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Kindness Heals Loss

Kindness Heals Loss

We’re making Time to be Kind with Dr. Betsy Guerra again only this time, I’m a guest on her podcast! I’m sharing a clip of that interview where I share my experience with the loss of my first pregnancy in efforts to bring awareness to Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day on Oct 15th.

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TRANSCRIPTION:

Hey PARKer, I’m Marly Q. and this is Episode #29 with Dr. Betsy Guerra – again! YES! Only this time I’m the one being interviewed:)

If you joined me last week for episode #28, I want to thank you for making Time to be Kind to listen to Dr. Betsy’s story of how she transformed her pain into joy and how she teaches others how to go from “Hurt 2 Hope”.

Dr. Betsy asked me to share my story on her podcast, and I felt compelled to share a piece of that interview with you today to bring awareness to Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day, which is tomorrow, Oct 15.

This episode starts mid-sentence with a confession of how I used to relate to pain and sadness and how everything changed when I experienced the loss of my first pregnancy in 2017. Let’s dive right into my story of how kindness heals loss.

Marly Q: Honestly, I have lived my entire life, I will authentically and vulnerably share, in complete avoidance of pain and sadness. I am a very joyful person, I have always tried to be very positive, and that’s not to say that I haven’t experienced difficulties in my life, I just really have always approached sadness and pain as a “negative emotion” and something that I just need to get over as fast as possible so that I can get back to happy. And I don’t think I’m alone in that feeling, I’m not sure if I was raised that way, you know, you have to be tough and like, you know, “pa lante”, or like, “just move forward” and don’t even stay in that place of sadness and loss and suffering for a long time.

And it really wasn’t, only until fairly recently in, I guess, to share the story in 2016, was my second year wedding anniversary, and my husband and I were having this beautiful dinner at the top of, you know, a restaurant downtown, beautiful, area 31, beautiful scenery, you know, on the rooftop with a glass of champagne, and we’re celebrating and made toast, what I believed was going to be a toast to our marriage. He says, “Hey, babe. So, you know, I really want to start a family so, you know, all of your philanthropy and all of your events that you do for charity, and all these things that I know that you love, and that I love about you, but that just take up a lot of time, I don’t want to do that anymore. I want us to focus on starting a family.”. And in that moment, I had a choice, thankfully, I had been practicing yoga, I’m a yoga teacher, and I know that there’s a space between response and reaction. But I realized that I had two choices. First, I could listen to the voice, you know, on one side that’s really angry, really angry at him right now for like, “What? You’re telling me to, like, stop working on my dreams and my goals and my passion in life because you want you know, kids, and you want me to just be like a stay at home mom and pop out children? Like, that’s what you want?”. So, I could like, throw my champagne at him and be like, “Ugh!”, angry; that’s one side, she was there, she was very present. And on the other side, I could breathe, and experience the present moment, smile, and feel thankful to have a partner or a spouse that loves me and sees me enough to acknowledge that my charity work, my philanthropic heart, my events that I plan, what I fill my time with up until that point is very important to me, and we’re celebrating our anniversary, and he wants to start a family and we want to have kids. And I could just be thankful for that in that moment. So, thankfully, I chose the latter because I’ve done a lot of work on my own self awareness and emotional intelligence, but I wanted to be honest, and say, the angry one was there. And in that moment was very important because I made a decision, I’m like, “You know what? This is– I want a family too.”, I had just, had always prioritize my work and you know, when you’re passionate about what you do, I was just blindly following that path.

So, in 2017, very, you know, at the start of 2017, we, you know, intentionally started to try and have a family and have a baby and I was so happy. The day that I was boarding you know, a Royal Caribbean cruise ship to go on a seven-day cruise in the Caribbean, I feel weird. I’m like, “Let me take a home pregnancy test to make sure that I mean, everything okay. Because if I’m pregnant, I don’t want to spend seven days drinking, you know, Margaritas or whatever, I want to make sure that I know.”. So, sure enough, I went, I did the test, I did two of them, I’m pregnant. Yay! I am so happy about it and nervous and all the feelings that you feel.

Betsy: Stopped drinking margaritas.

Marly Q: Absolutely not. I didn’t even do a jet skis, I didn’t do anything. And my husband was really happy, we celebrated it. I mean, we enjoyed this vacation to the max because now we were celebrating not just going on a summer vacation, but we were pregnant, we’re starting a family; we did it. So, I waited till we came back, and I was actually about 12 weeks pregnant before I went to the doctor for the first time. We go to the doctor and my family, I’m Cuban, I had my whole Cuban family in the lobby, waiting for you know, the party, the fiesta, outside. My husband and I go in, the doctor, you know comes and does the sonogram and I’m laying back, I don’t really see the screen or anything, but I don’t hear him say anything and he just, you know, finishes, asks me to sit up and says, “Your uterus is empty. There’s nothing there, you’re not pregnant, you must have had a missed abortion.”. And he got his clipboard and he left the room, and the two nurses that were there left the room and that was it. And my husband’s there, and I didn’t even have the courage to lift my eyes up to look at him. I didn’t think about how I felt, even though I had a huge knot in my throat similar to the one that I have right now, by the way, and all I thought about was my family outside, “Oh, my God. Everybody’s so happy about this pregnancy, and I’m not pregnant. How did I miss an abortion? What do you mean?”, I have never even heard that phrase; I think it’s a horrible, horrible phrase and there was zero kindness, zero kindness, not that he was unkind, he was just kind of very cold and professional and matter of fact about what he was seeing. And in that moment, I felt an immense amount of hurt and pain, but it was mostly directed at, “I don’t want to disappoint others, I don’t want to disappoint my family, I don’t want to disappoint my husband.”, I didn’t even look at him. I said, “I’m sorry, I can’t go outside, I need you to tell the family, I’m going to like escape through the back and just get in the car and I want to go home, I don’t want to see anybody.”.

And that was, I guess, the beginning, interestingly enough because it was only a couple years ago, the beginning of me, for the first time in my life actually allowing myself the kindness, allowing myself the time to be kind to me and how I was feeling and be sad, sit with the hurt, sit with the pain, sit with the loss. I’m an event planner, also for the last 20 years so, immediately, when I peed on the stick, so to speak, I was already planning a baby shower, I was planning, “Oh, if it’s a girl, this. Oh, if it’s a boy, that. Oh.”, you know, planning, planning, planning, already in the future. So, for me, that was really the first time I ever experienced, I ever allowed myself to experience loss and hurt and pain. At first, it was directed at just disappointing other people and not wanting to disappoint them but I’ve done enough work where I just allowed myself the time and the space to be sad and my husband, thankfully, I have a partner who is immensely kind and compassionate and sat there with me in the sadness. And those comments, which I’m sure we’ll, you know, people listening may resonate with, you know, from family, mostly family actually because I didn’t even tell any friends that I was going through this, in their effort to try and get me out of sadness would say things like, “Well, at least you know that you can get pregnant. At least you weren’t further along in the pregnancy, because that would have been worse. At least–“, you know, it just trying to say things that in their mind was helpful or like, “Hey, you know, I went through this and I don’t even remember it anymore, it doesn’t matter like, time will erase that from your memory.”. And those things, even though they were trying to be helpful in kind of that moment, were actually very hurtful, because in that moment, I was experiencing sadness and pain and it’s almost like they didn’t allow me the time and the space to just be sad for a moment, but my husband did. We came back home and I’m like, “I just don’t want to talk to anybody. I don’t want to see anybody. I just need a little time to be kind to myself and feel this.”, and it didn’t take very long. I was sad for maybe a couple days but my husband and I made just a decision to have that be the spark of us, really, we celebrated the fact that, hey we really want– we solidified the decision that we want to start a family and that because there’s this loss on our first try, it doesn’t mean that there’s you know, we’re destined for like loss. I actually had a family member tell me, “Oh my God, I had a dream that you weren’t ever going to have kids again, that you weren’t ever going to have kids.”. Oh, goodness, wow, what a hurtful thing to say, she didn’t mean it that way, I forgive her.

But I mean, this was my experience and why I really worked to just kind of shelter myself from what anybody else had to say to me, and really just tapped into my own self love and kindness and compassion and empathy for what I was feeling and able to turn that, by feeling it and not distracting or dismissing or denying it, allow that pain to be a little bridge, holding my husband’s hand together and saying, “Let’s try again.”. And within just a few months, that happened in June of 2017, by October of 2017 I was pregnant again. I just celebrated my son’s second birthday and I’m eight months pregnant with my second child, and the amount of just, joy that has come from honestly, not just their births and their life but I think really from, again, allowing myself the time, the space and the kindness to just feel sad. Because it just solidified the fact that I really wanted to start a family and to try again and try again.

Betsy: How beautiful. What a beautiful way of viewing your loss. You know, Marly, you’ve mentioned a couple of things that made me reflect on what I teach about overcoming that pain of loss. And the first one is that I believe in a super tool like, I think this is like an amazing, amazing clinical tool in helping us heal, and it’s reframing. And reframing means that we change the perspective with which we’re looking at something into one that’s more positive, to help us view it in a different light. So, we change the lens, so that we view it in a different light in order to feel differently about it. Because when we speak to our subconscious through our thoughts or our words, we’re telling it what to feel, right? Like, the subconscious mind believes whatever you tell it, it doesn’t question it, and the subconscious mind also is in charge of creating the emotions associated with those thoughts. So, when we reframe, we tell the subconscious mind that what seemed to be a tragedy really is a blessing, so that the subconscious mind can then create emotions aligned with that new perspective, right? So, it is a powerful tool in helping us heal but I have had clients that are the kings and queens of reframing and they learned from early on, to change the perspective of something so that they can avoid and escape pain. And it was so interesting that recently, I had a client that was going through a lot of grief, he had broken up with his girlfriend, and he was in a lot of pain and we realized that what was preventing him from moving forward was that he was such a good reframer, which is a gift.

So, reframing is usually a gift if you use it at the right time but if you’re using reframing to escape the pain, or to not sit with it, then it may be dangerous. And what happens is that, many times our family members and our loved ones don’t want to see us suffer, they cannot stand the thought or the view of seeing us in pain. So, they want to immediately reframe for us, change the perspective so that we can feel better. And many times it’s because they mean well for the most part, it’s because they mean well, other times, it’s because they don’t know what to do with pain and it’s too uncomfortable, not to see you in pain, but to not– to feel like there’s nothing they can do or they don’t know how to act in front of that pain of yours. So, many times, people wanting to make you feel better or wanting to make it more– wanting to remove that pain from you, they reframe in an untimely manner, and that’s why so many people that experience loss, hear all sorts of things, right? Like, “Oh, you lost a child, oh, but you’ll have other ones”, or, “You lost a child but you know, at least you lose her at 18 and you would have had more time with her.”. And then for me, it’s like, “But right, but then I didn’t get all those memories and experiences with her.”. And the truth is that, at the end of the– or, I’ve heard people say like, “Oh, but it was a miscarriage, like no big deal. You know, like you didn’t even know, you’re fine. You didn’t even meet the kid so.”, but that’s alive and it was you– you procreated that with God, and it was the beginning of your family and it was a dream. So, people don’t realize that it’s not just losing a life, it’s losing your life as you knew it, and it’s losing your dreams, and your procreation, and so many things, right? Like, grief can be so complex. So, I loved how you shared how the people were reframing for you and it wasn’t until you were ready to reframe, after feeling that pain, that then it became a healthy tool for you to use.

Marly Q: Yeah, absolutely, that’s a great way to reflect and to put it. That’s wonderful, that’s exactly what it was.

Betsy: And then the other thing that you said that caught my attention is, you kept on mentioning your husband and I really admire your relationship, I’m a big fan of healthy, beautiful relationships and I have devoted much of my career to helping people accomplish that. So, I really treasure and appreciate that in other people so, congrats for building that with your husband. But another thing that came to mind is something that I wholeheartedly believe is important in our process of overcoming grief and that is that, you, we all need a team, you know, man is not an island and we were created for a community and to live and experience in community. And during the process of loss, the people that you surround yourself with, you know, are important in helping you heal or go backwards. And I feel it’s so beautiful that you chose a person that was willing to sit in pain with you and be uncomfortable about the fact that he couldn’t take that away from you. Because obviously when you love someone, you really want to take the pain away but he loves you so much that he was willing to put himself in that uncomfortable situation and position to hold space for you and to allow you to feel and I feel it’s because of that, that it didn’t last months, it didn’t last longer, right? Because you had a companion that allowed you to feel and then, was ready for you, when you were ready to recommit to trying again and making a difference.

Marly Q: We never lost the hope and the faith that you know, we’re going to have a family so, let’s just feel through this. We ended up being happy that we tried and that we were successful on the first try, if you will, even if it didn’t come to complete fruition, right? So, we were able to completely reframe it but exactly like you said, was only after we allowed that little bit of time to just feel the sadness and the pain and the loss and kind of tune or turn off, you know, the volume and the noise from everybody else, whether it was well intended, I don’t think anybody was, you know, intentionally trying to hurt me more. But I’m telling you, every other comment really did– was doing the opposite of what I actually needed in that moment of pain and loss, which is just some kindness and empathy which is feeling with people, not trying to problem solve or, you know, deflect or reframe in an unproductive way at that moment.

Betsy: And piggybacking on this example, one of the ways in which people who are experiencing grief, one of the ways in which they show their hurt is through anxiety, right? Like, they have so much built up that they become anxious and scared and nervous, and they have panic attacks and sometimes it seems like it came from nowhere, but really, it’s because they have so much accumulated.

And I know Marly, that through the work that you’ve done, by being a yoga teacher and spreading kindness and even coming from a home where you learned to be anxious, right? Like, to be stressed out all the time, can you share a little bit about what you have created to help people stress less and have a practice that allows them to connect spiritually and be at peace?

Marly Q: Yeah, absolutely. Thank you so much, because I think that it really has been a journey and it continues to be a journey. I think it’s a lifelong journey of self-love and kindness and the more that we can be there for ourselves, like you beautifully shared in the example, the more we strengthen our muscle and our capacity to be there truly, authentically for others. So, there’s this contradiction that I was absolutely raised with, the most beautiful, giving, generous and selfless mother of all time, who modeled how to be there for everybody else but yourself. So, as my greatest role model, I modeled that and I was really good at it, I’m talking about girl, I got like over 12 scholarships for all of my community service work and Hall of Fame for 5000 something hours of service projects and all these like you know, outward praise for being there for other people, really good at that muscle, really weak, the muscle of expressing any kind of kindness towards myself. And I really feel like I’m the first one in my family to kind of break that generational pattern of not expressing kindness towards self. I was also raised in a Catholic home, I was totally raised to believe service above self, and I believe these things, I’m an incredibly generous person and everything I do is about service to others. And now, there’s so much more power and “success” in the work that I’m doing, because I’ve learned how to direct some of that kindness towards myself first, without sacrificing any of my other responsibilities, without dismissing my family, or my kids or anything. If anything, I’m even more present and more available for them, because I’ve been able to fill my cup.

So, with this whole pandemic, and everything that’s been going on, as an event planner, my events business, as a speaker, teacher, an event creator, for the last 20 years, has been based on creating live events for others, and that business crumbled within the span of a week. And I had the opportunity, if we’re talking about loss and pain, I mean, that’s not of a life, but that’s my business, my livelihood. I allowed myself the kindness to kind of freak out a little bit and be like, “What is happening here?”, like, every single event for the rest of the year canceled, and I have a baby on the way and I allowed myself the kindness to, “What are we going to do here? We have a decision to make.”, allow myself the kindness to not flood my body with cortisol and stress hormones and you know, and affect my baby and I would be like “Hang on, this is– I can’t– this is outside of my control, why stress myself out to a point like I used to, over things that I just simply cannot control? I need to experience them, I need to allow myself the opportunity to experience what’s happening, not make it better than it is, not make it worse than it is, just see it as it is, and then make a decision from that point.”. That was the birth of my podcast Time to be Kind with Marly Q, which I was so grateful that you were on as one of my guests, that was the birth of me starting to think of, “Okay, great, how can I still speak and teach my message about kindness, and create kind of a virtual event experience, where I’m teaching some of the things that I’ve learned?”. So, I created my very first online course called The BEST Way to Stress Less, and I am a lover of acronyms, I am an acronomist, someone called me in a acronomist one time, and I’m like, “What?”, I have never identified with a title more than acronomist, lover of acronyms.

So, BEST is an acronym for my four step method for how to allow yourself to practice self care and putting yourself first even, if you think that you’re too busy, and you have no extra time, money or energy to put into dedicating time for yourself. So, I created a course that’s basically for beginners and seasoned, you know, professionals alike. And by what I mean by professionals is people that have been practicing self care or into yoga or workout or have some kind of self care practice, this course can still teach you a very simple and effective way to actually practice for things that you can do individually or at the same time, that’s the beautiful thing about it, is that you can practice it absolutely anytime, anywhere, and still be infusing in your system, love and kindness and self care and putting yourself first, even if we’re living in a time where you can’t go to the gym, and you can’t go you know and interact with other people the way that you used to, how can you still fill your cup?

Betsy: And I have to tell you that that’s what I loved the most about your course, I devoured Marly Q’s course, because I really didn’t consume it, I devoured it, I was so hooked, you have such beautiful energy and you exude this love and kindness, and I couldn’t have enough of you. So, and what I love the most about your course, is how simple it is, because I think one of the problems that prevents people from consuming these kinds of personal development tools, or even spiritual tools, because I think what you teach has a lot to do with being present, with being still, with finding your inner wisdom, with connecting with your peace, right? Instead of like, always be reacting to life and be stressed out and be anxious, I feel that the tools that you gave us are so simple that anybody can practice them. But simple means, in this case, powerful, because they’re doable, because they’re simple, but they’re powerful. And I find, I am an acronym lover too and I absolutely loved and was amazed by your brilliancy in creating these acronyms, I have to say. And there are times that I’m like, just yesterday, I had a unimportant webinar, and I was like, a little stressed and overwhelmed like, “BEST, B-E-S-T.”, I’m not going to tell them so that it’s a surprise, but I went over them and I practiced it and in five minutes, like I am into the practice of silent prayer, which is a Christian meditation or, and for years, I wanted to start practicing that, but I’m like, “Ugh, I don’t have 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the afternoon, and I don’t have the time.”, and what’s beautiful about your practice and what you share and teach is that, there’s no excuse, because it takes five minutes, and you can do them, you can do those exercises while you’re driving, in the shower. Whereas you can’t meditate while you’re driving, you could crash, what you teach us is simple, powerful, and so doable. So, thank you for that because you reminded me when I listened to that, and I’ve recommended your program to many of my clients, when I consumed it, it reminded me that the answers many times are not in the complex things, right? Like, are not like, “Oh, my gosh, to be able to overcome loss I have to go through all these stages and I have to process this way, and I have to do this and that and I have to feel the pain, and it’s unbearable. And I can’t feel the pain because I’m not capable and I’m not strong enough, and she’s stronger than me.”. And we have all these ideas as to how we need to do something to overcome the adversity that we’re in, including anxiety, and we don’t realize that the answer many times lies in the simple gestures and acts.

Marly Q: It’s in the simple things, the simple things that you do for others, but also in the simple things that you do for yourself. And I’m big self help and personal development person as well, I could love courses, but the truth is, a very small amount of people that actually purchase a self development or self help course actually complete it. I was on a mission to create a course that I can guarantee you will finish, and hopefully with my help throughout the four weeks of coaching with you and practicing it with you, will stay with you. Because we’re never going to eliminate stress, we’re never going to eliminate pain and loss from life, it is part of the human experience. What we need to do is learn a simple way and an effective way and a way that actually you know connects, which I think through acronyms makes it easy for you to remember, “I just need to do my best.”. And even in the phrase, the best way to stress less is to always do your best, just do your best and allow yourself the kindness to be like, “Even if I didn’t make it to the gym today. Even if I didn’t eat super healthy today. Even if I didn’t get my eight hours of sleep today. Even if my kids were rambunctious today and I had to scream at them because I lost my patience and I was so stressed out. Even if my clients at work are driving me crazy. Even if there’s a pandemic and even if my business crumble then, etc, etc.”, even if you’re experiencing an immense amount of stress, pain, loss, if you can just remember to do your best and allow yourself the kindness to go through these four very simple steps, I promise you, you will be giving yourself so much love and kindness, so much of a gift that will not just let you stress less but really just fill you up with kindness, which is what I truly believe is a superpower of a gift that you can give yourself. And then you can start again the next day and just do your best, and do your best and that’s really all that we can ever ask of ourselves and of others, if you can just believe that everyone is just trying to do their best to get through a very challenging world and no one’s life is easy, just remember to do your best, and believe that others, you know, have the capacity to do their best. Everybody’s not always doing their best, but they have the capacity to do their best, I think is definitely a way to just live a life with less stress. And this is coming from someone, friends, I’m not saying this from any kind of high horse or like, oh, super, you know, enlightened being, no. This is coming from someone who has experienced an immense amount of stress, worry and anxiety in her life, because that’s how I was raised, what was modeled for me and what I believed was almost virtuous, right? If I don’t worry and stress about everything, and everyone, then it means I don’t care, right? This is what I believed, and I learned from that place. So, I have experienced a lot of pain and suffering and loss of self living from that place. And my transformation, I’m just so grateful because it really just started with some awareness, just started with some awareness of how unkind I was being, and how truly, I don’t deserve that, right? You don’t deserve that either.

Betsy: Absolutely not, you deserve to be kind to yourself.

Marly Q: Yeah. Everybody deserves to be kind to themselves. If you want kindness from other people, if you want kindness from the world, if you want kindness from your partner, you want kindness from your parents or from your kids, that means it’s probably a mirror or a reflection that you are not practicing kindness towards yourself. It has to start with you, it absolutely has to and I believe that I was given a gift of this best way to stress less through, call it divine inspiration, if you will. I have received that as a gift, I’ve practiced it in my life, I practice it every day and now, I was given the gift, through my business crumbling, through loss, let’s circle this back to the point of this conversation, through loss of life as I knew it, was given the gift to create something new, and to be of service to other people in the process. So, I’m incredibly proud of myself for first, creating the course, something that I never thought I would do, because I am not a virtual, you know, person I’ve become one all of a sudden, but really to be able to put my heart and my mission of spreading kindness into a course that can reach a much greater number of people that I can reach on a one to one or on a per event basis. So, I’m just very grateful for the opportunity to have shared it with you, to share it with your audience and to share it with the greatest number of people that I can.

Betsy: That’s beautiful, thank you for that heart, that generous heart and that kind of heart you have and that you share with us, you really, really, really inspire me to practice that kindness and especially with myself, because I am really good about always coming from a place of service to others and I forget sometimes to do so with myself and then I can’t give my best during those times, it’s not my 100% that I know, right? It’s a different percentage, because I’m depleted. So, being kind to yourself is definitely–

Marly Q: And you can be kind to you and to others better, actually better, you can be way better at being kinder to others when you’re kinder to yourself first. It’s amazing, it boggles the mind sometimes like, “Oh, but if I’m kind to myself then I can’t, you know, have to put everything else first.”, try it, try doing your best.

Betsy: From a place of like, a finite place like, the mind wants to make everything that’s infinite, finite, and love, kindness, all of those virtues are infinite. So, absolutely, that doesn’t mean that if you’re being kind to yourself, you’re taking away from other people, it’s quite the opposite, it just doesn’t make sense in our very squared mindset and finite way of thinking. Because it is an amazing and beautiful experience like, to go through your course and it’s so doable really like in a 10 minute drive, you consume that week’s content and then you get to practice it daily and it just takes five minutes and you could do it, you could multitask. I don’t recommend that you multitask but even just the four steps, you can put them together, right? Like, what I love about that is that it’s not four steps that you have to do one first and the other one, you brilliantly combine all four steps into one so that people can kind of connect with it and can practice it at the same time and it literally is just five minutes and you can do that in the shower, you can definitely do that in the shower.

Marly Q: I love doing my BEST in the shower.

Betsy: You have time, like no excuse, you could do that in bed while laying in bed, when you wake up, when you go to sleep. I love that you mentioned about those two times, because my experience with my clients has been that those are the two times that they feel the most anxious so, no excuses. Best way to stress less is by going to her course and learning what she teaches, those four steps that are going to allow you to free yourself from anxiety and having these recurring thoughts that are not serving you and that are not kind to yourself. So, thank you, thank you, thank you Marly for sharing your wisdom, thank you for sharing your story and for being with us and for teaching us to be kinder to ourselves.

OUTRO

Marly Q: Yes! Thank YOU for making time to be kind. If you want the link to listen to the full interview with Dr. Betsy, learn more about her Hurt 2 Hope program and/or get on the wait list for my next BEST Way to Stress Less course, just visit this episode’s show notes and transcription page at marlyQ.com/29

And in case you missed last week’s episode, Dr. Betsy is offering a special discount code and a free scholarship for her Hurt to Hope program for someone from our Kind Qrew who decides to PARK & share a review referencing Ep 28 or 29. You can find the details & direct links at MarlyQ.com/29

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Hurt to Hope

Hurt to Hope

Since 1988, October has been declared National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Whether you’re 1 in 4 people who have experienced the excruciating loss of a child, or not, my hope is to inspire you to make Time to be Kind by remembering & honoring those who have lost a child during pregnancy or infancy.

Today’s episode is a raw and vulnerable conversation with Dr. Betsy Guerra who has experienced the tragic loss of her daughter and now teaches others how to move from “Hurt 2 Hope”.

SHOW NOTES:

Click here to learn more about Dr. Betsy’s Hurt 2 Hope program

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TRANSCRIPTION:

Hey PARKer, I’m Marly Q. and welcome to Episode #28 with Dr. Betsy Guerra. If you’ve been listening this past month, you know my husband Bert and I have been celebrating the birth of our second son but today, we’re making Time to be Kind to remember our first pregnancy which we sadly lost after 12 weeks.

Even though it’s sad & seldom talked about, October has been declared National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month since 1988 and so my hope today is to inspire you to make Time to be Kind by remembering & honoring those who have lost a child during pregnancy or infancy.

Whether you’re 1 in 4 people who have experienced the excruciating loss of a child, or not, we can all empathize with feeling pain & loss. If you’re like me and tend to avoid talking about your pain or feeling sadness then you’re going to connect with today’s special guest.

Dr. Betsy Guerra is a highly sought after Speaker and Psychotherapist, who has focused her career over the past 20 years helping struggling marriages & families cope with grief. After experiencing the tragic loss of her daughter 7 years ago though, she now also coaches and teaches people how to cope with loss and use pain, grief & sadness as a stepping stone to joy. Her heart-wrenching story teaches us how it’s possible to move from Hurt to Hope.

Let’s Listen!

[01:35] Marly Q: I have here on the show today, the honor, the privilege, really the blessing of having someone that has not only gone through this experience, but helps so many people go from hurt and grief and loss to hope, and I’m just so honored to have you here and to share you with my community.

[01:54] Betsy: Thank you, Marly. Thank you, it’s my honor.

[01:58] Marly Q: So, I had the honor of meeting you a couple years ago through a mutual friend, Luly B, who was just on the podcast a couple episodes ago, and she’s really the spark of awesomeness, right? And great connections. And when I met you and heard your story, heard you speak on her SPARK with Luly B stage and hear about your angel, you know, daughter in heaven, and just how you were able to bring joy to your talk on such a deep and heavy topic, I was just like, “Who is this woman? And I must connect with her and have her be a part of my life.”, because if it’s one emotion that I’ve struggled with feeling my whole life, and I’ll change the word struggle, I’ll say avoid, I’ve avoided feeling my whole life is sadness.

I think everyone listening or that knows me, even for five minutes can tell that I’m a jovial person, I am light-hearted, I like to be positive and whenever, you know, we’re kind of going through dark times and difficult times, I do whatever I need to do to deny that I feel sad, distract myself from feeling sad, or really just dismiss it altogether and move on, right? Let’s just get over this as quickly as possible. And what I’ve learned, even just virtually through you, because we’ve never worked one-on-one through grief is, you have to allow yourself to feel the sadness, right? In order to be able to use it, to propel you to move forward.

[03:18] Betsy: And I think that’s one of the things that pain does, it builds this level of empathy and the ability to connect with other human beings that may be in pain, that’s beautiful. And while that’s beautiful, it’s hard, right? Because sadness has been socially defined as a negative emotion, but

Shakespeare said this once, “Nothing is either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

And emotions also are neutral, they’re not good, and they’re not bad; sadness is not bad. But if we think it is, and we think it’s negative, and we think it’s something to avoid, then we’re going to escape it. And I want to start by sharing a little bit about that, because there were two things that you said that I– that caught my attention based on my journey, and obviously, like I have experienced the journey of grief personally but I’ve also been on the other side, right? Because I’ve been a therapist for 20 years, and I’ve sat with my clients and accompanied them through their pain, and I know what that feels like and I know what it looks like to give them tools, and really at the beginning, just hold space because when you’re grieving a loss and when I say a loss, I mean the loss of a loved one, whether it’s through divorce or death or because that person moved away to college or whatever, there are so many ways of losing a loved one, like you said, like a miscarriage, stillbirth. There’s also the loss of your health, of a job, of your financial freedom, there’s the loss of your life as you knew it, the loss of your dreams, of your peace of mind, of your plans. I mean, this pandemic that we’ve all experienced this year is an example of that; everybody experienced loss this year, everybody, even if it was the loss of their routine, right? So, loss is loss, and grieving, we all grieve. But we think that only people that lose a loved one to death is grieving but the truth is that when you go through something like what you and I have gone through, you realize that we all experience grief; pain is inevitable. And there’s a quote that says, “Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional” and that’s what I have devoted my life and career to helping others understand.

Pain is hope because pain is the foundation for growth, it’s the stepping stone to joy.

If you don’t allow yourself to sit with that pain, that pain will stay inside of you and although you may escape it and avoid it, it’s not going anywhere. In fact, it’ll deepen because it’s just becoming stronger and stronger and stronger with time if you don’t let it out. So, sitting with pain is the opportunity to overcome it. Now, suffering is pain without hope, it’s pain just to suffer, right? Like, when you think of sadness as an experience that you go through, just to feel bad and just to be miserable, that suffering, it’s dark, there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, there’s no point for it, and it’s excruciating, and we all go through that. We all go through that at the beginning when we’ve experienced a loss and have a hard time accepting that this is our new reality but when we are ready to accept and embrace that pain, and understand that it’s been allowed for a greater good because it trains us for something greater, then you’re able to sit with it, and you embrace it, and you welcome it, almost excited knowing that something amazing is going to come.

Like, every time I experienced pain nowadays, or I’m sad nowadays, obviously, at the beginning, it feels like crap, you can’t take away from that, but at some point, when I create self awareness, I’m like, “Huh, I wonder what’s building up inside of me. I wonder what gifts I’m developing. I’m wondering what’s to come and wondering what I’m training for.”, and I almost get excited for it. I’m like, “Okay, Bring it on. I’m going to embrace this pain, I’m going to go through this, I’m going to learn from this” …

and in that moment, the suffering, the sadness, it becomes something different, it becomes an opportunity.

So, I think we should start by seeing, like you said, like sadness, as the steppingstone to joy, as the opportunity to grow. That’s one of the things you said how you, like, avoid sadness at all cost because you may feel like it’s the opposite of this joy and sparkle that you have, but the truth is, that it’s the path.

Pain is the path to joy.

[08:18] Marly Q: Absolutely. But just real quick here to add, is allowing myself the time and the space to be kind to myself, and sit with the sadness, sit with the loss, sit with the pain, and the grief, it was the first time that I ever allowed myself that time to be kind to me, just be like, “Hey, this is how you feel right now.”, not try to move past it, or justify it or anything else. So, I really think when we’re talking about kindness, which is what you know, this podcast is all about, I really think that that for me, that’s self awareness and that practice, because it’s the practice of, you know, shifting your mindset into, “How can I be kinder to myself in this moment, with this emotion?”, really helped me to get into a different space and shift my mindset because I know that you said, right? When you are experiencing pain, it sucks at first, right? And being real with that and allowing that to be it, not making it wrong, but through your practice of shifting your mindset and allowing yourself that kindness, you’re able to see that stepping stone, that next little step into some hope. Like, “What is this training me for? What am I you know, going to learn from this? What gift can be here for me?”, and I think that that’s a practice.

[09:36] Betsy: Absolutely. I always say and I have a video about this, it’s on my YouTube and it’s called “The Real Truth about Pain.”, I always say that pain is a fertilizer. What is fertilizer made of?

[09:48] Marly Q: Poop!

[09:50] Betsy: Okay, so pain feels like poop, it smells like crap, it feels like crap too, but it makes us grow; it nourishes us, it makes us stronger, it gives fruits. So, pain really is the path to greatness. I’m not a masochist, and I don’t want– I will avoid pain at all costs but the way I avoid pain is different to the way that I used to avoid pain and that you were describing you avoid pain, right? I avoid pain or suffering really, I avoid suffering by embracing the pain that I’m in and learning from it quickly. So, sometimes I’ll say, I pray, and I’ll be like, “God, what do you want me to learn from this? Please reveal it to me soon so that I learn it fast and I can get rid of this fertilizing pain.”, right?

So, if you have that perspective on pain, and you understand that there’s a difference between that and suffering, then you’re able to have a more fulfilling life in general.

And I will tell you about the second thing because it has everything to do with kindness. The second thing that I noticed was your comments on disappointing your family, and it made me think of the many times that I felt like Debbie Downer, right? Like, I was– the first month, maybe more than a month, I don’t even know, right? Like, the first month after losing my daughter, I was sad all the time and I used to be very jovial too, very happy, I am actually; I used to be and now I am totally very happy. I was a very happy person and I was fun to be around with and at some point I would gather with my friends or my family and I would always end up crying, or teary-eyed or down or walking like a zombie, and I was like, “Oh my gosh, I am so not fun to be around.”, and I was embarrassed and I felt like I was disappointing everybody and I wonder if someone wanted to be around me, and I just, I really felt like a Debbie Downer. And I almost wanted to lock myself inside of my own little world and lock myself in the house and not talk to anyone and not share with people, to not be that Debbie Downer, which in grief creates a sense of loneliness, because you feel like, nobody can get you. And for me, I was fortunate enough to have empathetic people that allowed me to be sad.

But I know from my experience as a therapist, that for many people, like especially people going through a divorce, which is a big grief, a big sense of loss, they hear their family members or their friends be like, “Come on, until when? Get over it already. It’s been two years, you know, like enough is enough.”. and people think that they know how long your grief should be for, and they don’t realize that in a divorce, for example, there’s the grief of losing your spouse, there’s the grief of losing your sense of security, because your spouse cheated on you and now you have no confidence and you don’t trust your judgment, because you’re wondering, like, “Oh my gosh, if I couldn’t figure this out for years, can I really trust my judgment moving forward, and the decisions that I make?”, then you lose your dreams and your life as you knew it, and the holidays, and the dreams you had as a family, you lose your children for certain amount of days a week, you lose the ability to be there for your kids and support them in ways that you were able to do on the day to day, there’s so many losses involved in a divorce, for example, that people don’t understand that they’re not grieving the divorce, they’re grieving now, the changes in the parent child relationship, they’re grieving now, they met another person, and that they’re struggling with like, “Do I trust this person? Do I trust myself, in choosing this person? I thought I had chosen to person I was going to spend the rest of my life with before, this is going to happen again, right?”. Like, people don’t understand that so then, you’re scared and that creates a sense of loneliness because you’re scared of being judged, you’re scared of not being understood, you live in fear. So, when you were saying, “I didn’t want to disappoint my family, and I didn’t want them to see me sad.”, I thought, “Oh my gosh, like that’s how I felt when I was thinking that I was a total Debbie Downer.”. And I remember learning through that experience, that people that love you, and care for you, want and crave the opportunity to sit with you in pain, and accompany you and hold space and be of service.

There’s nothing more rewarding to somebody that loves you, than feeling that he or she made a difference in your day, that he or she brought some hope, and that builds empathy in other people too.

Now, keep in mind that some people are just as uncomfortable with pain as you are so, they may want to bring you back to joy and be like, “No, don’t cry, don’t cry. Don’t worry about it.”, and then they say all these things that you’re like, “Really?”, like, you know, like they told me things like, “Oh, she’s in a better place.”, I’m like, “Well, she was really happy in my house, you know? I lived in heaven. I had a heavenly family and relationship with my daughter.”, or people will say, “Oh, God needed another angel.”, I’m like, “Well, God has enough angels.”. Like, people want to remove the pain because they’re just as uncomfortable as we are many times and that’s sort of emotional ignorance so, it’s not that they don’t validate or care. There was a client of mine that her mother in law, she had just lost her daughter, it was a stillbirth, it was very excruciatingly painful, and the mother in law was like, “Listen, you need to like write thank you cards for all the people that went to the funeral.”, and she was like, “Really, like, I’m in no place to be writing any thank you cards of anything.”. So, people may not— it’s true that people may not understand or know how to sit in pain with you because they’re uncomfortable with it too so, by trying to remove it or get your attention off of it, they’re really hurting you and they don’t know it.

But the people that understand the pain, and we’re some of those people, so people that understand pain have built a level of empathy and emotional maturity that allows them to sit with you and hold space and bring hope by their mere presence and that is the greatest gift that you can give to someone that’s grieving, just being there. That’s it.

[16:56] Marly Q: Giving them that time and space to be kind, yes.

[17:00] Betsy: So, don’t worry about disappointing other people, and give them the opportunity to be there for you and be kind to you, because that will strengthen your love and relationship in a way that nothing else can. My best friends and the people that I treasure the most in my life nowadays are people that were kind to me while I was not fun to be around them. And I realized that if they stick around then and if they loved me then, gosh, they’ll love me when I’m back to my joyful self, and it’s an opportunity for them, it’s an opportunity for me, and it’s a great opportunity for the relationship to be strengthened.

[17:46] Marly Q: With that, I definitely want to transition into talking about your program that you launched a couple months ago, because I know that it’s a big deal. It was a big deal for you to create, I think it’s a huge service to the world, I would just love for you to share a bit of your program, Hurt 2 Hope, with our PARKers listening.

[18:06] Betsy: I’ll tell you this story before I go into that. I lost my daughter in a tragic accident in my pool and to this day, I don’t know what happened because I was right there, and like I don’t know how it possibly happened. But I found her at the bottom of the pool, I was in the pool so, I immediately went to get her. She had a pulse, like I had an emergency medical doctor in my house that gave her CPR like, it was like the perfect situation for her to be saved. I live five minutes from the hospital, the ambulance came in two seconds like it was just perfect for her to be saved, and she was saved, just not the way I wanted her to be saved. And the day after that accident, I was hiding in my walk-in closet with my husband, we had a lot of people in my house and I felt overwhelmed so, I was– I felt safe in my closet. And I was sitting there with my husband when our spiritual director, who was a priest at the time, came to our house so, we invited him to our walk-in closet. And we were all sitting down on the floor and my husband asked him with a sense of urgency …

“Are we ever going to be happy again?

You’ve done this before; you’ve seen this before. Like, are we ever going to be happy again? Is it possible to be happy again?”, and the priest told us, “Some people are happy again and some people are never happy again.”. And my husband continued, he said, “What’s the difference? What is the difference? Who like, what do I need to do?”, and he said, “The people that are never happy again, honor their children or their loved one, through pain and suffering and they feel that the more they love, the more they have to suffer because if they stop suffering, then they don’t care.”, right? And that’s something that society has taught us about grief, we measure love through tears and sadness, and loneliness and all these things. And he said, “But the people that are happy again, are people that choose to honor their loved one through service, kindness, and love.”. And I remember in that moment, thinking, “I’m going to be like the latter ones.”, I didn’t know how Marly and I didn’t think I could possibly honor my daughter in any other way than grieving and suffering and crying, and in the moment, it didn’t seem feasible; it was impossible. Like, I’m human, I couldn’t.

But in hindsight, I know that I made a decision that day that I was going to be happy again and that’s how I was going to honor her. And it was a process, it’s been seven years since this happened, but I have evolved, and I feel I have been guided in the process.

So, that’s the cool thing about this, you don’t have to know how you’re going to do it, you don’t need to know if you’re capable of doing it because God or the universe, the source that you believe in, will give you the strength and the clarity and the wisdom and discernment, and I am a testament to that. And God has guided me and Fofi, who’s my daughter, has guided me to learn how to continue her legacy and honor her memory through love, kindness and service.

So, this Hurts 2 Hope program, I originally did it through a foundation that you know, through which we help families that were going through hardships with their kids, then I’ve continued doing it through my one on one like, I’m a therapist, like I mentioned, and I have a private practice Better with Betsy. And it’s not really Better with Betsy, better with Fofi and God who guide Betsy. And in my journey, I found myself not being able to see everybody that was coming to me for help, and that’s how this program evolved into what it is today. I created this program with the idea of reaching more people, I am a speaker too, and in some speaking engagements, I was asked to be– to serve individuals, but I didn’t have the time in the day to see them. So, I created this program with the idea of sharing the “HOW”. Everybody would ask, “Okay, Betsy, I know you were happy before this happened and then you were in excruciating pain and now, you’re super happy again. And I can see it, but HOW?

How did you go from being in excruciating pain to being so happy? How?”

So, this is that program. It’s how to go from Hurt to Hope, from excruciating pain to purpose. And it’s an online program, and the way I see it is, it’s like therapy at the comfort of your home, at your own pace, because the thing about grief is that, like you said, when we’re sad and in pain, we don’t want to go talk to someone at a certain time about that sadness and pain, because then that means that we’re exposing ourselves to be vulnerable. And the thing about this program is that you go to it, you don’t schedule an appointment with a therapist, you choose when you’re ready to hear something. And this starts– the first module is pain.

So, when you start the program, you already have permission to be and feel that pain. So, it’s five modules that guide you through your journey of grief and it teaches you how to sit with pain, how to implement tools, like clinical tools that worked for me, right? And have worked for many of my clients, how to use visualizations, how to use affirmations, and how to use mindfulness and meditation for this. It also teaches you how to accept, right? Like, they say that the last stage of grieve is acceptance, I feel that’s one of the first steps of your journey of healing. So, I teach you how to see pain in a different light and then I teach you how to accept it and work with it and embrace it and use it to serve you rather than to continue the suffering. And then, there’s some work that we do in creating purpose and meaning, giving meaning to your pain. We work on a lot of things, I mean, I could go on and on about what we do in each module, but we would be here forever. But I will say that the way we close it is with the glue to all the techniques and skills and exercises that– the program has five modules, 18 videos, each video has a worksheet which I call Hope Sheet, because we’re always bringing hope. And then, we have live coaching sessions regularly, which are really powerful.

So, we create a sense of community in those and it’s, I guess it would be the equivalent of a support group but I feel like more powerful because of the clinical components and the angle and the lens with which we’re looking at grief is different. So, it’s more empowering and positive and fulfilling so, it’s different to those support groups in which you go and you share your pain and you almost lose hope because you see people 10 years later feeling like you and you’re like, “Oh my gosh, is this what awaits?”. So, I feel like the hope intensive coaching session so, you get access to me, but I mean, the program is less than the value of a session of mine so, it’s accessible to everybody, and I think– and that’s what I wanted. I wanted to be able to share what Fofi has taught me and what God has given me the grace to discover by making something accessible to everybody, really.

[26:16] Marly Q: I’m so grateful for that calling and for the time that you spent to be kind and creating it and putting that out for people because I do think that therapy is sometimes very intimidating for people, especially when they’re going through pain and loss and grief, like you said, going to schedule an appointment with a stranger, somebody that you don’t know is very– it’s scary and vulnerable, and you will avoid it. But creating an online program, I think makes it a lot more accessible to people so, thank you for doing that. I know you also have a book that you’re working on, that you want to release before the end of the year, is that right?

[26:50] Betsy: Yes. Yes. That book, gosh, that book, I’ve been writing it for two years now and it’s been a process, to say the least. I’ve had to go back to revisit everything from my grief to be able to write from that place and connect with the person that’s reading it and is going through that pain. So, I just, I couldn’t write it from where I’m at. There’s someone that says that we should teach from the scars, not from the wounds, right? And I am in a place where I’ve scarred, right? Like, I’ve healed, I don’t know that we ever fully heal, but I’ve healed, and I am writing from that place of hope but emotionally, I almost feel that I had to go back to the place of the wounds, to be able to connect and be relatable. And I didn’t think this, right? Like, I know this in hindsight and trying to analyze what I’ve gone through in the last two years, but gosh, was it painful to write, and I’ve had a lot of resistance, and it’s kept me human and it’s reminded me of what people go through and it builds more, even further, my empathy.

So, it’s been hard to write that book, to say the least, but I am putting my heart and soul because while this online program is the way I serve, and continue my daughter’s legacy, that book is the way I keep her memory alive. So, that book is my gift to my Fofi, and hopefully to the world. Like, because what I want is for the world to experience her like the way, oh my gosh, I’ve been writing a lot these days so, I’m very vulnerable. I want the world to experience her and get to know her through our story and hopefully always remember and think of her, right? Because there’s something about keeping that person’s memory alive, that it gives you hope and brings you joy and keeps you going. So, that book is my honoring her memory and my gift to my daughter. And then, this online program is the way that I continue the legacy and that I serve and I honor her and love her through kindness, service and gratitude, like the priest once said, you know?

[29:18] Marly Q: Betsy, thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for your vulnerability, for your story, for your coaching, your advice, your wisdom, for your online program,

You are so generous as to offer a special discount to our PARKers listening [Click here & use coupon code “JOY50”] and one very special scholarship for one person that decides to leave a review on this particular podcast and is a member of my Kind Qrew, that could really use this online program to help them move from Hurt to Hope.

I am just so grateful and so moved by your story, by your testimony, by your spirit and really just by your kindness all the time. Thank you so much for making the time to be kind today.

[30:07] Betsy: Thank you for having me.

[30:10] OUTRO

Thank you for making Time to be Kind with me & Dr. Betsy Guerra today to honor her & her family by holding space in remembrance of her daughter Fofi and all families who have lost a child.

If you have been hurting and grieving loss – of any kind – I want you to know you are not alone and you can reach out to me personally. Honestly, I’d be humbled to listen to your story & would be happy to PARK & connect you with Dr. Betsy directly.

She generously offered a discount for her Hurt 2 Hope program for members of our Kind Qrew and even a sponsorship for one lucky PARKer who leaves a kind review referencing this episode. For direct links to do so, Just visit marlyQ.com/28 for this episode’s show notes and transcription.

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International Podcast Day

International Podcast Day

We’re celebrating our FIRST International Podcast Day with the host of This Girl Podcast, Daisy Blanchard. Make Time to be Kind today to listen and learn how podcasting:

  • Uses your voice to educate, inspire & connect
  • Is a vehicle for positive growth & mental health
  • Is a powerful community-building vehicle
  • Is an easy & doable form of daily self-care
  • Is the spark of kindness we need right now

… and more!

SHOW NOTES:

International Podcast Day is a global celebration of the power of podcasts and of our community of PARKers listening! Let’s turn up the volume of kindness together by sharing this episode using #wePARK #InternationalPodcastDay

Connect with Daisy on Instagram @PocketfulofDaisy

Click here to Subscribe & Listen to This Girl Podcast on iTunes / Apple Podcasts

Visit Daisy’s website at www.pocketfulofdaisy.com

Click here to Listen to Marly Q.’s Episode on This Girl Podcast

Click here to connect with PODFEST Expo’s community of podcasters on Facebook

TRANSCRIPTION:

Hi PARKer, I’m Marly Q and welcome to Episode #27 with Daisy Blanchard. Today, I’m celebrating my first International Podcast Day with the host of This Girl Podcast. This girl Daisy was enlightened to share her gift to inspire and spark connections by creating a podcast or a digital family room as she likes to call it to offer moms a self-care pause in their busy day. As a proud mom of three boys herself, Daisy’s intention was to create a “sisterhood of motherhood”, where she can share inspirational stories, lessons learned and some of her favorite things from books and quotes to recipes on a weekly basis. She’s a PARKer who loves spreading her inner sunshine and making a difference one story at a time. Let’s listen!

[01:07] Marly Q.: I’d love to welcome to the show, Daisy Blanchard, thank you so much for making the time to be kind.

[01:09] Daisy: Are you kidding me Marly? Since I met you, I mean, you were such a bright light of sunshine and to know that you have a podcast that you launched this year, right in the perfect time, it is my honor to be here today.

[01:24] Marly Q: Thank you! So, we are celebrating International Podcast Day today, which I didn’t know was like an international holiday, did you?

[01:32] Daisy: I did, from I mean, since– I didn’t know it existed until I started in the world of podcasting. And then when it did, I thought it was so exciting because I’ll be honest, my husband’s the one that introduced me to podcasting so, once you’re in it, you all of a sudden realize that– what exists, right? So, when it came out, and I was a podcaster, I actually use this day to help people know what podcasting is so, that was three years ago, right? Because I started my podcast three years ago. But nowadays, and given the pandemic that we have, and that people now needed to really look at digital platforms, and how to communicate, I have a feeling everybody knows what a podcast is. So, I’m so excited to be part of an international day that’s celebrating connection, you know? And using your voice to give a message. So, I’m so happy to be part of this world, too and the fact that you’ve joined us this year on these platforms.

[02:30] Marly Q: Yes! And you were one of the very first podcasts that I was ever a guest on, I gave a shout out earlier this year. I mean, we started Time to be Kind with Marly Q. podcast in April, a couple weeks into the health crisis and pandemic that we all experienced this year in 2020. And I was just so inspired by your podcast, This Girl Podcast and if you want to refer to the episode that I was a guest on, it’s Episode #44, I’ll include it in the show notes.

But it was just so great because I realized, you know, “Wow, I’m now part of this greater community of podcasters.”, we all might have a different topic or a different take on the way that we’re doing podcasts but like you said, the underlying reason is for connection and using your voice to create connections and to educate. And you and I had a very similar purpose with our podcast is to spark conversations, to spark some positivity in the world, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence how we even met, if you’d like to share because I love the story of how we met and how it even turned into, you know, not just a friendship but a PARKnership, right?

[03:33] Daisy: That’s absolutely right. So, I decided to become part of a group that Luly B, hashtag mama boys, which I’m so excited to be with another mom of boys and–

[03:47] Marly Q: I’ve joined the club; I’ve joined the secret society.

[03:51] Daisy: So, I am well, we’re not trying to make it secret, and that’s why I did this podcast; there’s no secret of being a mom of boys, on the contrary, I invite you to be part of our community. And when I became a mom of three boys is when really, it sparked the idea of I was a little bit lost in the sense of, motherhood doesn’t come with a handbook; it doesn’t come with a road map. So, early on, you start creating friendships in the playground, right? And you start meeting moms and you start reading books and everything in the preschool years is great. But I felt like the best lessons I was learning was from the moms, from the lessons learned. So, as my kids were getting a little bit bigger, and I started getting the creative itch, my background has always been in communications and I’m a born you know, creative, I love creating stuff. So, I kept really busy being homeroom mom and in schools, but there was something else pushing me, pushing me so, people would ask me and I had a beautiful career at NBC at Discovery Networks, and I never thought I was going to be my career to be a mom. But to be honest, once I became a mom, there was no looking back, I knew I wanted to dedicate myself to that. But this is where the aha moment came, is when people ask me, “So, Daisy, what do you do?”, I’m like, “Well, I’m a realtor.”, because I’ve always had that, which has to do with family life. I say, “I don’t look for houses. I look for homes.”, so, I always got satisfaction in doing that. But I use that to qualify that I wasn’t just a stay at home mom, right? And then I was like, “Well, why not?”. So, I had this epiphany moment, I’m not kidding, it just came down, I’m like, “The hardest title that I’ve worked hardest for and dreamt of is to be a mom. The one that I high with highest regard, is to be a mom. And being a mom is taking care of what matters most in life, period, for me.” So, that’s when I had the moment I was like …

“I want to create a space. I want to create a digital family room where moms could come together, where we could talk.”

… and at the time I really was thinking #momofboys, like mom of boys needs to get together. Because I felt like girl moms always talk, they play dolls, they play crayons, boy moms kind of met in the field; we met in the sports arenas, or you know, there’s boys also do instruments and boys do other stuff but usually, with a team environment. It was different the interaction between girl moms and boys at the time, right? So, I was like, “I need to create something. I’m going to do a blog. I’m going to do a blog on mom of boys and I’m going to start creating a community.”. So, that’s where I was thinking like, “I’m going to create, the only thing we don’t have in common is we don’t have that girl so, I want a sisterhood of motherhood.”. I’m like, “That’s where I was at.”. But then my husband saw me like, like, “Babe, I’m going to create a blog.”, he’s like, “Sweetheart, you don’t even have time to have lunch, between the boys, between you, you know doing your real estate, with everything you’ve got going.”, and then I started with my Instagram; that was like my creative outlet at the time. He’s like, “And you’re doing your photos on Instagram and stuff.”, he’s like, “When are you going to write?”, he’s like, “What you need is a podcast.”. I’m like, “A what?”, he’s like, “A podcast.”. I was like, “What is that?”, he goes, “That’s what I listen to every day, Adam Carolla when I go on my walk.”, I’m like, “What do you mean? Who are you having a bromance with? Who’s Adam Carolla?”. He’s like, “He’s the number one podcaster.”, he’s like, “Babe, that’s what you have. You have the gift of gab, you have the gift to like, anywhere you go people want to know you. Everywhere you go, you make a connection. You’re like, “Oh my god, I know that girl.”. Like, you’re always hooking people up together.”.

So, in 2018 on Christmas, my husband created a studio and gave me my first studio as my Christmas gift. I know, he’s my producer and he believed in me. And I have to tell you, this is what I love since we’re talking about international podcasts, it is a beautiful, organic, creative outlet where people can use their voice to create community, to make people laugh, like mine is informative. I want it to be a resource, I want it to be tips, I wanted to create community. What did I know best? I knew how to be a mom. What did I have? People and literally, not girls, like women and men, I’ve actually just started to venture out with men, I really started just moms, moms talking and it evolves, and that’s the beauty about podcasting; there is no, in my opinion, right, perfect way, it evolves and I think you have to evolve through the years. So, even though I started off, maybe wanting to just talk to mom of boys, which I found interesting enough, a little challenging, because mom of boys didn’t always want to talk, by the way.

So, I’m still cultivating that because I still think that’s a strength that I have and now that I’m entering teenage years, it is definitely a place where I want to collectively start ringing more moms to talk about or share learned experiences because there is no handbook. But I’ve also always wanted to educate, inspire, connect and spark conversation. I think people need to talk more, I feel a lot of people are texting, the new youth is texting, like I try to bring my boys, we’re not there yet, maybe we’re going to get into that, you know, in the next season. But I really love that with podcasting, it’s a beautiful evolution and it’s what you make of it. So, sometimes I bring a nutritionist, sometimes I show up solo if I get inspired and now with this pandemic, it’s been pushing me to really bring positivity, people are looking for that and use this as a mental health like, you need to disconnect.

I always wanted to create a pause for moms, a pause for self-care, I’m like, “You’re in the car…”, I feel moms always try to be productive, right? We always want to be productive. So, if you’re waiting in the carpool lane, or you’re outside in your car, tune in for 20-30 minutes, just like yours, yours is like this inspiration that comes in, where you know what? You just are stuck in your day and you want to know what you can do or you need to hear about how you could be kind, how you can give back, we know where to turn to; we turn to you, you know? It’s time to be kind anytime, you know. So, I feel so lucky and I’ll tell you, some of my happiest days is when I am either interviewing or broadcasting because I do feel that I’m making a difference, one little story at a time.

[10:40] Marly Q: You absolutely are and that’s why I really thought of you to invite you to come on my podcast because I see that passion for it, I feel that spark of energy with it. And when you reached out to me to have me be a guest on your podcast, I was like, “Me? Like, I don’t know anything about podcasting. I just started did this thing like last week.”, I think you brought me in, like one week into my podcast. I’m like, “Please, I didn’t even– don’t promote it yet; I don’t know if it’s any good.” I had all these doubts, and really, just a couple of months in, I’m loving it and it’s more like, “Why did it take so long to start this?”, right? As a planner, you want it all to be perfect, and you want to plan it all out and what I realized is, first of all, that I’m surrounded by amazing people, that every single person that I have reached out to is a resounding, “Yes, I’ll make the Time to be Kind and be on your podcast.”, I’ve shared so many stories, all of them are organic conversations, nothing is planned or, you know, very fixed outcome that we’re trying to get and the stories and the inspiration and the advice have really all been so enriching to me and that’s gotten me even more committed to my purpose, which was to spark kindness and ignite it worldwide through people and storytelling.

And I just see you doing that with yours focused in on moms who, I really also agree with you, need the inspiration, need the community and need advice and education and instruction on how to make Time to be Kind because …

…As busy as we are, the Time to be Kind is always now and there’s always time for some self-care.

And maybe we just need to redefine what that time for self-care looks like because like you said, you can be in the car and instead of having your mind being in the future of like, “What do I need to cook for dinner? What do I need to do? Or what happened earlier today?”, or ruminating in your mind about things and stressing yourself out you’re like, “You know what? I can go to This Girl Podcast because Daisy always sparks inspiration. You know what? I can make some Time to be Kind listen to one of Marly Q’s episodes.”. I try to make them all under 30 minutes in the interest and recognizing the value of our time is short.

So, I just love this new world that I tapped into my own courage to step into and I just really appreciate people like you that are living it, doing it and inspiring other people to also use their voice to spread a positive message and to lift and inspire other people and connect and build community, which is what I’ve always been about, just through live events; it’s always been through the live event vehicle. And I’m just realizing that this virtual vehicle is just as powerful, if not even more powerful and I’m just so grateful to be a part of the podcast community now as well.

[13:25] Daisy: I know, I am too. I feel like every month, I’ve now thrown myself more into the podcast world and connecting with other podcasters, and just like any industry, the more you network or the more you get to know people, you make connections and it takes you somewhere else, which brings us to this point, right? So, it is still a little bit of a passion project, I’m kind of transitioning to see if it turns into more of a business, it’s going to benefit someone, right? If the sponsors that are looking for my audience, this is a fit for them, but it was when I met Luly B. So, Luly B is a mom of boys and she had her sons, and it was instant, talk about someone who sparks everywhere she goes, right? It was instantaneous. I was like, “You get it.”. We were like minded; she was so entrepreneurial. I was like, “What do you do?”, and she told me what she did, and she invited me to her conference, her big SPARK conference. So, I went to her conference, empowering women to follow their passions and it was just when I was starting my podcast, and I’m like, “I guess I should continue to do this, I really don’t know who’s listening.”, and she just fueled, right? She was that wind that feeds the fire. And she invited me to, what she has on Fridays, that she has Cafecito’s. So, she has A Cafecito with Luly. So, I went to her Cafecito and sure enough, there’s this woman who’s just, she glows everywhere she goes, and I went to her and I was like, “Who are you? And what do you do?”, she’s like, “Hi, I’m Marly Q.”, and I was like, “What do you do here with Luly?”, and she was telling me, “Well, no, I have PARK.”, and I’m like, “What’s PARK?”, and she showed me this sticker and it was like this whole movement about kindness. And early on, I was like, “Well, I need to meet you.”, and she had a TED talk and I was so taken aback, you know that Luly had these beautiful women making a difference. And then, sure enough, a year later, she continues to grow, and she became a yoga teacher, she became a mom, and she launched a podcast. I mean, you are definitely proof of an amazing woman who is following her purpose and her passion, which I compliment you. But I also wanted to do the shout out because that’s what we do here, right, is to our friend, Luly B, who started this connection, and I believe she’s also been on your podcast.

[15:46] Marly Q: Just last week! She was our guest just last week, so, it’s perfect!

[15:49] Daisy: Those who are listening today and haven’t, catch up on that, one talk about another amazing woman who inspires and motivates everything she does. I’m part of her Boost Program right now and she’s totally boosted my business and my podcasts and me as an individual because her group really empowers women, period, and helps them bring joy in their life. So, I’ve been working on me this year. In fact, you even had Caroline de Posada, I started her course because one of my goals this year was to look and feel my best. I was going into the big 50, J Lo inspired me, I’m like, “If that’s what 50 looks like, I’m all over it.”. So, I had to like, move my body and eat better, like I want to look and feel my best. So, when one of our dear friends launched this new program to live up to for 28 days, you know, “Here’s your challenge. You’re going to do your C.O.R.E..”, talk about acronyms, right? There’s another amazing podcast that you have and as I say, this is stuff that I love to inspire and share with moms is, my journey as a mom and share the great people that we have in our lives.

[16:58] Marly Q: Yeah, I absolutely love it. Caroline was one of my very first guests early on, I’ll reference the episode in the show notes as well. And I met her through Luly B at her home one day. Our story was just so great, because I actually met her dad years ago at an event speaking and then met her a couple years later, right when he passed away and I connected with her instantly through Luly, which big shout outs to our girl because sitting around at her table, five years ago or so is when I first even said the words, “I want to start a podcast, I want to start speaking at a greater level.”. I was just so scared at the time and I was so short on time and I just didn’t know how I was going to do it and Luly looks at me, and I shared the story in last week’s episode but so that you know, and those listening can go back and reference it, she called me out, like, “How dare you not share your voice? How dare you not make the Time to be Kind to yourself and others and magnify you know, your message in a bigger way? How dare you not?”. And I was just like, right? The big gulp, it took me a couple years to work up, honestly, the courage. I started doing Snapchat videos and Instagram videos just to kind of get out of my own way with sharing my voice live that way and here we are, all these years later. So, I’m just so grateful. I really see my podcast as a way to also thank, to also just express my gratitude for all the amazing, incredible people that surround me, that lift me up, that encouraged me to keep going. Sometimes when you’re on your mission, it can feel like you’re kind of going at it alone, sometimes as an entrepreneur, many people feel and especially this year, with so much kind of self-isolation, you need your community, you need your tribe, for me, it’s my Kind Qrew that surrounds me, that just keeps me focused and motivated and inspired to keep being the spark of kindness and see the value in sharing your voice and sharing your stories and building community and surrounding yourself with kind minded people that just keeps sparking back inspiration and motivation

“be the change that you wish to see in the world”, which I know we both love that quote by Mahatma Gandhi.

[19:02] Daisy: I do. And another one that I love is Mother Teresa and it’s one that I live by, even when I like started this podcast, I always think of her because it was the one that, I always kind of paraphrase it, but I love the one that, “No one should ever leave me not being happier.”, and that’s literally like, I have it written in my screensaver and every time I get on the mic, I kind of like, before I read it to myself, and that’s what I do in my podcast is, I just want to share a little of my inner sunshine. And even during these times, I’ve doubted going out there because I was like, “I know there’s a lot of darkness and I know there’s a lot of pain.”, and sometimes I wanted to maybe just take a break from it because I was like, “Okay, here I am bringing you sunshine, bringing you happiness, and life is tough right now.”. But I’ll tell you, like the two times, like two weeks that I maybe took off just didn’t feel, maybe the right word, Marly is courage. I didn’t have the courage to come up there and show up the way I usually do, one, because maybe I wasn’t feeling it. So, I like to show up authentic, that’s one of the things that I do in my podcast is, I tell you how it is. I say it how it feels, and I felt I couldn’t come on and be 100% cheerful but what I probably needed to do that day was show up saying, “It’s okay not to be okay.”, and it took me a couple times to realize it because I did show up once saying, “It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to be sad. We’re all crying, don’t cry alone.”, you know? So, that’s what we try to do in this podcast, and then I’ll tell you, the few times that I didn’t show up, I was called out. I was called out because a lot of people said, “Daisy, what you have innately and your God given gift to be positive and to have that beautiful inner light, you need to shine it on people who can’t find it right now.”.

[21:04] Marly Q: And that need it.

[21:05] Daisy: And that need it, you know? And you have that same power and that same gift. So, sometimes when I’ve doubted myself and I felt that I didn’t need to, it’s where you have to hear the Luly in our background saying, “How dare I not show up?”, you know?

[21:21] Marly Q: That’s exactly what I was going to share right now because I experienced the same, and especially with my podcast being so new, I’m like, “Man right now, do I want to come out?”, and like my scheduled episodes were you know, hugging the world, and the importance of smiles and all this positivity. And I’m like, “Man, right now, people are going to be like, “Shut up. I don’t want to hear your little spark of kindness, I don’t want to hear your little positive voice.”, when people are so stressed and people are so fearful and there’s so much uncertainty and so much tragedy and pain and protests and all of this that we’ve been experiencing in 2020, how? There I go with that word, that phrase, whenever I hear myself, you know, practicing awareness,

I hear myself saying like, “How dare you?”, I hear our friend Luly B saying, “How dare you not?”. Because if my mission is to be the spark of kindness, how dare I not have the courage? And it does take courage to be kind, it takes courage to have that awareness that you’re scared to share your voice and that you’re scared to show up and maybe offend someone that’s not feeling cheerful right now and doesn’t want to hear some positivity. How dare I not show up anyway, and tap into my purpose and say…

“Hey, we’re experiencing some really dark and difficult times right now and my hope, with my life’s mission and with this podcast is just to be a little spark in your day, in this moment, in these 30 minutes that we’re together, I hope that I can inspire you to be kind to yourself, to each other and to the world because what the world needs now more than ever, is kindness, is unity, is positivity, is hope, is healing by making time to be kind.”

… it’s really my greatest conviction and what I’m trying to accomplish on a greater scale through this podcast. So, I definitely heard our dear mutual friend Luly B saying, “How dare you not show up?”, and I showed up. And you know what? People thanked me for being like a little spark of light in these crazy times that we’ve been living and I’m like, “Oh, good, you know, I’m so happy.”. But I did experience that as well and it does take great courage and I want to honor you for your courage to have started your podcast two years ago, for you to continue building it, continue growing community for moms, and inviting me into your beautiful community as well and giving me the opportunity to share a bit of my story and promote my own podcast. So, this is not just a way of me saying thank you to you and spotlighting you, because you spent all your time interviewing others, but my way of being able to give you the spotlight for a little bit too because you super deserve it and I hope that all of our PARKers listening make the time to be kind and follow This Girl Podcast; I’ll include all the links in the show notes, and that they really take the time to connect with you because their life will be enriched as a result for sure.

[24:01] Daisy: Thank you so much, Marly. Why did it take you so long to do this when you knew you wanted to do it? The timing is perfect, you have to believe there’s divine timing. I mean, the world needs this message right now more than ever so, I believe in that. I always kind of say there’s a divine inspiration in my mic, and I kind of go with the flow, it’s unscripted and sometimes I just give my guests and outline to keep us going but I love when divine inspiration hits, because it’s kind of like, what our guests need to hear at the time and right now, I love that you’re seeing such beauty and kindness in the world, I do. And the fact that you’re showing up every week, every Wednesday, is an attestment to this amazing platform, shout out to all the moms that are just getting to know what podcasts are, and for those that are even curious to start it, I will let you know from my perspective since we’re kind of celebrating International Podcast Day, it’s not as intimidating as you think, there’s people who started this in their closets in their room, people that are doing it in their car, like you see, maybe nowadays a lot of the podcasts are also now moving into video like, vlogging and video because, again, the world has been somewhat shut out so, the beauty of the video is now you got to see someone and I’m a people person, so I definitely miss that a lot, like the human touch is something I miss dearly.

But for those that are considering, like, “Should I do one? Should I not? I don’t have the equipment. I don’t know what to buy.”, and you might see Marly and us with like some headphones and a microphone and it might look professional to you, it’s really simple to start.

I’d be more than happy to share, on the show notes, the basic equipment that I use, that my husband set up for me, my husband loves to do kind of the podcast, nowadays there’s producers that you could pay for and they do it; this industry has evolved.

I think there is definitely space, for everyone I know, it seems like everybody has a podcast these days, but not everybody has the same message. And on the contrary, for instance, I had Marly on mine, she had me on hers, we’re getting different audiences and we’re expanding the messages. We have different platforms, from here, you could come to my website, my Instagram, which is @pocketfulofdaisy. The reason I did “Pocketful of Daisy” is because I have so many pockets so, I have my mom blogger pocket, I have my real estate pocket, I have my podcast, which is called This Girl. So, I encourage you all, if you’re thinking about it, definitely DM me, come visit me @pocketfulofdaisy or leave me a message on This Girl Podcast, just like Marly, we’re both on every platform, from iHeartRadio, Spotify, iTunes is one of the most populated platforms. There’s Stitcher, there’s on our own websites so, you could definitely find us everywhere and anywhere you want.

And moms, both myself and Marly are in that arena to find that little space for you, give yourself, it’s almost like a 20 minute of meditation if you want to call it, it’s enrichment for your soul.

So, mommies, I invite you to check me out and follow me on @pocketfulofdaisy, that’s my Instagram, I always post my inspiration of the day, my Friday favorites, on Wednesdays, I do my podcast. So, along with Marly, I’m here to find your pause, give you that self-care pause that all our moms and women deserve and need it more than ever. So, thank you, Marly for inviting me, it was such a pleasure to be here and share a little bit of my kindness with your PARKers.

[27:46] Marly Q: Oh, it was so felt Daisy, you’re such a spark of sunshine. Thank you for making the time to be kind with me and all of our PARKers listening.

[27:55] Outro: I hope you enjoyed today’s Pocketful of Daisy episode and I invite you to listen to This Girl Podcast, for her weekly spark of inspiration too. You can find Daisy’s direct links over at marlyq.com/27. And hey, if you’re a podcaster or interested in starting a podcast, we invite you to connect with Podfest Expo, a community of powerful people who are passionate about sharing their voice and message with the world. This year’s Podfest Expo made the Guinness World Records title for the largest attendance for a virtual podcasting conference. You can find the link to join their Facebook page to connect and learn more over at marlyq.com/27.

[28:37] Thank you for listening. If you’re inspired to make a little more time to be kind, please subscribe, leave a kind review and share with a friend who would appreciate this podcast too. Thank you for being the spark of kindness. See you next time. [28:49]

Categories
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How Dare You (NOT)?

How Dare You (NOT)?

Have you ever let the “How Dare You?” voice get it the way of pursuing your dreams?

I sure have! That’s why I’m so excited to share this enlightening episode that shines the light on how sometimes “tough love” can be the spark you need to get out of your own way, the power of asking for (and receiving) help, the work/life balance myth, what it means to “be the S.P.A.R.K.” and so many more gold nuggets that’ll enrich your day with the currency of kindness. Enjoy! 

SHOW NOTES:

Click here to get your tickets to SPARK with Luly B. Event

Click here to learn more about Luly B.’s & visit her website

Connect on Instagram @TheLulyB

TRANSCRIPTION:

Hi PARKer, I’m Marly Q. welcoming you to Episode #26 with Luly B. 

I have so much in common with our guest today that we became SPARK sisters from the moment we met well over a decade ago. For starters, we’re both Cuban-American mom of boys with enough spark between us to cause a wildfire of kindness! 

Luly B. is a family first speaker, consultant and author who helps women who wear a ton of hats get over the guilt, self-doubt, and fear that stops us from truly creating the life and business we love. 

She believes that everyone is born with a responsibility to share their gifts with the world and she empowers women, specifically, to unwrap their gifts so they can experience more joy in life. 

In today’s episode we talk about the “how dare you?” voice that gets in our way, the importance of being aware of and appreciating our Gifts, the elusive work/life balance so many of us seek and the 5 Pillars of Defining Success on your Own Terms – which is Luly B.s acronym for the word SPARK, which I absolutely LOVE! 

Stay through the end for a special invitation to her upcoming SPARK with Luly B event in October, because whether you’re a PARKer who lives in Miami, FL or not … trust me, you want to know about it! Let’s listen! 

Ladies and gentlemen, you are in for a treat today! Please help me welcome to the show my spark sister, Luly B, thank you so much for making the Time to be Kind.

[01:40] Luly B: I am so excited to be here with you, Marly.

[01:43] Marly Q: So, I think I want to start with the story of how we met because I think personally, it’s an awesome story and I know that you remember it too. Would you mind sharing how we met?

[01:52] Luly B: Oh my god, yes, I remember it as if it was yesterday and it was years ago, maybe even 10 years now Marly. We were both at a women’s empowerment event and I was in the back-right corner, and you were in the front left corner. I mean, I remember it so vividly. And you got up and you asked a question, I don’t even remember what your question was because I was so taken aback by your energy, by your enthusiasm and you were just so magnetic. I looked at my colleague and said, “I’ve got to get her name, I have to meet her”. And she researched you, we figured out who you were and next thing we know, you were in my marketing agency at the time, I had Chispa Marketing, we were in a meeting, talking about, just getting to know each other and connecting and figuring out ways to support one another.

[02:49] Marly Q: I just started my business, just started my nonprofit, and I remember your outreach to me, and I was like, “Oh, I didn’t meet you at the event. I got meet you after.”, and right away I responded. I’m like, “I got to meet this person”, first of all, because you were an FIU alum so, we went to the same alma mater, right? And just your energy was, just shined through your email, and even our phone conversation, I’m like, “I’ve got to meet this woman.”. So, I go over there to your marketing agency and I tell you all about my mission to spread kindness, at that time, we were planning our first 5K event to honor and celebrate and remember our servicemen and women, it was the 10th anniversary of 9/11 so, this was 2011. And you so graciously, were on board with supporting our mission, and not just the philosophy of what we’re doing, but really an active PARKner. Like, “I want to support you. We have to spread the word about this.”, and mind you when we got started, we didn’t even have an email list or a social media following! And here you are this like super successful marketing agency backing us up this little itty bitty nonprofit and I was just so grateful, so taken back by your generosity, so taken back by you, not only making the time to be kind, but really in such a magnificent way and so many beautiful connections and relationships and experiences have come from that spark so, I’m just so eternally grateful for you.

[04:16] Luly B: Thank you, right back at you.

[04:18] Marly Q: So, I also wanted to share with our PARKers listening, you know, another thing that you helped to spark in my life was actually in an indirect, maybe incredibly direct way, sparking this podcast. You know, you have a mastermind group that you lead every month that I was a part of, one of your first ones, and sitting around your coffee table, we were sharing kind of our goals and what we wanted to accomplish and I, you know, worked up the courage or just kind of word vomited out, “You know, I want to start a podcast.”, you’re like, “Yeah, you should.”

I’m like, “I hate the sound of my voice and I just, I don’t want to do like video and I don’t want to put myself out there and then I have to commit all this time.”, and I gave you all these like, you know, vomit of excuses as to why, you know, I wasn’t going to do it; I wanted to, but I couldn’t. And I’m like, “And how dare I –“, I mean, like, my message is so simple, “How dare I just like get out there and do this?”, and you stopped me and you kind of you, I like to say you–

[05:18] Luly B: I yelled, I remember, and I think I even slammed the table.

[05:25] Marly Q: In your fiery spark, you’re like, “No.”.

[05:28] Luly B: Yes, with a lot of love, but yes.

[05:31] Marly Q: You slammed the table and you’re like …

“How dare you? How dare you NOT Marly Q? How dare you not be afraid and do it anyway? How dare you not share your voice and your message and your spirit and your spark and your energy and your positivity and your kindness with the world? How dare you NOT?”.

… Yeah, she just told me off in front of all these other people.

[05:52] Luly B: I sure did.

[05:53] Marly Q: And I felt the love, I just want to thank you for that.

[05:58] Luly B: Yeah, you’re welcome.

[06:00] Marly Q: It took me years to get from that conversation to the point that I actually, you know, worked up the courage to do it, but I did take action from that meeting and I want to thank you because I always, always remember that experience. I always remember your advice, and I hear your words in the back of my head whenever I am dancing around the, “How dare you?” conversation, “I dare you not be afraid and do it anyway.”, and I’m just really, really grateful for that tough love; I see that as such great kindness from you.

[06:30] Luly B: Thank you. And I think that that’s true for all of us.

I really do believe that we were born with gifts, gifts that come in the form of talents and abilities and skills, and it is our duty, not our choice, to share them with this world.

And many times, as we got to witness with you, Marly, we ask ourselves, “How dare I?’, or,” I’m not old enough. I’m not young enough. I’m not skinny enough. I’m not enough of something. I don’t have the credentials or the certification or the experience.”, and I always argue that what you’re really doing is hoarding your gifts, and I don’t think I’ve ever met anybody who would ever have a gift and not give it to somebody who was celebrating a birthday. And so, if we just kind of think about that, about a birthday gift for a loved one, what would it be like if that person said to us, “I don’t want your gift today.”, or we said to them, “We’re not going to give you this gift and honor you this day.”. And I think all too often in our lives, that’s what happens; we either choose not to receive the gifts that are being granted to us or we are choosing not to share our gifts with this world out of fear, which is really so silly because we’re focusing on the one or two people that might not be ready for our message or our energy, but what about the hundreds or thousands or even millions that are?

[07:56] Marly Q: I think part of that is not being aware of or acknowledging that it’s a gift. The gift of your voice and your message and your story and your unique perspective on life is a gift to others and it is our responsibility to share that with the world so, so much of it comes from just self-acknowledgment and self-appreciation for your life’s experiences and seeing the value in them and sharing them with others. And you definitely were someone in my life who just helped me become more aware of and more acknowledging of and more appreciative of my message, as simple as it is and as powerful as it can be to inspire and ignite, you know, some change in this world through others so.

[08:44] Luly B: Well, because sometimes we also think just that Marly, right? Like, “Oh, it’s simple.”. Well, simple to your point can be really powerful because something as simple as kindness, now more than ever is needed in this world.

[08:59] Marly Q: Yes, which is why the name of this podcast is Time to be Kind. I start with my why, I know you talk a lot about “Start with Why”, and when I start this podcast, every single time, what’s the purpose of this?

It’s because the time to be kind to ourselves, each other and the world is now and it’s always now.

But for me, this year, it just really clicked and the more that I show up with my gifts every week to share through storytelling, through connection, through inspiration, and advice and tips for others, the more I realize how important and powerful it is to make that time to share your message, no matter how simple you might think it is. The simplest things make the greatest impact, right?

[09:40] Luly B: For sure. And that would be my argument is, if it’s so simple, then you get to do it, you get to do it too, right?

[09:49] Marly Q: You know, you were also the spark of something else, I don’t know if you know this one. So, when I was a part of your mastermind, this was back in I believe, 2014, I was just getting my certification as a yoga teacher, my first certification and you were my very first private client; first private yoga client. Do you remember this?

[10:10] Luly B: Of course, I remember this.

[10:11] Marly Q: You were like, “Oh, I don’t practice yoga, you know, I can’t touch my toes.” and all this, “Oh well, let me just go over to your house and I’ll just teach you a couple things, I need to practice, if you know for nothing else, you’re helping me out here.”. And I just always remember that experience, I don’t know what you remember from your–

[10:30] Luly B: It’s crazy that you’re talking about this because as I was getting into state for this podcast, I’m praying and reflecting before I joined you, that actually came up for me was, what a beautiful moment of kindness because I know we’ll probably be talking about asking for help in a minute, but that was, you know, people know me as being really good for asking for help and it’s funny how you see it as me being your first private client and I see it as me expressing my vulnerability and asking for something that I wanted for such a long time because I didn’t think I was worthy of sitting in a yoga class because I couldn’t do certain things and you helped me remember to be kind to myself and to my body and to be okay with where I was at. So, I of course, I remember that; that was actually a really special moment for me Marly.

[11:24] Marly Q: Oh my goodness, I remember leaving your driveway and driving home, there’s about maybe a 30 minute drive between where you live and I live, I just had a smile on my face the entire time because I hadn’t really started teaching, just gotten my certification and I just felt so humbled to have been allowed to give a little bit of what I had learned to be helpful. And I felt so honored that you had stepped into that vulnerability and allowed yourself to learn something new, especially when it comes to yoga. I have found, I specialize in teaching beginners, I’m very passionate about teaching people that are just starting out in their practice or maybe went once or twice, didn’t have a good experience, the people that are like, “No, I can’t.”, who are like me. I never thought I would be a yogi in my life, I’m like, “I can’t sit still. I’m way too energetic. I can’t, my mind doesn’t stop. I’m not flexible at all. I can’t do a push up to save my life so, doing a handstand is out of the question., and here we are, six years later, 300 plus classes later, two certifications later, and I always go back to that very first experience that I had with you and how important it is to give ourselves, like you said, permission to be kind to our body and our mind and our spirit and be vulnerable enough to accept help from others, first to ask, and then to sit with yourself and honor your body and its limitations, wherever you are that day, to me, that is the epitome of self-love and kindness; to be able to say, “You know what? I can’t touch my toes right now, or I can’t even cross my legs in “easy pose” comfortably.”, and it’s okay.

Because the hardest part of the practice is showing up, the hardest part of life is showing up.

And the more that we can be kind with ourselves and acknowledge and appreciate ourselves for the simple act of asking, receiving and showing up in kindness for ourselves, I think that that’s motivating and that’s empowering and it encourages you to take the next step in your self-care journey, whether it’s yoga, whether it’s, you know, meditation, whether it’s, you know, going to the gym, whatever type of self-care that you choose, just having that courage to make the time to be kind to yourself and appreciate wherever you are in your journey.

[13:45] Luly B: That’s right. And isn’t that true for every aspect of our lives? I mean, Tony Robbins says, “How you do one thing is how you do everything.”, and I think what you just said is so true, and I just got to reiterate it, is like, just showing up is a big deal to every aspect of our lives, showing up and focusing on that energy and how we’re showing up. If we come from a place of kindness and gratitude that energy is not only felt through, but you get to command so many other aspects of your being as a result of that.

[14:16] Marly Q: That’s what I try to remember every time I sit behind this microphone, in my weekly podcast is like, “You know, just show up; that’s the hardest part, show up.”, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to be the spark of kindness, which is, at the end of the day, really my mission, I just want to spark kindness.

And my definition for “SPARK” is different than your definition for spark and I don’t know if you’d be willing to share your insight and your awesome acronym for what it means to be the SPARK.

[14:45] Luly B: So, my SPARK acronym Marly, is all about defining success on our own terms, specifically as women. So, I’ve found that many times what we tend to do is we tend to create this unrealistic goal of where we should be and what success would look like, and what I found is that, we don’t always take the time to really reflect on what’s really important to us.

So, for me, S.P.A.R.K. is the Five Pillars of Success.

And the first one is, “I Serve others without Sacrificing myself.”

The idea that you can’t serve water from an empty pitcher. So, if we’re not refilling our own cups, and we’re giving from an empty cup, we’re not giving anything. And so, what is it that we can do in our lives and what is our state of being in our lives, so that we can serve, but never without putting ourselves first? Not because we’re selfish, but on the contrary, because we love ourselves and others so much, we’re going to put ourselves first. So, that would be the S.

The P is, “I Pursue Perspective rather than Perfection.”

This idea that even you went through a little bit with, the thing about your voice and video, I remember when you started doing your Facebook Lives and the lighting and the, I don’t know what, and the shot and the idea of, “Well, I’m just doing it.” and I get to pursue perspective, which is, “I’m making it happen and I’m getting closer to my goal and more importantly, I’m sharing my gifts with this world.”, versus, “The lighting is exceptional, the sound is perfect.”, because at the end of the day, how much does that really matter? Now, we don’t want to confuse perfection, we don’t want to confuse that with excellence. So, we get to have a standard of excellence; we don’t make our standard perfection, because I don’t know about you but think about a little girl in your life coming home and telling you that she got a 98 on a test. I don’t know that you would just be disappointed with her if she got a 98, however, all too often in our own lives when we get a 98, we get really disappointed, don’t we?

And then the A is, “I Accept love and support with grace.”

This idea that we are so loved and there are people that are going to show their support and their love in different ways. Some people may want to call you, some people may want to fix it, some people may want to run an errand, right? There’s this great book by Dr. Chapman called The Five Love Languages, that I know he’s recently now translated for the workplace. So, this idea of like, we all express our love in different ways, and we get to accept the way that people want to show us their love and their support in a graceful way. Now, that also doesn’t mean that we can’t set boundaries and say, “This is what I need.”, especially when we’re going through a hard time, “This is the kind of support I need right now. This might not be serving me.”. But many times, we deny people the opportunity to give to us because we see that as a sign of weakness. And I get to remind everybody, it’s actually a sign of grace.

The next one is, “I Recruit the right people for my life.”

And I think at the beginning of our chat, we spoke about how we met and basically, I’ve been doing this my entire life without even realizing it was a strategy, which is, I literally recruit people for my life; I hire and fire people all the time. And when I fire people, it’s not necessarily because I’m better than them or they’re not worthy of being around me. that’s not the point. It’s, “Are we giving each other value? Is there value in exchange in our lives? And are we right for one another at the season that we’re at in our lives?”. And recruiting the right people in my life for me looks like, I have somebody that I can call for every aspect of my life, whether it’s business or personal or physical or spiritual; I have my people, and that’s important to me. That could look differently to you; that’s how it is for me, but it’s for me, it’s really important to surround myself with those kinds of people, people that are going to call me out on my BS, people that are going to remind me of my awesomeness, people that are going to support my crazy ideas, right? Just recruiting those right people.

And the last one, which I think is interesting that it’s the K and it’s kind of the whole topic of our conversation; it’s about kindness, my friend and it’s about being kind to ourselves. So, this one is…

“I am as Kind to myself as I am to others.”

…because we tend to be really kind to others, we aren’t as kind to ourselves, right? So, this idea again, of the things that we– the negative things that we say about ourselves, to ourselves, and just really focusing on being a little kinder and being more gentle with ourselves. So, that’s it. So, that’s my SPARK, my five pillars of defining success on your own terms and what success could look like for you.

[19:50] Marly Q: Round of applause, standing ovation! I was all over it, you know …

S.P.A.R.K. for me stands for Someone who Performs And Receives Kindness

… that acronym, you know, evolved where I’d started off to inspire people to PARK, just PARK at first, Perform Act of Random Kindness, all focused on others, which is beautiful and I still embody and believe that in every cell of my body as an important thing.

In my journey of you know, service I was raised to believe, you know, you follow the philosophy of service above self, better to give than to receive and these are, you know, very noble, beautiful philosophies but what I found in my journey of service above self and it’s better to give than to receive and only focusing on Performing Acts of Random Kindness for others, is that, I was not following your first pillar of success; Service without Sacrifice.

And that to me, I had to learn that the hard way, multiple times, multiple burnout experiences, you know, moments of just complete energy exhaustion, emotional exhaustion that took me months to recover sometimes after, and that’s really where I started– I had my epiphany and came up with my SPARK acronym. Like, “No, you know what? If I really want to be the spark of the change that I wish to see in the world and stop burning out and do this forever, I need to find a way to consistently fill my cup, I need to find a way to be of service without sacrificing my own needs. I need to find a way to be of service while receiving my own self care.”, and that’s how the SPARK acronym for me, you know, was born.

Really, to “be the SPARK of kindness”, you need to be Someone who Performs And Receives Kindness and I see that in what you teach, in your ability, not just to give so generously but also to ask for what you need and to accept the kindness from yourself and others. Just takes great courage and is something that we are not taught.

[21:59] Luly B: No. And you know, Marly, I’m thinking now about the great book called The Go Giver, and in that book, they talk about, the two authors speak about, in order to be a great giver, you have to be a great receiver first. So, there was an activity, there was like this little something that happened in the book, I’d love to do it really quickly with you right now, which is, they ask you to breathe out first, right? So, let’s just breathe out a second. And if you noticed, a lot of us before we breathe out, we breathe in first, right?

Because you can’t breathe out of your lungs if there’s nothing in your lungs; there had to be breath in your lungs in order to breathe out. And I loved this activity, this simple thing that they mentioned in the book because I have that visual of …

“I cannot be a great giver without being a great receiver first.”

I have to breathe in first in order to breathe out, I have to receive first before I can give. And again, it’s not this tit for tat thing of, “Well, I need to get because…”, you know, it’s no, it’s, in order to be a great receiver, in order to be a great giver, you get to be a great receiver first.

[23:20] Marly Q: Yes, yes, yes. I’ve got the biggest smile on my face Luly because well, first, that’s why we’re spark sisters, first, that’s one of my favorite books.

[23:27] Luly B: That’s a great book.

[23:30] Marly Q: And in my first online course, that I launched this year, just recently, last month actually, called The B.E.S.T. Way to Stress Less™, I share that in my first lesson. I share how, “You know what? No, it’s not better to give than to receive. Why don’t you give me the best exhale that you can.”, and I go through exactly what you just shared right now, exactly as it is in The Go Giver, and it’s like, no, when you were born first thing was receive, and then you exhaled and you cried. You cried it out and brought great joy to everyone around you.

[24:01] Luly B: Yeah. Bob Burg and John D Mann did an incredible job in that book, and I think that visual is just so powerful Marly. And you know …

John Maxwell says, “In order to learn, you have to unlearn first.”

and for so many of us, we get to unlearn this idea that we always have to be giving selflessly in order to be kind. Being kind has so many different shapes and sizes, and being kind sometimes is being kind to ourselves.

[24:29] Marly Q: Leading by example, and I’m eternally grateful, not just for that book, I mean, all of this, you know, personal growth and development that I have invested in myself into unlearning, and relearning and reprioritizing and I’m just so grateful that I did all of this before I brought my child into the world. I named him Jude Parker, yes, I made his middle name an acronym, because if it’s one thing that I am committed to teaching him is how to be a PARKer, how to be someone who performs and receives kindness, and I’ll do that by modeling it by him seeing, you know, parents that are kind to themselves, to him, to their little brother, to each other because I really believe that the biggest lesson that I’ve learned in my life, the biggest gift that I have received is learning that and I try to teach it and model it as a speaker, as a teacher, even as an event creator, even though that role has kind of changed into the virtual space this year, I can still, you know, be that spark of kindness and share this great lesson that I’ve learned.

Thank you for bringing that up because I love that book, too. So, I’d love to be able to share with people, I know you have a philosophy about, you know, achieving this “work life balance”, what have you learned, I think that in the pursuit of perfection and of balancing it all and being all things to all people, we tend to have this goal that we’re going to balance it all and be great at every aspect of our lives, and I just love your take on balance.

[26:04] Luly B: Yeah, I think balance is BS but I actually wrote a book about that in 2012, Marly, about this concept and you know, we hear all too often, “You just need to balance, you just need to balance.”. And while I respect, many times what people mean to say by balance, I think what they might mean is really more harmony and integration than really balance because what balance means is that you’re taking this pie and you’re dividing it evenly to everyone all the time. And I know for myself, in my own experiences, in all the different roles that I play as a woman, I can’t be everything to everyone. And for so many years, I didn’t include myself in the list of the people that I got to serve, and I forgot who I was and that makes me sad to even say that because I thought that I had the awareness and I thought I was paying attention to it. And, you know, life taught me the beautiful lessons and of course, the lessons usually come through some really painful experiences but I have the discernment and wisdom to know that it is through these excruciating experiences that we get to learn.

And for me, the things that I’ve been through, the restructuring of my marketing agency, going through a divorce, becoming a single mom, continuing to do this work, even when I was tired or exhausted or not feeling inspired, has helped me grow as a human being. And I think most importantly, has helped me be kinder to myself, and being really gentle with myself because I defined so much of my value with what I achieved and what I did, and this was all stuff at subconscious level, right? It wasn’t stuff that I was even aware of. So, this idea that we have to be everything to everyone and I have to be dressed a certain way and pick up my kids in a certain car, my kids have to look a certain way, and I have to bake a certain thing and again, you know, we want to say that that’s what society portrays to us, but who is society? We are. And so, why give into that?

And with kindness and with respect, and with a lot of love, I choose to live my life a little bit differently and I don’t want to pursue balance, I want to pursue harmony and integration and I want to define it on my terms, in the new role that I play now, as a single mom of two teen sons. I’m really proud to say that if you took my two sons into a room and asked them about their mom’s career and what they’re proud of, they would say it to you and they wouldn’t be talking about the dozens of events or things that I “missed out on” because I was working, because I focus so much on creating what I call super moments, on creating those special moments, whether it was making my homemade popcorn and sitting with them to watch a recap of the Grand Slam that I missed because I was working or whether it was taking a ride around the block or watching the latest video from one of the YouTubers they love.

I get to create these “Super Moments” and more importantly, I get to create my own definition of success, I get to create what that looks like for me in the stage that I’m at in my life and it is very different from even just a year ago. I think the key, Marly, one of the biggest lessons, the biggest reminder, is to be kinder to myself and to be gentle with myself.

[29:48] Marly Q: Allow that to change because the vehicle for kindness, the way that kindness looks, different chapters of your life are completely different.

[29:58] Luly B: Absolutely.

[29:59] Marly Q: I’m being kind to myself by taking some time off to transition into the role of being a mom of two boys, and I gave myself the time to be kind to schedule out all of these interviews so that I can focus on being present with my sons as I transition and I’m just so grateful for you saying, “Yes, I’m making the Time to be Kind.”, you know, and having this episode release while I’m home, trying to be that SPARK for my kids as well, because that’s what they’re going to remember, is that presence, not everything that you miss, but you presently creating those super moments.

[30:35] Luly B: Absolutely. Yeah. Because it’s about quality, not quantity, and we get caught up in the quantity sometimes.

[30:41] Marly Q: Oh my god, we’ll talk about quantity! I think we’re going to have to wrap it up because we have just so much more to share, there’s so many more stories to unpack, just so much more that you would have to give to our PARKers listening but I hope that everyone got to just, feel a little bit of that SPARK from you and your energy, I hope that they did and are as fired up as I am right now. I have not stopped smiling, so grateful to you for who you are in my life and who you are for so many other people. Thank you for being the spark of kindness, Luly.

[31:12] Luly B: Thank you. I’m thrilled to be here, what a blast I just had my friend. And congratulations on sharing your light with this world and answering the call to do what you do.

[31:22] Marly Q: Thank you.

[31:24] Outro: I hope you felt our spark of kindness more than the few sound challenges we had while recording. At one point the thought, “How dare you release a less than perfect sounding episode?” crept up on me, and then I remembered Luly’s brilliant advice; “How dare you NOT?”.

How might your life be different if you ask yourself this question more often? I know my life has changed significantly thanks to that question and I am forever grateful to Luly B. You can connect, learn more and register for the upcoming SPARK with Luly B event directly on this episode’s show notes and transcription page at marlyq.com/26.

[31:59] Thank you for listening. If you’re inspired to make a little more time to be kind, please subscribe, leave a kind review and share with a friend who’d appreciate this podcast too. Thank you for being the spark of kindness. See you next time! [32:11]

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Permission to B.R.A.G.

Permission to B.R.A.G.

Do you like to brag? 

If you’re a PARKer (someone who Performs Acts of Random Kindness) I bet the answer is a resounding NO!

My hope is today’s episode and awesome guest will inspire and give you Permission to B.R.A.G. (Be Real And Grateful) about your passion, expertise and the power of kindness in your own life.

Enjoy!

SHOW NOTES:

Connect with Rachel on Linkedin

Connect with Non-Profit Plus Team on Facebook

Click here to learn more about Rachel’s book “No More Duct Tape Fundraising: The Nonprofit Leader’s Guide to Becoming an Inspirational Fundraiser”

TRANSCRIPTION:

Hi PARKer, I’m Marly Q and you’re listening to Episode #25 with Rachel Ramjattan. Our guest today is not one to toot her own horn so, I shared with her my acronym for B.R.A.G. and gave her Permission to “Be Real And Grateful” about her passion, fundraising expertise and kindness that she generously gives others every day.

Like me, this PARKer believes that kindness and gratitude are the keys to happiness, and her passion is empowering people to change the world. Rachel is a bestselling author, fundraising coach and master trainer with 25 plus years of experience with managing technology, fundraising, development and communications for all kinds of nonprofits. She’s the kind a storyteller you could listen to for hours and one of the few certified fundraising executives who has spoken with countless fundraising and social impact audiences nationwide, which is why I’m so excited you get to experience a little spark of Rachel’s kindness today! Let’s listen.

Welcome, welcome to the show, Rachel, thank you so much for making Time to be Kind today.

[01:21] Rachel: Marly, thank you for having me. You’re one of my favorite people and I love your ministry of kindness. So, this was a total no brainer for me.

[01:29] Marly Q: Oh, thank you. We are each other’s biggest fans so, you’re one of my favorite people too, because you’re a PARKer! From the moment that I met you, I knew I’m like, “This woman is someone who Performs Acts of Random Kindness, she lives, breathes, gives it, exudes it from your being”. We met several years ago. I mean, I think maybe almost a decade ago at a philanthropy event, where you were leading, you were facilitating a workshop on fundraising, and I had just started PARK Project, our nonprofit. And I was just so overwhelmed as to how, you know, how am I going to fundraise as a business; as a sustainable, nonprofit business.

And you know, your presentation was not only super valuable and on point for me, but you stayed afterwards and you kindly offered to answer questions for people that had more, I was one of them, I was waiting in line to connect with you and not only did you just give me your card and add me to your email list, and like the regular things that most you know, presenters do at these events, you actually followed up and you actually made Time to be Kind and learn about my mission and learn about, you know, me wanting to be the spark of kindness and how can I fundraise for something as intangible so to speak, as kindness, right? When other nonprofits have products and services? I’m like, “I have this idea I’m trying to sell to the world. How do I fundraise for this?”, and we sat down at a Starbucks, this was over two years ago, and I think you remember what I was talking about during that conversation. So, I don’t want to share the whole story, but the point is that, you really made an impact right from the start as a PARKer, and I’m just so grateful for you making the Time to be Kind and really connect.

[03:12] Rachel: Well, thank you, Marly. I have just absolutely enjoyed our friendship and, you know, I’m a firm believer that what you put out into the world, come backs to you and you know that and because of your mission. So, you know, the world needs a lot more kindness right now, it always has, but even now, it needs even more. So, the thought of being able to help you spread kindness and help other people tap into that passion they have and change the world in ways that are important to them, that’s really my mission in life so, it comes naturally, just like it does for you.

[03:43] Marly Q: Yes, thank you so much. I see how it comes naturally to you. You know, I talk a lot about the currency of kindness and what I believe the currency of kindness is, is like the most powerful currency that we have, right? Because it comes from this limitless and abundant source that is accessible to all of us; no matter who you are, how many dollars you have in your bank account, what you do for a living, anything, like how old you are, right? The currency of kindness is available to all of us and what I love about the work that you do that you’ve dedicated your life to, so, not only do you teach people how to produce more currency of kindness in the world figuratively, but also literally in the form of dollars and cents, in order to fund their mission and fund their nonprofit businesses and create an even bigger ripple effect, an even bigger currency of kindness worldwide. So, would you share with us a bit about what you do and your passion, how you help people?

[04:38] Rachel: Sure, I’d be delighted to. So, I’m actually a self-taught fundraiser. I fell in love with the field of philanthropy as a little girl, at 12 years old, when I was fundraising with my father, then throughout high school and in my early life, but I was actually trained as a computer engineer, because my father wanted me to study something sensible so, I wasn’t dependent on some man for the rest of my life. So, I spent almost 10 years in the manufacturing sector as a computer engineer, and I was proficient and got glowing reviews, but it didn’t fill me up; it just didn’t make me happy and fill my bucket every day. And so, finally, about 20 years ago, I switched into the nonprofit world and that’s where I’ve been ever since. So, I’m actually a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE), that means that I’ve earned the second highest credential, there are probably about 6,000 of us in the world, not a huge, huge niche, and there are many great fundraisers that don’t have that credential so, it doesn’t mean that one is better than another. But it has given me a platform where people want to engage with me and I think what I love most about the role I have now is, I have the opportunity to teach and coach. So, at heart, I am a personal fundraising coach. I absolutely love to see nonprofits have the money to fully fuel their mission and do more good and I think that’s the role that brings me joy because I learned as much from it as those that work with me learn while they’re working with me. So, it’s a like, our friendship, you know, I’ve made so many friends and I don’t know about you, but people who work in the nonprofit sector tend to be very big hearted and empathetic and so, when you surround yourself with people like that, how can you not be kind to others or be happy?

[06:28] Marly Q: I am with you on that, 100%. And I know that you’re super humble and modest, and I love you for it, but I also love that you love to BRAG. And I don’t know if you know what my acronym for BRAG is, do you?

[06:40] Rachel: I’ve heard it and I can’t remember it.

[06:43] Marly Q: I have so many, I don’t blame you, I am an acronomist at heart.

B.R.A.G. stands for Be Real And Grateful

… and that certification that you shared, you should totally “BRAG” about that because not only is that a very elite certification and makes you one of very, you know, few certified top fundraisers in the world, qualified to teach and coach others, you put time and work into achieving that, right? And I started as an accidental fundraiser also. I was a little girl, I found out kindness was my superpower at 10 and I started fundraising you know, like pennies and nickels and whatever you can get, right? To be able to donate to causes and I consider myself to be a professional fundraiser, all these years later, I’ve raised well over a million dollars for all these charities that I care about, I don’t have any certification, right? I go to the pros like you for guidance and support in order to actually, not just, you know, know how to ask people for money, right? But how to actually create a plan and systems in place in your nonprofit business, in order to generate the income, the funds that you need in order to fund your mission and your nonprofit. So, I love that you shared that and that you bragged about that because I know it doesn’t come easy for you to “BRAG”.

[08:01] Rachel: It doesn’t, but I’m trying to get better at it because I realized that when I sell myself short, I’m selling other short too. If you don’t believe in yourself (and I do believe in myself) but I’m not comfortable bragging about myself. So, I realize that, you know, that sometimes holds people back because some people that need your help, really are looking for those credentials, and that history of success to have the confidence to be able to take a chance on partnering with you. And so, it’s a work in progress, you asked me yesterday, what was one of the things I’m trying to do for myself to be kind or practice kindness to myself, that’s one of them; getting more comfortable affirming myself so that I see my best self and see myself the way others see me. Because that’s been an uphill climb for me.

[08:56] Marly Q: Yes, and for so many people, which is why I wanted to emphasize it and spotlight that because it doesn’t come easy to, I think anybody or most people, especially to the service-driven, you know people that dedicate their lives to whether it’s, you know, an actual nonprofit business or just a side PARK Project or, you know, their actual for profit businesses, it’s a challenge to be able to BRAG and promote yourself and put yourself out there, but if you don’t, right?

If we don’t tap into that courage to BRAG, as I like to say, then we are selling ourselves short and not just ourselves, but the world because we don’t shine that light on the great work that we’re doing and it limits our ability to impact other people.

So, I honor you for working on that deliberately and I hope that those listening can also be inspired by that because we need your light and you need to be the spark so, BRAG! Be Real And Grateful! It’s awesome, once you practice it enough, you get really good at it. This whole podcast is to BRAG about awesome people like you!

[09:55] Rachel: I love it Marly, that spark, you know, what was really funny …

I think a lot have women, more so than men, suffer from something called imposter syndrome where you think, “Who am I to step into this light and help others or put myself out there?”.

And I’ve had two mentors that really held me accountable. One of them, literally a year ago, said to me, “When are you going to own your greatness? Because there’s something special about you, and you are hiding your light under a bushel, because you’re afraid to put yourself out there, and you are what people need. And because you’re holding yourself back, they’re struggling without it.”. And at first, I had to say, I wondered who she was talking to, but it convicted me when I thought about it and meditated a little bit to say, I never saw my role as hiding things under a bushel, you know, people will find you when they really need you but it really convicted me that God has given me many talents and it’s like the parable of the talents. You know, what are you going to do with it? Are you going to be the one that sticks it in the ground so you can get the same amount back? Or, are you going to go and use what he’s given you to do the work he set you on?

And so, she was really the one that pushed me to write my book, which is called, No More Duct Tape Fundraising: The Nonprofit Leader’s Guide to Becoming an Inspirational Fundraiser, and even throughout the process, I knew everything I needed to put in the book, I knew I had the professional street cred, everything to do it, but there’s still a vulnerability there, “What if people don’t like it?”, you know? And I have to say when it launched, I waited with bated breath and I’ve been really humbled by what people say, the most frequent comments I hear is, “I feel like she’s talking exactly to me like, she’s sitting right beside me, hearing every objection or problem I’m struggling with and showing me the path to fixing it.”, and that for me, is very gratifying because it takes courage and guts to put yourself out there, as you know. And as a friend said to me yesterday, sometimes we listen to our fears more than you listen to the courage that’s prompting us. So, it’s okay to feel fearful but we have to take that fear, put it in our back pocket and look forward and move on, you know. So, I’m very lucky that I’ve had people in my life that have encouraged me to step out into the deep when I felt like it wasn’t the most comfortable place in the world, but growth happens outside your zone of comfort, right?

[12:24] Marly Q: 100%. I love this conversation and I hope that our PARKers listening can really resonate, and I’m sure that they are receiving your currency of kindness in your message that I believe is so relevant and so many of us need to hear, men and women alike, but I think you’re right, more so women, kind of really struggle with that. I guess the self-worth and self-value conversation that you just hit the nail on the head. And we had a special guest here on the podcast earlier on this year, Episode #18 and #19, Kemy Joseph, who founded The F.E.A.R.S Advantage, and this man, which I think you may know Kemy Joseph, maybe, we’ll connect.

But Kemy Joseph founded The F.E.A.R.S Advantage, which is all about learning how to use your fears to your advantage, right? And use them as fuel to drive you to do extraordinary actions and systems in your business to create the infinite wealth and impact that you want to make. So, I will certainly connect you two, if you’re not connected to Kemy because everything that you shared right now just really reminds me about the great work that I mean, he’s undergone, we’ve had to under, you know, go down that path together, to really tap into that courage and face that fear and use it to our advantage.

So, this podcast is a testimonial of that, never, you know, did I think I would have the courage to do this but it really inspires me when I tap into you know, the purpose and the why and I know that that’s key ingredient in your– in what you teach to your nonprofits; is the more we are tapped into our why and the mission and why this is so important, the more we can access that courage to face that fear of like, “I don’t want to get behind the microphone”, or, “I don’t want to ask people for money”, or, “I don’t want to promote myself and the good that I’m doing”, and say, “You must”. You must, because you’re leaving other people thirsty for that light and that inspiration and that hope that there are kind people in this world, doing great work every single day and that’s what inspires me so much about the work that you do and your book, because I love the name, by the way, No More Duct Tape Fundraising, please elaborate on that on that title because I think there’s a lot there to unpack.

[14:31] Rachel: Yes, sorry. That was actually given to me by someone that I coached. I was doing the research for the book and I asked them what would be their dream come true, and she said, “No more duct tape fundraising.”, and I just thought it was such an absolutely brilliant way to describe how most of us feel about our fundraising when we’re first learning, so I can’t take credit for it. The credit goes to another PARKer named Carol Mastroianni in Michigan and it really turned out to be a fun title and something that people can embrace and identify with. And I just want to say one thing, Marly, about the imposter syndrome, Tom Hayward is one of the greats when it comes to nonprofit communications, the master of his craft, and I’m actually taking a course with him on using donor psychology in communications right now and he said something about imposter syndrome, that even at 70 years old, he feels it and has to fight against it and he’s thankful for it because that means you’re still humble.

And so, imposter syndrome keeps us humble and keeps us authentic and keeps us kind, so that we always recognize that it’s not about us.

And there’s another famous person who I greatly admire, who references it in her book, and that’s Michelle Obama. So, I figure if Michelle Obama and Tom Hayward can say they too suffer from imposter syndrome and it keeps them humble, we’re in good company, you know? So, we can grow and be kind. And I wanted to share with you one more thing, which is in terms of how kindness impacts your profession and knowing your why, one of my favorite books ever written is Simon Sinek’s book, Find Your WHY, and the basic premise of it is that, many of us speak about what we do or how we do it but we don’t speak about the why.

And when we start with the why, that’s what engages people, people don’t care what you do; they care why you do it.

And so, as I look at what you do and what I do, really we are helping people figure out what is their why and tap into it because once you’re working from your why, you will stop at nothing to get it; you don’t mind the late nights, you don’t mind staying up at three o’clock in the morning after putting the baby back to sleep so, you can finish a project before they wake up at five to get fed again.

[17:04] Marly Q: That’s my life right now!

[17:07] Rachel: Exactly, or like me, you know caring for two generations at once, you know. But it’s so important for us, I think when we know our why, kindness comes naturally. And Maya Angelou said something that is my mantra,

“People will forget what you say, they’ll forget what you do, but they will never forget the way you make them feel.”

and I have yet to meet a single human being that didn’t feel good when someone was kind to them. And so, kindness rules, man.

[17:40] Marly Q: Kindness rules! Yes, it does. You know, we start this podcast with my why, right? I was like, “How do you do an intro to a podcast?”, I’m like, It’s very easy … “because the time to be kind is now”!

That’s the why; because the time to be kind is now.

I believe that time to be kind of always now, but especially I mean, I launched this podcast right in April, right after we were all quarantined and I’m like, “Oh my.”. My mission has been to spread kindness for well over a decade and there has never been a bigger, a more daunting time to spread kindness and be that spark of light and inspiration for the world, through storytelling, through authenticity, right? And I went through all sorts of, you know, mental struggle. Our first episode was overcoming self-doubt, because it took an immense amount of overcoming self-doubt in order to launch this and now, all these episodes later, people are like, “Oh my god, but you should have done this years ago and you know, you’re such a natural.”. And I’m like, “Thank you.”, I receive the compliments and the kindness and it took an immense amount of courage and an immense amount of facing that imposter syndrome and really just being vulnerable and courageous and authentic and showing up, right? Because your mission can, the way, the avenue, the vehicle, as how you perform your mission, right? Mine used to be through live events, clearly 2020 kind of wiped that off my plate but the mission remains the same; the mission is always to spread kindness. So, it forces you to grow and pivot outside of your comfort zone, like you said, in order to find a different way to keep spreading that message, in order to find a different way to still express your why. So, I’m just absolutely loving this conversation and I know that our PARKers listening want to connect with you so, I will make sure to include all of your contact and links to connect with you in our show notes, and you’re so generous to also donate a signed, a personalized copy to one of our PARKers listening, of your book, No More Duct Tape Fundraising.

[19:46] Rachel: I’m delighted to do that Marly and you are really gifted at what you do. When I met you 10 years ago, the thing that drew me in is that mischievous glint in your eye, the huge smile on your face and just your passion. And you know, you can’t fake passion and so …

I think kindness is all about finding your passion, being kind to yourself first, make sure you take the time to find your passion, give yourself permission to chase your dreams and you know, face that fear and press on regardless because what’s the worst that could happen? You know, you fail spectacularly at spreading kindness? Not possible.

[20:26] Marly Q: And you surround yourself with a beautiful community of people that are kind minded, that are automatically drawn to you. You know, a friend of mine says she’s a magnet for awesomeness, I’m like, “I’m a magnet for awesomeness.”, do you have any idea the number of amazing people that I have in my life? This whole podcast, all of these, I know every single guest, I think there’s only been like two “strangers” that I hadn’t met in person yet, that are my friends virtually now, right? Around the nation and actually, around the world, I interviewed somebody all the way from Australia, also on the podcast. But I know that I surround myself or that I magnetize kind-minded people because that’s what I put out in the world and that’s what I mean by the currency of kindness. So, for somebody listening, that is inspired by our conversation, that has their own nonprofit organization or has a dream, a vision of starting one, and you want to get started with a professional, certified fundraising coach on your team, Rachel from Nonprofit Plus Team is the PARKer to connect with! She is just a wealth of support and kindness for you.

So, in order to be eligible to win in this Time to be Kind free prize giveaway, you not only have to leave a review on iTunes, like always, and be a part of my Kind Qrew, but also let us know that you have a nonprofit, let us know what it is, what’s your mission? What’s your cause? And Rachel would be so happy to send you her super helpful book.

[21:50] Rachel: Thank you again Marly. I just want to close with one final thought, every challenge contains opportunities and for people like you, that worked in live events, imagine, the world is now your stage instead of just south Florida because people can tune in from anywhere in the world. And so …

… if we all take a look at this pandemic as something that turned our lives upside down, but search for the opportunities within, even nonprofits have opportunities here, you know, I think the world will emerge a kinder, gentler place and we’ll all be able to smile, give each other a big hug one day and say, “We survived”!

[22:29] Marly Q: We made it. Well, we are collectively giving each other and everybody listening a big virtual hug, a big hug, we’re both hugging ourselves right now. Oh, I hope you feel it. Thank you for being part of the change that we all wish to see in the world. Thank you, Rachel, for making the Time to be Kind and share a bit of your passion, there’s so much more in there that we can unpack but we make these live, virtual events under 30 minutes so that people can actually make the Time to be Kind and implement them in their lives. So, I hope to have you back on the show sometime soon because I know there’s just so much more that we can talk about and share with others.

[23:04] Rachel: Thank you.

[23:06] Outro: I hope you enjoyed this inspiring conversation and found it as enriching as I did. And if so, we’d love to hear you B.R.A.G. in the form of a kind review on iTunes.

And if you want to win your own copy of Rachel’s valuable book, No More Duct Tape Fundraising, all you need to do is be a nonprofit professional looking to master fundraising and join our Kind Qrew for your chance to win this and future podcast prizes!

Categories
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Drop the Ball

Drop the Ball

Are you juggling way too much and scared of what’ll happen if you dropped the ball? 

If so, make Time to be Kind because today’s guest is a professional (and highly successful) BALL DROPPER! 

This episode will enlighten you with a new perspective on self-care and empower you to become a professional ball dropper too. Enjoy!

SHOW NOTES:

Click here to check out Drop the Ball: Achieve More by Doing Less

Click here to learn more about joining The Cru

Connect on Instagram @tdufu @theCru

TRANSCRIPTION:

Hi, PARKer, I’m Marly Q, welcoming you to Episode #24 with Tiffany Dufu. Do you feel like you’re juggling way too much on any given day? Are you scared what might happen if you ever dropped the ball? If so, today’s episode is for you because you’re about to meet a professional “ball dropper”. That’s right!

Tiffany Dufu is the author of the best-selling book, Drop the Ball: Achieving More by Doing Less. She’s also the founder and CEO of The Cru, a nationwide online community whose algorithm matches circles of women who collaborate to meet their personal and professional goals. Tiffany lives in New York City with her husband and two children and although she has an extensive list of accomplishments like being named Entrepreneur’s 100 Powerful Women and Fast Company’s League of Extraordinary Women, and raising nearly $20 million towards the cause of advancing women and girls, Tiffany believes that our bio should be more of a story of what we DON’T DO, rather than all that we DO.

I absolutely love Tiffany’s perspective on self-care and how to achieve more by doing less and my hope is that after making Time to be Kind today, you’ll become a professional ball dropper, too! Let’s listen.

Welcome, welcome to the show. Thank you so much for making Time to be Kind Tiffany!

[01:43] Tiffany: Of course. Thank you for having me.

[01:46] Marly Q: I am particularly excited to have you join us today because we share a really beautiful I think, PARK story, a really beautiful story of how just, a very simple act of kindness can turn into, not just a beautiful connection and relationship but also a great business opportunity as well and an aligned mission to inspire and be of service in this world. So, if I can share that story to get us started.

[02:13] Tiffany: Of course, I would love you to.

[02:16] Marly Q: So, a couple of years ago, I think two years ago, I received an email from a friend and a fellow event industry resource that I work with saying, “Hey, look at this amazing woman who has started this organization to connect women and empower, you know, women in leadership to live their best lives and they’re having their first ever summit here in Miami. And they needed someone to come in and just lead kind of like their morning meditation, their morning stretches, their morning mindfulness part and I referred you and I thought you would be really great to support them because I think you’re really aligned with this woman and her mission”. I’m like, “Cool, please, by all means, connect us.”.

And a little email sparked this – I am such a fan of yours because not only have you created a network of women called The Cru, that I got to be a part of your very first summit in Miami Beach but that turned into me being your event planner for your second one, which was scheduled to be this year in July. And because of COVID-19, and this whole pandemic, we’ve had to reschedule it, but you continue your work virtually and we are hopefully slated to have this event in the future. But I just love, love, love how a very simple little act of kindness like referring somebody, or making a connection led to not just business, but honestly a really beautiful relationship. And I’m just a fan of your work, of your book, and I hope to cover all these things in our interview today!

[03:48] Tiffany: Oh, thank you so much, Marly. And I have to say, I also really valued that act of kindness in making the introduction. I also have to say that I wasn’t surprised at all, that what we were looking for was really someone to help usher and steward and guide our members through an amazing journey and that it happened that we met the perfect person to help us to do that!

Because, and we can talk about this, this happens to me all the time, yeah, the universe, I think that the universe conspires to help people who are just here to make a difference in the world. And I think that acts of kindness, spark other acts of kindness. So, your act of kindness may not come back to you directly but you putting it out into the universe means that you’re sending a crescendo effect. It’s like an act of kindness is like a pebble that you put into, you know, just like a lake and it ripples out and it will eventually come back to you. And so, when I met you, and especially when I spoke to you for the first time, and then when I met you in Miami and I thought, “We are of the same cloth and this is going to be so brilliant.”, I just knew that it was the universe saying, “Tiffany, you’re on the right track”.

[05:10] Marly Q: Oh, I love that so much! So, I refer to that crescendo, if you will, as the currency of kindness, a currency being in that current, in that frequency, in that flow of energy, you just really make it a practice or a lifestyle to live from that place and not expecting the person in front of you or the situation in front of you to give you any kindness back, but just putting it out there in the world in that current, oh my goodness, the beautiful universe find so many ways to bring it back to you. And you’re right, I am rarely surprised anymore, it’s more like this beautiful gift and I smile and I’m like, “Look at that, of course, I was going to connect with Tiffany Dufu and The Cru and get to be a part of this beautiful network of women around the nation who are coming together.” Virtually and in person, as soon as we can get back to that, to truly just empower each other and to uplift and hold ourselves accountable to living our best life and living the life that we want to live. I really feel like that’s what you do and I’d love for you to share with our PARKers listening a bit about The Cru and your mission and your vision with this.

[06:19] Tiffany: Sure. You know, The Cru is really designed for women who have some clarity about what they might want to achieve in their lives and could really benefit from some inspiration and some accountability. The way that it works is that you apply to become a member and we match you with nine other women, It used to be in your city, it’s now in your time zone now that you know this whole thing has gone virtual and the 10 of you become a Cru and you collaborate to meet your life goals together. We call goals intentions in The Cru. We’re agnostic as to whether or not your intentions are personal or professional, it could be anything from, “I want to get a promotion”, or, “I want to increase my salary” to, “I want to lose 10 pounds”, or, “I want to get more Instagram followers or get my financial house in order”, but that’s the center of your experience, you upload those into our digital goal tracking tool, along with actions against them and your Cru is there to hold you accountable digitally, but also through regular events that we call gatherings. It’s a really incredible experience and I wish for every woman to have a Cru, whether you’re with our Cru or not.

[07:29] Marly Q: Yes, everybody should have a Cru. I love that we have that in common as well. So, my PARKers, those listening, and people in my community are part of my Kind Qrew. My crew is spelled with a “Q”, Q-R-E-W, for Marly Q, of course. And it’s really, it’s that; it’s about community building, it’s about bringing kind minded people together, or like-minded people together, who have the same intention of connecting, of uplifting each other, inspiring each other and in essence, holding each other accountable for what we intend to do and what we say that we want to do, whether it’s personal or professional goal. I love that you’ve created not just the community, but the structure and this accountability system to keep everybody focused on the intention. I love that because I think as humans, it’s really easy to forget, right? To forget what our intentions are but when you’re in community, and you have the structure or the system in place, you’re way more likely to achieve those goals or intentions.

[08:25] Tiffany: That’s really it Marly. It’s not as if any of us have goals that we don’t achieve, because we don’t know how to achieve goals, we all know how to do that, we’re all successful people. It’s not as if we don’t care about the goals, we all care. It’s just that there’s this thing called life that gets in the way. And for women in particular, we often spend quite a bit of time holding other people accountable in their lives, whether it’s holding our children accountable, holding our manager accountable, holding our team accountable, holding our partner accountable, that sometimes we’re the last ones who get held accountable to our own ambition, in some ways, because we are successful because people do look up to us, because people rely on us. And so, women joining The Cru, I do see as an act of kindness toward ourselves, you know, and I thank women, and I celebrate women for making an investment in themselves to say …

“Actually, I want to invest in myself in such a way that I’m going to be able to move myself forward with intentionality.”, that’s an act of kindness as well.

[09:33] Marly Q: Absolutely. Making the Time to be Kind, making the investment to be kind and yourself, I’m such a big supporter of that, promoter of that. Absolutely, I think that many women in particular struggle with, you know, “How can I make time to be kind to myself or to prioritize myself when I have all these other competing priorities and everybody else comes first and everything else has to come first?”

You know, we put ourselves last on that list. So, really, what this podcast for me is, putting my money where my mouth is, if you will, or walking the talk and really making time to be kind to myself by launching this podcast and channeling my energy in a positive way, where it was really birthed right at the start of this whole pandemic, right? And my events business crumbled within the span of a week. It’s like, “Okay, let’s make a different intention”.

My mission has been the same since I was 10 years old; I want to inspire kindness in the world. And I do that through speaking, through teaching, through events and the events kind of took a weird turn here in 2020 but I can still be on mission. I can still be focused on my intention and having awesome guests like you come and make the time to be kind to me, holds me accountable to showing up and really doing what I love, which is really just sharing stories and inspiring kindness and keeping this message moving forward or this movement moving forward by turning up the volume a little bit on kindness. And I love that you focus your work, your mission and your energy on teaching and empowering women specifically, who I think are the ones that need this message, you know more than anybody, like, “Hey, you deserve to make time to be kind to yourself too, just as much as you make time to be kind to your kids and your spouse and your community and your colleagues at work and the world at large; you deserve a little bit of that time to be kind to you as well”.

[11:26] Tiffany: Absolutely. There’s something about what you just said that I think we should amplify to anyone who’s listening, which is the importance of having clarity about why you’re here. You know, my life’s work is advancing women and girls, that’s pretty much why I’m on the planet. And so, my life is simple, not because I don’t have a lot of things to do or there aren’t demands, it’s because ultimately …

I already know what’s on my tombstone. You know, it says, “She got to as many women as she could.”

… and on most days, I’m just kind of project managing my life backwards from there, it makes for a different kind of life exercise. One of the reasons why it’s so important is because of the story that you just told …

…life is going to happen, a viral pandemic will hit, your events business might have to be shuttered but why you’re here is never shuttered, your passion and your purpose cannot be shuttered.

And so, if you have clarity about the contribution that you want to make to the world, about why you’re here, ultimately, you can pivot much faster, you can pivot so much faster. And that’s why you’re able to say, “Oh, this week, my events business is gone, the next week, we’re going to launch a podcast.”. That’s it. I think that’s amazing.

[12:51] Marly Q: Thank you so much for reflecting that and amplifying it in such a beautiful and eloquent way that only you can, so beautiful. I love how you speak and just share everything, including your book that I devoured when I picked it up called, Drop the Ball, which I really want you to share what Drop the Ball is all about, because I think it’s all about making time to be kind to yourself.

[13:14] Tiffany: It really is. So, I wrote a book called Drop the Ball because I used to be someone who was terrified of ever dropping a ball. I used to think that dropping the ball was effectively failure to take timely action on something, that it meant that I wasn’t being responsible, it meant that I was letting myself down, my family down, my community down. It sounds a bit dramatic but as an African American person, I actually felt like I was letting the entire race down, you know, as in, they’re never going to hire another black person again, if I screw this up, and so, it’s a lot of pressure, exactly. And that’s actually where a lot of women are, feeling a lot of pressure and a lot of responsibilities to keep all of the balls up in the air. Now, to be honest, it isn’t as if I came up with some amazing strategy for dropping the ball, what happened was that, I had a life event for which all the balls came crashing to the floor. For me, it was the birth of my first child, for some women I’ve spoken to, it’s you finally get the promotion and you find out that it’s a lot harder to be the boss than you thought it was going to be. I’ve spoken to women for whom it was a diagnosis that caused them to drop the balls. I’ve spoken to many women over the past several months for whom this crisis, this viral pandemic, and the ensuing social uprising has been what has caused them to drop the ball like left and right. So, I decided to reappropriate the term because when that happened to me, when I started dropping balls, one of the discoveries I made was that all of the things I was always terrified would happen if I ever dropped the ball, didn’t happen. None of them happened, no one came to me, read me my Miranda Rights because I hadn’t paid all the tickets for alternate side parking. Like, no one called to tell me they didn’t love me anymore, and that they weren’t going to be my friend anymore, that they were going to disown me from the family, I didn’t get fired from my job. Like, all the things that I thought were going to happen that were terrible, that would mean I was a failure, none of those things happened. So, I really started to question, why is it that I feel all this pressure to begin with? Where is that coming from? And eventually…

I redefined the term for myself. So, for me dropping the ball now means that I have released these unrealistic expectations about having to keep everything in the air to begin with, that I figured out what matters most to me, that I figured out what my highest and best use is in relationship to what matters most and that I figured out how to meaningfully engage other people in my life so that I can realize my full potential…

…and we can talk a little bit about what that means but it’s been a life changing event. It took me a good three and a half years, you know, to figure out how to drop the ball. I wrote the book in hopes that it won’t take another woman so long to be able to do that, but it’s been a journey. I’ve been a ball dropper now for about 11,12 years, it’s changed my life. And by the way, I discovered after I became a ball dropper, that there are women for whom they don’t feel this pressure. It’s like, the women who are like, “Tiffany, I never ever cleaned the top of my refrigerator.”, I was like, “Really? There are people who never?”, “No, I never did that.”. But we don’t hear their stories very often. So, I also like to say, you know, if you’re listening, and you never felt that pressure, or you always felt permission to drop balls, tell your story, talk about what it is that you don’t do …

I think we should write bios about what we don’t do, as opposed to what we do do in order to free other people.

[17:09] Marly Q: Yes, I absolutely love it. You know, right now what we’re doing is giving me permission to drop the ball, so to speak, and give me time to be kind to myself, as I transition into becoming a mom of two boys, this episode is being you know, released while I’m taking that time to drop every single other ball and only focus on my brand new baby and I thought of you right away! So, like, this is such a perfect episode to have while I’m taking time off, because I just love that message that you have permission to drop the ball and if you are clear with what’s most important to you, and you’re able to really just plan your life around that, there’s no guilt, right? Because that was a big feeling for me I really related with all of the the reasons why I always had to have all the balls in the air and put all this pressure myself but one real big one was, I feel a lot of guilt of letting anybody down, whether it’s my family or my friends or my clients, it was a big pressure that I would put on myself and I have practiced enough you know, gently, it’s not even dropping the ball like, “Ugh, like, get out of here ball, you don’t matter anymore.”, no, those things still matter. I’m going to gently put that ball down, right? With kindness because I’m on this other ball right here or, you know, I’m taking space to clear you know, the calendar of all the balls that have been up in the air in order to give myself the time to rest, to recharge, to re-center myself or to apply to this other thing that I’m on. So, I just loved your book so much, I devoured it and I just think that it’s something that so many people can benefit from. I will definitely share the book in the show notes and encourage everyone, man or woman, alike to pick up this book because it is filled with really wonderful stories, it’s so really well written and specific things that I think you can apply to help you be a ball dropper. I love that.

[18:57] Tiffany: Yes, absolutely. And you know, speaking of guilt, it’s pretty impossible to feel guilty and be kind to yourself simultaneously. Guilt is a feeling that we’ve committed a moral transgression, it’s a feeling that we’ve done something terribly wrong and in the process of feeling guilty, we often beat ourselves up.

And the best way to really manage the guilt is really to identify what value, what belief system you feel that your behavior is out of alignment with that’s causing the guilt.

Because that’s what happens, we basically have things that we believe in, we have values, maybe your value is, you know, nurturing, you feel like it’s really important to nurture in hopes of being a good mom and the behavior that you associate with nurturing is spending time with your child; many women, by the way, are socially conditioned to believe this as well. But that could be your genuine belief system. Well, if in the midst of COVID, you are now working from home and unlike in a previous world, you now feel that you’re spending less time with your child, when they’re used to you being able to do that in your own home because you’ve got to meet the demands of the workplace, you may feel guilty, because you’re not able to exercise the behavior of spending the time with your, you know, value of nurturing. And so, the only way to really manage that is to reassign new behaviors to your values, to your belief system. So, what you have to do is say, “I believe that to be a good mom, I need to nurture my children, nurturing my children could come in many different forms, what is going to be my highest and best use in nurturing my children?”. And to be more specific, so right now for me, I’m saying everything that we say is teaching us, for me right now, it’s, “I’m going to have a meaningful conversation with my children each and every day, I’m going to be their coaching chief. And if I can do that every day, that I am a nurturing mother, even if the rest of the day, they’re being parented by Fortnite and YouTube right now.”. So, I don’t feel guilty because as long as I’m having that conversation with them, even if it’s just for a moment, I’m a nurturing mother.

So, as much as you can assign behaviors that are feasible, that are realistic to your values, you won’t have to worry about feeling guilty.

[21:30] Marly Q: Ah, that is so beautifully said, I feel like giving you like the standing ovation, but I don’t want to mess up my setup here. That was beautiful and so on point. I recently launched my first online course called, The B.E.S.T. Way to Stress Less™, this whole situation has forced me into being like a virtual yoga teacher or virtual coach or virtual event creator, things that I never thought I would be, and I just launched, it just happened in August, a four week virtual experience where I was teaching people the “best way to stress less” and right, what you just finished sharing is, in this time that we are maybe feeling we’re stuck in our homes, and maybe we can’t go to the gym, and we can’t practice self-care the way that we would want to and we’re stressing, right? There’s so much stress going on and maybe we’re not managing that stress the way that we normally would by going to the spa or going to the gym or going to your favorite yoga class or going to a music concert, whatever your way of stressing less is, that’s been taken away. I created a very simple way where different set of behaviors like you were just saying, how can you re-designate behaviors that are still aligned with the value of taking care of yourself and not over stressing and not, you know, putting yourself in a state where you’re anxious or worried all the time. What behaviors are feasible and are doable in this time right now? And you can change those behaviors so that they’re aligned with the values at any time, that’s a beautiful thing about it. It’s just, are we making the time to reassess and redefine those behaviors, right? Which is taking time to be kind. So, I love that, I absolutely love that; it’s so on point.

[23:09] Tiffany: Thank you. No, it’s so true.

[23:11] Marly Q: Thank you for that, being just one of the many gifts that I found within your book and also within just the work that you do. Tiffany, we can talk for days, we can have multiple interviews, but we do try to keep all of our interviews in the sake of time, and making sure that folks can actually devour them, I’m going to go ahead and just thank you so much for making the time to be kind today. And for all of our PARKers listening, I want to make sure that they connect with you so, I’ll include all of your links in our show notes.

[23:41] Tiffany: Thank you so much.

[23:43] Outro: I hope that after listening to this episode, you’re empowered to make more time to be kind to yourself. To check out Tiffany’s book, Drop the Ball and learn more about joining The Cru, just visit this episode’s show notes page at marlyq.com/24.

And hey, if you’ve been struggling to get your kids or students into the school spirit this academic year, I invite you to “drop the ball” and join me for the first ever DIGITAL All Kids Included Family Arts Festival, or AKI for short.

This totally free and fully accessible virtual event is designed for kids of all ages and abilities, and it’s proudly presented by Miami Dade County’s Department of Cultural Affairs and South Miami Dade Cultural Arts Center, with support from the Children’s Trust.

I have the honor of serving as Emcee and I invite you to introduce your kids to the virtual world of enchanting arts, crafts, jaw dropping performances with more than a dozen videos as students can have fun with, like interactive art classes, games, book readings, dance performance, music lessons, and so much more, including a beautiful digital gallery with artwork created by students in grades pre K through 12.

Click here to be a part of the special Digital AKI award ceremony streamed this Saturday September 12th at 11am Eastern time to announce the winning artwork.

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Stop Parenting Alone

Stop Parenting Alone

“Marly Q., didn’t you just have a baby? How are you still sharing new podcast episodes every Wednesday?!

Today’s episode reveals my secret …

I’m able to be fully present for my new baby AND still make Time to be Kind while I learn how to parent two boys because one of the nation’s go-to parenting experts, Lina Acosta-Sandaal, inspired & empowered me to STOP PARENTING ALONE long before I became a mom!

SHOW NOTES:

Click here for Free Parenting Tips, Consultation and Online Parenting Support Group

If you’re in the US you can TEXT the word READY to 66866 to get on Lina’s list! Connect on Instagram @parentingexpert

DON’T MISS THE ALL KIDS INCLUDED FAMILY ARTS FESTIVAL (scroll all the way down for details)

Totally FREE Virtual Event launching September 4, 2020 and continuing for several weeks!

TRANSCRIPTION:

Hi PARKer. I’m Marly Q and you’re listening to Episode #23 with Lina Acosta-Sandaal. I’m celebrating life today because my husband, Bert and I just welcomed our new baby boy into the world this week! You know, being full-time entrepreneurs, raising one child has been challenging enough over the past two years. So, we’re taking a little time off to be kind to ourselves as we transition into the role of parenting two kids.

In case you’re asking yourself, how are we still able to share new episodes every Wednesday?

Well, I’ll tell you our secret, we are not parenting alone!

That’s precisely why I invited one of the nation’s go to parenting experts to make time to be kind with us today. Lina Acosta-Sandaal is a highly sought-after human development expert, she’s a psychotherapist, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and the founder of Stop Parenting Alone; a parenting education and consulting program based in Miami, Florida.

Lina’s heartfelt mission is for all parents to fall in love with their parenting journey and whether you’re a parent or not, this episode is full of gold that’ll spark kindness towards all the parents you know.

And I want you to stay to the end because I’ve got a very special invitation to a free virtual event coming up called All Kids Included, and you don’t want to miss it. But first, let’s listen in to this inspiring conversation with a fellow PARKer and real-life parenting superhero. Lina, thank you for making time to be kind with us today!

[01:41] Lina: Thank you for having me, thank you for asking. There’s nothing like kindness, that’s like one of my favorite subjects. So, I’m so excited to be able to be on today!

[01:52] Marly Q: Oh, one of my favorite subjects too! And as it relates to parenting, I know I’m a brand new mom, as of two years had my first baby boy and this episode is airing as I just had my second baby and I’m transitioning into being a mom of two young little boys! I am just so definitely focused on kindness towards myself, my husband and my babies. So, it’s just absolutely awesome to have a parenting expert give me some love and advice for me and our PARKers listening.

[02:29] Lina: Yes, and you know, you say something beautiful, you know, “I am a mama of a two-year-old and a little tiny, new citizen.”, right?

And the first tip on kindness to self as it pertains to parenting is, always remember that your knowledge, your information, and your experience is as old as your children’s.

So, you cannot know what it’s like to have a 10-year-old until you have a 10-year-old and you cannot know what it’s like to have an 8-year-old, until you have an 8-year-old. You know, a lot of the time, parents’ pain or self-criticism comes from this idea that somehow you can think far enough into the future to avoid and no, be kind to yourself. So yes, Marly, you are a mama of two year old information, you have two years mama and anything beyond that, your beautiful souls, who have chosen you, because I like to think that our babies choose us, right? They’re going to teach you along the way so you know, it’s my mission in the world to remind people, parenting is a journey and where you end up, you don’t know, which is why it’s so scary.

[03:44] Marly Q: Definitely for a planner, a recovering planner, I like to say, I’m a recovering planner, I remember you and I sitting at a women’s symposium a couple years back, I think it was 2017 or so, actually the end of 2016 and you were a speaker at this event, an amazing speaker and I was emceeing.

We got to sit at the same table and one of the reflection questions was about creating like your vision and your big goals for the coming year. And I’m like, “I’ve got this parenting expert sitting right next to me. I am petrified to start a family.”, and I remember being really afraid, but very anxious about starting a family and, “How am I going to be this ambitious, successful woman and philanthropist and doing everything that I’m doing and start a family?”. But my husband sat me down and said, “Woman, when are we going to start a family?”, and I confessed this to you and I wrote it down in the little yellow post it like,

“This is my big goal. I’m going to start a family.”. And I took advantage and I picked your brain like, “Lina, how do you do it?”, and you were so kind and generous and understanding and you didn’t laugh at me and you’re like, “This is completely normal for you to feel that way and you’re going to be such a great mom.”, and you just– you were so supportive and I just always remember that conversation. You sent me a book, which is all about understanding that as parents, we are the architect of our child’s minds and their brains and I just found it so fascinating, right? Although there isn’t a children’s like, a handbook on parenting, really, given that gift, as I was pregnant was just super powerful for me and I tried to follow much of the advice that you have given me in my first two years of parenting.

[05:33] Lina: Yay, that fills me with joy! And thank you for giving me that feedback. Because I remember vividly, just knowing in my soul like, you know, once you say yes to parenthood, it kind of happens, you know that there’s a saying that my uncle used to say to me, and he used to say, it’s in Spanish, “Los niños vienen con pan del brazo.”, you know, “children come with a piece of bread under their arm”, and there’s truth to that, right?

And, you know, I love that this podcast is about kindness, because I think that that’s what most parents lack for themselves and it’s not because they’re bad, and it’s not because they’re evil; it’s because parenting is high stakes.

Yes, we are the architects, you know, of a brain. For the first five years, we are laying the foundation of a human being’s brain so, whenever we do anything that’s high stakes, or stressful, we tend to be self-critical, we tend to micromanage and get into the minutiae of things and in that moment in that table, that’s what you were doing; you were imagining, “How am I going to bring the soul into this earth and still be Marly?”. You know, and I know that I said, loving things, but I also told you, you’re not. You’re going to be a new person, it’s a new transition, It’s a new shift, it’s a new change.

And when we change, we must give ourselves the kindness to be human because it’s when we criticize our mistakes or it’s when we criticize what bubbles up in our emotional world for ourselves and for our children, that we feel pain. It’s not what’s actually happening in front of us, is the self-judgment and the self-criticism that actually creates bigger pain. Yes so, when I was thinking about coming on to speak to you, I was like …

Kindness to self is key to being a parent.

[07:40] Marly Q: I’m so grateful to have been on this self-love and kindness journey well before I decided to bring kids into the world, and I see it every day, every single day. I mean, even as we speak, in days that I’m feeling low in energy and I have a headache and my child who’s two now, he notices right away that I’m not feeling well. And I’m like, you know I tell him, “Papi, you know, mommy’s head hurts you know and baby, you know baby Luka is almost here and I’m a little tired, I didn’t sleep.”, and he’s two and he understands and he put his little hand like on my head and gives me kisses and I’m just like, “I’m teaching kindness, right? His middle name is Jude Parker, Parker is all of our PARKers listening, all of us are people who Perform Acts of Random Kindness.

I named him an acronym, you can laugh at me, it’s okay. I share it all the time, people are like, “Oh my goodness, you named your kid an acronym?”. Well, because if I only have one mission, as a parent, one seed that I am very intentional about planting in my kids, it’s going to be the seed of kindness towards themselves, towards each other, towards this world because I believe that that’s how we make profound change in the world.

I believe that that’s really my single, most important role and job as a parent is to teach myself kindness by modeling it first and foremost, and he sees me modeling it, right? And then, teaching that to him, my kid hugs himself, you know, you would love it, he does something great, he’s like, oh, he uses the potty right, we’re potty training him right now. So, he’s like, “Yay!”, and he gives himself a hug, that’s amazing.

[09:18] Lina: And that’s beautiful, what a beautiful thing, right? Because you just named something really important in parenting, right? Which will be your map for all the trials and tribulations that we go through in our parenting journey, which is values, right? So, you have this very powerful value that you are teaching your child and modeling for your child, which is the value of kindness, right? Because kindness is a value, it has rules, right? So, when parents are very, very confused, I always say to them, “Hey, do you know your five core values that you’re teaching your child?”, right. Because if you have these values that you’re certain of, that’s how you can pick what you do in the routine, the rules you have in your home, the schools you will choose for your child, the after school activities that you will choose for your child, because you have to look at it through the lens of the values that you’re teaching them, right? So, Marly Q is not going to put Jude Parker into a school that is not teaching and expressing kindness, it would just not– so, it will be easy. You won’t have to ask eight people what school is a good school in the city, because well, you will but then, you’ll go to the four schools that the people tell you and then, you’re going to be looking for how do they teach and honor this value? So again, if you don’t have your five core values yet, and your child is 16, that’s okay because you probably did it unconsciously. You have been teaching them about responsibility, and respect, and honesty, and all of those things are values. It’s just that when I get to talk to a person who has a citizen of the world inside of their body, I’m like, “All right, values”!

That’s the first thing I want you to figure out, forget everything else. What are the values?

What are the values you’re going to teach your baby? Because that’s how you can make all your decisions. And that’s why Jude can be kind to himself when he does the excellent thing of going pee and poo in the potty because it’s the pain in the behind to do that, you know, “It was so efficient before, I didn’t have to stop my play.”, and now he does. Now you have to stop his play to go pee and poo in the potty, which is awful.

[11:40] Marly Q: He definitely celebrates himself, which I think is one of my values is celebrating and gratitude. And my husband – I’m so grateful to not be on this parenting journey alone, I have a partner that is just as committed to, you know, being in alignment with our values and teaching him that so you know, values of kindness and honesty and gratitude and compassion, right, are all there. I am not parenting alone which is why I love, not just the name of your business, but really your messaging is really, you’re not alone on this parenting journey and I’m just so fortunate, blessed to have, not just my husband who is right there, the rock, we’re on the same page, but I have my parents, my mom who’s been a child caretaker her whole life, I have my in laws as well right now while I’m on maternity, and I’m healing from my experience here, she’s helping me you know, cook and clean and take care of Jude so that I can breastfeed the other one. And I have come such a long way in my own ability to ask for kindness, to receive kindness from others, which I know I struggled with in the past quite a bit and I’m receiving graciously with a lot of gratitude, a lot of help right now.

[12:53] Lina: Yeah, you’re feeding me all the information of you know what makes up for good parenting, right? So, you just said, “I have a partner that parents with me.”, and you know, there are three musts to parenting, and one of them is teamwork, right? And you just named your team, your partner, your in laws, your parents. And when we parent, we definitely need not do it alone and/or should do it alone because you rob the opportunity of your child to experience multiple people loving and caring for them, multiple people showing them different aspects of the world because each of us as individuals will show up with a child in a different way; I’m sure that you know, paternal grandma does very, very different things with Jude than maternal grandma. But it is important for those extended family members, friends, your partners to be able to be on the same page, right? For everybody to agree, and by the way, that doesn’t happen quickly. I mean, when in early childhood, you know, that’s one of the biggest stressors, right? When the caregivers are not on the same page, when there isn’t teamwork and that stressor comes from the fight over the division of labor, who does what? Right. And here’s another tip, the division of labor is not fair, it’s very hard to do 50/50 division of labor, right? It’s more about who does what well. And I don’t like to get into gender stuff however, a lot of mama’s believe the myth that only a mother can soothe a baby and that is not true. A loving, warm, present human, you know, can take care of a baby. It is so important to give everybody around the child an opportunity to build their own circle with the child and for everyone to speak to one another because, I don’t know about you, but each of us depending on our relationship, we show up differently as well. So, when your child has multiple people around them, you get to see the range of their personality. Yeah, you just named, you know, now you’ve named the two like, high, A+ star, right? Values, teamwork, if you’re wondering how to be– how to do this parenting thing as well as possible. Because by the way, it’s super messy and nobody does it perfectly. You’re not supposed to do it perfectly.

[15:37] Marly Q: I want to talk about that because for many PARKers that are listening, who are parents or considering to be parents and are thinking that there’s this perfection, right? This ideal that we are going to get it right all the time and that parenting is this like straight line, I love that you also focus so much of your work and your talks and your therapy with people on the messiness of parenting and allowing, I see it again, as kindness; it all comes back to allowing ourselves the kindness of messing up and making mistakes and being able to repair those mistakes with ourselves and our children, and that that’s okay.

[16:17] Lina: 100%. There are different facts about raising a child one, yes, you are the architect of their brain, you know, their little neurology and their beliefs; their first beliefs come from you, you know, everybody knows this innately. You could be 30, 40, 50, 60 years old, you still hear certain rules in your head that your parents gave you, whether you agree with them or not, you hear them, right? And the messiness is also a fact of parenting and the messy is because of how quickly a human being that we’re raising from 0-24, how quickly those years are with the shifts and the changes. We don’t like change, you know, the neutral point of the brain is to be able to predict what’s going to happen, right? The brain is a prediction machine, it uses past events to predict the future, right? Which is what all of us need to work very hard, if we get out of the neutral of the brain, to be mindful. I love reading your social and you talk about mindfulness and kindness and I’m like, “Oh, Marly, I just want to throw you kisses.”, because to think, yes, because being mindful is a practice. Because our automatic response is to predict, right? So, why is parenting messy? Because the brain doesn’t have any information, this is a brand-new creature, right? And I always tell parents, I have expertise in children’s development, I have expertise in children and adolescents and infants but you parent, are the expert on your child because they are also an individual. So, you can take all this broad information that we have about our children, but then you have to see it and discover what’s in front of you and that feels super messy because your brain wants me to predict for you, “Okay, at 25.3 quarters of a month, your child will be speaking in four sentences.”.

[18:36] Marly Q: No, I understand as a recovering planner, one of the guidelines that I tried so hard to follow, in that book that you had given me was, to not expose my son to TV or electronics, that type of thing until he was two years old. And then, this worldwide pandemic hit and we’re quarantined at home and I’m pregnant and I have a toddler and I still was really good and committed to it and we’re like five or six weeks away from this kid’s second birthday and I caved completely. I was just having a, you know, a low energy day and this kid was just non-stop and I’m like, “We are turning on this TV and we are watching animal planet.”, and we saw like, some nature, you know, animal show, he just had the best time. So, although a little part of me really wanted to be self-critical and be hard on myself for not, you know, meeting my goal of two years old, I did exactly what you’re just sharing right now is, I allowed it to be messy, and I applied it to this individual child that I have in front of me who is incredibly sharp. And I’m like, “You know what? Six weeks before his second birthday? It’s going to be okay, I’m not going to ruin his brain, and we’re going to watch some TV together.”, and it was this beautiful family time that he loves. So, I thought I’d confess too, to you; I broke my goal of the two-year-old but it was okay, I was kind of myself about it.

[19:59] Lina: You know, you’re naming what we had, right? Our old, prior to global pandemic times of guidelines for young children and screens, right? No screens before two, you know, an hour between two and four with an adult, just like you handle a book and then, you know, five and older, you know, two hours, right?

But I was just speaking to a pediatrician and she was like, “You know, we kind of have to wiggle and slow and wobble with what’s happening.”, and you’re naming it exactly right. It’s that moment where, whenever you’re in doubt, as a parent, whenever you are frazzled, and you don’t know what to do, and you’re overwhelmed, my go to, kind of like break glass for help is, “How can I stay calm?”, because our children use us, to know when the world is safe and this is true of all age groups, right? They look to us for leadership, they look to us for safety, they look to us for information, right? So, in those moments when you’re frazzled and lost and crazy, but you are making the perfect nutritious meal and no screens and– but you’re crazy. That doesn’t do, I mean, I’d rather he watched you know, two hours of television with a calm, happy mommy, sitting next to him cracking up, than a frazzled, scared, self-critical mama who was making the perfect meal.

[21:38] Marly Q: Yeah, absolutely. That’s the basis of how I made that decision, I’m like, “Nope, right now what’s more important to me is that we are calm and that we are going to keep a peaceful home and we’re going to watch some TV together, buddy, and it’s going to be great; you’re going to love it.”.

[21:51] Lina: Yeah. So, that is my, here, break glass in emergency. “How can I be safe? How can I be calm? How can I stay as loving as possible? What do I need to do as a parent?” and ask yourself that.

[22:04] Marly Q: My favorite part is when he asked me so far, again as a relatively new mom still is, what’s my favorite part so far about being a mom? And my favorite part is, how my son looks at me as his guide in life with these eyes of like, trust and like, “Tell me what this is. What is that mama?”. You know, and just trusting you as their guide in life. So, for me my priority is that self-care, “How am I feeling?”, because I understand that that’s what I’m communicating to him pre-verbally, before language, I’m communicating to him energy and how I’m feeling so, that comes before. And am I perfect? Absolutely not but I know how to implement the 70/30 rule as well.

[22:51] Lina: Oh, yes. I always share with, I love that you brought that up, that in parenting, you know, this isn’t the exact number so, those of you that are mathematicians don’t divide your hours by 70/30. However, it’s just a nice kind of reminder that 30% of the time, you’re going to mess up miserably; you will, because you’re a human, right? And the other 70% of the time, you’re going to be that parent that you hope that you will be that you know, that you’ve read about in all the books. So, what you do with that 30% is what makes or breaks your relationship with your child, right? So, that 30%, when we mess up, when we blow it, we go and repair and that’s how you build self-esteem with your child because they experience this estimable moment where the person that they love the most is letting them know, “You are so valuable to me that I am going to come here and let you know the mistake that I made.”, and it’s not a, “I’m sorry, mommy’s never going to do that again.”, because that would make you a liar; you will do that again. But rather, “Hey, I didn’t speak to you in a kind way, I forgot to breathe, I forgot to walk away and next time, I’m going to manage my frustration a little bit better, we’re both working on that buddy.”. And repeat and remind, repeat and remind forever and a day, right? Because if you pretend to be perfect, you make the child criticize themselves because children always make mistakes. Children don’t have impulse control and children break the rules all the time because they’re children. So, if they have this perfect person that never does anything wrong, that creates chaos.

[24:35] Marly Q: Thank you for sharing that, I think that that’s so important to have brought up in the conversation as well. So, I try to practice it my friend, and I know my kid’s only two but he knows when you know, mama messes up and I got frustrated, I am a spicy, fiery, Cuban mom, man, I get mad sometimes, and I’ll breathe.

[24:54] Lina: Actually, he’s already at two, learned a really valuable thing which is not to take your mood personal. So, besides being that secure base and doing what you need to do to stay as calm as possible, always be mindful to, you know, take him off the hook as it pertains to your mood and your energy. So, “Oh my god, Lina, I can’t possibly be calm all the time, you’re scaring me. I can’t do that.”. Listen well, I’m not telling you to be perfect, I’m telling you be mindful of how you can stay calm as often as possible. However, if you’re having a 30% day, let your baby know something to the effect of, “Mommy’s cuckoo bananas, I’m going to take deep breaths, I’m going to come down. So, we’re going to move slowly. today.”, that way your child is like, “Ooh, mommy’s cuckoo bananas.”. You know, my son, back when he was younger, you know, he’s 12 now, but when he was younger, he would open my door and then I would like look at him and he’d be like, “Oh Mama’s cuckoo bananas?”, and I just like, shake my head saying yes and then, he would just close the door. So, the next time your child walks away from you or your teenager says to you, “Oh my God, you’re so crazy.”, pat yourself on the back, because that means that they’re not taking your mood personal.

[26:10] Marly Q: What a great insight there. Thank you, that makes me feel better about those times. But you know, we can talk for days, I love talking to you, I love hearing, not just receiving your light, your love, your energy, your wisdom, your advice, all rooted in kindness. Always seeking to make the world a better place by empowering and educating and uplifting parents because we do have, I think, the most important job and if we want to create a world where it’s full of PARKers, of people who are Performing Acts of Random Kindness, it really does start with us and us instilling these seeds of kindness in our kids. Thank you for the work that you do every day, thank you for making the time to be kind today and sharing all of that with us.

[26:55] Lina: You’re so very welcome and I am honored to have had this opportunity.

[27:00] Outro: I hope this episode inspired you to Stop Parenting Alone. If you want to receive more free parenting tips from Lina, head on over to marlyq.com/23 for show notes, transcription and direct links to learn about her awesome Online Parenting Support (OPS) group too.

For the past six years, I’ve been a part of a very special community event called The All Kids Included Family Arts Festival or AKI for short. It’s presented by the Miami Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, and South Miami Dade Cultural Art Center with the support from the Children’s Trust. This year, I got to Emcee the first ever digital AKI and I’m so excited to share that it’s launching this Friday September 4th, and it’s continuing for several weeks!

This one of the kind digital AKI event features storytelling, art making activities, performances, sing alongs, magic and so much more, absolutely FREE for kids of all ages and abilities. For details, just click the digital AKI event flyer for direct link to participate and invite all the parents you know, they’ll love you for Performing Acts of Random Kindness. #wePARK

[28:09] Thank you for listening. If you’re inspired to make a little more time to be kind, please subscribe, leave a kind review and share with a friend who would appreciate this podcast too. Thank you for being the spark of kindness. See you next time. [28:21]

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T.I.M.E. Management

T.I.M.E. Management

How many times have you felt or said “I don’t have time for ____ ”? 

The honest answer is “more times than I can count”, if you’re anything like who I was! I’ve worked to heal my once toxic relationship trying to “manage time” and have redefined T.I.M.E. in a way that’s allowed me to become way more present & productive professionally AND personally. 

Today, you get to meet a PARKer that has been instrumental in giving me MORE TIME to do what I love & shows how you can too!  

SHOW NOTES:

Click here to learn more about Romaine & The Executive Admin Group Click here to access Time Management freebies

Connect on Instagram @RomaineBPalmer

Click here to check out Romaine’s T-Shirt Line Black Shirt White Letters

TRANSCRIPTION:

Hi PARKer, this is Marly Q and welcome to Episode 22 with Romaine Brown-Palmer. I can hardly believe we’re nearing the end of August. In just a few days, I’m doing with baby number two, and I’ll be taking a few months off. But don’t you worry, you can still count on making Time to be Kind every Wednesday because my husband, Bert, and I have been dedicating a lot of time behind the scenes to make sure we bring you inspiring interviews each week.

I’m making the time to B.R.A.G. (yep, that’s an acronym for Be Real And Grateful), because we’ve got a stellar line up of episodes already recorded, edited and in cue practically for the rest of the year, and that’s worthy of a moment to brag, right?!

And that’s what today’s episode is all about, I get to BRAG about my team and how I’ve redefined T.I.M.E. management. Here’s a hint, TIME is another acronym. J

So, without further ado, our guest today is Romaine Brown-Palmer, she’s the founder of the Executive Administrative Group, a boutique, virtual support and project management firm based in South Florida. She’s also a small business administrative consultant and a coach for Virtual Assistants nationwide, and she recently launched a merchandise line for digital entrepreneurs, which I love called Black Shirt, White Letters. In her VA business, Romaine and her awesome team of four work with coaches, event planners and solo entrepreneurs, like me, to help them better manage their time by streamlining their business through the power of delegation.

So, if learning how to better manage your time is a topic that interests you, sit back, relax and enjoy this timely interview.

I am so excited to have my executive admin, my friend, my PARKer for over five years on the show, Romaine Brown-Palmer, thank you so much for making the Time to be Kind!

[02:06] Romaine: I mean, it’s my honor, I’m so excited. When I got the request, I was just like, “Yes, yes, yes.”, so yes, this is amazing. Thank you.

[02:16] Marly Q: Yes, yes, yes, I love that. You know, you are someone that’s just so incredibly special to me in so many different ways. Personally, you are just such an emotional support and such a great friend but professionally, you have just been like my jackpot, my savior in business with the incredible work that you do behind the scenes to help me manage my event business, my speaking and even my teaching and my coaching business as it was launching as well, you helped me launch all of that behind the scenes as my executive admin. Thank you.

[02:55] Romaine: Thank you. I love that jackpot; I’m going to add that to the list of nicknames.

[02:59] Marly Q: Yeah, you’ve got several really good nicknames, don’t you?

Queen of Logistics, The Brain! You’ve got a wonderful slew of really well earned, well-deserved nicknames, because you are truly a magician of orchestrating details behind the scene to allow business owners, entrepreneurs, coaches, event planners, just people that are out there basically solo-preneuring, allowing them to be more efficient and be more productive in their businesses. And you have definitely helped me do that as of the last, little over five years or so that we’ve been working together, is that right?

[03:40] Romaine: Yeah, that took– that flew by, that really did. And so yeah, it’s been incredible to also be able to support the growth, right? So, it’s like, one of the benefits of working with our support team is that, it allows you the flexibility to flex your wings like, be like, “I can do this because I know he or she has my back.”, so, I love that.

[04:03] Marly Q: Yes, and have my back you do. You know, backtracking for our PARKers listening at that point in my life, this is probably 2014 I believe, I had the mindset of, “I can’t afford to hire a VA or a virtual assistant, I can’t afford that.”, you know? But I wanted to reach out to you and have you on my team so badly, and I just kind of blocked myself from having that opportunity. And now, fast forward, you know, five, six years later, I can’t NOT afford to have you on my team, you are just such an important and key piece of anything, any project that I take on. I’m immediately thinking, “Wow, Romaine would just be a wizard in being able to handle this logistically behind the scenes.”, keeping everything on track and your team, right? That you manage. So, would you mind sharing, you know, with us a little bit more about what you do, because it’s so valuable and I think that there’s a lot of people that can relate, if they’re business owners or solo-preneurs listening, that mindset of you know, “I can’t afford to hire a virtual assistant to help me.”.

[05:07] Romaine: Yeah. So, what I tell people, because in addition to the work that I do with my virtual assistant agency, as you mentioned, I have the team. I also work with solo entrepreneurs to help them like, map out system and figure out the back end so that, those relationships when they’re ready to engage are successful. And one of the first things that always come up is, you know, “I don’t think I can afford a VA right now, but I want to be ready for when the time is.”, and I think it’s like this big thing in your head, like, “Oh, it has to be all in.”, and you immediately think it has to be this big retainer, where it’s 40 hours a month, or 50 hours a month. And what I tell people is, exactly what you said, you may feel like you can’t afford a virtual assistant but in reality, you cannot not afford a virtual assistant because you cannot afford to not have that support in your business. And you’re actually probably losing business because of there’s so many things that, as a business owner, you shouldn’t have to touch and because you’re touching it and you’re not doing it in the way that is serving yourself or serving your community or serving like, I even had a conversation with someone today about the invoicing conversation, and how awkward it can be as a business owner to try and do collections, right? You’ve developed this relationship with people, and they are excited to be working with you, but something comes up financially and now, you have to be the one to say, “Hey, this invoice didn’t get paid.”, and it becomes awkward and then, it intrudes on the working relationship and the creative relationship that you have with them. And so, having somebody else handle that will allow you to one, release not having to worry about collections and all that good stuff but also create a lovely barrier where you’re able to stay in your zone of genius, versus handling administrative tasks.

One thing I could tell some people and just walk away with is, imagine what you could create in your business if you were allowed to stay 100%, solely in your zone of genius. Like, if you could only focus on why you went into business, what would you be able to do? What would the next two months look like? What would the next three months? What would the next year look like? Right? So many people I know, they’re interested in launching something, and it just stays on their wish list or stays on their vision board forever, because they can never find enough time, enough mental bandwidth to get it done. And so, that’s what you’re paying for when you hire someone to help support you in bringing your vision to life. It’s taking away the limitations of time, duplicating your efforts, giving your clients more than what they expected, right? Because that’s always the goal with customer service is, making sure that your clients are over the moon excited and you’re building an incredible trust bank for them so that, you know, in case something happens, they’re like, “Listen, you’re amazing 99.9% of the time.”, so, if 1% something happens, your trust bank is full. But when you’re trying to do everything by yourself, you deplete that trust bank so quickly because you slip up and things are not consistent and one person that was referred gets one experience of you and then the other person gets a completely different experience of you because you’re trying to recreate the wheel every time. You may feel like you can’t afford to hire support but if you’re providing a service, if you’re providing anything in business, you can’t afford to not have support because there’s literally not one business in the entire world that can operate without administration.

[08:51] Marly Q: Absolutely. And the right support and the right team, that’s something else that I love about you and your business executive admin group is, you know, there’s a lot of different kinds of VAs, right? So, it’s getting the right team. And by working with you, I realize I’ve got access to all the right people that I need to free me up of the time, like you said, of things that sure I could do, of course I can send out my own invoicing, of course I can send out my own email blast, of course I can draft content for, you know, a campaign or whatnot, of course, I can create that Excel spreadsheet to keep track of you know, x, y, and z, is that the best use of my time as the CEO of my company? Is that the best use of my mental space and my energy? And is that taking away from the experience that I’m trying to create and the relationship that I’m nurturing with my client, right? Like, I feel like that’s the gift, big gift that you give is, the gift of time and energy and the right support system.

[9:55] Romaine: Yeah, you’re absolutely right. I tell people, you could even start small.

What are the top three things in your business that are causing you the most headache and eating up the most time?

You can delegate just that and grow organically into those relationships. So, if you’re like, “Okay, my emails and my invoicing are driving me crazy and it’s sucking up 10 hours a week.”, you can find a virtual assistant that you can pay, you know, a generalist VA $15-$20 an hour to manage that. And now, you have 10 extra hours to work on business development, you have 10 extra hours to work on being creative, if you’re a coach, that’s content time, right? Can you imagine as a coach having 10 extra hours to focus on creating bomb content that everybody is just– that’s going to bring more revenue and more people to you? But you’re spending that time, you know, checking emails?

[10:52] Marly Q: Checking emails, exactly. No, no. So, here, today’s episode we are talking about I mean, you’re the guru of “time management”. You know, I actually don’t even believe in time management as a concept, because I don’t even believe that time anymore is even real, after becoming a mom, I’m like, “What is this funny thing we call time? What is this time?”.

The only time is now, what’s happening in this moment is the only thing that actually matters and is actually happening.

And coming from a planner, that took me a very long time to realize and to–

[11:27] Romaine: That’s a big relief.

[11:29] Marly Q: Yeah, big one. So much so that you know, I love acronyms as an acronomist over here, lover of–

[11:36] Romaine: I love that, I’m going to make you a T shirt that says, “I’m an acronomist”.

[11:42] Marly Q: A professional, serial acronomist, I would love that.

But you know, TIME to me, stands for This Is My Experience, and what I feel that you have given me so much of, is the ability, the “time” if you will, to experience the actual parts of my business that I love…

… you have been able to give me my time back so that I can focus on serving my client, keeping my relationships healthy, focus on the content that I want to deliver, focus on my next project and not on you know, not that they’re not important tasks, but just the administrative tasks that were sucking up my time and my energy and the experience, you know, of burning out! I wanted to stop that experience of burning out. So, I consider you to be the real time manager as far as managing your experience. I know that you are a self-professed weekender, right?

[12:40] Romaine: I’m a professional weekender. And so, in order to do that, I have to make sure that I get all my work done every week. And you know, at our highest point, I think we had 14 clients, and none of our clients felt that way, right? And I think that’s another challenge that a lot of people have with wanting to hire a virtual assistant is, feeling like, “Oh, I want them when I want, like, I want to be able to text or slack or whatever and have them available to me full time.”. But the reality is, if you’re working with a really good VA, who knows kind of like what you’re talking about with time management, who knows how to properly manage their time and time block, you will be able to get what you need done and release that frantic mess around, “I need this and I need this now.”, right? Because you guys will work together to prepare things well in advance and they will be sending you things in advance to give you peace of mind that things are being taken care of. There’s so many benefits to having the type of support, especially if you’re in a digital business, especially if you’re a solo entrepreneur, that can help you level up and behave as if you’re a fortune 500 company.

VAs bring so much to the table, beyond just the granular day to day tasks, you have great VAs that specifically only do funnels and work with people in funnels or only do social media management. I think it’s just educating yourself on, “Hey, what do I really need? And let me find someone within my niche, within my budget and within my wheelhouse of the things that I need.”, to really just propel you to that next level, and just making sure that person can grow organically with you. When we started working together, Marly, we started working together specifically on, I think it was just like one event, like we just did one event that we did every year. And we’ve been able to grow exponentially from that one event.

But we didn’t say, “Oh, let’s not work together.”, just because you couldn’t have me do every single event that you were a part of, or every single business venture that you were a part of. We started with one and then got comfortable, you were able to free up time and space, which was able to help you bring in more opportunities. And so, it really is a mutually beneficial relationship and that’s what it can be for everyone, knowing that whoever you bring into your company, especially since they’re a contractor and not an employee, as your business grows, it’s in their best interest so they can grow organically with you. No one wants to be out there searching for clients every 5 minutes. So, if your business does well, and you’re able to give them more hours and to give them more within their scope of work, the two of you are just going to be able to take over the world. It’s going to be phenomenal. So yes, big believer, time.

[15:32] Marly Q: Yes, yes, I am a big believer in your T.I.M.E. Management skills, which is why I wanted to have you on the show, on the podcast, just really to thank you and to express gratitude and to celebrate and BRAG (Be Real And Grateful) about how am I able to –

I get asked that question, “Marly, but you know, you always seem to be like, all over the place, you have so many events and you’re a speaker too. And you’re a yoga teacher also? And you just launched an online course? And you did a TED talk? And how are you doing everything”?!

Well, let me introduce you to Romaine Brown-Palmer and the Executive Admin Group and you should reach out to her. And I will make sure to include all your links and your Instagram in our show notes for people to connect with you and just reach out because I do think that there’s a lot of people who are in their own way of their own growth in their business, out of fear that they can’t afford it or that they, you know, don’t think that a VA will be able to, you know, do the work as good as them and all these other things where–

[16:35] Romaine: We had that conversation with someone today, and by the end of the conversation, she was just like, “Ah.”, you know, I ended up saying to her, I was just like, “I understand you’re not ready for–“, because like I said, there’s levels of virtual assistant and so, we fall into the executive and project management level and that may not be in everyone’s budget. However, the first thing that we’re doing together is sitting down and doing what’s called a freedom think session and the freedom think session is where we’re going to prepare her for everything that she needs. So, you know, there’s four systems that you need as a digital entrepreneur, right? And she only had two of those in place so, yeah, what would end up happening is, you go to hire a virtual assistant and then the relationship crumbles because your back-end systems are not ready. And so, instead of being able to dive in and give you the space and time that you’re looking for, they’re diving in and having to create everything in your business from scratch. So, we’re going to be preparing her and I’m looking– I’m so looking forward to that session, we’re going to be able to prepare her. And that’s one of the things that, you don’t even know that that’s the pre work that needs to happen sometimes, it’s just, have somebody lock you in a room for four hours, a virtual or physical room and make you work on the back-end systems of your business, get it out of your head so that other people can do it just as amazing as you can, because it’s not just existing as this process in your head.

[18:00] Marly Q: Oh, yeah. And you’re just such a magical wizard at that. I know that we’ve sat down and you know, there’s a course that I just released recently called B.E.S.T. Way to Stress Less™, this pandemic kind of inspired me to work on that course first, but you and I had a freedom think session and you forced me to sit down and get a whole lot out of my brain for another course and a product that I wanted to share called Event in a Box, which will be coming to you soon. So, if you’re out there wanting to plan an event, Miss Romaine Brown-Palmer helped me with one of these Freedom Think Sessions to actually get all the information out of my brain and be able to organize an outline and, “Here’s what you need. And here are the deadlines.”, and just organize your life for you, just give you time.

[18:45] Romaine: By the end of that, I was just like, “Seriously? All this brilliance just sitting in your head?”.

[18:50] Marly Q: For years.

[18:51] Romaine: So, we pulled all of that out, and I’m so excited for that as well. Like, I can’t even tell you, but–

[18:59] Marly Q: It’ll be coming soon.

[19:01] Romaine: Yeah, but it’s, you know, you tell people all the time, all the things that you know, and all the things that you’re able to bring to the table but when you sit down with someone, and you pull out what they know, and you look at it and you’re just like, you get goose bumps because you’re just like, “How does this one person possess all this knowledge and it’s not getting to anyone simply because … time?”.

[19:24] Marly Q: Time … and some people just don’t know how to go from concept, you know, to fruition and you just bridge that gap so wonderfully, so seamlessly, it looks so effortless for you, and I know it takes a lot of effort and you’re just so great at it. So, I’m eternally grateful for you, to have you on the team and for your team to be on my team, who is an extension of you. And you know, I am really looking forward to, before we wrap up this conversation, I will not gloss over the fact that on top of you having your virtual assistant business, you’re also helping other VAs launch their businesses and you also have your own merchandise line. So, when you were saying that you’re going to create a t-shirt for me, you mean it because you have a t-shirt line too! Tell us about that.

[20:07] Romaine: Yes, I have a t-shirt line called Black Shirt, White Letters, and it’s really for virtual assistants and virtual entrepreneurs, just empowering t-shirts that say either fun or funny, like my goal with anything that I do is the three E’s, right? Oh, look, I have one too.

The three E’s are, Educate, Empower, Entertain, right?

Educate you in any way that I can, Empower you to make decisions, empower you with time, empower you with freedom, and Entertain, at the very least, like, let’s make it funny, let’s have some fun with it!

So, that’s exactly what I do with the T shirt line, it’s kind of a manifestation of my personal mantra. So, it allows everyone to wear things that you know, speak to them and who they are. And then, we also are launching, we do this quarterly, where we do, what I call the be spoke, where you’re able to request by emailing blackshirtwhiteletters305@gmail.com, you’re able to request what you want on a t-shirt and we throw it up there and you’re able to order it in the Black Shirt, White Letters style. So, if you want to put your mantra that says,

“I am Kindness”, I’ll put that on a shirt in the Black Shirt, White Letters style, and you can order it and have it delivered directly to you. But yeah, I like to have fun with everything that I do, and that’s like a, whenever I need a creative outlet, and I’m like, “I need to design a t-shirt.”!

[21:40] Marly Q: Yeah, you are definitely a creator and so much fun! And it’s awesome to have you a part of any team, any project that you’re ever a part of, I know that there’s always going to be like you said, your three E’s, your Education, your Empowerment, and the Entertainment. We always have a great time. I know that we have so much more that we can share, you are just a resource filled with all those three E’s. So, I will make sure to include your Instagram handle and your links to your merchandise line and people want to connect with you personally about exploring virtual assistance, I will include all of that in the show notes for sure so that people can connect with the awesomeness that is Romaine Brown-Palmer.

[22:25] Romaine: Love it, thank you so much. I truly appreciate having the opportunity to be here, and to be a part of all the magic, and I look forward to helping other people explore their magic and focus on their magic as well.

[22:42] Marly Q: Thank you so much for making the Time to be Kind, always. Thank you.

[22:47] Outro: I really hope you enjoyed this conversation as much as we did. Romaine is truly a PARKer who is passionate about helping people, she’s the real deal when it comes to T.I.M.E. (This Is My Experience) Management, and she gives me all the support, peace of mind and freedom that I need to focus on doing what I love and furthering my mission to spread kindness worldwide.

When she’s not making magic happen in other people’s businesses, she loves spending quality time with her husband and daughter as a professional weekender. How does she do it? Well, lucky for you, you can connect with Romaine and her brain and get free access to her time management advice, finding all of her links over on this episode’s show notes and transcription page at marlyq.com/22.

[23:28] Thank you for listening. If you’re inspired to make a little more time to be kind, please subscribe, leave a kind review and share with a friend who would appreciate this podcast too. Thank you for being the spark of kindness. See you next time. [23:45]

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World Humanitarian Day

World Humanitarian Day

Humanitarian: a philanthropist or person who seeks to promote human welfare. In other words, a PARKer: a person who Performs Acts of Random Kindness – LIKE YOU!

Today is World Humanitarian Day and, to celebrate, we’re making Time to be Kind with Jane Hopkins. She’s the President of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation and, the way I see it, her job the past 20 years has been planting seeds of kindness that are blossoming into the next generation of humanitarians.

SHOW NOTES:

Click here to learn more about the Coca Cola Scholars Foundation

Click here to check out The SIP (The Coke Scholars Ignite Podcast)

Connect with Jane on Twitter @janehalehopkins

Connect with Jane on Instagram – janehalehopkins

TRANSCRIPTION:

[00:19] Marly Q: Hi PARKer, welcome to Episode 21 with Jane Hopkins, today is World Humanitarian Day and to celebrate, I asked a very special guest to make Time to be Kind with us. Jane Hopkins is the president of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, which was founded in 1986, and has awarded over $70 million in scholarships to over 6000 scholars nationwide.

I am one of those proud scholars and alumni of this global network of people who Perform Acts of Random Kindness, PARKers just like you and me!

As president, Jane is responsible for advancing the foundation’s efforts to develop an influential community of socially conscious and service minded leaders who positively shape the world. The way I see it, her job for the past 20 years has been planting seeds of kindness that blossom into the next generation of humanitarians. I really hope you enjoy this inspiring conversation. Let’s listen!

Welcome, welcome to the show. I’m so excited to have you making the Time to be Kind with me today Jane, welcome.

[01:20] Jane: Marly, I am so happy to be with you, it’s nice to hear your voice.

[01:25] Marly Q: Thank you. I love that, for someone that’s had, you know, a complex with her voice her whole life, you know, podcasting is a new way of sharing and getting intimate with my voice. So, thank you for that. I appreciate your kindness.

[01:38] Jane: You’re welcome. I will say that I am a hugger so, this whole sheltering in place has been hard for me but I know that when we’re actually able to all be together again, it’s going to be joyful beyond what we’ve experienced in gathering previously.

[01:56] Marly Q: Absolutely, so big– we’ll start off with big, virtual hugs to each other, and to everybody listening, just, I want you to just breathe it in and just feel hugged right now.

[02:06] Jane: Oh, I feel it. I do back to you.

[02:09] Marly Q: Good. And I hope our PARKers listening feel hugged too, what a beautiful kick off our conversation. Today is World Humanitarian Day, and when I think of you know, the legend of humanitarians, we share a similar one in common that comes to mind, which is?

[02:28] Jane: Mother Teresa.

[02:30] Marly Q: Yes, my absolute favorite. I mean, someone that rooted everything that she did in kindness, in my opinion and talked about, it’s not you know, about big things or great things, it’s about doing the small things with great love, all about that.

I mean, I can go on for days about beautiful Mother Teresa quotes that inspire me. But really, I invited you to be on the show today because I see humanitarianism as, yes important to think of the legends and the people that have existed in history and the names that we all know, and I also get really inspired by the fact that your work revolves around creating the next generation of humanitarians. As a Coca-Cola scholar, a very proud Coca-Cola scholar myself, class of 2002, I’ll go ahead and date myself, I have always just held this love and respect and gratitude to the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, not just for giving me the scholarship that was super competitive, and it was this big deal but really, you support education and leadership in our youth. And I find that it’s all rooted, everything that you teach the community or the family, really, that you’ve built through the foundation is all rooted in kindness and I’m just so excited to be a part of the family and I’m so grateful to have you on board today making the time to be kind.

[04:03] Jane: Thank you. Well, we are so happy you are part of the family, we’re so proud of you. And I am so grateful for the work that I get to do, I think I knew at a really young age that I wanted my profession to be a calling with purpose, that college for me was training of the heart as well as training of the mind. And so, to be able to validate and lift up and celebrate our nation and our world’s next generation of leaders, is such a privilege to do on behalf of our alumni community and the entire Coca-Cola system. I pinch myself sometimes, I don’t know how I got so lucky to do this work. It’s joyous!

[04:45] Marly Q: Yes, I got to do an interview on World Youth Skills Day where I didn’t interview anyone, I had 10 year old girls interview me, and their question, one of them that I remember right now while you were chatting was, “Do you love your job so much that you can imagine doing it forever and ever?”.

So, I want to ask you that same question; do you love your job so much that you can imagine doing it forever and ever?

[05:09] Jane: I do, absolutely. That’s such a good question, so insightful from a young girl. I’ve been with the foundation almost 20 years now so, I started in a finance role and have been able to sort of grow up doing this work. And yes, the answer is very simple, I love the work that I do, I can imagine doing it forever and ever. And to build what you said at the beginning, it’s rooted in kindness. Sometimes I think we’re afraid to use the next word that I’m going to use in a corporate setting but truly the work that we do is about LOVE.

It’s about lifting other people up so, it’s rooted in kindness, and it’s rooted in love.

[05:48] Marly Q: And what’s better than that? Let’s do that forever and ever. Oh, forever and ever. I love it. So, I wanted to definitely dive into some details about the work that the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation is doing and how we had to kind of pivot and change with this whole, you know, pandemic that we’ve been experiencing, not just the health pandemic, but the financial crisis as well, a humanitarian crisis that we’re experiencing in the midst of all of this. So, how has the foundation I guess, just approached all these– this challenging time?

[06:24] Jane: Well, it’s a great question, and we are so much about building connections within our alumni community, we talk about, “Yes, we provide a scholarship, we help students get to college or to the college of their choice.”, but we think the real magic is in the family of our alumni community and how all of you, Marly, continue to come together, to open your hearts to each other, to learn from each other, to be inspired by each other throughout your life, to continue to build up your own communities. And so, historically, we’ve done that by bringing people together in person, right? We’ve seen you and other scholars, there in Florida so, we had to start thinking about how do we create virtual connections? And so, very early on, we said, “What’s the programming that we planned for the rest of the year? And how do we make that virtual?”. So, we were already in the process of producing a podcast, the first episode, The SIP, Coke Scholars Ignite is up anywhere that you search and listen to podcasts. We pair two scholars together in conversation in each one, I think there’s six episodes.

[07:33] Marly Q: Congratulations, by the way, because I know it’s not easy to put together a podcast, and I also, we launched it very, very close together, I launched mine, April 15th, and I remember you all were very close to that. And I got to interview a Coca-Cola scholar, one of our very first episodes, Juliana Tafur and it’s just so nice to have been able to kind of launch that at the same time, I’ll definitely include the link to the SIP Podcast, which I love that, Coca-Cola SIP, so perfect, in our show notes so that people can check it out. It’s a great podcast.

[08:04] Jane: Thank you, I appreciate that. And when we launched it, we started promoting it via Insta lives so, that is cool. We’ve also, we had to cancel our in person banquet this year so, we are having a virtual banquet at the beginning of August and we’ll feature Wes Moore as our keynote speaker, we’re working on a really cool musical number that feature scholars.

So, my team is amazing and Lauren, Jamie, Carolyn, LaQuanda, Erica, all of them, reimagined their jobs immediately, before I even asked them to and said, “How can I do my work virtually this year?”.

So, we’ve taken a lot of programming, scholars have been doing professional development sessions for each other and that’s been really important. And then, I’ll tell you one of the most important things we did this summer, after the killing of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery and Breanna Taylor and the racial injustices that came to the forefront of society, we said, “You know, we need to be having some really hard questions, we need to be having some really important conversations in this country with each other, right? And really listening.”. And we think it’s important that we start having those hard conversations within families first and we think of our Coca-Cola Scholars coalition network as a family and so, we have been very intentional about creating space for Coke Scholars to come together, to learn from each other. And two weeks ago, we had our first Coke Scholars Real Talk, we had a panel of five scholars, black scholars who work in the DNI space, and they talked to us about what it is to be black in America and we went, for the entire, I think we had it scheduled for an hour and a half and we wrapped up, people want to just keep going. So, we kept going for another hour, and it was a powerful, powerful conversation; authentic, true, emotional. And I think so many of us left that conversation thinking, “How do we do things differently tomorrow?”.

[10:14] Marly Q: Is that something that we’d be able to, that is up for, like replay anywhere? Or if you missed that live event, you missed it?

[10:20] Jane: No, you can replay it, but it is for scholars only. We really wanted to create a space for scholars to have the conversation.

[10:28] Marly Q: Beautiful. Well, I love that. So, for our PARKers listening, I can’t include that link in the show notes, but I can definitely watch the replay because I did miss that so, thank you for sharing that. That’s an awesome way to build community, build connection, like you said, and actually discuss the difficult questions so, I totally understand the need for having created a safe place within the community to do so. So, that’s awesome.

One particular program that I’m really excited to be a part of, as of the last two years or so, is your Leadership Development Institute, which also went virtual. In 2018, it was the first time that I ever left my baby alone, my first baby, I was like, “I’m going to go to Georgia and I’m going to be a part of this training for three days.”, it’s all volunteer, but I had the opportunity to facilitate and be a mentor to that new class of Coca-Cola Scholars in 2018, and it was an amazing experience, a live experience. I cried every day, honestly, because I missed my baby, but I was a brand-new mom and I’m still so proud of myself for going because I felt like I received so much more than I gave, right? I gave my time; I gave my heart and kindness there with you guys for that program, but I feel like I received so much as well.

And so much so that I decided to take you up on the invitation to be a facilitator again, this year 2020, I’ve been facilitating virtually for your Leadership Development Institute and mentoring five scholars via zoom and it’s such a different experience. Because I mean, listen, I’m an event creator for the last 20 years, I am about the in person live event so, this has been very difficult for me, not just my business has crumbled, but just for me personally, to feel so sheltered and kind of isolated when I absolutely love connection and community and live event experiences. But I just want to take a moment to highlight that program and have you, you know, maybe go a little deeper into what the purpose of the LDI, Leadership Development Institute is, because I absolutely love it and I love being a part of it.

[12:32] Jane: Yeah, we use our curriculum with our new class of scholars each year, this model on an inside out framework of thinking about leadership. So, the idea is to understand yourself, in order to bring others along with you. And I think for many high school seniors, it’s a new way of thinking about leadership, that idea of being self-reflective, in order to be an effective leader.

So, we teach four key leadership values; Self-awareness, Empathy, Inspiration and Vision.

But we’re so proud of it and I think, you know, the goal is really to give our scholars a new tool when they go on to their college campuses in the fall to be really effective leaders. And I think, for so many of them and you know, as a facilitator, you could probably speak to this better than I can, but for so many of them, it’s the first time they’ve sat down and been reflective on the peaks and valleys of their lives and how that shapes the lens with which they view the world, right? Or really understand the value of empathy, right? And we delve into a little bit of Brene Brown’s work there, but really opening your heart to others, and it goes back to that kindness that you were talking about earlier.

[13:44] Marly Q: Absolutely. I mean, from my experience, bringing these five Coke Scholars together, who’ve never met each other, they’re from all different parts of the U.S., and at first, you know, my biggest goal is to create that kind of safe environment for the students to feel that they can open up and they can connect, and this is a safe place. And not only is it a safe place, but we’re going to have fun, also, and we’re going to enjoy learning about ourselves and learning about each other. And thankfully, I have some experience doing that, I do quite a bit of work in self-awareness and empathy and I’ve had a lot of leadership training as well from the inside out, I believe, maybe I never thought about it that way, but yeah, I think that that’s the way you know, to approach leadership is from knowing yourself first so that you know, how can you lead others if you don’t even know how to lead yourself, right? So, I have had a wonderful experience with my Coke Scholars in creating that connection. I mean, I have a great group of students so, I’m super lucky. I think everybody that’s chosen as a Coca- Cola Scholar is a great student and a great leader at heart, but it is really awesome to see them have opened up and be vulnerable and share and practice empathy and mindful communication, right? I am absolutely loving the process, I leave every single session just buzzing with energy and smiling and honestly feeling really hopeful, feeling really inspired and hopeful for the future because like I said, how we opened up this conversation, I feel what you’re doing is planting these seeds of love and kindness and humanitarianism in young people who are the ones that are going to rise up and be the change that we wish to see in this world.

And the way that we do that is by teaching them, educating them and inspiring them and empowering them, with the space to do that self-reflection work, but also to practice with one another and connect with each other and then, provide the family, community from then on out, where they could always feel connected to, “You know what? We might be experiencing some very difficult and dark times in history, and at the same exact time, I can be the change that I wish to see in the world. I, as a young person can be the spark of that change.”, and it starts by you practicing empathy, and compassion, and acceptance and all those things towards yourself. So, I am just such a supporter of the curriculum, if you will, that I am honored to be able to facilitate, I think I received so much from it as well. And when I had the opportunity to share with the group, right? Because you guys encourage us also to share, not just create the space for the students, you know, sometimes I feel myself like, “I don’t know that I want to share like, are these kids “going to relate”, you know, to me, I’m here pregnant and you know, I’m “successful” in my profession, and I’m already a professional philanthropist and this and that, and am I going to be intimidating to them and are they not going to be able to relate with me?”, and it’s the complete opposite of that. Really, when we create that space and be vulnerable and authentic with each other, the students are like, super, we’re on the same page, we all want the same thing, we all want love and connection. So, I’ve learned a lot, too.

[17:05] Jane: I think that’s so true and I thought about that a lot, so beautifully said. I think whether you’re 18 or 47, like me, self-love is a journey, right? I may be a little further along the path than some of our scholars, but I still have to remind myself, I still have to be mindful, I still have to recognize my thoughts and emotions and say, “Wait, that’s not the story that I want running through my head.”, right? It’s still a struggle and if I may share, I say that I’m a recovering perfectionist, which is an exhausting place to be, the idea that perfectionism is the ideal, right? And so, that self-love is still something that I have to work on. But when you can sit in a place where you really are compassionate with yourself, I think that the magic and the beauty and the gifts that you’re able to put out in the world are magnified; they’re so much more impactful, and you reach so many more people.

[18:08] Marly Q: Absolutely. Thank you for reflecting that for me, because that’s exactly how I feel at the end of the session with the students with LDI, I actually stop and I put my hands on my heart, I smile, and I say thank you to ME. I say thank you to myself, for actually going through that journey, self-love, like you said, is a journey and I think that the reason that I am an effective facilitator and that I’ve been able to create a space for the students to open up and practice self-awareness and practice empathy and practice identifying your emotions and not making them wrong, is because I have done so much of that work on myself. And when I’m vulnerable, and shut up that little voice that says, “You know, don’t share that story, because these kids aren’t going to relate with you.”, and I say, “No, I’m going to share that story because it’s me taking that 25% risk and going outside of my comfort zone, and let’s see what magic is there when I can show or display vulnerability.”, which is what we’re asking the students to do, to practice as well. And that’s exactly what I feel, I feel that there’s magic that is unlocked as a result of us being the spark of that connection that we wish to have with other people, we have to do that. Magic sums it up!

[19:26] Jane: It does. It’s hard to articulate, but it’s just a word that I think represents, you know, I often say when we put a group of Coca-Cola Scholars in a room together, the magic happens and all of our lives are elevated because of it. I would just add, I think what is so special about scholars is, you know, we have 31 classes of scholars now, well over 6,000 of you in our alumni community, and everyone has a different story and a different journey and they come with different experiences, but I think what unites all of you is whatever your passion is, you see a different version of the future, and you’re willing to go after it, right? And so, where we can teach someone is leadership values that help you go after your better version of the future is really where we want to be. And then, to continue to bring you back together so that the values of service and leadership that were so important in your selection as a Coca-Cola Scholar, continue to show up in your lives, as you start your families, as you embark on different careers, at all times and that you continually strive for that better future.

[20:40] Marly Q: Well then, you’re doing a great job at that because that’s exactly what you all instilled in me, that little seed was planted in 2002 when I flew up from Hialeah, Florida, all the way to Atlanta, Georgia for the first time, away from my family, which I couldn’t believe they let me go and I got to experience you know, my own leadership summit and I got to do the self-awareness and the empathy and be inspired and reflect on what inspires me and have the opportunity to actually create my vision, which ended up being everything that I revolve my business as a speaker, a teacher and event creator is all around being the spark of kindness.

That started there, I mean, you know, you guys helped me put together like a framework to it and I’m just always so grateful. So, again, that’s really why I reached out to invite you to be on my podcast, I’m so grateful that you said yes and decided to make the time to be kind because I think even those that are listening, that are not Coca-Cola Scholars, which is most of the people maybe that are listening are like, “Hey, well, you know, that’s great that you guys are all you know, in this tight knit little family and community.”, but I think that there’s still just so much inspiration that others can draw from knowing that there is a non-profit out there that is creating the next generation of humanitarians, that is actively teaching and empowering and inspiring our youth to be the change that we all wish to see in the world, so just thank you so much.

[22:11] Jane: Oh, thank you, that’s such a beautiful compliment. And you know, as we think about those in the audience, who are not Coca-Cola Scholars today, maybe the one takeaway is that, it’s this idea of being vulnerable to create connection that we need so desperately in our society right now. You know, instead of people screaming from the inside, because they’re obviously hurting inside,

if we could all share where the hurt comes from, and what makes us vulnerable, we come together as a society.

[22:45] Marly Q: Yeah, that’s a beautiful takeaway. Thank you so much again, Jane. I appreciate you, and this podcast episode was extra special, thank you for just allowing me the opportunity to say thank you and to showcase and put the spotlight on the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, the team behind the scenes and also just the entire family across the world.

[23:09] Jane: Yeah, it means so much to me that you would invite me, it means so much to our team, and we are backed by the Coca-Cola company and Coca-Cola bottlers across the country who have understood for a long time how important it is to be kind to the communities that they do business and have truly wanted to lift up future leaders, not for any other purpose than it’s the right thing to do. I’m really proud to represent them in that work.

[23:38] Marly Q: I love it. Oh, with that, I want to give another big virtual hug to you, to the entire Coca-Cola Scholars family, the team behind the scenes, and every single one of you listening PARKers. Thank you so much for being the humanitarians that we are celebrating today.

[23:54] Jane: Thank you.

[23:56] Outro: Thank you for making time to be kind and celebrating World Humanitarian Day together. You can support the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation in its efforts to educate, inspire and connect with and lift up the future generation of humanitarians and leaders of our world by visiting marlyq.com/21, you can find this episode’s show notes with direct links to connect and listen to The SIP, the Coke Scholars Ignite Podcast too, that’s marlyq.com/21.

[24:25] Thank you for listening. If you’re inspired to make a little more time to be kind, please subscribe, leave a kind review and share with a friend who would appreciate this podcast too. Thank you for being the spark of kindness. See you next time. [24:37]

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International Youth Day

International Youth Day

It’s International Youth Day and, to celebrate, I invited Dr. Coach Cass to share the story behind her bestselling children’s book; Princess Zara’s Birthday Tradition.

I’m a firm believer in the power of planting seeds of love and kindness in our youth so if you make Time to be Kind and listen to this short episode today, you’ll feel hopeful and inspired by her mission to be the spark of change we all wish to see in the world too!

SHOW NOTES:

Click here to learn more about Princess Zara & Ziggy

Click here to purchase book Princess Zara’s Birthday Tradition

Click here to connect with Coach Cass on Instagram

Click here to check out Coach Cass’ website

Click here to watch Coach Cass’ Tedx Talk

Click here to listen to The Coach Cass Show

TRANSCRIPTION:

Hey PARKer, I’m Marly Q and welcome to Episode 20 with Coach Cass. Dr. Casandra Henriquez aka Coach Cass is the founder of the Success in Love Summit and The Real Love Network, where she teaches professional women how to have a happy and fulfilling love life. I invited Coach Cass to make Time to be Kind today because she’s also the author of the best-selling children’s book Princess Zara’s Birthday Tradition, and today is International Youth Day. I absolutely love her book and her mission to be the spark of change we all wish to see in the world by planting seeds of love and kindness in our youth. I think you’ll love this conversation as much as I did. So, let’s listen.

Welcome to the show my beautiful friend, Coach Cass, thank you for making the Time to be Kind today.

[01:04] Coach Cass: Oh, thanks for having me, Marly Q. I’m so excited to be here and congrats on the success of your podcast.

[01:12] Marly Q: Thank you so much. I have been blown away by the feedback and really just the momentum of Time to be Kind. I really think that it’s just resonated with people, because the Time to be Kind is now, I believe it’s always now, but especially now, in the times that we’re living in, and I know that you agree.

[01:34] Coach Cass: I do. And you know, it’s been so long that we’ve met and the fact that you have been on this path for over a decade, right? Like, this has been your life’s work, it’s just been beautiful to know now that you know, people are starting to realize that kindness is important.

[01:53] Marly Q: Yes, absolutely. So, to backtrack for our PARKers listening, how we met, well over a– girl, it’s been like, I don’t know, 15 years, I have no idea. I don’t know how far we want to date it but we went to college together at our dear old FIU, Florida International University. And we were both, you know, wanting to start our businesses and you had inspired many, you were speaking, and you were just such an inspiration to me, even as a student, I’d be like, “Look at this woman, look at her.”. And now, you have a TEDx talk, which I’m going to make sure I link in the show notes for people to listen to. You’re a matchmaker, a love coach, and now an author too, what don’t you do?

[02:37] Coach Cass: I’m Jamaican. So, if you go back to those old episodes of In Living Color, “Hey, man, I have three jobs.”. Like, I’m a multi passionate entrepreneur, like at the core of everything you do is kindness, at the core of everything I do is love.

[02:58] Marly Q: It is a continuation of your mission and your heart’s desire to spread love and connection, not just with relationships but towards yourself, I truly believe that you know, and pivoting is part of, you know, life. I’ve had to pivot, you know, in 2020 from this COVID 19 pandemic, you know, with my events business, I’ve been planning events for two decades, for 20 years, and live events, all of a sudden is not a thing. I’m like, “Wow, well, what am I going to do?”, right? And, “How am I going to pivot and still share my message and still be the spark of kindness through then, through speaking, through teaching in a virtual way?”. And starting a podcast was very, very challenging mentally for me, I had to overcome several barriers, you know, and rise and kind of tap into to some courage, right? And courage doesn’t mean that you’re not fearful, or that you’re not, you know, afraid or anxious, courage means that you feel those things and you do it anyways because your WHY is way more important than the FEARS.

[04:05] Coach Cass: I commend you girl. Like, I have the podcast name, I have the podcast link, tell me if I have recorded one podcast. So, I commend you on overcoming the fear and having the courage because it’s not easy, right? Because people can judge you, right? And they can say, I love it or I don’t love it. So, I am just proud of you and I’m inspired by you.

[04:29] Marly Q: Thank you. And I know you will start yours when the time is right. But right now, you are focused, not only on being this amazing mom, to your beautiful Ava, being a loving and dedicated wife, being an entrepreneur, a speaker, and now an author. So, today, I wanted to have you on the show because it’s International Youth Day and I want to shine the light on your mission with this beautiful children’s book that you’ve written and have launched this year amidst such difficult times that we have been experiencing. Please tell us all about your book and your mission.

[05:10] Coach Cass: Okay. Well, I’ll take it back to my daughter’s third birthday, I didn’t know, okay? That when you become a mom, you become an event planner. So, you already had the expertise, right? So, it’s like, “I got this.”, but me, okay? I was like, “Wait a second, birthdays are a big deal.”, first birthday, second birthday, not so big. Third birthday, she knew what it was, she was like, “Mommy, I want a Princess birthday party.”, right? And I was like, “Okay, baby, I got you.”. So, I went looking on the stores, looking online and couldn’t find anything with a princess that looked like her. I’m like, “This is crazy.”, right? My daughter is of a darker hue, and I was just like, “Okay.”, everybody said, “Well, what about Tiana?”. Tiana, I couldn’t find a thing with Tiana on it, and I just started to pay attention, right? Marly, so, when we went to the doctor, the doctor would hand her a sticker and say, “Baby, you did a great job today, here’s your sticker of my favorite princess.”, that favorite princess never looked like my daughter. And then, when I went into the store to get her a new night gown that maybe had a character on it that looks like her, I couldn’t find it. So, that’s when I realized there’s a real lack of representation when it comes to our merchandise and then to our programming. So, that’s when I decided, “Okay, I need to at least create a character for my daughter.”. So, that’s where princess Zara was born. My daughter’s name is Ava, and I went to lunch with a girlfriend and her husband, my husband, my daughter, and I was showing my girlfriend Princess Zara and I said, “Ava, what do you think about Princess Zara?”, she looks at her hand, she looks at the princess, she looks at her hand, she looks at the princess, she says, “Mommy, I don’t want this one. I want the other one, I want the white one.”. My girlfriend starts crying, my girlfriend’s actually white. And so, she starts crying, I’m tearing up, I’m just like, “I didn’t know it was that deep.”.

So, when we look at that test, you know, that says back in the day where the black doll versus the white doll and all the kids said the white doll was better, prettier, smarter? I really don’t think it’s because their parents told them that, I really think it’s because there was a lack of representation in the world, in our media, what was cool at the time, and then now look, again, nothing has changed, right? So, what I’ve decided is that I am on a mission, to create representation to change the narrative through the eyes of our children, right? Because in 20 years, I don’t want this fight again, right? We did this fight that we’re doing now, back when Rodney King happened, back when Martin Luther King was assassinated, back during slavery times. I’m like, “Man, is there a time when we’re going to change? We need to change through our children.”

So literally, the way I see it, you know, that’s how the book was born, is to be able to educate all of our– this is not just for black girls, right? So, this is for all boys and girls, this is a great message around spreading the love to teach our children that a little black princess is cool and you could want to be like her and you could want to dress up like her, just like my daughter loves Elsa and would put on the long Elsa dress, I want your daughter to be able to put on a Princess Zara dress and it’s not weird; it’s acceptable, that we could celebrate all cultures and be inclusive in the conversation and have diversity on our shelves and in our programming.

[08:28] Marly Q: Yes, yes, yes. I, as a matter of fact, would love to have my little hair like princess Zara, because I could poof up my little curls too, I used to when I was little. I was like, I would have thought princess Zara was the coolest just because that little hair would have spoken to me. I love, love, love what you’re doing, and you’ve expanded, it’s not just a book now. Yeah, talking about birthday parties, you can outfit a whole birthday.

[08:59] Coach Cass: Yes. So, the book, it’s hit Amazon number one within three days of being released, which is just amazing. And since then, I’ve had parents reach out to me like, “Okay, where is the birthday set?”, I’m like, “Huh?”, I’m trying to get this to have cartoon, like I’m focused, you know, we’re here trying to get this on a major programming station, like a PBS, you know? And they’re like, “No, where’s the birthday set?”, I’m just like, “Oh, okay, I got you.”, right? So, now we officially have the princess Zara birthday set, and some people are like, “Oh, well, you know, are people really getting together still?”, and all those things, it doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, your child deserves a birthday party. If that birthday party is a party of one, listen, I live in a condo and during the COVID times, the mom sent me pictures, it was her and her daughter, whole table decorated, she had a sheet cake honey, and all the things, all the bells and whistles because your child still deserves to be celebrated, right? Like, we still don’t want to overlook birthdays just because we’re not getting together so, virtual birthday party decked out with Princess Zara.

[10:09] Marly Q: Absolutely, my baby just turned two in July. And I mean, again as an event planner, or I should say, a recovering event planner, I don’t know now what I am in that respect, but I am an event creator at heart and what I’ve learned this year is, events can be a party of one, can be a party of two, life you deserve to celebrate life. Within difficult times, you can experience sadness, and joy, you can experience you know, celebrating life and grieving loss. You can, you know, the yin and the yang, they can both exist, we don’t have to stop celebrating and getting together virtually or in person just because of this health pandemic. So, this has taught me so much about really, the true meaning of events and why I’m so passionate about events is because it’s about bringing people together and that’s what your book is doing; that’s what your movement is doing. I see it as a movement and I know this is going to be a series of books, I’m sure.

[11:13] Coach Cass: Late September.

[11:15] Marly Q: Ooh, coming up soon. This is a movement, and a movement isn’t a moment, it is a movement, and it’ll continue propelling you forward and you’ll continue to get feedback from people that are reading the book, that are loving the book, that are gifting the book. I purchased one for a friend who had a baby shower recently and as you continue in the movement, you’re not only going to get the media exposure that you want and get on PBS, there’s going to be something else, and you’re going to be like, “What?”, there will be you know, maybe commissioned by Disney and I’ll be walking around Disney World one day and there’s Princess Zara with the longest line you’ve ever seen to get their autograph, right?

[11:52] Coach Cass: Girl, you better speak it.

[11:53] Marly Q: I am speaking it because I just really believe, not just in you as a person, Coach Cass, but I believe in the seeds of kindness and love that you are planting in our kids. You know, if we want to change the world, you know, when I was 10 years old, I really just wanted to change the world, I wanted the world to be a loving place, a place where kindness was just given, right? And if I can dream that at 10 years old, and be able to create a life and a business that revolves around this very simple little message of kindness, the same way that you are creating the life and the business based in love, the way to change the world is through planting seeds of love and kindness in our children.

We can teach our children to love themselves, to be kind to themselves, to love one another and to love this world. I mean, it’s just, it’s natural that that seed is going to blossom, and we can change the world and does that mean that I’m naive, and I believe in this utopian vision of, “We’re going to live in a world where you know, everybody is loving and kind all the time.”? No, I am also a realist, and I believe in the yin and the yang and I believe in the darkness and the light. But I believe in the light and magnifying the light and being the spark of that light within the darkness, way more than I focus on the darkness, despite what we’ve been experiencing and what we’ve been experiencing for generations and generations and generations, but I choose not to focus on that. And I choose to channel my energy and my service and my desire into the positive things, and that’s what I see you doing, that’s what I see your husband doing and that’s what I see your daughter doing when she grows up because she has that role model, she has that education. And that’s just so inspiring to me, I am absolutely fired up about Princess Zara and her birthday tradition and the series because it’s highlighting giving children a smart and beautiful and giving, kind princess that we could all aspire to be and dress up like and love.

[13:58] Coach Cass: Oh, you get me so excited. I think I’m going to play this podcast like 77 times over, it’s so beautiful.

[14:06] Marly Q: I hope that our PARKers listening do too, I will most certainly include a direct link to purchase the book and the birthday party gift set, as well as being able to connect with you because I know that this is launching on International Youth Day and we’re focused on kids here but for PARKers who are listening that want more love in their life, be it in relationship, more success in their love life, more success in their business, feeling more just, in love with their life, I know that you can help them too. Would you like to touch on that a little?

[14:38] Coach Cass: So, I specifically work with the successful women that have everything but a man, right? So, women that have struggled when it comes to relationships and just want support. So, I have an entire community of women that are focused on love so, I specialize in self-love, attracting love and maintaining love because it’s one thing to get in a relationship, but really, how do you really maintain that relationship to be wonderful? And some people say, “Oh, why do I need that?”. Like, listen, my husband and I just did a six-week course, to fortify our marriage. You know, with everything going on, there is not a couple that I know that hasn’t been through it in this COVID season, like, “Do I really like you? You know, is this really working? You know, do I really want to you?”, you know, and it’s scary. So, people are spending more time than ever with each other and understand, like, “Oh, I only used to see one hour a day, now I see you five. I don’t know if I like this.”, you know? So, relationships is not a one-time thing and it’s an iron that always needs to be sharpened. So, for anyone listening that’s like, “You know what? I desire love.”, and that’s okay. We were hardwired to want to connect, we were hardwired to have companionship. So, it doesn’t make you desperate, it doesn’t make you thirsty, it doesn’t make you needy, but it does make you wanted. And I believe every woman is a wanted woman, a woman that achieves new triumphs every day. So, you know, if that’s you, I’d like to connect with you.

[16:08] Marly Q: Awesome. Absolutely. I wanted to make sure that we shared that because I think there’s so many, in this digital technology focused age that we’re living in, I find that many women find it difficult, do feel that sense of like, I don’t know if shame is the right word but you know, to get on like the dating apps, or to get into the dating world, and it’s difficult and it’s intimidating, and it does take love, take self-love, to encourage to be able to put yourself out there. So, to have, you know, a coach like you that lives, breathes and you know, locks her, you know, her talk so well, I think that that’s really important to share as a resource. So, in addition to your amazing children’s, you know, mission, I wanted to make sure that we touched on that love part as well because I believe kindness is love in action. And you don’t just fall in love and get married and then you’re like, “I did it. Let’s check that box.”, you know? I mean, I’ve spent more time with my husband who, we’re going to celebrate our, we’ve been together almost 12 years and married 6 this year, and we have a toddler and now you know, another baby on the way so we’ll be parents of two and spending so much time together and I’m just so grateful to have love and kindness be the bedrock, the foundation of our relationship because it’s there and that could only blossom if you nurture it, if you water it, if you continuously focus on growing the love. It’s not a one-time thing.

[17:39] Coach Cass: You all are really cute; I like you all so much.

[17:44] Marly Q: Thank you. The feeling is mutual, I absolutely love you and Andy, I am such a fan and supporter and admirer and I respect you both as individuals, as a couple, as a power couple that you are, and just all of the service rooted in love that you all put out into the world every single day. And I will mention on here because you’re a TEDx speaker, as well, shout out to the Mr. Andy Henriquez for helping me overcome some, you know, stage fright as well and helping me prepare for my TEDx talk that I delivered on Kindness is your Superpower, and not only did I attend his you know, Master Storyteller Academy and become a “designated master storyteller”, the week before, a couple days before I delivered my TED Talk, he also showed up at my TED talk and was in the audience and that to me, I mean if that doesn’t speak love for, not even just for me, but love for what you do, love for the service, love for your calling, love of love, I really don’t know what does. So, I’m just so grateful and I hope to have your other half here on Time to be Kind soon as well because I love you both dearly.

[18:55] Coach Cass: Aw, we love you too, and it is Time to be Kind.

[19:00] Marly Q: Thank you for making the Time to be Kind today with me and all of our PARKers listening.

[19:03] Coach Cass: Thank you for having me. I love you Marly and PARKers, you’re all wonderful.

[19:10] Marly Q: Thank you.

[19:12] Outro: How’s that for a spark of inspiration to brighten your day?

If you loved this episode too, please leave a kind review over on iTunes referencing Coach Cass and make sure you’ve joined our Kind Qrew. Those two steps are all you need for your chance to win your own copy of her children’s book, Princess Zara’s Birthday Tradition and future podcast prizes too!

And one more thing, I’m so excited to share that since we recorded this interview, Coach Cass dug deep into her courage and just launched her own podcast last week, which I am so proud of her for doing and so happy to share with you because she offers real talk on love, dating and relationships. Click The Coach Cass thumbnail image below to listen. 🙂