3 Things To Remember During Self-Isolation

3 Things To Remember During Self-Isolation

Today is day 1 of self-isolation with my two kids. I’ve started using the hashtag “#CQday1” to keep a sense of humor about all of this. Being the wife of a law enforcement officer, my husband is required to continue going to work, as long as he’s feeling well. Which means the likelihood of him coming in contact with the virus is above average. Which means myself and our kiddos could become infected. Which means everyone we come in contact with has an increased chance of becoming infected.

As an extrovert, this is going to be a challenging time. As a person who recognizes that my temporary isolation could protect others from becoming infected, it’s a no-brainer.

My normal work routine will be impacted, so I ask for your patience in trying to get ahold of me. If you need to reach me for any reason, the best way will be to send me an email at kelly@thediamondarrowgroup.com. I’ll respond as soon as I can.

Even though my daily focus will be on taking care of my family, I can’t NOT talk about a few things on my mind with our current state of affairs. Here are 3 things I want to mention in regards to your personal safety and situational awareness during this time.

  1. Watch for any neighbors who may be struggling during this time of social isolation.
    • If you have elderly living in your neighborhood, send them an email, give them a call, or leave a note in their mailbox with your contact info and offer to help get any supplies they need. It may be as simple as adding a gallon of milk to your grocery order. You can always leave their item in front of their door in order to maintain the recommended 6′ social distance.
    • They may need to get refills of their medications. They can call their pharmacy with your name and birthday and give approval for you to pick it up. The pharmacy would simply need to ask for your Driver’s License to verify your identity.
  2. If you need to run errands and get supplies, be aware of anyone in your space.
    • When fear and panic take over, people do crazy things. Keep your eyes up and pay attention to your surroundings as much as possible. Don’t be afraid to put up your hand (like you’re signaling for the person to stop) and say out loud, “Can I help you with something?” if someone is getting too close.
  3. Make it a priority to take care of yourself.
    • If you are now working from home AND have your kids at home AND trying to keep up with the latest updates on Covid19 AND trying to figure out what to make for lunch AND making sure your supplies are sufficient, you could be experiencing an immense level of stress and anxiety. (or is it just me???) Give yourself grace! Everyone is dealing with massive changes to their daily routines. Stay calm, focus on what you can control, try to get fresh air (even if that means standing on your front steps for 5 minutes), and do something you enjoy. Maybe you can finally read that book you’ve been neglecting.

Okay, this email got a lot longer than I intended. Ha! As always, feel free to contact me if you have any questions relating to personal safety during this unique time. If I don’t have the answer, I’ll do my best to find one it you.

Now…I need to figure out what to make for lunch. Ahhhhh!

You Got This,
Kelly

What If We Flipped The Script?

What If We Flipped The Script?

I just got back from a lovely weekend of relaxation, deep conversation, and lots of laughs with two beautiful souls I’ve been so fortunate to cross paths with. It was exactly what I needed, a mental break from the never-ending to-do list of home projects and the growing (no complaints) opportunities for DAG.

I don’t know if it was the clarity from taking a mental break, the fact that my two friends and I could have real conversations about sensitive topics (with differing views), or that I watched the movie “Bombshell” on the flight home, but my mind was reviewing my personal beliefs and asking hard questions.

Is that really what you think Kelly, or is it what you’ve been told to believe?

Why do you think that?

What if you looked at things from a different perspective?

Typing that seems silly. I’m almost 40 years old and I’m asking myself if my opinions are truly mine???

In my journey to learn all that I can about situational awareness, I’ve had to study a lot of trainings for law enforcement and military personal and think,

“How can I translate this valuable information so the everyday person, especially women, understands it and can apply it in their own lives, regarding personal safety?”

I’m constantly absorbing, evaluating, challenging, and questioning current beliefs and views on personal safety to figure out how to apply them to my own experiences as a woman.

I guess you could say I’m challenging the current status quo of self-defense with the realities of being a woman.

This morning, as I was getting back into my daily routine and the beginning of the work week, I found myself thinking about a quote I had shared on the DAG social media pages last week.

The post saw a fair amount of comments and views. It’s a sad reality that we don’t consciously think about in my opinion. It’s one of those, holy shit- that’s true, type of things.

As I thought about that quote, I realized I could flip the script and switch “woman” to “man”, and wondered if it had an equally impactful truth.

 

Again, holy shit- is that true?

In transparency, after I thought it, I wanted to immediately dismiss it. I know so many great guys, there’s no way this could possibly be true.

But, if the first quote is true, then is my reversed quote true?

“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

-Sir Isaac Newton

It may be a stretch, comparing assault to the laws of motion, but it makes sense to me right now. If every woman has a story that relates to assault, doesn’t that mean that every man has a story too? Again-I’m not saying EVERY man is a predator. If it makes it more palatable, take out the assault part and think about a guy who crosses boundaries.

If you’re a guy reading this and you’re fired up because you adamantly detest men who prey on women, who disregard boundaries, who say or do things that cross the line of being offensive to women, let me be the first to say, THANK YOU! The world needs good men like you. We need you to keep doing the work to make a difference in women’s safety.

AND, please look honestly at the friends, family, and acquaintances in your life and ask yourself if any woman has ever made a comment about one of them being “creepy”. Have you ever found yourself shocked to hear that female friends in your life can’t stand being alone with a certain guy? Have you been surprised to learn that women in your social circle literally have an understanding or code word for dealing with a certain guy? For example, if this guy has been drinking, they all know to watch and make sure no female is left alone in his presence.

Ladies, I’m curious to hear your thoughts and opinions. What do you think?

Gentlemen, if you’re still reading this, I truly want to know what you think. Whether you agree or completely disagree, I welcome your feedback.

“Each one of us can make a difference. Together we make change.”

-Barbara Mikulski

Self-Defense Tool Breakdown

Self-Defense Tool Breakdown

What Self-Defense Tool is Right For You?

The best answer- it depends on YOU.

When I’m talking to women about their personal safety, I get asked all the time…

“Do you recommend Mace? I’m so worried I’ll accidentally spray myself!”

“I like to walk/run outdoors by myself, would a personal alarm work for me?”

“I’ve been hearing people talk about tactical flashlights, how will that help me?”

I thought I would put together two-part video series to go over the different features of the self-defense tools I carry and sell in The Diamond Arrow Group online store.

Watch PART 1 

Watch PART 2 

I can’t stress enough, if you don’t feel comfortable using the tool you select, it’s not the right tool for you. If you have an alarm, test it out. If you have a Mace spray, go outside and see the type of spray pattern it has. You need to be comfortable with whatever you have and know how to use it BEFORE you find yourself in a situation.

Thanks for watching!

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Make sure to subscribe to our NEW The Diamond Arrow Group YouTube channel!

What is Situational Awareness Anyway?

What is Situational Awareness Anyway?

Growing up, I thought it was so cool when people could “read” people and know what they were thinking or what they were going to do, before they did it. I believed it was all Hollywood special effects or a skill only super-secret CIA spies had. I didn’t know it was a skill all women are born with.

Have you heard,

“You need to be more aware of your surroundings!”

Which made you look at the person and say,

“Aware of what?”

“What am I looking for?”

“If I DO see something, what should I do?”

“And then what?”

“And then what?!?”

Throughout my life, I’ve had to take responsibility for my personal safety without consciously thinking about it. When I get asked what started my fascination with situational awareness, (basically asking if I’ve had something  tragic happen to me), there isn’t one specific event. I’ve had lots of little situations where I knew something wasn’t right. Situations I’ve looked at differently because I’m a woman.

From an early age, girls are told all the things NOT to do, in order to avoid being a victim to the scary boogeyman, who will jump out of the bushes and hurt you. Stranger danger! But here’s what’s wrong with that message…

We tend to have this preconceived notion that an attacker will be a stranger and will dress a certain way. Ted Bundy was considered charming and attractive. He didn’t LOOK like a cold-hearted killer.

What I’ve realized is being situationally aware is simply looking at life skills you already have, in a different way.

Women have unbelievable intuition skills. We notice when a loved one is “off”. We feel the vibe or energy of a place. We have amazing instincts that help us take care of others. We’re traditionally raised to be kind, gentle, caring, and nurturing. We know EXACTLY what our kids need, even before they can talk.

We joke that the term “momma bear” is a sweet way of saying we would rip someone’s head off if they harmed our children or someone we cared about. Why is it so hard to use those skills to keep ourselves safe?

Because there are very few instructors out there who look like us, who have looked at life the same way as us, helping us see those skills in that way.

A great example I use is running outside. If I want to go for a run, I need to think about the time of day and if it’s a public or private route. I tell someone the route I plan to take, I think about what safety tools to carry, and I how I’m going to carry them. If I’m attacked, I need to consider how fast help can arrive. We can do everything to stay safe and still have some creeper try and mess with us.

My husband on the other hand, only has to decide if he wants to go for a run.

Have you taken a self-defense class? Was it with a male instructor? I’m not saying anything against male instructors! I’ve talked to lots of men in the self-defense industry who truly want to help women. But when they teach self-defense, they don’t have the life experiences women have and it can come across like man-splaining. They don’t realize the nuances we think about that have never crossed their mind.

Women are attacked every day. Not only by the boogeyman jumping out of the bushes, but by those we love and trust.

If we bring the conversation out in to the open, it brings light to things that really happen and the way they happen. We need to talk about the behaviors of PEOPLE in general, not just strangers.  It doesn’t matter if it’s the stranger at the park or the creepy uncle, the red-flag behaviors are the same.

Have you read about a woman being attacked and mentally walked through what you would do if you were in the same situation? This isn’t victim blaming and saying, “she should have done this” or “she should have done that”. This is asking yourself, if that situation happened to me, what would I do?

Try practicing right now. What would you do if someone snuck up behind you and put you in a choke hold?

It’s uncomfortable to think about. Your heart might start beating faster, your palms might get sweaty, and you might hold your breath. I want you to do it anyway. Visualize kicking his shins, stomping on the top of his feet, elbowing his sides, biting his arm, scratching his face, poking his eyes, and anything else you could do to fight back.

Wouldn’t you rather go through all of that visualization in a safe environment, than freeze up in an actual attack?

Your body can’t go where your mind hasn’t. In a situation, every second counts. If you’ve mentally gone through a scenario, you will be able to respond quicker if it actually happens.

We all have fears. We feel it when we become first-time moms, in our careers, or in running our own businesses.

What if we changed the perspective on fear? If fear gets you to take action to improve your life, it’s a good thing. If fear of not being able to defend yourself gets to you be more aware of your surroundings, that’s a good thing. If fear of someone breaking into your home gets you to add motion lights to the exterior of your home, that’s a good thing.

I don’t want you to ever stop living the life you want to live, or go the places you want to go, because you don’t have confidence in your personal safety skills.

Learn how to keep yourself and your loved ones safer. Take a self-defense class, figure out what self-defense tool you feel comfortable carrying and actually carry it. If you don’t want to take an in-person class, find something online.  If you have a question, you can email me any time.

Take the first step.

The Diamond Arrow Group exists to help women gain the confidence to move forward and live life on their own terms. I want all women to live their life, exactly the way they want to.

“Fear is your ally. She’s the caring messenger and supportive friend-and she’s always got your back.”

Marie Forleo

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