When I started offering formal coaching services, I was stunned by the first official client that came through my website. It was someone I already admired and respected tremendously. I’d seen her leadership in action. I’d heard her speak and knew she was changing lives in a positive way.

I was terrified. I didn’t know what I could possibly offer her. Somehow, I quieted that screaming voice in my mind and moved forward with the coaching framework I’d developed over the years in working with employees and colleagues informally.

I’m so thankful I did. Because it led to one of the best friendships of my life. Over the years, I’ve realized that we continuously coach each other. I’m a systems gal and can help her in those areas. And I learn from her tremendous communication skills and grass roots leadership.

In fact, when I read Proverbs 27:17 this morning, I thought, “Yep, that’s Alene!”

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

Today, I’m honored to introduce you to Alene Snodgrass. I know her life will be as inspiring to you as it has been to me.

I love that these interviews allow me to ask my friends questions that don’t always come up in “normal” conversations, so I’m really looking forward to your perspective. First things first, how do you define success?

If I had to describe success, I’d say it’s living life passionately! I’ve spent plenty of time either working at a job I didn’t like or hanging around people that zapped the life out of me and I just felt off base. It was hard to get motivated. Many days I didn’t even want to get going or get to work because I wasn’t passionate about what I knew was in store for me that day. However, learning to live my life pursuing the interests that I’m most passionate about keeps me fueled. It’s easy to get up and live with gusto!

I knew “passion” would be in there somewhere! Was there ever a time when you saw it differently? What changed it for you?

For the better part of my life success was pretty much defined by being the best, having the most, and getting more. Isn’t that what we are taught about success? So, I was determined. I was chasing Ms. Jones and the grass looked greener in her yard.

But when a scam artist entered my life and took my husband and I for everything we were worth, something happened within me. While as tragic as that was to have nothing, NOTHING, God began to teach me what was truly important. If I had a healthy family and a meal, I was blessed. Huge Christmases, new clothes, and a bigger house didn’t seem that important. All of the sudden keeping up with Ms. Jones really didn’t matter. It was the simple things that put a smile on my face!

It was the things I was passionate about that kept me getting out of bed in the morning while in the pit of hell. It was actually while I was in that pit that I learned what I was most passionate about.

Wow. So as Pastor Bil says, your setback was very much a setup for your comeback. Can you describe a typical day in your life now?

The description of my typical day changes week to week. My husband’s schedule changes every other week, and so I adjust. But for the most part as a writer, speaker, and part time church staff I try to keep some kind of repetition going. Trust me, this is a struggle for me because I’m a spontaneous people person!

However, a typical day begins with quiet time. I love to sip coffee, read my Bible and devotional books to start the day. It’s those early morning quiet hours that spark my creative juices. Many times that is where my next blog post or study comes from.

Then depending on what day of the week it is, I hit the computer to do some writing for my blog, a magazine, or create the next study I’m working on. Monday’s are usually blocked off for podcasting and writing, Tuesday’s for teaching studies, Wednesday’s are for church staff meetings, and Thursday’s are for writing. I love my Friday’s because I try to make them my rest days or what I like to call my “all about me” days where I can just be myself without an agenda. On those days I love to sneak out with my camera and capture life behind a lens.

My Saturday’s are spent in preparation for attending the County Jail Annex. Those evenings I’m able to go in and share a message with the women who are incarcerated in the facility for substance abuse. And you guessed it: being on church staff my Sunday’s are a full day at church. However, I wouldn’t trade those days for anything because God led me to go to a church on the inner city and has given me an opportunity to pour into many hurting people.

I try to set time aside daily to spend with my hubby and to schedule time weekly with our family. Scheduling family time has become more of a challenge, as my kids are all now grown. I miss those days where I controlled their schedules. 🙁

I love hearing how you balance it all, and I think that perspective will be insightful to all of us that juggle multiple projects. Do you have any particular habits or routines that are essential to your success? Can you tell us more about how you use them to stay on track?

With this new age of technology there are so many cool apps and calendars. I’ve tried them all and the more I tried to incorporate them, it seemed like the worse handle l had on my schedule.

This past year I finally came to the conclusion that I’m just a paper kind of gal! I know – dorky!!! But it’s what works for me. I have a Franklin Planner and love how I can easily block out the times on my agenda for the day, as well as easily see the month at a glance. There’s something significant to me about putting pen to paper and mapping out my time that helps me stay focused.

On Sunday evenings, I sit down with my planner and schedule out the next week with all appointments that I’m aware of, including family appointments. Then I begin blocking out the daily hours that I need for writing or accomplishing each certain task.

Having the week outlined before me helps me stay on track. But I try to stay flexible since most of my work is with people. There are days where I need to rearrange or be available for a last minute meeting or mentoring session.

Great points. I absolutely agree that we have to find systems that work with our natural preferences – and for lots of us, that’s probably not digital.

Are there any habits you’re working to develop next?

Funny!!! There are many . . . I know that I need to be flexible since I’m in the business of ministering to people – but that flexibility can also throw me off course. I’m learning to guard my schedule more and the power of saying “no.” That’s hard for a girl who doesn’t want to miss anything!

I’m continually working on creating better habits around my health. This is a struggle for me. I know it all boils down to me getting a can do attitude, but I haven’t stuck it out long enough yet for it to be the strong habit I need.

I have a feeling you’re about to get some resources on that one. 😉 Thanks so much for letting us see inside your life. I really appreciate all you do.


Alene Snodgrass is an energetic and motivational Christian speaker, Bible teacher, and author. Her relevant messages and Bible studies have created drastic changes in the lives of women, as well as helped others step out to serve the broken, abused, and downhearted in their communities. To hear more from Alene, you can visit her blog at Positively Alene, listen to her podcast, or get a complimentary copy of her latest ebook Giving Up Normal. (And if you’re ever in Corpus Christi, you can usually find her at the Bay Area Fellowship Westside Campus.)