How did you get here

How Did You Get Here: Carrie Grace

We have a new story of transformation, empowerment and moxie today as we continue our How Did You Get Here Series. Today, we’d like to introduce you to Carrie Grace. Some of you may follow her on Instagram, and if you’re not following her we recommend it. She is a ray of sunshine in the a sea of selfies and negativity. Perhaps you were lucky enough to have received or have been gifted her Kindness Box. These are no longer available for sale, BUT she does have something new on the horizon. Carrie is a former teacher turned motivational speaker, who is on a mission to inspire others to spread joy and kindness, in hopes of people making the world better than they found it. She believes that no act of kindness is too small or ever wasted. She currently travels the country to inspire others and has she’s been featured on major media including USA Today, Huffington Post, His Radio, and many more. Carrie stays busy encouraging us all to push through our fear of rejection, but we are most thankful she made time for us this week.

What is the most rewarding thing about your venture?

To be honest, it’s the people. I’ve had the chance to interact with so many different people, and to hear their stores…lots of different people. I love the storytelling aspect of this, hearing what others have to share. It’s always been about the people.

How and why did you start your journey?

I am not someone who thought I would have a career as motivation speaking or who particularly enjoyed public speaking. My journey into this career began when I was invited to speak at my friend Lara Casey’s Making Things Happen Conference in 2014. If I’m honest about this, I hated it. Not the conference, but the speaking part. I loved being the one welcoming the attendees. Forming relationships with those attending was the best for me, but one day, Lara said that I needed to be a speaker. She said I had something to share and I had to get comfortable being the one speaking. It was after this experience that I realized I had to have a mindset shift about making speaking a career. After having opportunities speaking, I had people telling me that I could make a career doing this, but at first it wasn’t profitable. Initially, I was bartering and trading things for my time speaking. BUT trading things doesn’t pay the bills! I had others encourage me to find people with a budget to pay me to be their speaker. It was after this that I began reaching out to various groups and businesses to be the speaker for their events and training programs.

What was the most challenging part?

I’m thinking it’s finding the right events. Being my own marketer. Keeping up with the travel. Right now it’s been in the United States, but it’s expanding to Canada later this year.

What have you learned?

Everything. I went from products to service, and it’s a totally different world. Figuring it all out. I’ve made some mistakes along the way. I’ve had some speaking engagements where afterwards you say, “hmmm, that wasn’t my best.” There’s always a  learning curve.. It’s can be scary. There are days that I want to quit, but it all comes back to the people. You get to have an impact telling a story and people continually find a point they can relate to and grow.

What advice would you give someone else on this path?

If you don’t have a risk-taking in your blood, it’s very hard to do. You have to be good at rejection. That’s why I speak on rejection. It’s not about who you know, it’s more about your willingness to know someone. Are you willing to send that email? Are you willing to pick up that phone? My mind is wired that way, maybe to a fault. I know that not everyone is like that, as we tend to think we can’t do it.

How has it changed you?

This is not what I  expected my life would look like. For me, it’s what I’m proving to myself. In the beginning, I gave a commencement speech in front of a thousand people with a cap and gown on. Once I did that, I think it made it easier to be honest when I’m speaking. I went real big, real fast. Never in my life have I been in front of that many people. There’s nothing that can prepare you for that, but it’s probably one of my top ten favorite moments. I can sit here and say, “Gosh, I did that.” Even if it wasn’t my best or if you could tell l I was nervous, I can say that  I did it. Not only did I do it, but I got up there, I didn’t run, I didn’t throw up, I didn’t trip. I can do hard things.

What has surprised you the most?

Honestly, I’m surprised that people have a lack of faith in humanity. I’m amazed that people have such low expectations. The world isn’t great right now, I get that, so their view is skewed that the world is out to get them.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Don’t give up until you have heard one hundred ‘no’s’. That’s really hard. Don’t stop going after things until you’ve got a hundred, then take a break. Sometimes after two no’s we’ll give up, go sit in the corner, and cry.

I always tell people there are two kinds of people in the world. One is the person who only sees the finish line. The other is the one who only sees the obstacles in the way of the finish line. If you cannot train your brain to see just the finish line, you will stop at the second obstacle you encounter. There will always be obstacles. You won’t make it to the finish line if you don’t have the stamina to keep going up hill…If you cannot keep your eyes on the finish line, you might still get there, but it’s going to be a much harder thing. Sometimes you have to take a detour to get to the finish line. People tend to focus so hard on being in the race, that their eyes aren’t on the finish line, so the second their eyes come off the second it becomes really hard.

You start small. I’m a runner, and run about 90 miles a month. 3 miles a day isn’t hard, because if you do something everyday, it adds up.If you send 3 emails a day, you’ll send 90 by the end of the month. Out of those 90, someone is probably going to say yes. AND you haven’t even hit 100. We like to think it’s all or nothing, but I like to look for opportunities of all kinds.

Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us Carrie.

If you’re interested in learning more about her, you should check out her website, follow her on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter), and/or subscribe to her newsletter. If you’re looking for a speaker for your business or school, consider bringing Carrie in to talk about empathy. Did you know that empathy is one of the most important skills we can learn? Empathy teaches us to cherish our humanity and value one another. We develop better relationships through empathy, not just with our family and friends, but with our co-workers and everyone with whom we come in contact. If we can be more empathetic, we can have better customer service, better work relationships, and stronger leaders. Sounds like a win right?

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taking care

Not Just Women.

We are roughly three weeks into this new year and already seeing headlines, big ones, that all revolve around that tender topic of feminism. Not tender because it’s sweet and cute, but tender like a bruise…visible to the naked eye, yet still dismissed by some as a non-issue, or worse a “wound” we bring upon ourselves.

Last weekend marked the second annual Women’s March that saw PEOPLE, not just women, from across the country coming together in solidarity. We witnessed  the talented Halsey’s poignant words, a poem that we all can identify with a little too well. Not long before that, Oprah stressed that “TIME IS UP” during an award speech for which she was the first black female recipient. Before that, we heard about a young woman, a decorated Olympian, who was abused for years and then silenced from sharing her story with the world.

As our heroes of the stage and screen, the courtroom, the boardroom, and even the arena come forward to say #metoo, they offer evidence of an unjust world. More than that, these women, these BRAVE AND INSPIRING women are offering empathy.

We applaud these words, we may like/comment/share, but how does that affect our behavior? How does that gesture of empathy manifest itself in our lives?

When a woman shares her truth, despite its ugliness and controversy, she inspires others to discover their truth. She grows more powerful by saying “this is what happened” and she empowers others, not just women, to stand up for themselves. The fact that she STANDS BEFORE YOU means that she LIVES TO TELL her truth. This is the accomplishment: it is not the content of her story, but the fact she CAN share it with you. Some women have not been so lucky, some women have died trying.

The above “quote of the day” from yesterday has a powerful message, but it begs a question also. If one of our success is ALL of our success, does the pain of one become the pain of all? The answer is a resounding YES. We share directly AND indirectly the collective pain of gender inequality. With this in mind, we must provide support for those who suffer. We have a responsibility to educate those who don’t understand. We have a duty to make examples of ourselves.

If you see something that inspires you, don’t just “like it”, REACH OUT to the author and say THANK YOU FOR SHARING! You might feel a little vulnerable putting yourself out there like that, but it’s a small price to pay when you consider how the author felt about sharing it with you. Empathy takes courage.

During these emotional times, it is important to acknowledge the struggle people, NOT JUST WOMEN, face. Regardless of race or gender, whether old or young; sick or healthy; poor, or wealthy; we are ALL  going through something. We deserve a little appreciation for those battles we face and every day . A simple “thank you” message in our inbox may be all the affirmation we need to keep moving forward.

WE the PEOPLE must take our power back. NOT JUST WOMEN, everyone. We must collectively choose NOT to support systems/institutions/individuals that do not support gender equality. We must NOT TOLERATE disparaging rhetoric that widens the gap of inequality. We must recognize that feminism is NOT about women being better, it is about PEOPLE BEING EQUAL! Everyone can be a feminist…and should be for that matter.

We can rewrite the rules of this patriarchal society, but it is a task for EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US, not just women. It’s not a vote, a march, or a t-shirt. It’s not doing the right thing because people are watching. It’s not just applauding the good things, but speaking out against the bad things. It is consistent effort applied every minute of every day. It will not be easy, and there will be ups and downs along the way, but isn’t it worth it?