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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.

 

5 Self-Defense Tools: What to Consider Before Buying

5 Self-Defense Tools: What to Consider Before Buying

Which self-defense tool is right for you?

It depends.

One thing I know for sure, it’s not always what someone else says you should carry.

If you look at the online reviews of most self-defense tools, they are written by men who purchased the tool for themselves or for a female in their life they care about. That female could be their wife, sister, mother, daughter, or co-worker. I believe these men had the BEST intention when they purchased the tool as a gift. They cared about that person in their life, and they wanted to give them a gift that would keep them safe from harm.

I appreciate men wanting to do everything they can to help the women increase their personal safety by purchasing a tool as a gift. The intentions are pure, but the gesture comes off as condescending and feels like mansplaining. This is not me hating on the good guys out there, it’s giving the female perspective.

It would be like my husband buying me a new vacuum because I want a cleaner floor, without asking for my input. If I’m the one using the vacuum, let me pick it out. (and really guys-NEVER buy a vacuum as a present-K?)

Now that we’ve covered that subject, what features do you need to consider in a tool that will be best for you?

It depends.

I’m going to break down different points to consider on the tools I carry in the Diamond Arrow Group online store.

(Side note: I’ve been sent other tools to test & evaluate that are not on my site yet. If you’re interested in becoming a DAG product tester, make sure you’re on our VIP email list!)

  1. J5 Tactical V1 Pro Flashlight

-This small but mighty flashlight fits in your cute clutch purse on a night out, as well as the palm of your hand while walking to and from your vehicle. Plus, it comes in a variety of colors, not just black.

-A powerful 300 lumens will temporarily blind a person, buying you time to get to safety if necessary. If they unintentionally got in your space, their full sight will return soon enough and hopefully they learned a valuable lesson. (when you tell them to get out of your space, they best listen)

-Uses AA batteries (let’s be real, if a tool requires a special battery, it’s not going to get replaced quickly).

-Cleared for travel. My flashlight has traveled in my carry-on bag on airplanes across oceans, gone into major sporting events, and attended concerts with me.

-It’s a flashlight. It helps you see your surroundings at night, can shine into dark shadows, and the car parked next to yours.

-The flashlight is made of air-craft grade aluminum (translation=very sturdy) and the beveled-edge is a great scraping (DNA collection) and blunt-force tool if an attacker gets in your space.

-Using the flashlight at night to illuminate your path is also a prevention action. If an attacker is waiting for a potential victim, they will see the flashlight beam first. Who typically has a flashlight at night? Law enforcement and security personnel. The attacker is not going to stick around to find out who’s at the other end of that light.

-Low price point and a lifetime warranty.

-The only thing I can say in regard to the “not helpful” column is that it’s not going to cause debilitating damage to an attacker. In that situation, you’re going to have to go after their eyeballs.

  1. Mace Spray-Sport

-I specifically carry the Sport version for the hand strap. This tool is what I carry when I’m out walking/running in a more rural or less populated area. Having it strapped to my hand and ready to deploy in seconds, without needing to hold on to it, is a huge advantage.

-Having it strapped to my hand let’s an attacker watching me see that I have a tool that will cause excruciating pain if they pick me as their target.

-The spray is a gel consistency and sprays up to 12 ft. in a single stream pattern. I don’t need to worry about a mist spray that will blow in my own face if the wind is blowing the wrong direction.

-The spray has UV dye. When I spray an attacker, I am “painting” them with an invisible ink that will light up under a UV light. This will help with law enforcement identification.

-The spray is less-lethal but very painful and debilitating for a length of time that gives me a great head start on getting to safety.

-The added bonus in purchasing a Mace Spray from DAG? We include a FREE water trainer with every spray purchase so you can practice shooting the spray and targeting. In fact, I highly recommend purchasing two sprays so you get two water trainers and have a water fight with a friend. Using play to get comfortable with using it makes learning fun and the knowledge will stick with you longer.

-All sprays have an expiration date! Mace specifically prints this date on all their products. You need to replace your spray every few years, even if you’ve never used it.

-Having Mace spray in your purse will not do you any good if you’re attacked. You need to have it in your hand, not at the bottom of your purse. My suggestion: before exiting the building or your vehicle, put the spray in your hand. When you reach your destination and are safe, you can put it back in your purse.

-Playing around with the actual spray and not being respectful of the tool can get an innocent person a face full of “for the love of all things holy make it stop” temporary pain. They will survive, but the pain will last longer than their list of cuss words.

-Not always travel safe. I forgot to move my Mace from my handbag to my checked luggage on a trip and had it confiscated by TSA. The agent was so apologetic because he thought all women should carry Mace, but he couldn’t let me get on the plane with it.

-Depending on your state’s self-defense laws, you need to be able to articulate WHY you used this tool to defend yourself.

  1. Mace Keychain Alarm

-These personal alarms have an ear-piercing sound that activates at the push of a button.

-When walking to your car, having your keys in your hand keeps this alarm handy. I’m not talking about keys between your fingers (that’s a different conversation), I’m talking about being able to quickly get into your vehicle vs. standing next to a locked vehicle while digging for your keys.

-If you wear a lanyard, the keychain alarm can easily clip to it and acts as a visual deterrent to a potential attacker.

-The sound of the alarm is different than a car alarm so people will naturally be more curious as to where the sound is coming from and start looking around.

-This is a tool that can travel with you anywhere.

-This is a tool that you can take on your lunch break walks around your building.

-The alarm has a whistle feature on the bottom.

-This is a tool that will do you absolutely no good if you’re in a rural and less populated area.

-It’s great at waking up sleepy people in the company meeting. (whoops, sorry to accidentally push my obnoxiously loud alarm) Just sayin’.

-If you don’t have this tool in your hand or within easy reach when you need it, it will do you no good.

-In a high-intensity situation where you experience an adrenaline spike, you lose fine motor skills. Pushing the small button on the back may be difficult if you haven’t practice doing so. This is where the whistle feature may come in handy AND help you remember to breathe.

-If the alarm is accidentally activated, it’s not going to hurt anyone.

  1. Mace Personal Clip Alarm

-See the above points under the Mace keychain alarm.

-The difference of this alarm that I really like as a woman, is it clips easily to clothing without causing damage. You can clip this to yoga pants, business attire, or whatever you’re wearing for the day. Women’s clothing is notorious for not having pockets. This clip alarm is a great work around.

-It’s activated by simply pulling the alarm off your clothing item. The alarm sounds when the clip end touches the back of the alarm.

-This is a tool that will do you absolutely no good if you’re in a rural and less populated area.

-This tool will not help you at the bottom of your purse. Heck-clip it to the side of your purse if you don’t want it on your clothing!

-If the alarm is accidentally activated, it’s not going to hurt anyone.

  1. NPE Stabby Tools/Firearms

-NPE stands for “non-permissive environments” which is a fancy acronym for “no weapons allowed.”

You may be wondering why I don’t have these tools listed on my website. Great question. Before I sell or promote a tool that can cause damage to another human, I am going to ask you many questions. I don’t believe in carrying a tool that can severely debilitate or cause death in another human, simply because it makes you feel cool. If you have a specific threat that you want to defend yourself against, I’m here to help guide you through the questions you need to take into consideration.

That includes:

-emotional, mental, and physical planning, preparing, and practice

-legal, ethical, and moral considerations

-a discussion around aftermath and the realities you will face

-a referral to an expert on the specific tool you are considering

Deciding to carry a self-defense tool is a personal choice and is dependent on your lifestyle. No one should be telling you which tool to carry, without asking for your input. That’s what makes the Diamond Arrow Group different than the typical self-defense tool retailer.

I’m not here to sell you something, I’m here to empower you to be responsible for your personal safety in a way that works best for you.

“Don’t base your decisions on the advice of those who don’t have to deal with the results.”

-Anonymous

Don’t Wait For Something To Happen

Don’t Wait For Something To Happen

Learning how to be more situationally aware is not about learning a new life skill, it’s about using life skills you already possess, from the perspective of personal safety.

“Having awareness means using your senses and intuition to notice something is off in your environment. Then, understanding what that means to you and your safety. Lastly, taking action to preserve your safety.”

-Kelly Sayre

Last week, there was a bank robbery and hostage situation in Central MN. It started in the middle of a weekday afternoon. There are not a lot of details being shared yet, but two points I felt compelled to write about for this week’s blog.

First, the suspect displayed erratic behavior in the bank lobby before the situation escalated.

During presentations, I stress the importance of noticing anomalies in your environment. A person displaying behaviors that do not match the baseline. Behaviors you would not normally expect to see in the environment. Anomalies can also be objects you would not normally expect to see in an area, but for the purposes of this post, I’m going to focus on behaviors.

Think about what type of behaviors you would normally expect to see while visiting your bank. People are generally quiet, almost in a library-type way. Due to the private nature of personal finances and the importance of security, bank employees and patrons tend to speak in hushed tones. The amount of distance for personal space is also increased, even pre-pandemic. No one wants someone looking over their shoulder at personal identification information or bank account numbers.

Behaviors that would be considered anomalies would be the opposite of what I described above. Someone being loud, getting too close to other patrons of the bank, pacing around instead of patiently waiting to meet with a bank employee.

No matter what type of environment you’re in, if someone’s behavior is an anomaly from the baseline, pay attention. If any of your intuition alarms start going off, leave the area immediately. There is absolutely no reason to stick around to see IF something bad is going to happen. None.

Stay calm and get to safety (leave the environment). Even if you read the behaviors wrong, you’re still safe. If you stay in the environment because you aren’t quite sure the person’s behaviors are threatening, it can get worse real fast. There’s nothing cool or fancy about getting to safety. Hollywood doesn’t make money off showing people avoiding dangerous situations. But real life isn’t Hollywood.

“You don’t have to be right, but I’d hate for you to be wrong.”

-Tammy McCracken

Second, when there is an active situation where lives are in danger, do not GO TO the scene to spectate.

In today’s world, real-time information and updates are shared immediately and broadcast all over the world via the internet. As someone who spends a good chunk of time studying violence and pre-threat indicators, I understand the curiosity when a situation is happening. I talk about the importance of being curious about your environment in order to stay present and notice anomalies. But that’s when you’re already in the environment. Being curious does not mean you should stop what you’re doing, get closer to the scene, and take a seat on the grass. (Yes, there literally were gawkers at the bank situation).

As I mentioned above, when a situation is happening in real-time, it can get much worse real fast. Law enforcement should not have to worry about keeping “spectators” safe. Victims of a situation don’t want to feel like people are watching events unfold, while eating popcorn and drinking a soda, when they’re having one of the worst days of their life. And, the suspect or suspects, may actually feel motivated to cause more damage to increase the perception that they are a “badass”.

Situational awareness is being present, staying curious about your environment, and taking action to get to safety the moment your intuition tells you it’s time to leave.

You already have the life skills needed to keep yourself and loved ones safe. Don’t fight your intuition because you want front row seats to the action. You may end up being a victim to that action.

“This life’s hard, but it’s harder if you’re stupid.”

-George V. Higgins

Fear Mongering and Click Bait

Fear Mongering and Click Bait

Last week, an article was shared with me about an alleged Tik Tok video declaring April 24th National Rape Day. In doing a quick online search, there were quite a few articles talking about this alleged video.

When something gets shared with me, whether it’s a video, article, picture, or a personal account of a woman being attacked, I try to get as much information as I can. I want to learn the details, in order to pull out lessons that will help other woman stay safer. It’s not about figuring out what the victim did wrong. It’s about looking at the tactics or methods used by the predator, and sharing that information so everyone can learn to recognize early warning signs.

In every attack from one human to another (or group of people), there are pre-threat indicators. The indicators are not always recognized, either because the victim does not consciously observe them and misses their intuition signals, or a third party doesn’t recognize the indicators for what they are. Again-this is not a blame game, it’s a lack of knowledge on threat assessment.

The alleged Tik Tok video would be considered a pre-threat indicator. Except, no one could find the video. A friend of DAG, whose job is in crisis management and threat assessment, had his entire team scouring the web for this video. They couldn’t find it. What they did find was a post on social media talking about the alleged video. From that post, mainstream media took it as fact (without verifying there was an actual video), and used fear mongering as click bait.

Now, some could argue that the public needs to be made aware of any and all threats of violence, in order to protect themselves. I disagree.

Real and viable threats? Yes-those need to be brought to the attention of the right people to avoid violence if at all possible.

Fear mongering and scare tactics to get clicks, likes, and shares? Nope.

Not only do scare tactics make the situation worse, it can be re-traumatizing for anyone who has experienced that type of violence in the past. Instead of sharing knowledge to empower women in their personal safety (ex: here’s the warning signs to watch for and options to get safe), it causes panic and anxiety.

What is the most important thing to do when your intuition alarm bells start going off? Stay calm and decide on a course of action that keeps your safety the #1 priority.

How can you build confidence in your personal safety skills? Here’s 4 things to start with…

  1. Get on The Diamond Arrow Group’s email, follow DAG on Facebook and Instagram, and connect with Kelly on LinkedIn. (Share our info with others!)
  2. Practice simple daily habits to increase your situational awareness skills. (Watch this video for ideas.)
  3. Gather a group of friends or family and take self-defense classes. (Are you in central MN? Here’s a FREE class with 500rising instructors next month.)
  4. Research self-defense tools and figure out what would work best for you and your lifestyle. (Don’t know where to start? Email me.)

I don’t want you to live your life in fear of the “what ifs”. There are so many cool people to meet, so many cool places to travel to, and so many cool adventures to experience.

A diamond through an arrow symbolizes courage moving forward. Let me help you build confidence in your personal safety skills so you can live life on your terms.

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

-Mary Oliver

How Are You Doing Today?

How Are You Doing Today?

After Sheryl Sandberg’s husband passed away unexpectedly, she co-wrote the book “Option B” with Adam Grant. It’s a real and raw account of the pain of losing a spouse and the aftermath no one likes to talk about. One of the big takeaways I got from it was not to ask friends during difficult times “how are you doing?” because it “comes across as a standard greeting without genuine concern”.  Instead ask, “how are you doing today?” which is more specific and reminds them they don’t have to have the future figured out.

The revised question is now the only version I ask people because I genuinely care and want to know how they’re doing…today. If 2020 has shown us anything, it’s that nothing is certain. I can have the best plans set in place, I can have the prettiest vision board created, and in an instant, everything can change.

Dealing with constant change is exhausting. It’s overwhelming to try and control things that are out of your control. Learning to be flexible is important. Building resiliency is an absolute necessity. Learning to stay present and focused only on the day ahead of you takes practice. But the peace you get from letting go of tomorrow’s unknowns is wonderful. 

You’ve probably heard all of these things before. (I may or may not have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to beautiful quote pictures on these topics.) They are the basic life skills that we strive to understand and master in order to lead full and enriching lives. Self-care is the trend, especially during this time in history. Meditation, mindfulness, and building our confidence to live the life we want. I’ve seen a lot of posts asking people to really think about the things they want to add back in to their lives in the future. So much of our lives was put on hold and so many things we considered “normal” were turned upside down. Before you rush to “go back to normal”, take the time to ask yourself, “what do I really want normal to look like?”

All of those self-care habits and the opportunity to pause and truly decide what you want and don’t want in your life, are the same skills you use in your personal safety.

Living in fear of “what if something happens to me?” is exhausting and overwhelming. You can’t control another person’s actions, but you can control your boundaries and how you enforce them. Putting away distractions and staying present and mindful of your surroundings, is actually relaxing. When your intuition doesn’t have to fight for your attention, you will get the message that something’s not right quicker and be able to react faster.

When you have the opportunity to decide what self-defense tool would work best for you, you realize it doesn’t have to be what everyone else tells you to carry. As women, we either have a handbag full of crap we’re hauling around, or a cute little clutch. Our dress pants (and many other items of clothing) typically don’t have pockets. If they do, they’re small and non-functioning.

But guess what, those cute heels that you like to wear? Those can do some damage to the top of someone’s foot, their eyes, or even their neck if need be.

I like to say, “if all you had were your wits and fists, what could you do?”. You get to decide what works best for you. 

What I care about is helping you start looking at the life skills you’re already using, and applying them to your personal safety. When you start to gain confidence in your skills in one area of life, that confidence will spill over and help you gain confidence in other areas of your life.

Make sure to follow the DAG Instagram and Facebook pages so you can practice staying present in your daily life starting today. (Not a follower yet? Click here for IG and here for FB.)

If you’re reading this blog but you’re not on the DAG email list, get signed up here.

So…

How are you doing today?

Where is your comfort level regarding your own personal safety today? 

How can I help you today?