What is your story? Or in other words, what made you your awesome self you are today?
After spending a couple of decades working in small and large corporations, I felt I was not living my purpose. In my last year working in a stressful corporate culture, my colleague and friend of ten years took his life due to the pressure he experienced. It seemed people tried to cope with his loss by ignoring it. I decided I needed to take a sharp turn in my life. Although I had my Master's in Psychology, I knew I didn't want to be a therapist as my life's work. If nothing else, I knew I wanted my friend's life, and death, to matter.
Life has provided growth opportunities when I needed it most. Within a short time, I found a coaching school, was certified, and immersed myself in coaching. I joined a firm that afforded me the opportunity to coach, consult, and facilitate groups where cultures suffered.
This line of people-centered work felt so rewarding; I knew this is my purpose, serving others to be empowered to live fully. I was facilitating change, helping others in cultures where people felt "out of control" and with no solution in sight. Empowering people to take ownership of their situation became my calling and still is.
What message do you promote?
You create the life you live with every choice you make. We cannot control others, but we always have control over how we show up.
In business and/or in life, share a struggle you overcame that other women can relate to.
I worked for a leadership team that had a negative bias towards women. The men on the leadership team held a belief I came to understand after I joined: Men are more powerful than women, and corporate America is made up of white men. And like wants to work with like.
This was before Diversity and Inclusion programs were common, and therefore this leadership team felt their beliefs were correct. My value and worth were in question daily. I suffered as I began to question my worth. As I continued to battle for equity in the workplace, I channeled my frustrations into writing articles for women. As those became popular and even outperformed the company articles, I put more and more of my time, thought, and creativity into empowering women. Certainly, the writing was cathartic, and the feedback I heard from other women motivated me to continue the work. Webinars, articles, and workshops led to my decision to write a book. After a long journey of writing, I decided I would self-publish.
The timing of my business has made my venture far more exciting than I had originally thought. One month into Covid-19, I published my book, had a company ready to create workshops from the book's content of my book so that women could experience the process. Then the world went into lockdown. All my plans changed overnight, and I have pivoted to virtual classrooms and coaching. In the meantime, I have finished my second book, which has been sent to my publisher. This book's focus guides new people leaders to build the essential soft skills making them a success.
What is the most rewarding aspect of what you do?
Watching and supporting people take ownership of the change they want in their life. I love coaching and watching women find the courage to show up in their life, creating the changes they have always wanted but never thought possible.
How do you SHOW UP?
To live a life in integrity. I am real about real problems. I do not pretend life is always easy; in other words -no lipstick on pigs. Life is hard. When I am kicked down, get back up and wipe the dirt off, that is when I show up.
If you could give one piece of advice for women who are entering the workforce or launching their own business, what would that be?
Root in the strength of who you are, not in fear of who you are not.
Connect with Kirsten Blakemore