That Time of Year

That Time of Year

During the Holiday season, I start to feel like I’ve lost my marbles. The to-do list grows a million miles long. It seems we always need to be somewhere, by a certain time, with a certain food item…oh, and what are we going to do with the dog?

If I don’t take the time to think through what needs to happen and by when, it sucks for everyone. It can be exhausting and panic inducing.

You know the saying…

I look out at least a week in advance, to plan what needs to get done. I figure out my daily tasks, so I can be home when the kids get off the bus. As the other saying goes, “if you want something done, ask a busy person”.

Because I have a clear picture in my head of what I need to do and by when, last-minute surprises don’t phase me. Can I bring dessert instead of a side dish? Sure! I’ll pick up Christine’s cheesecake. (This is a real thing and yes, her cheesecakes are the BEST)

If I DON’T have a plan in place, those last-minute surprises catch me off guard.

If I’m scrambling during the day to get things done and the phone rings, I send it straight to voicemail (sorry-no time to talk!). Inevitably, I forget to listen to the message until much later.

What?!? Now I need to bring dessert?! Ugh! Guess I’m making another trip into town tomorrow.

By not having a plan for the day, taking time to run to the store only adds stress. Great, now I have MORE on my to-do list.

Instead of being relaxed and enjoying the season, I’ve turned in to the crazy lady driving down the road.  I’m stressed and distracted, not present and aware of my surroundings.

Sound familiar? Or am I the only crazy lady? 

What does this have to do with situational awareness?

Let’s switch the words around a little bit.

If I don’t take the time to think through what needs to happen and by when, it sucks for everyone. It can be exhausting and panic inducing.

If I don’t take the time to think about what I would do if I was attacked, I won’t be able to protect myself and loved ones. The feeling of helplessness is exhausting and panic inducing.

I look out at least a week in advance, to plan what needs to get done. I figure out my daily tasks, so I can be home when the kids get off the bus.

When I read a story about a woman being attacked, I take a moment to imagine the situation happening to me. What would I do? How would I fight back? What would I do if he had a weapon? What if I had my kids with me?

Because I have a clear picture in my head of what I need to do and by when, last-minute surprises don’t phase me.

Because I’ve thought about what I would do in an attack, I’m confident I won’t freeze. I know I will do x, y, z and fight back with everything I’ve got.

Mental preparedness not only helps manage stress in daily life, it helps you have confidence in your personal safety skills.

The Diamond Arrow Group has a simple mission, to teach women situational awareness & self-defense using their natural skills. Why? Because you should have the confidence to live life on your own terms. Being mentally prepared with a plan to fight back against an attacker is key to building your confidence.

Don’t let the craziness of the Holidays overwelm you. Don’t want walk around with tunnel vision because you’re stressed about your to-do list. Take some time tonight to make a plan for the week. What do you need to get done, in the next few days, so you can be present and enjoy the moments with those you love?

“Wherever you are, be all there.”

-Jim Elliot

How Can I Help?

How Can I Help?

 I get asked all the time,

“What made you start The Diamond Arrow Group?”

“Why did you decide to teach situational awareness to women?”

“Did something happen to you?”

All great questions and I thought it was a good time to do a blog post to answer them.

Let’s Take These One At A Time

In High School, I took Entrepreneurship Class my senior year. The first semester, my business partner and I made and sold custom candles. The second semester, the entire class ran a business making and selling sling-back chairs. Taking this class gave me the business bug and I knew someday, I wanted to have my own business. (Shout out to Mr. Oscarson and Mr. Larson!)

Over the next 15 years, I was constantly asking myself, “What type of business do I want? What am I good at? What doesn’t FEEL like work?”.

Why Situational Awareness?

A couple of years ago, I belonged to a women’s executive group. When it was my turn to present a topic to the group, I thought it would be “fun” to bring them to a simulation room and give a presentation on situational awareness. I enlisted my husband (who works in law enforcement), to go through an active shooter scenario while the ladies observed.

I realize my version of “fun” might be a little unique. 😉

My presentation went well, and the ladies were comfortably nodding their heads and having lots of “aha” moments. I discussed how their intuition works and why it’s so important to practice using all their senses to observe their surroundings. When it was my husband’s turn to “walk” through the active shooter scenario being projected on the wall-sized screen, the room got really quiet. To give you an idea of what the ladies watched, the scenario involved live actors in an office setting, an active shooter who my husband’s police avatar needed to find, and he used a training firearm that mimicked the sound and kick of a real firearm.

I suddenly questioned whether I should’ve asked if anyone had any heart-related health concerns.

After the scenario ended, the entire room collectively exhaled. I wondered if I was going to be asked to leave the group.

Then something wonderful happened. The women started asking lots of questions. “Why did you walk past the people who were shot and needed medical attention at the beginning of the scenario? Could you have shot the shooter in the arm to stop the threat? Is it really like that in an active shooter situation? What should I do if I’m ever in that situation at my work? What can I do to stay safe and alive?”

One of the comments I received was, “If you hadn’t presented on this topic, I never would’ve gotten this information.”

That’s when the seed of Diamond Arrow Group was planted.

Did Something Happen To You?

I’ve had almost 40 years on this earth, so the question requires more than a few paragraphs in a blog post, but I can point to a few key events.

The high school I graduated from had two students killed by a student shooter when my sister was a senior. I moved to Southern California in my early 20’s with my best friend and we had safety plans for a variety of scenarios. I’m married to man who is 20 years retired Army and currently in his 23rd year of law enforcement (our conversations can be quite interesting). Our local mall had a man armed with steak knives, chasing people down and stabbing them. He was shot and killed by an armed, off-duty Police Officer.

There are instances in my life where I felt uncomfortable or my boundaries were crossed. I had to learn how to notice when a person’s behaviors and actions had ill-intent, and what I needed to do to stay safe.

I’m Still Learning

I’ve read a ton of books on subjects relating to situational awareness. I’ve had many conversations with people who are experts in the self-defense industry. I try to learn something new every day. I read news stories of women who have been attacked and I ask myself, “What would I do if that happened to me? How would I react?”.

I don’t consider myself the expert on situational awareness. I simply want to share my journey of learning how to keep myself and my loved ones safe. I want women to see someone that looks like them and plays the same roles in life (mom, wife, sister, friend) that they do. I want women to realize they can be kind and yet firm in their boundaries. I want to show women they don’t have to apologize for doing whatever they need to do to stay safe.

Let’s Change The Discussion

For a very long time, the self-defense industry has focused on the physical aspect. How to fight an attacker. How to respond to violence with greater violence. But there’s a shift happening. There are more and more people talking about the psychological aspect. The pre-threat indicators that tell you a person’s intentions BEFORE anything happens. There are women (and some men) in the industry who realize situational awareness is crucial in self-defense and are working to bring attention to it.

It’s going to take time, but I sense the paradigm shifting. The conversations are starting and there is a collective effort to look at personal safety from a female’s perspective.

Tell Me What You Need

This is where I need your help. I need to hear what would help YOU. Tell me your biggest fears and concerns and I will search for answers. I know you already have a million things on your plate. I know you are taking care of everyone else and while learning more about your personal safety is important, it usually slips down the priority list. It’s real life.

Follow “The Diamond Arrow Group” on FB & IG and ask your questions in the comments or send me a direct message. Send me an email at kelly@thediamondarrowgroup.com and tell me your greatest fear when it comes to your personal safety. I want to help you build your confidence so you can live life on your own terms.

“What Is It You Plan To Do With Your One Wild and Precious Life?”

-Mary Oliver