*Google Tracking*
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!

Sneak Peek at the DAG Book

Sneak Peek at the DAG Book

I’ll be in a self-imposed, writer’s isolation this week to work on book edits. Since it’s blog week, I thought it would be fun to share an excerpt with you. A sneak peek/VIP insider info sort of thing.

The excerpt below is a “diamond” in the rough (hahaha…get it? ;-p).

DAG Book (still trying to come up with a title!)

“One night, just as I was drifting off to sleep, I heard a loud bang and saw a flash of light through my bedroom curtains. I was too terrified to move. It had sounded like gunfire. I didn’t want to look out my window for fear that the person would see my curtains move, and know I was awake. I called 911 and two Sheriff Deputies showed up. It was late at night, but I was wide awake.

The one Deputy kept testing my memory by repeating back incorrectly what I said.

Deputy: “you said you heard two shots”

Me: “no, I said I only heard one”

I lived in a newer development with small city lots. The neighbors on the bedroom side of my house told the Deputies they hadn’t heard anything.

The two Deputies were professional and took my statement. When they left, I started doubting what I had seen and heard. Maybe I had dreamt it? Maybe it was a firecracker? I didn’t sleep that night, even with Diablo next to me.

I few weeks later, I heard two men’s voices outside my bedroom window, late at night. Again-I froze in bed and silently cursed Diablo for sleeping soundly, while I lay in fear. Where was my scary pit bull protector when I needed him?

After I didn’t hear anything for a few minutes, I assumed it was the neighbors and went to sleep.

While making coffee the next morning, I looked out my front window, down onto my driveway, and saw the explanation for the two male voices I’d heard the previous night. A vehicle had pulled into my driveway (it was winter and the recent snow was a great evidence collector), the passenger had gotten out and walked up to my front door. The driver had gotten out and walked around my house, to the base of my deck stairs, and back to the vehicle.

I remember feeling absolutely terrified.

My mind started racing. Was this related to the weird noise I had heard a few weeks ago? Were they casing my house? How ballsy to walk around my house in the winter, when I could easily see their tracks the next morning. Was this a psychological game and they were intentionally trying to intimidate me?

At the time, I was working on a law enforcement event in town, so I called one of my contacts. I shakingly told him about the tracks I was seeing around my house. I also mentioned that I thought I had heard a gunshot a few weeks prior. I felt so helpless and scared. I kept thinking, “WTF is wrong with me? I’m living by myself and I don’t have a single weapon in my house. (yes, yes-technically I had a variety of weapons in my house, but “affordances” wasn’t in my brain yet). I don’t have a plan as to what I would do if someone tried to break into my home. Obviously, my dog isn’t going to be any help.”

If we look at fear as a motivator instead of a hindrance, it can help us improve our lives. I didn’t want to live in fear in my own home. I needed to take accountability for my personal safety and create a plan.

My LE contact calmly reassured me that most likely, the individuals had mistaken my house as someone’s they knew. After walking around, they probably realized their mistake and left without incident. It was a reasonable explanation and it calmed me down.

It’s important to point out I had a law enforcement contact I knew and trusted enough to call and ask for advice. If I hadn’t had that connection, I would’ve been faced with the decision to either call the police non-emergency number or shrug it off and act like it wasn’t a big deal. As a single woman, living alone with her cuddly pit bull, I have to admit I probably would’ve shrugged it off.

I’m not saying it would’ve been the wrong choice, it simply would’ve been the choice I picked. As women, when we tell someone about something that freaked us out, but nothing bad happened, we hear “See? It was nothing.” We may even be told we were “probably overreacting”. This perpetuates the habit of downplaying our intuition when we sense something is off in our environment.

If I had called my Dad that morning instead of the LE contact, he would have done his best to reassure me that everything was fine, that I was okay, and then he would’ve whispered out of the side of his mouth “don’t tell your mother, it’ll freak her out”.

The message, “if something scared you, but nothing bad happened, you are fine. BUT…keep it to yourself because it might cause worry in someone else”, gets ingrained in our head.

Do you see the screwed-up messaging women get about their personal safety?

We need to change the conversation and talk about the real things women face. We need to talk about what violence towards women really looks like and how to create a plan that works for them. We need to stop making women feel like they should keep their fears to themselves because heaven forbid we make someone else uncomfortable.”

Imposter Syndrome & Situational Awareness

Imposter Syndrome & Situational Awareness

When I started The Diamond Arrow Group and had to create the website and social media channels, I started hearing voices in my head.

“What are you doing Kelly?! What makes you an expert?”

“Why do you think you are capable of doing this?”

“You’re going to make a fool out of yourself when everyone realizes you’re a rookie!”

Imposter syndrome is real, and it affects a lot of women.

Maybe a big promotion has opened up at your company, or you got asked to tell your story on a stage, or you are offered an opportunity to do something outside your comfort zone. What is the first thing that goes through your head? You might have a split second of excitement before that voice in your head says,

“but if I say yes, they’ll discover I’m not an expert and realize I’ve been faking it all along.”

Dr. Valerie Young has been helping people for decades who struggle with feeling like an imposter. She breaks it down in to four “competence types” in her book, The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer From the Imposter Syndrome and How To Thrive in Spite of It.

  1. The Perfectionist – 99 out of 100 equals failure
  2. The Expert – need to know and understand EVERYTHING, otherwise they’re a failure
  3. The Soloist – needing to ask for help is a failure
  4. The Natural Genius – if they struggle at something on the first try, they’re a failure
  5. The Superwoman/man/student – need to handle it all perfectly and at the same time, or they’re a failure

Do any of those competence types sound familiar to you? For me personally, “The Expert” type is the one I struggle with the most. When I started The Diamond Arrow Group Facebook page, I literally started sweating as I was inviting friends to like the page. That voice kept saying,

 “Who are YOU to say you are the expert at teaching Situational Awareness to women?”

 “Did you get a degree in this field? Did you read enough books?”

 “All these women you’re inviting to like your page are going to think you’re crazy!”

 When I mentioned my struggles to a close group of friends who’d become my sounding board, one of them blurted out, “Don’t you worry that if you DON’T get out there and talk about this, someone might die?”

It was a dramatic statement in stark contrast with my imposter syndrome inner voice, so we got a good laugh out of it, but it also was a light bulb moment for me. The longer I wallowed in my fears, the less opportunities I had to share what I knew and help someone live a safer and more confident life. I shifted that inner voice from “I so nervous” to “I’m so excited!”. Any time that little voice started going to the negative side, I would stop it and think about how excited I was to have the amazing opportunity to share what I knew about situational awareness with other women.

Maybe you have a little voice in your head saying you could never tell a stranger to back off if they got too close. Maybe you worry that if a guy you know started making you uncomfortable, you wouldn’t know how to make it clear you don’t like their actions. Maybe you struggle with self-confidence in your ability to physically defend yourself, so you walk with your head down and avoid eye contact. I totally understand. Let me help you build your confidence so you can move forward and live life on your own terms.

If you want to stop feeling that way, you must stop thinking that way. You got this.