Fold In The Cheese David!

Fold In The Cheese David!

Over the last five years, I’ve had numerous conversations with experts in the physical self-defense and violence prevention space. What I’ve found so fascinating is 80% of our conversations centered around the roles situational awareness and intuition play in helping women improve their safety and security. When I asked these experts for recommendations on trainings I could take or conferences I could attend to learn these valuable skills, they didn’t know of anything offered for the everyday person, especially women.

Yes, there are trainings available for threat assessment professionals in specific career fields. There are a few books on situational awareness, but most of them are written from a male’s perspective or use a lot of tacti-cool jargon (though me and a few other badass women I know are changing that and getting published!). Yes, there are lots of self-defense classes marketed to women, but they tend to focus on the physical aspect.

How can a skill, that is supposed to prevent you from getting into a physical altercation in the first place, have such limited resources available for women to learn from?  It doesn’t make sense!

Society should not be telling women they can’t do something because it MIGHT be unsafe. Bad things happen to people while they’re going about their day NOT doing anything risky. To live a life in fear because no one helped you learn the skills to keep yourself safe is wrong. It’s time to make a change.

Years ago, I received an email newsletter with “The top 50 things women could do to start being safer immediately”. Some of the advice in the newsletter included “don’t mix alcohol and strangers”, “don’t go through a drive-thru late at night”, and “don’t let a stranger walk behind you”.

Uhm…do you see what’s wrong with these so-called “tips”? The advice is not helpful! They could’ve saved space by just saying, “don’t have a life”.

Telling me to NOT do something is not helping me learn how to be safe. (I talked about this on IG here). My inquiry has always been, teach me how to be safe in any situation and defend myself when necessary.

Women have amazing intuition skills that we use every day in different capacities. As mothers, friends, co-workers, and partners-we are the best at noticing when something is off with someone. We immediately know something is different than the day before by the slight difference in how someone says, “good morning”.

Those same instincts can be used to tell you someone is trying to manipulate you. They can tell you someone is not behaving in a way you would normally expect to see in the coffee shop. They tell you the creepy vibe you get from that one person is real, even if everyone else seems to brush it off as “just being friendly”.

I created The Diamond Arrow Group to help all women realize they already have the skills to keep themselves and their loved ones safer. They simply need to look at those skills from a personal safety perspective. I act as the translator between the information and trainings geared towards experts in threat assessment and the everyday woman who wants to feel confident in her personal safety skills.

I know without a doubt, you can live life on your own terms. I’m here to show you how.

Be Bold, Be Curious, Be Kind

Be Bold, Be Curious, Be Kind

Here’s Kelly’s keynote from the Sharp Women Launch event, celebrating all women on International Women’s Day.

Wow. I look around this room and see so many faces that mean the world to me. Thank you for being here tonight to celebrate with me and everyone else in this room.

I started the Diamond Arrow Group five years ago this month. The reason why I named it Diamond Arrow was because years before that, I had read a quote about an arrow. It went something along the lines of, an arrow can only be shot forward by being pulled back, so when you feel like life is pulling you backwards, just focus and keep aiming because it’s about to launch you into something great. That was a great perspective shift for me on dealing with life’s challenges. When it came time to pick a name for my company, I wanted it to include an arrow. When I researched the meaning of different arrow phrases, I discovered an arrow through a diamond symbolizes courage or confidence moving forward. A solitary arrow can symbolize protection from harm. It was the perfect fit for my desire to help all women build their self-confidence to live life on their terms.

Now-that’s a big mountain to climb. Because each human is unique, with their dreams and desires, their motivations and the things they love, there are many paths to get to the top of the mountain. It really doesn’t matter which path you choose for you. There’s not a right or wrong path because what works for you, may not work for the person sitting next to you. I wanted to find a simple mantra that anyone could apply to their daily habits that not only applied to their personal safety, but all aspects of their life. That mantra was, be bold, be curious, be kind.

Be Bold: think back to when you were a little girl, maybe 2 or 3 years old. Picture her in your head- before the world told her who she could or couldn’t be- Ms. Sassafrass. Remember her spunk and courage to try new things. She didn’t look at a staircase and think, I can’t climb that-it’s too high. She didn’t stop to think about how she was going to reach each new step, she just started with the first one. Find her. Speak the words you would use to encourage her to figure out how to get to the top. Look around the room, you all made the bold decision to be here tonight. I’m willing to be most of you had no idea what to expect from tonight. To be honest, I didn’t really know either. I knew I wanted to have a party to celebrate publishing a book, but that was about it. As things started to fall into place, my vision became more clear. Rebekah working on setting up her Midwest book tour that coincided with my plans and both of us feeling strongly about having a charity component. Lori from Anna Marie’s Alliance being someone I worked with on a March of Dimes fundraiser so it was easy to call her directly with the Launch event idea. Calling Park Event Center and the woman who picked up asking if I was the same Kelly that worked at the CVB years ago, what are the odds? Really cool pieces of the puzzle seemed to fall into place naturally.

That’s when my self-doubt started chirping in my head. Who the heck do you think you are? What company is going to partner on your book launch event? Who the heck is going to pay you to come to your party? You better have an open bar.

That’s when I had to take my own advice. Kelly Sayre! You have built numerous events from scratch before! You’ve worked with teams of volunteers to accomplish a common goal! Stop listening to that negative voice in your head and be bold! The motivation for deciding to write a book wasn’t all pretty like a motivational poster, it was that little Ms. Sassafrass who was tired of the pandemic and threatened the Universe with an ultimatum. If you take away one more opportunity, I’m going to write a damn book! It’s amazing what channeling frustrations at things outside our control can do for motivation to achieve our goals.

Bet on yourself. Be bold. Because you made the bold decision to be here tonight, we were able to support Anna Marie’s Alliance. Use your voice to bring attention to the things that matter. Support other women being bold and working towards their goals. We can make anything happen when we work together.

Be Curious: The foundational skill of situational awareness is curiosity. That’s it. Being curious about your environment and the people in it. Juliana reminded me that it’s a proven fact women are better at reading non-verbal communication. Women are better at reading someone’s mood by tiny facial expressions. If you don’t believe me, watch a mom interact with her small child who doesn’t know how to talk yet. Watch a woman see her friend walk into the room and know instantly if something is up.

Our natural caretaking skills are the only reason why human beings are still on this planet. No offense to men, but there is a reason there are so many “when dad was left in charge of the baby” memes. Our curiosity is so natural that we don’t realize it’s our superpower. We intuitively feel the energy shift in a room. We don’t know how we know, but we just know when a loved one is struggling with something. That same feminine intuition skill can be applied to keep ourselves safe. When your instincts tell you something if off, whether that’s in the environment or with a person, trust it. As Gavin De Becker states, your intuition is always in response to something, and it always has your best interest in mind. You may never know what exactly was off that made your intuition alarm sound, but trust it. Your safety matters. You matter.

Be Kind: The world needs more kindness. I know that, you know that. Kindness and boundary enforcement are not mutually exclusive. You have a good, kind heart. Protect it like it’s the most precious thing it is. It’s a gift that has no limit. Sprinkle that stuff everywhere! One act of kindness has a multiplying effect and can make a world of difference to the person receiving it. It has value. Understand it’s worth, your worth. You are a gift to your family, your friends, your co-workers, the world.

And with any precious gift, protect it. You don’t have to give that gift to anyone who doesn’t deserve it. I want you to take your Sharp Women pledge, put it in a picture frame, grab a chalk marker or dry erase marker and write your name in the blank and sign the bottom. Hang it up somewhere you can see it every day. You are a Sharp Woman. You are precious. You matter. You never need to apologize for making your personal safety your priority. The world needs you and all the wonderful gifts you have to give. Remember-the world and the continuation of the human race depends on it. No pressure.

I want to thank all of you for giving me the gift of your time tonight. I’m honestly overwhelmed by the good vibes I’m feeling up on this stage. I don’t have enough words in my vocabulary to truly express what I’m feeling right now. As I look out into this room, I see the faces of people who have known me for decades, and faces that I’ve just met tonight.

Thank you for sharing the gift of yourself with me tonight. I appreciate you, and know that I’m cheering for each and every one of you to be the Sharp Woman you were born to be. Be bold, be curious, be kind-and always remember to live life on your terms.

Grab your copy of Kelly’s book, Sharp Women: Embrace Your Intuition, Build Your Situational Awareness, and Live Life on Your Terms here.

 

When your intuition alarm bells start to go off, listen.

When your intuition alarm bells start to go off, listen.

A woman who recently read Sharp Women, sent me these two stories of times she listened to her intuition signals. With her permission, I share them with you as a reminder that you never need to apologize for making your safety a priority. If nothing happens because you heeded your basic survival instinct, you win.

Story 1: I used to travel every month to NYC for work. One night several of us women were walking back to the hotel after a nice dinner. Suddenly the streets were strangely quiet. For no other reason than intuition, I flagged down the next cab and we all jumped in and rode the last few blocks back. NYC streets are never that quiet, it was just weird.

Story 2: Several years ago myself and a bunch of ladies went up north to a remote area for a scrapbooking retreat. Friday night we met at the bar/restaurant across the street from the resort for dinner and a drink. It turned into many drinks for everyone but me. I realized someone needed to drive us all back.  We went to another place that had karaoke as all were in a good mood and having fun and wanted to sing. At one point I noticed two guys paying a lot of attention to one of the women in our group. She was drunk. I sat close to where they were and kept an eye on them. When the bar was closing and I was gathering all my drunk ladies to get them home, this gal wanted to stay with the guy she’d been dancing with. I explained that she needed to go with us, the guys were pretty firm that they’d bring her back to the resort, but something didn’t feel right, and though I had just met her that night (friend of a friend), I was stone sober, and was not backing down on her going home with us. She wasn’t too happy with me, but was too drunk to argue, so I gathered her up  and drove them all home.  The next morning her phone didn’t work and upon inspection we found that it didn’t have a battery in it.  She said she had dropped it the night before, and she wasn’t sure if she picked it up or one of the guys did. I called the bar and spoke to the manager and he had closed up the night before and said there was no cell battery anywhere at the bar.   It absolutely sent a chill up my spine to think of what might have happened to her. Still give me the creeps even now 15 years later. The only thing I probably should have done is filed a police report in case anyone at the bar knew who those guys were, so maybe they wouldn’t do it to anyone else, but that didn’t occur to me then. I was just so freaked out by what could have been if I hadn’t been sober and really watching out for the other ladies in our group. You truly can never be too careful.

The more we talk about the way our intuition sends us warning signals and what pre-threat behaviors look like in the real world for women, the more we can educate each other and build our self-confidence in making our personal safety a priority.

If you have a story you want to share, you can send it via the website. Stay Sharp!

To wear or not to wear, that is the question

To wear or not to wear, that is the question

I received a question on the Diamond Arrow Group Facebook page from a follower last week. The woman had an upcoming work trip and wondered if wearing company logo wear or personal clothes while on the trip would make her less of a target. As with 99% of situational questions I get, it depends. Here’s the conversation we had. Let me know what you think!

Follower: Do you think you make yourself less of a target if you are wearing work logo (traveling for work) compared to if you are dressed for leisure/personal…. If I’m traveling for work, someone else knows about my wear abouts vs leisure/personal where no one might even realize I am traveling…. penny for a thought??

Kelly: Great question. How I think about it is, if I’m evaluating you as a potential target, I could google your company and see where it’s based. That tells me if you’re traveling for work vs. daily commute. If I spend a few seconds on the company website understanding what it’s about, I may use that info to strike up a conversation pretending mutual interests. If I can get you to open up and have a conversation, I may ask questions that tell me why you’re in town, where you’re staying, how long you’ll be in town, and how many people you’re traveling with.

If you’re in personal clothes, I will not know if this is your hometown or not. Which raises the risk that you are familiar with the area and the people around you. This also presents more of a risk that you carry tools that won’t pass TSA inspection (traveling tends to minimize tool choices).

It’s not so much about do this, don’t do that-it’s about being conscious of the information you broadcast (verbal & non-verbal, logo wear-whether work or personal) and recognizing behaviors that seem off (too curious, too intrusive) from normal stranger behavior.

Follower: I’m heading out Sunday night for business and I’ll be traveling with my boss, we’ve usually gone together, but we have a co-worker that is joining us a few days later on her own and made me think about the situation if I was traveling by myself. And great info!! Made me think about things I wouldn’t have.

Answering questions about personal safety and helping people see things from different perspectives, in order to increase their personal safety, is one of my favorite things to do. If you have a question for me, send me an email, DM, or post on the social channels and I’m happy to help!

The Number One Question I Get

The Number One Question I Get

A key component of situational awareness is being curious about your environment and the people in it. One of the family rules we have in our house is, validate assumptions and question what you don’t understand. A hashtag I often use in social media posts is #neverstoplearning. Basically, I love to ask questions and enjoy every opportunities to build my knowledge of the world around me.

What happens when the tables are turned and someone gets curious with me? They say, “I only have about 5 minutes before I have to get going-can you quickly tell me what The Diamond Arrow Group is all about?”

I take a deep breath (to stop me from wanting to talk as fast as possible), and say…

I save lives by helping women embrace their intuition, build their situational awareness and live life unafraid through one-on-one coaching, events, trainings, keynote speaking engagements.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence MN fact sheet from 2020:

-33.9% of Minnesota women and 25.1% of Minnesota men experience intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner rape and/or intimate partner stalking in their lifetimes.

-53% of women experiencing homelessness in Minnesota in 2018 had stayed in a relationship, because they did not have any alternative housing available.

According to the Violence Free MN website:

-In 2020, 40% of DV homicide victims were Black, while compromising less than 7% of MN population.

-Native women face higher rates of victimization and accounted for 10% of 2020 homicide victims while making up only 1% of MN population.

-In 2018, the Violence Policy Center found that Black women were murdered by male intimate partners at rates nearly 3 times that of White Women.

-Economic abuse is one of the most used tactics to maintain power and control over victims and occurs in 99% of cases of relationship abuse.

Economic abuse is present in 99% cases of relationship abuse. That statistic blew my mind.

At the National level:

-1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men in the United States have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner.

-On a typical day, local domestic violence hotlines receive approximately 19,159 calls, approximately 13 calls every minute.

-In 2018, domestic violence accounted for 20% of all violent crime.

-72% of all murder-suicides involve an intimate partner; 96% of the victims of these crimes are female.

-1 in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence each year, and 90% of these children are eyewitnesses to this violence.

Economic Impact:

-Victims of intimate partner violence lose a total of 8 million days of paid work each year, the equivalent of 32,000 full-time jobs.

– Intimate partner violence is estimated to cost the US economy between $5.8 billion and $12.6 billion annually.

-Between 21-60% of victims of intimate partner violence lose their jobs due to reasons stemming from the abuse.

– In 2012, 351 women died at work. The leading cause of their death was homicide-28% were murdered. While far more men die on the job overall at 4277, only 9% are murdered.

The physical/mental impact of domestic violence:

-Physical, mental, and sexual and reproductive health effects have been linked with intimate partner violence including adolescent pregnancy, unintended pregnancy in general, miscarriage, stillbirth, intrauterine hemorrhage, nutritional deficiency, abdominal pain and other gastrointestinal problems, neurological disorders, chronic pain, disability, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as noncommunicable diseases such as hypertension, cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Victims of domestic violence are also at higher risk for developing addictions to alcohol, tobacco, or drugs.

I do a quick non-verbal read of the person who asked me the question (usually this read involves observing their jaw dropped in shock after hearing the statistics), before continuing.

The statistics on violence committed against women have remained stagnant for decades. The way things have always been done are not working. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result. It’s time to make a change and The Diamond Arrow Group is here to be one of those leading the charge. From urban to rural areas, high to low personal wealth, this impacts all women.

The beliefs that influence us the most as adults came from the impacts of events in our childhood. The teachings and trainings I provide need to get to women so they can start making changes in their daily lives to improve not only their own personal safety, but the safety of their loved ones.

If you can’t truly love someone until you love yourself, if you can’t truly know someone until you know yourself, then how can you truly protect someone, until you know how to protect yourself?

Since moving back to the community 15 years ago, I’ve had the opportunity to build great relationships and a positive reputation. I was once described as aggressive and assertive, with a good attitude. 😉 Many people can speak to seeing my work ethic and diplomacy first hand.

I mention all of this because there are big things in the works for the Sharp Women Launch event on March 8th. Make sure you save the date on your calendar!

10 Tips to Carry Yourself with Confidence

10 Tips to Carry Yourself with Confidence

I’m willing to bet that you’ve heard about the importance of first impressions. Whether it be walking into the job interview, meeting a prospective client, or giving a presentation to a group of people (even virtually!). How you walk into the room, make eye contact, the tone of your voice, and how well you listen, can all have a huge impact on creating a positive first impression. When you have self-confidence, the vibe you give off makes people feel at ease because they believe you know what you are doing. No one wants to hire someone or work with someone who makes them question whether or not they’ll be able to do what they say they are going to do.

Potential attackers use these same observation techniques to select their victim, but in reverse. They are looking for someone who doesn’t appear to have self-confidence. Someone who is distracted or looks afraid. Attackers do not want to select someone who looks like they will make noise to alert others or someone who gives off the vibe, “not me, not today”.

So, you’ve committed to carrying yourself with confidence, but what exactly does that mean? Here are 10 tips that apply to your career AND your personal safety.

  1. Know your strengths

When you know your strengths, it builds your confidence. If you’re not sure what your top strengths are, ask 5 people who truly know you and who you respect. A great resource that you can use to self-evaluate your strengths is taking a CliftonStrengths online assessment. Are you really good at reading body language? Practice guessing the mood of people you see as you go about your day. Consider this your excuse to people watch!

  1. Work on your appearance

How you walk and the way you dress not only makes a first impression on others, it can affect how you feel about yourself too. Whether at work or going out in a social setting, when your clothes fit perfectly and the whole outfit feels Pinterest worthy, you feel confident. Start with investing in at least one custom tailored outfit made specifically for you. Make sure you can move freely and comfortably.

  1. Be aware of your weaknesses

Having self-confidence means being aware of your weak points too. When someone refuses to acknowledge traits they need to work on, their work and personal relationships suffer. You cannot grow and improve yourself if you refuse to acknowledge your weaknesses.

  1. Move your body

Choose a physical activity you enjoy and do it on a regular basis. Don’t quit before you start because you’ve “never been the athletic type”. Take an honest self-assessment of your current physical state and pick one thing to do every day to improve it. Maybe it’s walking to the mailbox instead of grabbing the mail out your car window. Maybe it’s setting a regular walking date with a friend instead of meeting somewhere to sit and talk.

  1. Practice good communication

Being able to communicate effectively is crucial in both your work and personal life. Understand your emotions and where they come from, be able to articulate your feelings clearly and concisely, and practice active listening. If you have a different opinion on how to solve a problem at work, speak up and share your idea. If someone is bothering you because they are saying something inappropriate or standing too close to you, stay calm and speak up.

  1. Relax

Take deep breaths when you start to feel nervous or stressed. Do a power pose, take 5 seconds to remind yourself of your strengths, and stop overthinking all the possible outcomes of a situation. Focus on what you can control- you and your actions. Worrying about whether your presentation will be well received before you log on to the Zoom call will only hinder you. You may appear nervous and your voice might shake. That is not the first impression you want to give. When you are walking to your car after work or running errands, stay off your phone and scan your environment. Even better, have a flashlight in your hand and use it, especially after dark.

  1. Eyes up

Look people in the eyes when you meet them. It lets them know your attention is focused on being present with them. They will feel seen and heard and be much more receptive to listening to what you have to say too. It is not a staring contest though! If you are starting to work on making eye contact with people, look at the bridge of their nose. When you walk down the street, look around at others in your area. Potential attackers do not want you to see them approach. If you make even brief eye contact with them, they know you’ve seen them. You have just told them you’re confident in knowing who and what is in your environment and they won’t have the element of surprise.

  1. Stand tall

Your body language sends an especially important message to others. That’s why the power pose works so well. This is not a superficial tip! Straighten your spine, pull your shoulders back, and keep your head up. Plus, your chiropractor will be happy with your improved posture.

  1. Listen to your intuition

All your senses are constantly taking in information and feeding that information to your subconscious. When your subconscious decides something deserves more attention, it sends a signal to your consciousness via intuition. There are many ways your intuition will communicate with you and it’s not always with fear. Sometimes it’s a nagging suspicion you’ll be working late because you overheard co-workers talking about a problem they’ve discovered. Start paying attention to what your intuition is telling you about little things. The better you understand your intuition signals, the more confidence you’ll have in trusting the signals will come through for the big things.

  1. Consider a Personal Protection Device

What if you find yourself in a challenging situation? One of the best ways to alert anyone that you need help is a personal alarm. Mace® Brand personal alarms are easy to carry and send out a loud shriek with the touch of a button. They also have a built-in whistle that makes alerting someone easy. The alarms are legal in all 50 states, and are a popular choice for teenagers. It’s always best to be prepared and empower your loved ones with a non-lethal form of Mace personal protection.

Remember that building your self-confidence takes time. Everyone has struggled with their self-confidence at some point in their life. It’s not just you! Start building your confidence by picking one habit to practice every day. As you get better at the one habit, let the sense of accomplishment propel you to take the next step.

No matter who you are or where you are starting from, you can do this. By using your fears as motivation to better yourself, you build resilience too. You know you have overcome challenges in the past, and you will overcome challenges in the future. When you carry yourself with that knowledge, you will shine with confidence.

“Use action to cure fear and gain confidence.”

-David Schwartz, Magic of Thinking Big