Bicycles, Beaches, Bumps and Bruises

Bicycles, Beaches, Bumps and Bruises

I vividly remember waking up my parents on my 5th birthday. I’d been begging them to get me a bike and they decided the 5th birthday milestone was an appropriate age. I couldn’t wait to wake up and see a shiny new bike! It was a pink, banana seat bike. The name “Candlelight” was on the front wheel fork and I decided it was the perfect name for her.

My dad attached training wheels and off I went! I don’t remember how long it took me to gain balance on 2 wheels, but I’m sure I didn’t master it the first time I tried to take Candlelight down the sidewalk.

We’ve all been new at something. There isn’t a single thing that people decide to try and they’re instantly great at. Everything takes trial and error and regular practice.

Kids are great at this. Everything is new to them and they want to try to do it all. That’s why parenthood is exhausting. You take your eyes off them for 1 second only to find them climbing on furniture or sticking fingers in outlets. It seems you are repeating safety warnings daily, hoping someday they’ll remember them on their own.

At some point in our lives, our “things we want to learn” list gets short and we stop adding to it. There are many reasons why this happens, busy schedules, budgets or perhaps complacency. It’s different for everyone and yet the same. As adults, we get to a place where we are comfortable with our life. We reach a place we’ve been dreaming about for years. Maybe it’s a full-time dream job or finding a partner and having kids, a dog and a cat. We carve out our cozy little corner of the world and finally feel like we can relax and be content with our life. The new challenges we face are created by outside forces and out of our control. Changing procedures at work, new child development stages in our kids, moving to a new city for a job, and other curve balls life throws at us.

Before all the self-help gurus jump down my throat, I’m not saying that’s the way it should be, I’m saying it’s the way it is. I believe our life path is pre-determined and the only thing in our control is how we respond to it. We can choose to have a good attitude and take these changes in stride. I think that’s the best way to deal with unforeseen disruptions to our regularly scheduled life. That’s not the point of my writing. My point is we stop choosing the new things we want to try because we’re trying to handle the unplanned life events. You’ve probably heard, “Things happen in 3’s.”

It’s like finding out you’re pregnant, while going through a job change that requires you to sell your house and move. 

Those examples might not apply to you, but I’m willing to bet you can look back on your life and find situations where everything seemed to change all at once.

When those events happen, we feel close to mental overload. So many new things to think about! So many unknown changes that we don’t know what’s around the next corner. As the time passes, we see the light at the end of the tunnel. We’re thankful we made it through, and swear we’re never going to go through it again.

Is it any wonder why, as adults, the thought of purposely trying something new, with so many unknowns, is a no-go? We swore we would never put ourselves purposely through the mental anguish of uncertainty again. No one likes to stumble around like an idiot, not knowing the correct next move. Especially in front of everyone who seems to have their shit together.

No one wants to be the class dunce.

When I look at the world of self-defense, I see instructors talking about their years and even decades of studying martial arts. I see retired military or law enforcement individuals talking fluently in a tactical language that is foreign to anyone outside that world. Is it any wonder why women look at self-defense as this insurmountable skill? If it took those instructors DECADES to be proficient in their personal safety, when the hell are they going to find time to dedicate to learning? Not to mention the cost. Or the seemingly great physical shape you need to be in in order to be proficient. (I’m talking about the muscle bulging, tight shirt wearing, I lift heavy, picture taking and post to social media people).

Most women are trying to survive the women’s empowerment movement, telling us we can have fulfilling careers, be June Cleaver-esqe moms, with weekly Sex in the City lunches with our besties, homes that look like we’re channeling Joanna Gaines, and rock our wonder woman bodies.

All without breaking a nail.

Consumer insights tell us women control approximately 85% of purchasing decisions in the household. I believe it. But the study I want to see is how much of that 85% is ACTUALLY SPENT ON THEMSELVES. I’m not a gambler, but I’d wager the percentage to hover between 1-2%.

Women have been trying to be the best version of themselves, according to what society tells them that version looks like. They’ve been focusing on self-love and self-care by carving out 5-minutes of uninterrupted peace and that feels AMAZING. Sure, they’d love to have hours and maybe even an entire day (or 5) to relax and do what they want, when they want, without someone needing them every waking moment of the day. A few years ago, a good friend and I had the opportunity to travel to Australia to represent a charity at a gala function. It was 24-hours of planes, trains, and automobiles to get there. We were exhausted. But when we arrived at our accommodations near the beach, we dropped our bags in our room, changed into beachwear, and headed for the sun and sand. I think we sat there for maybe 10-minutes before we realized it was as close to a heavenly retreat as we could’ve ever imagined. It was mid-day in Australia, which meant it was midnight back home in the states. No one needed us. We didn’t have anywhere we needed to be for a few hours.

We could just be.

Sounds amazing right? That was 2-years ago. I can’t say I’ve truly felt that relaxed since. I literally had to travel halfway around the globe to separate mentally and physically from my daily tasks. It’s not exactly something I can do spur of the moment. The memories of that trip are forever encased in a special place in my soul. I visit that place every now and again when I need to reset and remember who I am.

Me.

Not any of the labels I proudly carry like wife, mom, sister, daughter, friend, entrepreneur-me.

Little ol’ me.

Take the everyday woman I am and juxtapose that with the woman I was on the beach in Australia. It doesn’t feel like there’s a middle ground to me. I’m either 100% everyday life or 100% beach bum. I guess if I lived near an ocean, it would be easier to go between the 2. But like the saying goes, “No one needs you until you finally sit down to relax.”

When I talk to women about personal safety and learning how to be more situationally aware, I can see the everyday woman voice in their head saying, “When would I have time to take a class? How would I justify the cost? I can’t do that-I haven’t worked out in ages!” The beach bum voice says, “If you start investing time and money into that, you’ll NEVER have time to yourself. That will become your ME time.”

I don’t know about you, but if you want me to choose either sand between my toes, sun on my face, salt in the air, waves crashing on shore or the image of a stereotypical male ex-military/law enforcement/martial arts expert teaching me women’s self-defense by gouging eyeballs and crushing throats, I’ll pick beach bum every time.

I had a phone conversation with a guy (who I shall not callout publicly because that’s not how I roll) who wrote a self-defense book for women. The first 20 minutes of the call involved him telling me it was nearly impossible to get women to make their personal safety a priority. That his very famous friend, who encouraged him to write the book and even wrote the forward, was not able to help the book reach women like he’d hoped (It probably doesn’t help that this friend has had numerous accusations of sexual misconduct from women, but I digress.). His belief is that women needed to learn how to physically fight, and situational awareness is a by-product. When I look at his marketing, all I see bulging muscles in too-tight shirts and an angry scowl.

I’d call that a misfire.

I’m the first to say that it takes all types of people with all different backgrounds to make the world go ‘round. How I like to learn things may be different than the person sitting next to me. I’m not saying that guy was completely wrong in his approach. I’m saying if your current approach of marketing to women is not working, maybe try something different.

Or not.

I don’t care. You do you.

I truly don’t believe he should try to be anything other than himself. Women want authenticity. Women want honesty and vulnerability. Brene Brown is beloved by so many women because she promotes these traits. What’s the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.

So, where does that leave us? How do we change the conversation, the marketing, the look, the feel of self-defense- so women see it and feel like the training is absolutely worth the time, cost, and effort? Remember, you’re asking them to give up their version of beach bum to learn something new. You’re asking them to trade those precious moments of uninterrupted bliss to feel like a 5-year-old on her first bike. Bumps, scrapes, and bruises included.

Is learning self-defense worth it? Definitely. Should every woman have a resource and place where she feels comfortable learning these life-saving skills? Of course. Has the self-defense industry done a good job marketing to women? Nope. Before you think I’m all doom and gloom, I think the industry has started to do some self-reflection. I think the industry as a whole, truly wants to help women learn how to be safer in their daily life. I know lots of self-defense instructors who are open to suggestions on how to change their marketing approach to appeal to women.

They are also determined 5-year-olds, getting their first bike with training wheels, wanting to learn how to do something new.

“Be brave enough to be bad at something new.”

Jon Acuff

What Does That Even Mean?!?

What Does That Even Mean?!?

Do you ever get caught up in the hype of NYE resolutions? I’m going to work out! I’m going to eat healthier! I’m going to climb Mt. Everest! When I hear people say those things, I wonder-what does that even mean?

In the case of mountain climbing-WHY?! It’s cold up there!

Let’s take the “I’m going to work out” goal. Does that mean getting a gym membership and going on a regular basis? Once you get to the gym, do you want to do cardio? Does that mean running, cycling, rowing? Does it mean lifting weights? Does it mean hiring a personal trainer to guide you in those workouts?

Saying you’re going to work out is a broad statement and means something different to everyone.

Maybe you’re someone who thinks NYE resolutions are overrated so I’ll use a different example. Getting directions.

My husband and I decided it was time to update our boys’ playroom. They need desks to work at and shelves to show off their lego creations. I found everything I needed at IKEA online, and chose the click-and-collect option for pickup. I’m not familiar with this particular store and I’d never used the order pickup system before. When I finalized my order, it gave me the following directions.

The closest parking is on the upper deck of parking garage on south side. Enter through the Returns & Exchanges entrance and turn to your left. Continue to the Order Pick up desk and ask for your order by the order number.”

What does that even mean? Is there a big sign on the outside of the building telling me which entrance I should go in? Is there a loading dock? Do I leave my truck parked near the doors while we walk in to get our items? Will anyone be able to help me lift the boxes in the truck?

So often, the people writing directions have details in their heads they assume everyone knows, and they forget to share them.

That’s exactly what I think of when someone says, “you need to be more situationally aware”.

Great!

What the hell does that mean?!?

Be more aware of what? What am I looking for? How should I act when I’m out in public? How should I act when I’m out with friends? How should I act when I’m with my kids by myself?  Trying to keep your eyes on small children WHILE being aware of your surroundings is a constant balancing act.

Look at the kids, look around, look at the kids, look around…now, what was I doing again? Oh yea, trying to find the next item on my grocery list.

Crap! Where did the kids go?!?

Simply telling women to be more situationally aware is too vague.

That’s where The Diamond Arrow Group steps in. We teach you how your intuition works. How it communicates with you, so you know what to listen for. We teach you the behaviors to watch for, so you know when someone is testing your boundaries.  We talk about using ALL your senses to inform you of your surroundings. We teach simple daily habits to practice, so you are present in your daily life.

Do you prefer to learn by taking online classes?

We have an entire video training series you can take from the comfort of your own home.

Do you prefer taking classes in person?

Our first public class of 2020 is open for registration.

Do you prefer from a presentation on the subject?

We offer hour-long sessions that work great for lunch and learn meetings or networking groups.

Do you prefer one-on-one coaching?

We offer private lessons where we come to you.

We learn about you and start where you are today. We take your natural strengths in to account, and work with you to build self-confidence in your personal safety abilities. We truly believe everyone can learn to be more situationally aware than they were yesterday.

I’m excited to announce something new for 2020. Emergency Action Plan facilitation for private business and public facilities.

Most companies have a large, three-ring binder with what to do in case of a fire, tornado, or flood. When was the last time it was updated? Does it include active shooter incidents or bomb threats? Do all employees know the procedure for accountability in the event of an evacuation? The last thing anyone wants to worry about is where is everyone and are they safe. Yes-there are many templates and tons of information to download from the internet. But what HR Manager has the time to figure out what applies to their specific company?

That where we come in. We will sit down with a business, review the current emergency plan or help create a new one from scratch, and offer suggestions on training or lead trainings for all employees. We provide clear guidance and assistance so companies feel confident in their plan.

The mission of The Diamond Arrow Group is to help people, especially women, gain confidence to live life on their own terms.

How can we help you?

 

“Vagueness leads to assumptions, where no one knows what’s going on.

Being specific opens the door to clarity, which leads to success.”

-Kelly Sayre