May 12 2020
I am facing judgment and criticism, a lot of it, from those who are closest to me and I am sure from those who I do not know.
I bought The Book of Forgiveness on a whim almost two years ago and picked it up two days ago. Why? I couldn’t tell you, but I can tell you that I had an undeniable need to do so.
A Morning Awakening
It’s 10:15 on Tuesday morning, May 12 2020, I have been reading and journaling for the last three hours. And like I felt compelled to read The Book of Forgiveness, I felt an intense draw to write this post.
There is light and dark in life. I believe that the two do a dance that intertwines and separates them all within a few musical notes. Good and bad, happiness and anger can all exist in the happenings of our day. We live in a very social and public time where our life is on display for all to see. I am aware that there is a choice to display our life or not to and in what detail. The decision is made for me because of my career as a speaker and author. For those with a ‘public brand,’ we have a choice: how much do we share? I don’t know how to be any other way but genuine and authentic, which means sharing all the good along with the bad.
The Path to Forgiveness
I have recently chosen to tell my story publicly through Instagram and blog posts. There is so much light in my life that I want to share with the world. I am but human and darkness exist too, and sometimes they both exist on the same day or even throughout the weeks and months.
Telling my story, my truth as it happens in which I am learning is the first step to forgiveness. It was this quote that urged me to type these words.
“We cannot walk the Fourfold Path in shame or silence. After all, the first step on the path is telling our stories. The process is not quiet and is not always pretty. It calls for a vulnerability that can be uncomfortable at best. It will ask much of you, sometimes more than you think you can give. However, the gifts and the freedom that will be returned to you are beyond measure.”
And while my story will come in bits and pieces, I am writing it and telling it as I remember it. It is my truth, my perception, and my story.
Forgiveness Can Take a Life Time
It took me almost my entire life to forgive mp parents for our time as children. To overlook their inability to choose alcohol over us or their desire to ignore the fire in front of them. Going through the exercises outlined in the book this morning has been eye-opening. When asked to write down who I need to forgive, my parents were not on the list.
I remember telling my story a few years ago. It brought about the same anger and criticism from those in my life (and probably those I did not know) as it is right now. I can say without a doubt, however, that sharing my truth was the start of a beautiful relationship with both of my parents. A relationship built on the foundation of peace, acceptance, and understanding of the fact that they did the best they could with the tools they had at the time. It was my path to forgiveness.
Now, even when my mom shares that she feels terrible, I can honestly look her in the eyes and thank her for what happened as it has given me the strength I needed to forge through life. Without that strength, I don’t know if I could endure the chapter I am closing in my life right now. I can look at my dad in the eyes and tell him I love him and that I am proud to call him my dad. With the purest form of love, I can say that I am proud of what he has accomplished and overcome.
I chose to forgive but not forget because it is within my story that I have gained strength, character, love, and the skills I need to do life on my terms.
Forgiveness is a Choice
I have a list of people in my life that I need to forgive. A list I will not share publicly. The stories, my truth, however, is part of my healing. I choose to go down the path of forgiveness so I can walk through life unencumbered.
For those that don’t agree, that is ok. It is your choice to walk by my side on this journey, to judge me, or meet me at the end when we decided if our relationship will be renewed or released.
“Forgiveness is not a choice you make for someone else; it is a choice you make for yourself.”
We Have All Been Harmed, and Have Harmed
I do want to make it very clear that I have harmed as well. I am human, heck, we all are. The choice to be free lies at the fork in the road after we’ve been harmed, injured, or hurt. The decision to walk down the path of anger, resentment, and retaliation is your choice. Will you become victim to the hurt others (or even I) have caused, or will you choose to walk down the path of forgiveness? Making this choice will allow you to lift the burden of anger that you carry on your shoulders.
I realize that not everyone is comfortable with being vulnerable, that is also ok. That doesn’t mean others shouldn’t be.
If you have woken up this morning angry for being harmed ask yourself why? And when you are ready to forgive, start by writing your story.
Apr 26 2020
We are living during a moment in time where people are displaying more and more comfortability with being vulnerable and feeling more comfortable coming forward with their stories. Maybe it’s the vulnerability of others that have given me ‘permission’ to share my story as freely as I have lately or perhaps it is the need to heal through the written word. Whichever it is I feel in control of my story (and the story I tell myself) when I share it with you.
Paralyzed and Highly Emotional
Recently, without warning, I have felt paralyzed and highly emotional on several occasions. The pattern goes a little something like this; Thayne will say something, and a rush of emotions will wash over me. In an instant, I feel deadened; frozen. I can’t breathe, and I start to cry uncontrollably. Sobbing really, and this poor man has a look of worry in his eyes as he helplessly watches me.
The morning after my last breakdown, I tried to get a run in; to clear my head. While out on my run, I could feel myself slowly (then extremely quickly) losing my steam. I couldn’t catch my breath, and it felt like I was going to faint. I stopped, slowed my breathing and started typing everything I was feeling in my notes on my phone. What came to me was eye-opening. In a matter of a few minutes, I recognized that the years of never feeling like a good enough wife or mom had a profound effect on me.
A Constant Battle
I am discovering that PTSD is a thing. Not just for those in war but for those living through a war in their day to day life. For some people, these physical responses emerge or re-emerge later in life in response to triggers and stressors.
My marriage felt like a constant battle. As a wife, I walked on eggshells in fear of upsetting him or making a mistake. When the mail came, I swiftly snagged the 407 and credit card bill so my spending wouldn’t be questioned. Most of all, I feared the interrogation every time I added a new travel date to the calendar. Every breakdown, disagreement, or argument ended in me apologizing for hurting him, for not communicating well enough or for needing to work harder at making myself better.
Past trauma has begun to paralyze me, and it’s been my reality twice this past two weeks.
In one instance, I had had a little bit of wine, and I’ll admit I was having fun! I was laughing so hard that a bit of drool came out of my mouth; I know probably TMI, but I vowed to myself to be vulnerable and tell the whole story, so there you have it. Thayne laughed with me and said, “did that just happen?!”. In that light-hearted moment, I broke down. I cried without warning. Uncontrollably. He held me, not understanding how at the drop of a dime, the mood changed.
The Need to feel fixed
And then it happened again, more profoundly
I was worried, feeling insecure about not being enough. Where this feeling came from, I couldn’t tell you, but it was intense. I felt like I was not enough for Thayne. We lay in bed for hours discussing why I was feeling this way. Without resolve, I snuck out of our bed at midnight to journal. Journalling has become my way to understand why I think the way I do. Journalling has become the way I know how I can fix myself.
Almost as soon as I tip toped out of our room, Thayne followed. I’m so grateful for him. He came, hugged me, and continuously told me I was more than enough. Thayne spent the next half hour holding me while I sobbed and reassuring me that I didn’t need fixing. He repeated “Katie; you are more than enough just as you are.”
During the walk back from my run, I figured it out. I cried because of the countless times I was told not to drink, to get a hold of myself, or to act differently (less fun, more subdued). All the reasons that attributed to how I was a bad wife. All the reasons I needed fixing. When I finally made it home, I felt the urge to google the effects of trauma on a person’s brain. Here is a sentence that explained what was happening.
“Sometimes, people can actually feel as though they are reliving traumatic moments in the here and now; their past intrudes painfully into the present, over and over again.”
Simply put, I was reacting to the trauma I encountered for more than a decade.
The Refiners Fire
We often don’t feel the effects of trauma until it’s over. The man who goes to war and wakes up screaming in the middle of the night. A woman that triple checks the locks to make sure abuser can’t get in after she’s escaped him and the humans that consistently question themselves after years of emotional and mental abuse. Years after it’s over; even after they’ve found love.
Thankfully, research also shows that we can forge new connections between brain cells, building and strengthening healthy pathways with different experiences after a trauma. The work I am focusing on now is to rewire the old and accept the love I have found.
I pray that if you have experienced trauma in your life, you can find peace in these words. And as Thayne tells me; you are more than enough. You don’t need fixing. You are in the refiner’s fire and will come out of this a little smoother and stronger but just as perfect.
Apr 17 2020
Even going to the bathroom alone was an impossible task.
I was trapped, yes trapped in a house with three kids for two weeks under quarantine. I love my kids dearly. They are great little humans. But the screaming, questions, time consumption, and lack of privacy was all too much for me. I felt I was going crazy yet I felt guilty for not having the schedule down pat. I felt guilty for feeling overwhelmed. I felt guilty about ordering pizza twice in two weeks. And more then ever I felt like less of a mom because I just needed to get out.
I can hear the voice in your head as you read those words saying one of two things.
- Yes, That’s how I feel! I don’t dare to say it out loud, or
- What kind of mom wants a break from her kids?!
Let’s be real. An honest mom would tell you that not only does she need a break from her kids, but she also wants too.
I write from a judgement-free space. in my opinion, judging others is one of the least loving things we can do to another human being. I allow you to judge me if you need to. But I also invite you to be open to hearing a different point of view.
The downward spiral of ‘mommy guilt’ started nine years ago
I have been a mom for nine years. When the twins turned six and Riley was three that I started travelling for work and began down the path of self-discovery and growth. Prior to this time, I was an overly dedicated mom. I still worked full time, but boy oh boy, did I hold myself to a high standard. I only cooked organic from scratch meals. I was present for all drop-off and pickups. Nighttime routines were always on schedule. And of course, I gave all my time to my kids and my husband. And that was just the tip of the ice burg. There was nothing left for me.
What I didn’t notice was the drip of guilt placed on me every time I needed something for me, similar to Chinese water torture. Simple things like going to the gym resulted in responses like “when they are napping, or after they go to sleep for the night”. Or the guilt I started to feel when I wanted to have a glass of wine on a Tuesday night because my husband’s policy was that the kids should only see me drink wine on the weekend. The slow infusion of being convinced that wanting or needing something for myself was a selfish act started to paralyze me and make me question my own sanity.
An awaking in the making
Fast forward to my awakening, career growth and desire to be more than just a mom. This ambition was new and came with travel, late working nights and a lot less time to be the ‘Martha Stuart’ mother and wife once felt I needed to be. Although I was determined and stood up for myself the guilt trips continued and came in the form of questioning, control, and the classic “you care more about your career than us” line that I head on repeat like a broken record. Oh, and let’s not forget the fact that I was ‘ruining’ our kids and that I was told I was an inadequate mom because of my desires and passions. The guilt I felt was so deep and so real that I started to believe like I was a ‘bad mom’.
I was (and still might be) part of the 21% of moms that feel guilty ALL THE TIME. That’s a staggering stat, one-fifth of moms live in a place of constant guilt. Here is another crazy stat, 90% of moms feel guilty daily. They feel guilty for not being good enough, whether or not they make the right decisions for the family, taking time for themselves, or letting their kids have too much screen time 😳 (the list of reasons we feel guilty keeps going).
Part of these feelings of guilt is self-inflicted. We take the judgement of others; personally. We look at the ‘perfect’ Instagram & Pinterest moms that seem to have it all figured out, and we shelf judge.
Insert “mommy guilt”
But if you were to take a close look at how social media, the world wide web, marketing ads, and the unrealistically high expectations of those around us are it doesn’t surprise me why we stumble down a downward spiral of self-judgement and guilt.
A mindset shift, a divorce, and new love
A mindset change and a divorce have brought light to my eyes. The most transformational event during this time has been that the love of my life ( a man I dared to dream about but didn’t think existed) has taught me that I am worthy enough to let go of the ‘mommy guilt ‘ I carry around. He has taught me that it is ok to want to pee in private!
This mindset change has brought an uproar of judgement from those closest to me in the form of questioning and statements like “you’re different and how can you say you need a break from your kids.”
The truth is; man or woman, mom or dad, we all need a break. Raising kids is THE hardest job one will ever have. I love my kids to bits, that didn’t change. I would do ANYTHING for them, that also remains the same. My kids don’t want or need for anything, status quo. What’s different about me? I care about me, I have let go out the guilt, and if that makes me a bad mom in anyone’s eyes then so be it! I won’t let myself feel guilty about that either.
I left quarantine one week ago; I miss my kids, but boy oh boy, do I love my guilt-free time.
My hope is that you have read this from a judgement-free space but if you haven’t that’s on you; I won’t carry that with me. I do hope you have the ability, to be honest with yourself and decide to let go of the guilt you carry.
Apr 01 2020
I arrived home from almost two weeks in paradise. I took my kids to my boyfriend’s home in Baja over spring break. This vacation was a big deal for him and me because our kids were meeting for the first time. We had 7 (yes, SEVEN) kids under one roof.
The Old Story I was Telling Myself
When we arrived, we quickly got into the truck to head to the grocery store. Have you ever tried to shop for nine people for almost two weeks? Well, I can tell you first hand it isn’t easy! After two hours in the grocery store, we piled back into the truck and started to review the ‘rules’ while we are all together
- Kids do all the dishes when mom cooks
- Show love and kindness to one another at all times
- No wining, pouting or feeling sorry for yourself
- HAVE FUN!
Simple rules, rules, however, I have not been used to seeing in action. See over the last 5+ years I have been told I should feel guilty for my career choice which in turn turned into: you’re ruining the kids, you’re not a good mom, and you choose your work over the family. The constant repetition of these phrases had me telling myself the following story:
“Katie, you must always give the kids everything because you’re never home. You should feel guilty for needing your own time, and if you don’t spend all your time when you’re home with the kids, then you are a bad mom.”
The stories I was telling myself resulted in the following actions I allowed from my kids: whining, pouting, feeling sorry for themselves, getting what they want when they want and if they didn’t each of them would cry, kick and scream. They also demanded my time (all of it). I can’t blame my kids; I allowed it because I didn’t feel worthy of love, respect, and kindness because the story I was telling myself was just that; I didn’t deserve it.
Back to these ‘rules’, they are simple, but they scared the sh*t out of me. How were my kids going to live up to those rules when they are conditioned to treat me the opposite way? To my surprise, there was only one big meltdown and a few needy whinny reactions. Why might you be asking yourself? Well, my boyfriend sees my worth and now so do I.
Fast forward to our return home.
We landed in Toronto to find out we were in mandatory quarantine. Fourteen days in a house with three kids that although showed me respect in Mexico (I had help reinforcing it) may not show me as much kindness at home. I went into instant panic mode; sweaty palms, topsy turvy stomach, and frozen heavy legs set in as fear washed over me. Some of you reading this may think I overreacted but if you could peer into a day in the life of ‘mom Katie’ you would understand the reaction and probably agree with it.
The first few days were my nightmare come to life. The kids ran wild, didn’t listen, screamed and talked back to me. I even yelled and screamed; yes, I had adult temper tantrums. I made schedules that they complained about at every hour and would cry to get out of everything they didn’t feel like doing. I sent them to their room more times then I can count and hide in my office more times then I’d like to admit.
A New Story with New Actions!
Today– day seven– I hosted a mandatory meditation as a family called Knowing Your Worth. During the meditation, it struck me that I was where I was as a mom and getting the treatment I was receiving from my kids because I didn’t know (or believe) my worth.
My mantra today was “I am worthy of respect, and I act in accordance.”
Once the meditation was over, I sat with my kids and shared my mantra with them. Then I asked them to collectively come up with five ways they can show up as a nice person and then come back and tell me their findings. After about 15 minutes, they came back to sit around me and said to me that they would be kind, loving, caring, responsible, and giving. We talked through what each of these characteristics meant and came to one overarching theme: we must do for others by ourselves. They would do for each other and mom, and in return, mom would do for them before herself. We committed to reviewing our commitment to each other morning and night until it becomes a way of living.
So that’s where I am at: I have realized my worth and I am acting in accordance to my worth.
If you are having trouble gaining traction in life, as a mom or dad, or in business, know you are not alone. The craziness called COVID-19 is our temporary new normal, and our world will go back to the way we knew it, but you can use this this ‘temporary new normal’ to change the stories you tell yourself, take hold of your worth and start acting in accordance.
How do you rewrite your story?
Here are three ways you can rewrite the stories you are telling yourself:
- Decide you are worthy of the life you want
- Make a mantra for yourself “I am worthy of….” and repeat it often
- Act in accordance with the expectations you have set; what you are worthy of and take the actions to have the life you deserve.
For me, I am learning that I am worth respect as a mom and a partner.
If you need to hear it, I will say it: You are worthy too.
May 13 2019
Why does it matter; why should you tailor the brand experience to the Decision Maker; the woman?
Besides the fact that women are the original social media, sharing their stories of outstanding experiences and happenings in life with just about anyone that will listen, they have now been given a platform to spread their message far and wide, and the whole world is listening. On the opposite end of exceptional experiences an inconsistent and disjointed experience (which is what most women receive when shopping for a vehicle); women will share these stories with the same passion as they do the good ones.
Women are also the Chief Purchasing Officer in their home and are the number one referral source. Carl Sewell, the author of Customers for Life, states that the lifetime value of a customer equates to $517,000. By not curating an experience for the female buyer not only are you losing her lifetime value, but you are also losing the potential of her referral network, and with the social platform she is handed; Ms. Social will let the world know her opinions on a massive scale.
Let’s face it; although we would like to have seen a more significant shift in gender equality through the years, there hasn’t been a huge leap forward. 85% of the world’s executives are still men, and in the car industry, men hold over 80% of the positions within dealerships. This means that the car shopping experience is still designed by men, for men, and delivered by men. The urgency to flip the lens, put ourselves in the shoes of the world’s most influential consumers and create standards that help sales associates create an experience that lives up to her expectations is even more prevalent as women will walk away and choose another dealer to purchase from.
Want to know why it’s important to focus on her experience? The female consumer has a direct impact on your top line and future success!
Here are five tips to tailor your brand experience to the Decision Maker; The Woman.
1. Understand the Decision Maker.
It’s important to remember when creating a Consumer Persona for the female consumer that she wants to be understood first as a woman and second as a consumer. Flip the lens, understand your consumer’s life stages in order to tailor and personalize the experience you offer.
2. Journey through her eyes.
Once you have a 30,000-foot view of the female consumers that shop with you it’s time to break down the journey from her perspective. Perception is the customer’s reality. When designing a program for the female consumer (or any consumer or employee), it is imperative that the experience is designed from their point of you. The golden rule that grandma preached; treat others the way you want to be treated is a thing of the past. You must live by the platinum rule; treat others the way they need or want to be treated.
3. Create real relationships.
One of the most significant differences between male and female consumers is that women WANT to create a relationship with the sales associate; whereas men could go either way. In a recent study I lead, 69% of the female participants said that the sales associate didn’t take time to get to know her, the same 69% also said that they didn’t trust the sales associate. Women crave connection. Her decisions are driven by the way she feels about you, your brand and the experience you provide.
4. Train for EQ.
If a team member has high EQ, they will be able to execute tip 2 & 3, without this creating a real relationship and a tailored experience becomes very tough. It’s important to have the skills and knowledge to do the job; however, we can train most of these skills. One of the top reasons women walk out of dealerships is because they don’t like the way they were approached or treated. Those with high EQ can read people’s nonverbal cues and can adjust their approach based on the needs of each consumer.
5. Be consistent.
As I have mentioned, building a trust account with your female consumer base is extremely important when it comes to her desire to purchase a vehicle and refer you. Consistency is a key factor in the trust she has in you.
Each one of these tips will help to create an experience that will promote a female-friendly environment and increase the number of females shopping in your dealership, which untimely will increase your CSI results on all fronts.
Jan 10 2019
In life you are almost always faced with a choice. A choice to do this…or that. Here’s the thing, the choice is always yours and yours alone.
The same goes for businesses and leaders alike. As leaders and businesses grow, you will be, and probably are, faced with adversity as you make the treacherous climb toward significance, and ultimately toward leaving a legacy for your successors.
I have been faced with so many choices where I have had to decide to go one way or another. Some choices haven’t always been in my favour, and haven’t always been the right choices to make; however, I have always come out ahead. I have let the forks in the road serve as moments of transformation to the next ledge on the uphill climb called life.
As I write this, I feel very humbled. I want to share with you the choices I have made, all in which have molded me into the person I am today as a wife, mom, and business owner who is eternally grateful for all of the times I should’ve turned left and decided to turn right.
I am an ordinary person living an extraordinary life. I have always dreamed big, bigger than most have said I should. I have always believed that something is a reality before it is, and then worked extremely hard at making the crazy dreams of mine real. As all of us do, I have many stories of roadblock after roadblock put in front of me, and have faced the choice to remain still or move that obstacle in front of me. Many times, I have felt like giving up, and almost have. So many instants have had me surrendering to my limiting beliefs about myself; I can’t do this, I’m not good enough, I’m not smart enough, and the worst, I’m not as good as (insert multiple names here). Luckily, I continued to make the choice to evolve and not let life’s circumstances cripple me or disarm my growth.
We can’t control the family we are born into; we don’t get to deal that hand in life. We don’t always have control over the circumstances we face, but what we do have control over are the choices we make to either sink or swim; we choose how we react to the cards we are dealt. We may not always be able to choose what fork in the road is placed in front of us, but we sure as hell get to choose the outcome.
As a little girl, I lived in a home riddled with alcohol abuse (a form of addiction that affects one in five children in North America, and many suffer in silence as I did). At a very young age, I was forced with a choice to let the cards I was dealt swallow me whole or to forge through them and take control of my outcome. I chose to stay up every night to make sure my dad didn’t fall asleep with a Colt in his hand, making sure the house didn’t go up in flames. I chose to get up every morning while everyone was sleeping to make sure he was still in bed where I left him, but most importantly I chose to view the world in a positive light. I developed a belief over the years that people do what they know best at the time, and that forgiveness is the key to your own freedom, while choice is the key to theirs.
It has been a choice to love unconditionally, and to give without expectation. What I didn’t realize was how grateful I would be for having to have made these choices. As a young girl, I didn’t realize how much this would help me to help others in the future. I didn’t realize the positive impact these dark moments would have on my ability to lead both in life, and business.
In life and business, you will always have to choose. I have discovered that one of the hardest choices you will make will be whether you will lead in life and business, or stay stuck and repeat old familiar habits. Will you choose to evolve and grow, making choices that aren’t always easy, but may be the right direction for you, your family, team members, or customers?
As a leader in life and business, you will have to choose to trust until given reason not to. You will have to choose whether or not you will be vulnerable enough to earn the trust of the people who surround you. You will have to choose between being patient or demanding results, but most importantly you will have a choice to meet your people where they are, believing that they are in fact doing the best that they know how in that moment. Choose to ask yourself: what can you do differently to help them know more, so they can do more.
I wasn’t always looked at as an inspirational leader, or a person to look to for leadership advice. It took a lot of honest feedback, tears, self-reflection, and personal growth to be able to type the words on this page, or work with organizations to develop their leaders. It is such an honor to be able to inspire positive actionable change in organizations, and the lives of the people that keep those organizations growing.
I know this post is not giving you the ‘how to’ you are probably expecting. I will, however, share with you one of the most powerful lessons I have learnt through the choices I have made, with the cards I have been dealt. I have learnt that in order to lead an organization and its people to success, you must start first with how you choose to show up in life.
What will you choose?
In order to lead in business, you must lead in your life, and be willing to help your people do the same.
As we have all heard, people work for people, not organizations. I believe a leader without followers is just someone taking a walk.
Do you choose to repeat or evolve?
Jan 03 2019
Dear ladies of all ages, races, occupations, and stages in life:
I am writing you to give you a gift for 2019. This is one of the most powerful gifts anyone can ever give you. I was once given this gift and it changed my life; I hope it does the same for you. I am giving you PERMISSION to take flight and to have your cake and eat it too. I am giving you PERMISSION to live your best life. I am giving you PERMISSION to be you!
What Does it Mean to Have your Cake and Eat it Too?
This is going to mean something different for everyone. But what I am giving you permission to do is live the best life for you, without having to sacrifice or give up something in order to do this.
I am a mom of three (eight-year-old twins and a five-year-old), a business owner, a daughter, sister, wife; oh, I almost forgot to mention I am a person too!
I have spent most of my life constantly giving to everyone else. I didn’t have much of a childhood as I lived in a family that suffered with alcohol abuse. At a really young age, I had to take care of my sister, my brother, my mom, and my dad. When I say that I gave all of myself to everyone else, I truly mean it. Fast forward to my 25th year of life; I got married and had twins at 26. That’s a story all on its own; I almost died on August 2nd 2010 when I brought my twins into the world. My liver was failing, my blood platelets diminished, and I was bleeding out internally. Eleven months after my husband and I said ‘I do’ he had to sign papers stating that his wife would not make it out of the emergency C-section delivering two premature babies. The twins were born weighing approximately 3lbs, two months early, and their mom didn’t wake up for four days. I woke up and with no time to recover, I had to move into being a mom for two little beings that I visited in the Nicu while, I, myself was in the hospital. As you can imagine, being a young mom wasn’t easy (jeze, being a mom isn’t easy) and having twins was hard. I moved from taking care of my parents and siblings in one chapter of my life into the second chapter of life; motherhood with no break in-between. Happily, our babies are no longer babies and are thriving. We were crazy enough to have another little girl, and I am glad to report that she went full term with no complications (other than being 10lbs at birth!). Our little family of four was now a family of five, and that meant more tender love and care for everyone except, me. As I type this, I can see many of the moms out there understanding what I mean by that last statement.
Fast forward two years; my father got very ill, and being the person that I am, I talked my husband into letting him stay with us until he was well enough to be on his own. For those of you who know me, you would know how difficult this was as my father and I did not have a relationship for a multitude of reasons of which I may blog about at a later date.
A year and a half later my dad moved out; this time in my life tested me and my family to the limits. It was right around the time my dad moved out that I started to go through a shift, and that shift started with a tattoo.
I was driving out to a routine doctor’s appointment, and on my way, I saw a tattoo parlor. I pulled over, went in, got my tattoo, and proceeded to my doctor’s appointment. My tattoo (shown in the image of this blog) is of three little black birds taking flight. This symbolizes my three children, and the point in my life where I was done being everything to everyone except myself.
Three years ago, on that afternoon, I decided it was time for a new chapter in my story; Katie takes flight!
So many wonderful things have happened since that day. I started to take care of myself, started a speaking and training career, opened my own business, and became a more present mom. Changing who I am and what people were used to was (and is) a hard, turbulent path. It was time though, time for me to figure out how to have my cake and eat it too.
Here is what I have learned along this bumpy path:
The Cards You’ve Been Dealt Don’t Dictate Your Future
The cards you’ve been dealt do not have to be an excuse for why your life is the way it is; they can be a catalyst for the life you want to live. You can decide to let your current circumstance swallow you whole or use it, learn from it, and propel yourself forward because of it.
Being Selfish is Necessary
It’s not easy being ‘selfish’ as a mom (or person in general) but it is very necessary in order to be able to give to others. As the safety demonstration on an airplane dictates to put your oxygen mask on before you help others, it is necessary to breathe life into your being before you can truly give to others.
Your Change Isn’t Easy for Others
Not everyone is going to love the change you make, and that is ok. If you have decided to put yourself first, or take on a new challenge, new career, or lease on life, you will have resistance from those who surround you; you are not only changing your world, you are also changing theirs. It is ok to put distance between you and the people in your life that don’t serve as a positive influence through your growth. Those who whole heartedly love you will support you; those who don’t are people you don’t want to be around. Do, however, try to be patient with those who do stick it out and remember this change is happening to them as well.
Change at the Core Starts with you and you Alone
Only you can make change happen; you have to want to make a difference in your life in order for a difference to be made.
Forgive yourself Often
YOU are only HUMAN and you will mess up, you will stumble and fall. The key to success in any transformation is to get back up. Love yourself enough to embrace each stumble because it is in those moments that transformation happens. Get up, learn, forgive yourself, and keep moving forward.
I feel like my journey has only just begun. I feel like this new chapter in my life is the start of my life. There have been and will continue to be many stumbles; I will rise stronger with each and every fall.
Where Does the Phrase ‘Have your Cake and Eat it Too’ Come From?
Someone once asked me if I had ‘mummy guilt’ with all the travelling I do and this was my response:
“ I hope my daughters look at me and see that they can be a mom, wife, business woman, or stay home, that they don’t have to choose one or the other. My wish is that my daughters know they can ‘have their cake and eat it too’. And my son, I hope he supports his partner so she can do the same.”
Here’s to you! I wish you the same. I hope you live the life that is best for you, and that you can also ‘have your cake and eat it too.’
Dec 25 2018
It is Christmas eve, I am sitting in my office tying off a few loose ends so I can truly enjoy the moments to come over the next few (hectic) days, and as I was reviewing a post for LinkedIn, I came across a post that I put out a few months ago. I asked the LinkedIn community to share advice they had for the community in four words or less. This morning when I came across this post, I scrolled through to look at how many wonderful people shared their advice for others to see. I was overwhelmed with a humbling feeling, and decided as we all slow down in 2018 and gear up for 2019, that I would pull all these magical words of wisdom together for you to read and decide how you will be your best self in the year to come.
Words of Wisdom From your Fellow LinkedIn Community
Just keep on going.
Be more present!
Just don’t quit.
Be true to you.
Never jeopardize your integrity.
Be the change.
There is no spoon.
Collect great people.
Paint vision with passion.
Roll with the punches.
Keep moving forward.
Stay true to you.
Focus on what matters
Get off your arse.
Live more! Die less!
(Clarification: die is every time you say no to yourself and those around you that you love).
Praise publicly – Reprimand privately.
Work hard. Be nice.
Love always wins respect.
Know what you want.
Give thanks each day.
Be focused, but adaptable.
Focus on the intention.
Trust your gut.
Live your life well.
Enjoy every little moment.
Firm foundations create heroes!
Find beauty in everyday.
Be yourself & never surrender.
Live & let live.
Keep your eye on the ball.
Do not give up.
And as I gear up for 2019, I will be focusing on self-love, strengthening who I am at the core, and helping organizations and women around the world be the best version of themselves by transforming the experiences people have with each other, and the businesses they interact with. In order to do that, my advice for myself (and those who are reading) is to forgive often and be open. We need to forgive ourselves more often, forgive those around us as they stumble, and realize that we are only human. It is not what you do or what happens to you, it is how you react that determines the outcome. Being vulnerable to forgiveness opens up your world to countless opportunities. Be open to the challenges, opportunities, and changes that 2019 brings. Be your best self by believing in you, and everything you uniquely bring to the world.
Cheers to you and your growth in 2019!
Sep 27 2018
If you follow me on social media, you would have seen my Instagram Story about my most recent experience with a hair salon in my hometown; Prive Hair Gallery. My experience was so great; I needed to write about it, enjoy!
As a busy mom and business owner finding time to get my kids in for haircuts in almost an impossible task. I am usually on the road Tuesday through Thursday which means there is no time during the week and as the moms out there know the weekends are spent playing taxi driver to your kid’s sports activities, birthday parties, and family commitments leaving the weekend near to impossible to fit in a hair appointment.
I had been going to a salon about 20 minutes further from my house than Prive Hair Gallery is and decided I would give them a try as it is more convenient for me; the challenge was going to be finding time in our schedule to get my girls in. I picked up the phone and gave them a call. Right from the first call I was impressed. The young lady who answered the phone was delightful, asked my name and referred to me by name throughout the entire conversation. I was explaining to her that my girls desperately needed to get a trim and I had limited time to get them into the salon. She asked me all the standard questions: what day, time would be best for me and then proceeded to tell me what she had available. Unfortunately she didn’t have anything that would work with my schedule and just as I was about to give up she surprised me by saying “I can offer you an early morning appointment so you can get in before your day starts, lets say 7:30 am?, I will come in and open the salon for you.” and with that I booked the appointment and got off the phone extremely satisfied and impressed.
But wait, it gets better, not only is the team accommodating to your schedule to get you in the door, once you are there the great experience continues.
I showed up at 7:30 am on Saturday morning with my girls and was greeted by name with smiles. They instantly started creating rapport with me, and more importantly my girls. The atmosphere was light, energetic and inviting. Throughout the entire appointment, they continued to make us feel special and attended to our needs. While the girls were getting their hair washed the stylist turned on the massage feature in the chairs they were sitting in and invited me to join them for a message. They then took a picture of the three of us making this a moment we would remember. Cappuccinos were served to mom and interest was taken in my hair needs as well.
We paid the bill and left for the day. That night, I got a text message from the owner checking in to see how the girls liked there new cut and that she hoped to see me soon.
The team at Prive Hair Gallery nailed the guest journey at every touchpoint. Turning a transaction into an interaction and experience that won my girls and me over.
Here are a few key points to their success:
They Care About You and Your Needs
The team at the salon tailored the visit to me and my girls. They asked great questions to build rapport and uncover what our expectations were. They then immediately used this information to increase the positivity of the experience.
They Go Above and Beyond
Prive did not need to open their salon at 7:30 am for me, but they did. They went above and beyond to accommodate my schedule. As a busy mom, this was invaluable. Receiving the follow-up text was also something that was a surprise which made the appointment come full circle.
They Turn Ordinary Moments into a Memory
When I sat next to my girls in those chairs and got massages, it turned an early morning task into a fun experience. Capturing this moment with a picture made it a special memory for my little ladies and me.
Oh! I forgot to mention; the stylists are EXTREMELY talented! Not only will you have an excellent experience you will leave with beautiful hair!
If you live in the Bloor West area, you must give Prive Hair Gallery Bloor a try! And if you run a salon, use these best practices to improve your customer experience!
Sep 13 2018
Raise your hands or nod your head if you have ever gone into a brick and mortar store with your kids and they decided to run around, talk loudly (or yell), and climb things they shouldn’t (insert emoji with hand raised here). It can be (and often is) frustrating and embarrassing. This was precisely what happened to me as we entered Home Sense last Monday.
It was a hot and humid Monday evening. The last week of summer break and the week before my sister’s wedding. Our house is the house that plays host to almost every family gathering and the night before my sister’s wedding was not an exception. As usual, I took on more than I could chew but loved every minute of it as there is nothing more important than the love and time spent with family.
Because we were hosting 40 people at our house, it was also time to get my butt into gear and finish decorating our newly renovated main floor. The Monday before the party I dragged my poor little girls all over the city to find just the right nick knacks for our living room and paintings for our walls. Women tend to do this frequently; take on more than they need to, to ensure the happiness of their family. That day I was not an exception to the rule.
We were in and out of stores, and our last stop was Home Sense. As a woman, mom, wife, and Brand Experience Expert, with a female focus, I am very perceptive to the shopping experiences I have and how well they cater to the Decision Maker; the woman and all the little nuances she expects in a shopping experience. My last experience that day was the most trying and the best all at the same time.
An Empowered Team
My girls had had enough of in and out of stores and were kicking into boredom high gear. As soon as we entered the store, my girls bolted off and ran around as I popped in and out of the aisles in search for the perfect décor and paintings; playing a game of Marco Polo with my girls except is was “Ela, Riley” so I could hear that they were close to me. The experience was going smoothly until I heard Riley scream.
There she lay face down on the floor; she had tripped. I put the five items that were in my arms down and rushed to her. Riley’s lip was bleeding, and she was crying hysterically. I felt embarrassed and so sorry that this happened to my sweet girl. Instantly (as most moms do) I started to beat myself up about the situation, and at that moment, something wonderfully unexpected happened; in swooped the Home Sense team.
The manager came over and helped me in the bathroom. They helped calm Riley and gave her a freeze to keep the swelling down on her lip while making it fun for her. They also made sure Ela got the same ‘fun’ treatment. Once Riley was calm, they collected the items I had put down in a rush to my daughter and took me directly to the end register bypassing the big line. The team rang me in quickly and carried everything out to my car and through the whole process made me feel better (or not as bad) about the situation.
This situation got me to thinking; are companies prepared to handle situations that are not their fault? Do they empower their team members to make it right? And do they take into consideration the customer in front of them?
Although many organizations strive to have the basics of customer service down pat; like greeting, asking the customer if they need help, or using their name; not many organizations focus on how to create a great experience out of a bad situation. Further to that; do you know how to tailor your Brand Experience to the Decision Maker; the Woman?
I challenge you to answer these questions:
- Is your organization and its team prepared to handle situations that are not your fault? If so what tools do you provide them to empower them to offer an exceptional and unexpected experience out of a bad situation?
- Are you prepared to serve your female consumers? Have you ever flipped the lens and seen the shopping journey through her eyes?
- With women holding 80-90% influence of all purchasing decisions and doing the majority of the shopping for their homes, is your team trained in EQ so they can ensure the experience the decision maker has in your brick and mortar store leaves a positive lasting impression?
If your answer is no to one or more of these questions you might want to look at the tools and training you give your team members so they can turn transactions into interactions and create a memorable experience; even out of a bad situation. I also urge you to take a female-focused approach as you make changes to elevate your customer experience.
I thank the team at Home Sense that day. Not only did I get everything I needed, but they also earned my loyalty through an experience that I will be forever grateful. I know that I can take my kids there and they will take care of us.