah. You what is trauma actually to you? What, how would you define it? Yeah. If you were explaining that to
[00:14:33] Stephanie Olson: someone we all have some sort of trauma and that's what I would say Trauma is.
[00:14:38] Trauma is trauma. It's a significant. Incident, whether it's a one time incident or whether it's an ongoing situation that affects us emotionally and physiologically and psych psychologically sometimes. And so everybody responds [00:15:00] differently to tra traumatic incidents. So there could be an incident.
[00:15:05] That I deem as traumatic. The same exact incident for you. You might not see that as a traumatic incident, but that is definitely how I view it now. There are, I would say the big teases and the little teases. And so when you're talking about something like. Physical or sexual abuse, physical or sexual violence, and some of those things, those are some of the big tees that really start to affect
[00:15:37] Scott Maderer: the ways it can affect us and affect our life.
[00:15:40] Stephanie Olson: Yeah. We work a lot with youth, and it's really interesting with youth because trauma. Manifest a little bit differently. What? Depending on the ages that you are in and with youth in the classroom, they're usually the kiddos who [00:16:00] are either completely silent. They're not responding.
[00:16:05] or, and often, most likely, they're the ones who are causing trouble and freaking havoc. And so we seen, I've also seen him turn into the class clown Because it's a defense mechanism.
[00:16:17] Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So there's so many different ways. And what we have to learn to do is look at each individual through a trauma informed lens and recognize.
[00:16:32] This may be very annoying in this person, but what's going on here? And that's some of the ways, but I've also seen. Depending on, for example, somebody who has completely lacked control in their childhood and never had a voice all of a sudden needs to take control as an adult in every area of their life, whether a.
[00:16:57] Whether positive or negative, and that [00:17:00] can really wreak havoc in relationships. And so there's a lot of relational things that sometimes I don't even think we realize this behavior is due to the trauma in my life and how do I address that? How do I deal with that? And I think a very common saying among.
[00:17:21] People today, especially some of the younger generation is you triggered me, don't trigger me. And the reality is that when we are triggered by our trauma, that's not a bad thing because it makes us, it forces us to take a look at that trauma work through it, and that's where the healing comes from.
[00:17:46] Scott Maderer: So when you think about the healing and the recovery Yeah. And getting better. What, and I know it's not a one size fits all journey what is that [00:18:00] process of going from. Survivor of to thriver or having resilience having that ability to recover from
[00:18:10] Stephanie Olson: trauma. I think it's a long process and I think it's a lifetime process.
[00:18:16] I don't know how people do it without Jesus. I think that is such an important part of that, and that is truly what brought me to a place of healing and even today. Because there are times when all of a sudden something will come up out of the blue and I think, whoa, where?
[00:18:38] Where did that come from? That did not feel good. I don't know what that was. I thought I was beyond this, and boom, it's hitting you again. But it's during those times that you can really. Really the Bible says God goes before you in everything that you do. And if you can really allow him [00:19:00] to take those on for you that is huge.
[00:19:04] And I think I'll never, I think therapy is always a good thing. I will never knock therapy. And so I do think that just being very honest, being open, and I think too that It takes some real self introspection and humility because which was nothing I was really good at. But I think that you've gotta be able to say, gosh, yeah, I did not do that really well and maybe this is why and this is how I'm gonna choose to do better next time, or whatever the case may be.
[00:19:43] Scott Maderer: And I think that's again, I think a lot of times, Out of trauma comes a need for control. Yes. And out of a need for control could come. How shall we put this [00:20:00] behavior? ? Ok. I wasn't gonna use the word bad, but Okay. Controlling behavior and unfortunate
[00:20:07] Stephanie Olson: behavior. Yeah. No, exactly.
[00:20:09] Scott Maderer: controlling behavior can come across as a lack. A lack of humility, a lack of self introspection, a lack of caring about others, a lack of all of these sorts of negative traits that we would see. What's the, I guess what's the difference between.
[00:20:35] It's, I guess it's always coming out of someone's trauma. I'm struggling with how to phrase the question and yet there are sometimes you have to protect yourself from people around you that are absolutely behaving in those ways. What's that balancing act between helping others heal and recover?
[00:20:51] And also taking care of what we need to protect
[00:20:54] Stephanie Olson: ourselves as well. A great question because there really is a [00:21:00] thing called secondary trauma. And secondary trauma is when we start to really experience the trauma that somebody else is experience experiencing it. Now, a lot of times when people.
[00:21:13] Are working in that type of field, whether it is I'm serving in this area, I'm helping in this area, it's because of past trauma that we wanna do that. And so when we are working with people with their trauma that don't, that can only sometimes increase. And so self care is really necessary.
[00:21:36] And boundaries are extremely important. I think that when we are dealing with somebody who is dealing with trauma, sometimes those people can literally suck us dry. Because they need so much. And and that. That is very typical, but [00:22:00] it is okay as people who are working in that area and trying to help people with trauma to say.
[00:22:07] I can't help you right now, and so maybe I can refer you here, or this is my limit. No, you can't come to my house and stay for five hours or whatever the case may be. And really setting those boundaries in place so that we can we can have time to heal and regroup and. Take it back to the Lord.
[00:22:32] But I do think it's also important to recognize that there are people in our lives that we might not even be trying to help. But if the trauma comes from family members it might be a situation where we have to put some real strong walls and boundaries. in those relationships. Now forgiveness is really important, but that doesn't mean we need to be spending all of our moments [00:23:00] with people who have traumatized us.
[00:23:01] And so all of those things I think are really important to recognize. Yeah, it
[00:23:06] Scott Maderer: It's okay to love other people and sometimes that's at a distance. Absolutely.
[00:23:11] Stephanie Olson: The other thing I would say to that is we're not. There's this mindset, I think sometimes that I was in a domestic violence relationship, so I should build a shelter or I was in a domestic violence relationship, so now I need to go talk to every single person and help them.
[00:23:32] Those are not necessarily things we don't have to label ourself as such. And then, Move out of that label. It is okay to be a sexual violence survivor and be an accountant. Those are good things. And so I think sometimes what I see in this industry is almost a requirement that because you experience [00:24:00] this, now, you have to help people in this.
[00:24:01] And I think those are boundaries sometimes that we have to put into place and say, no, this is not my calling. I am a survivor of this and I'm so happy, but this is where God has me. And I've also seen the opposite where somebody that wants to work yes. In the field, but doesn't have that identity themselves, didn't go through it themselves.
[00:24:23] Scott Maderer: And then you got the whole am I worthy of helping others who have been through this
[00:24:28] Stephanie Olson: because, oh my goodness. Because my. So true. And I am not a survivor of human trafficking, right? And there are people who would tell me that I don't have the experience, even though I have the knowledge and I have the lived experience from working with individuals through that.
[00:24:50] Yes, I would agree with you 110%.
[00:24:53] Scott Maderer: And again, That doesn't mean that's true, but I've heard [00:25:00] people have that if you haven't walked in their shoes, you can't help them. Yeah. And it's not necessarily . Yeah. But I get it. I understand why you would say that
[00:25:10] Stephanie Olson: too. Yeah.
[00:25:11] But it's if you were a financial advisor, You don't necessarily have to go bankrupt in order to tell somebody let me help you out of bankruptcy. And so I think that's how we need to look at some of those
[00:25:25] Scott Maderer: things. So I actually work because I I'm a coach in one area, coach in these finances, and I actually train other people how to be financial coaches.
[00:25:32] So I've mentored literally hundreds of other people and one of the exercises we have them do is write their own financial story and kind of their own message. Yeah. And it's funny, The people with a really bad story will always tell you I don't feel qualified to be a coach because I've made all these mistakes.
[00:25:51] Yes. And the people with a really good story that doesn't have any of those mistakes will say I don't feel qualified to be a financial coach because I haven't gone through any of these bad things. And it's [00:26:00] So who's is calling? . Yeah. Okay.
[00:26:02] Stephanie Olson: no one can coach .
[00:26:03] Scott Maderer: No one can help other people there.
[00:26:05] That's right. Wow. That's good. Yeah. Yeah. And I think it's the same in a lot of with trauma or domestic violence or any of those. Those I would imagine counselors and all of those, you go through a similar kind of, I can, I. No matter what your story is, imposter syndrome's
[00:26:23] Stephanie Olson: still gonna show.
[00:26:23] That's right. Yeah.
[00:26:25] Scott Maderer: You talked a little bit about self care. What are some of the things that you think are important for folks to do to have that self care? And again, maybe they're not professionally helping someone with trauma, but we all have those people in our lives, yeah. What are some of the things you think folks need to focus.
[00:26:46] Stephanie Olson: I think that it's really important, and again, I'm just gonna go back to that relationship with God. For people who have a relationship with God, spending that quality time with him, that's the first thing I do. [00:27:00] Just because it's quiet and in my house early in the morning, nobody else is awake and that's my time with the Lord and boy, when I don't have that, I really notice it.
[00:27:13] But the other thing that's really important to me that I. often almost every day is exercise. That is just something, again, when I don't do it those endorphins that, that are created and just the way that it makes you feel, I think is so critical. And those are just two things that can really just affect how you feel about yourself and going forward in the day.
[00:27:43] But I also think it's really important to really take time and we spend so much time on this. And sometimes we spend time on social media and we're looking and we're comparing ourselves and [00:28:00] comparing ourselves. And I think that really stepping away from social media, stepping away from technology.
[00:28:08] And I'm not great at that but that is a really piece of self care that I think is extremely important. And then, Like even things like nutrition. I am not crazy nutrition person, but I do notice that when I eat things that are better for me, I actually feel better. Just, I feel better.
[00:28:34] And so recognizing what things make you feel good and what. Don't, are just really important being very self-aware of what helps you and what hurts you.
[00:28:48] Scott Maderer: Paying attention to your own energy. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Which I think we're all really bad at usually . I do. Yeah. Unless we make a deliberate effort to do it, I don't think we're naturally good at it.
[00:28:59] Stephanie Olson: I don't. [00:29:00] And taking naps is a good thing. Sitting down and reading a book, letting the laundry go, or letting the work go or whatever. I think sometimes we're so hard on ourselves if we don't grind. And the reality is a hustle culture. Yeah. We were not meant to do that. And so taking some time and just taking care of yourself is
[00:29:20] Scott Maderer: really important if you're honest.
[00:29:23] And and again, we're both people of faith and many of the listers are one of the things that. The good book is taking a Sabbath whether you're Christian, whether you're Jewish, whether you're Muslim. It's in all of them, . And yet how many of us have really taken a true Sabbath?
[00:29:40] Oh yeah. Yeah. know, In terms of a real day where you actually took it all the way off and did no work.
[00:29:47] Stephanie Olson: Yeah. I know one person who has done that, and it's pretty cool. I can honestly say I have, I'm very bad at it. I'm not good at that. [00:30:00] I am not good at that. Yeah.
[00:30:01] Scott Maderer: Yeah. And it's, and yet I know I need that, and yet I freely admit I'm bad at it.
[00:30:06] Yeah. I'm not good at doing that. It always feels bad. So let's switch gears a little bit. I know the area that you work on a lot now is around this area of human trafficking. And especially in the youth. And I think that's an area that everyone has a picture of what it is, but not necessarily the real picture.
[00:30:25] Yep. Me a little bit about, yeah. We all have the movie it's kinda like the CSI effect. We all know, oh, your DNA test comes back in 15 minutes. It's all good. Yeah. That's how it works, right? That's not really the real reality. Yeah. Talk a little bit about what human trafficking really
[00:30:43] Stephanie Olson: is.
[00:30:44] Yeah. So yeah, so human trafficking is the buying and selling of a human being for the personal profit or gain of another through force fraud or coercion. Now what we think about is that force piece. So we think of [00:31:00] kidnapping we worry about the white van driving by our house and snatching our kids, and that's what we hear about.
[00:31:08] It's sensational. It makes for good TV or good movies. But the reality is that rarely happens with human trafficking. It can, but it doesn't often because What is more effective for traffickers is that fraud and coercion piece. So fraud might look like, I love you, you're my everything, and it's this false relationship that is not true.
[00:31:37] And coercion could be more fear-based manipulation. That's mental. But what traffickers do, As they build relationships often now using social media. And so if I can build a relationship with you, and that could take a year, that could take [00:32:00] longer if I build a relationship with you. And then in, I always say this, so if I could kidnap somebody, I could throw 'em in my white van, which is really a black Honda.
[00:32:11] I could drug them and sell them. And would they be a good product for me? Because that's what they are. Probably not. Cuz they're scared, they're drugged, they're not gonna exactly be loyal. But let's say I become the mom they've never had. And I fill their needs physically. I give them a place to stay.
[00:32:33] I give them clothes. I give them food to eat. I fill their needs emotionally. I give them love and talk to them, make them feel special. And then one day after a year or so, I say we are really struggling as a family and we need to pay the rent. And so I need you to do this one thing maybe once, twice.
[00:32:57] Four times max now. [00:33:00] You are going to be a good product for me because not only do you wanna help the family, but you think you've chosen that. And so the majority of trafficked individuals do not even self-identify as being trafficked because this is someone I love. This is someone I trust. And so that is how traffickers doing it, are doing it.
[00:33:24] Our youth are on social media all of the time and really not always understanding that, hey, that is not the best place to meet somebody. And now we've got people who are saying, oh my gosh, you look amazing. Or, I would like to be your friend. Our kids are they're not posting pictures of their chiney CHOA like I am.
[00:33:49] They are telling their deepest, darkest, they are. They are talking about things that we might never even think to talk about to an [00:34:00] individual. That they have suicidal thoughts online. They have. Sure. And so a trafficker can come in and say, gosh these are your vulnerabilities. I'm gonna play to your vulnerabilities.
[00:34:12] You're amazing. I wanna be your friend. I love you, you're gorgeous, whatever it may be. And then boom, I ask you to do something you would never do, and I can maintain control. both girls and boys who are vulnerable to this. Sometimes depending on the community, almost half. So it's this myth that it's only.
[00:34:38] That only guys are traffickers. And that it's kidnapping and those things are just not reality. Yeah, I
[00:34:47] Scott Maderer: think a lot of the a woman would never do that kind of right mentality, which opens up a dangerous precedence because
[00:34:57] Stephanie Olson: 42% of trafficking [00:35:00] recruiters are women. Right?
[00:35:01] Scott Maderer: Yeah. And in part it's.
[00:35:03] It's quote, easier air quotes around that. Kinda like you said, they were a good product. It's, yeah, it's a. they're less threatening. . Yeah, absolutely. To
[00:35:14] Stephanie Olson: most killer. Yeah. If I come to you as opposed to a guy it's going to be, or young kid or whatever, it's gonna be a very different experience.
[00:35:25] Sure. Then if yeah, so it's, we kind put
[00:35:28] Scott Maderer: out to kids, watch out for Stranger Danger, watch out for the white van. Watch out for the big guy with the, that looks like a monster. That looks like a predator. That looks like an evil. Dr. JE Cole, Mr. Hyde got, yeah, and that's not the predator .
[00:35:42] Stephanie Olson: That is not the they're charming, they're engaging, they're all genders.
[00:35:47] They're it's a man, a woman, a couple. They are you and me. And I think that is that is the scary thing. I asked an eighth grader, I always ask eighth graders, but I, [00:36:00] what does a predator look like? And we actually talk about we don't talk predator language because this is usually a boyfriend.
[00:36:09] I'm not gonna call my boyfriend Predator. or familial trafficking, huge increase. So if that's mom, I'm not gonna call my mom a predator. So I asked the same, you try
[00:36:18] Scott Maderer: not to use Predator, monster, any of those. Cause it gives a label in their
[00:36:21] Stephanie Olson: head that it does. It does. So I asked, what does a predator look like?
[00:36:25] And we're like, oh my gosh. Does old, super creepy guy. Like 30 super old in a trench coat this is what they think. That's super old, 30 year old. But yeah, it's, that's not what it
[00:36:38] Scott Maderer: is. But what, yeah. What, you're an eighth grader. 30 is super old.
[00:36:40] Stephanie Olson: 30 is old. I know.
[00:36:42] Scott Maderer: Very sad. I taught middle school for 11 years and I taught high school for six.
[00:36:46] So I'm very aware of how old, 30 year old, very sad the middle schools . And I've seen that I've had I taught in a. Very low socioeconomic area. Yeah. Of town and I've had kids that were [00:37:00] trafficked had. Students that I've reported to CPS and others that this is what's going on.
[00:37:07] It's reality. Does it always help? But back in the day I've had that happen so Well,
[00:37:13] Stephanie Olson: and that's back in the day maybe even. I remember a time before social media, so traffickers definitely
[00:37:20] Scott Maderer: had, yeah. That was actually pre social media being big
[00:37:23] Stephanie Olson: at least. So more leg work that they had to do.
[00:37:27] But one of the top, so one of number one Lores locations is social media. One of the top fives is school. Sure. And so I think that's something that so many people just don't even. Think it's the scary places in the parks, or don't go to the malls alone it's happening right in our own backyard.
[00:37:49] Scott Maderer: So what are the, some of the things that people need to be aware of to either prevent or avoid real what trafficking really is as opposed to the miss.
[00:37:59] Stephanie Olson: [00:38:00] The number one thing that we teach all of our kiddos and any adults is that it really is about understanding that you have an intrinsic value that nobody can change.
[00:38:11] When our kids recognize that and I will tell you so many kids don't, Sure don't understand that they have value. They're not told that they have worth or human dignity. So that's gotta be the bottom line, because when I recognize that I have value, I really do treat myself differently. I expect different things.
[00:38:34] But when I understand that this person next to me has value, I can't buy 'em, I can't sell 'em, can't even bully 'em. And so that is the foundation of everything we teach. But then really deciphering between the mi and the facts of what human trafficking is, how human traffickers actually go about it. And so what do you look for as a kid?
[00:38:59] [00:39:00] And what do you look for as a parent? And really a lot of it, again, comes back to it can't be about stranger danger, but really what is a trustworthy person? And we always say a trustworthy person. We'll never ask you to do something illegal. We'll never ask you to go against your moral compass.
[00:39:19] We'll never ask you to keep a secret from parents or guardians, and we'll always want the best for you. And that is something that we can really take to the bank as kids, as parents. But then how do we help our kids safely navigate social media? Because that's not going away. So we need to learn how to safely navigate it and teach our kiddos how to do that as well.
[00:39:47] And then really teach again, how do we connect as human beings outside of social media and what does that look like to have a real relationship and a [00:40:00] healthy relationship. So those are all the things that we really talk.
[00:40:03] Scott Maderer: My brand is inspired stewardship, and I kinda run things through that lens of stewardship.
[00:40:09] Yeah. And yet I've also discovered over the years that's one of those words that means different things to different people. And so let me ask you, for you, what does the word stewardship mean? And what does the understanding of that had as an
[00:40:24] Stephanie Olson: impact? ? Yeah. That's a great question. When I think of stewardship, the first thing I think of is financial stewardship and how we and especially as a nonprofit, that's something that's very important to me in that what we are doing with our money is honoring.
[00:40:46] That we're spending it wisely. We're spender spending it, honoring our donors or honoring those types of things. But also I think our time [00:41:00] and what we put our energy towards, I think we have to be good stewards of all of the things that we have been given. Including our family.
[00:41:11] I think we can be great stewards in our work world and then horrible stewards in our family. And so I think all of that, it's a balance. But in order to be a good steward and have strong stewardship, I think we really need to effectively balance everything that we've been given and really take care of those.
[00:41:36] Scott Maderer: So this is my favorite question, though. I've been told by some guests it's their least favorite, so we'll see how we'll see how you feel about it. Okay. If I invented this magic machine and I could pluck you from the chair where you sit today and transport you into the future, 150, 200 years, and through the power of this machine, you were able to look back on your whole.
[00:41:58] And see all of the [00:42:00] impacts, all of the ripples, all of the relationships that you've left behind. What impact do you hope you've left on the world? Oh,
[00:42:07] Stephanie Olson: that's good. I think the biggest impact that I wanna leave is I'm gonna say it in kind of layers. But the top layer would be that I served God.
[00:42:22] that would be the biggest impact that I brought people into the kingdom of God with me, and that I built a legacy within my family and and their their ability to do those things as well and built a legacy in. Just the people that I was able to touch in in my time here on Earth. And I would be doing that in heaven cuz I don't wanna be alive 150 years from now.
[00:42:54] Scott Maderer: That's one of the reasons I deliberately picked 200 years is cause it's I'm [00:43:00] hoping I've yet to run into somebody who's actually I'll be kicking around just fine. But yeah.
[00:43:07] So what's coming next for you? What's on the roadmap as we move outta 2022 and into 2023?
[00:43:13] Stephanie Olson: There's some really exciting things and I don't know what they are, but God does He's got I love it when I came out of a huge storm in some areas in my life, and I can see God in every piece of it. and it's through something that he is trying to do or not trying to do.
[00:43:39] I'm trying to discern what he's doing, but there is a pivot coming that has really gotten me excited. Some people not so excited, so really think that we are on the verge as an organization, but also just what he's doing in my life. Where he's gonna be doing some really big [00:44:00] things.
[00:44:00] And I'm just along for the ride. I cannot wait to see what he does. But here's what I will say. I have always allowed the Holy Spirit to run this organization until I didn't, and I turned it over to some people. Not even meaning to, but yeah, really turning over some of that control and not allowing the Lord to speak through it.
[00:44:30] And I am redoing that and so this is all back to God and what he's gonna do. So I'm excited to see what he does. I don't know I'm just long for. You can follow Stephanie on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram under the Set Me Free Project. She also has a website for this nonprofit over at set me free project.net. You can also find out more about her books and have her as a speaker at one of your events. [00:45:00] Go over to her email@example.com.
[00:45:03] Scott Maderer: Of course, I'll have links to all of that over in the show notes as. Stephanie, is there anything else you'd like to share with the listener?
[00:45:09] Stephanie Olson: I think I would just share gosh, if you're going through it because we all have be encouraged because there is, there's always gonna be these peaks and valleys in our lives, but God's got you.
[00:45:28] And so that's what I would. Awesome. Thank
[00:45:33] Scott Maderer: you.
[00:45:40] Thanks so much for listening to the Inspired Stewardship Podcast. As a subscriber and listener, we challenge you to not just sit back and passively listen, but act on what you've heard and find a way to live your calling. If you enjoyed this, Please. Please do us a [00:46:00] favor. Go over to inspired stewardship.com/itunes.
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So that’s got to be the bottom line because when I recognize that I have value I really do treat myself differently I expect different things but when I understand this person next to me has value I can’t buy them I can’t sell them I can’t even bully them. – Stephanie Olson
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