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Marie: Okay, it’s Marie here, it is Wednesday, we are live at lunch. I am here with coach Kerry-Ann Elliot today. I am super excited because Kerry’s one of my favorite-favorite people. And you’re going to find out why in just a minute, but so excited to be interviewing her.

Kerry is a phenomenal coach, an intentional mom, just an overall brilliant spirit. And I am so excited that she is part of my community, part of my network. So Kerry, hello! Because it has been a journey to get here. Y’all, you don’t even realize – trying to get this live stream going for like 20 minutes, but we have arrived. We are here. We are here. So Kerry, tell the people, tell them who you are, what you’re about, who is Kerry-Ann Elliot.

Kerry: Do we have time for that?

Marie: Yeah, I have enough time for that!

Kerry: Well, I am a woman of faith. I’m a mother, I’m a daughter, I’m a wife. I am someone who is doing her very best to be her best every single day. And, present in here for women who would also like to learn how to do that. So that’s a little bit, because we don’t really have time to go deep into who I am.

Marie: That’s the micro version, I appreciate that. So talk to me, Kerry, how did you and I meet, where did we find each other? And what were your first impressions? I’m always curious.

Kerry: Okay. So a couple of years ago… I’m going to tell the truth, girl, it’ll set you free. So here, a couple of years ago, I was like, you know, it’s time for me to get my finances in order. And I was actually speaking to my niece who knew someone who had worked with you and she referred you. So I reached out and I gotta tell you, my first impression was, I’m going to get my stuff together, ‘cause you are no joke. Okay? You know your stuff. And I could tell that you really wanted to help me understand my finances without making me feel shame around it. ‘Cause there’s always a lot of shame and mindset stuff around finances. And you were really awesome in kind of allowing me to reflect and figure out where I am and then let me know where I could be. And I believe that I could be there. I’m on my way. Very excited.

Marie: Yes. Yeah. So I’m super excited! I know, of course, I know all your business now. We’ve been hanging out, growing our relationship for a couple of years, but I’m really curious to hear about your journey into coaching and why it was you sought out coaching, why you decided to make a major career shift for you.

Kerry: Yeah, well, you know, I was an educator. I was a teacher and then an assistant principal. So I was in the department of education for about 15 years and I noticed that I had these innate things that I was doing, but I wasn’t aware of what I was doing. And so I started trying to figure out where I could use these things that are natural to me on a full-time basis without the bureaucracy, without the red tape. ‘Cause I was definitely feeling that my season there was over, it was time for me to move into something else and discovered coaching and then discovered that coaching has existed for quite some time, which was like, oh, this is not new.

And you know, I, I took a course and I was so excited because all the things that I was doing naturally, there was a term for it. You know, there was a structure for it. And I was just like, oh, this is what I’m supposed to be doing. You know, this is one of the things I’m supposed to be doing. And so I resigned from my job in 2019 and jumped in and it has been quite a journey because I think like teaching, you think you’re going to teach people, but you end up learning so much about yourself. And so I’ve really enjoyed my own growth and seeing where I am and recognizing how much influence I have in my own life and really, the desire to help other people realize where I can make decisions that impact my life and the life of others in a positive way. So that’s my journey in coaching and I’ve loved it so far.

Marie: Oh my goodness. So Kerry, I have to know, because oftentimes, and especially now in the coaching industry, like everyone’s popping up saying they’re a coach, right? Oh, what kind of coach are you? I’m a biz-coach, I’m a mindset coach, I’m transformational… so talk to me about what kind of coaching you do and why it’s so distinct.

Kerry: Well, you know, I’m a coach who focuses on purpose and integrity. And one of the major things I found as a teacher, and even as an AP, is that people were just kind of going through life, going anywhere the wind blew and didn’t really feel they had a purpose. And one of the reasons I had become an educator was because I believe that everyone who is born has a purpose, there’s something different and unique about them and that thing can transform their lives, and the lives of others. And I think sometimes that sounds really heady, but you know, I had students who were just natural comedians, like they make people laugh and that’s a gift, you know?And I realized sometimes we take what is natural to us for granted. And so I wanted to really move into a space where I helped people to identify, well, why am I here? Because isn’t that the question? Like, why am I here? So that was one of the things. And then the integrity piece, usually when we hear the word integrity, we think of, am I going to be honest? But I think for me the integrity piece was, am I being who I’m meant to be? And sometimes we choose to be less than who we’re meant to be. And I often thought, what would the world look like if we really stood in that strength, stood in our gifts and stood in our talents and shared those things with others? So that’s my spiel as a purpose and integrity coach.

Marie: I love that. And something you said just now had me really thinking because oftentimes people think integrity is being honest. It’s about telling the truth. And I think in the way you’ve described it, it still is. But it’s more about telling the truth to yourself, being honest with yourself. I think so often those places where we feel out of integrity is because we’re telling a lie on ourselves and we’re not being true to ourselves or allowing people to dictate the things that we care about. Instead of saying, you know what, option B is actually more important.

Kerry: Oh my God. So that is the big thing. Right. That’s the thing I noticed. I would ask people certain things and they would respond to me based on what their parents told them who they were. Or what social media tells them who they are. And it’s like, well, who do you think you are? And what do you have to offer? You know, we’re so busy, sometimes you don’t take the time to kind of reflect and take a pause and be like, what do I like, what do I want to do? What am I good at? And working with my students and still communicating with my former students who are now grownups (that’s a whole another situation… they grow up, they grow up). But you know, a lot of them were like, Miss, this is what you did with us in class. You know, you helped us to dig deep and kind of figure out who we were so that we could start living that life that we wanted to live.

Marie: Yeah. Yeah. It’s that infamous question – Are you living your life by default or by design? And so many people are in default. Well, that’s just where I landed. And just so that’s just what we’re doing now. And I’m like, oh, it doesn’t have to be that way, it doesn’t have to be that way. But then of course, that’s why you have folks like Kerry out in the world with Designed for Distinction who are doing this work. So Kerry, tell the people a little bit about how we worked together. Obviously I feel like we have been all in the mix in the last few months

Kerry: We have, we have. I will say that Marie has an absolutely incredible course called Side Hustle Intensive. And I had the pleasure of being a participant in that course. And I want to be clear here, Marie and I are friends, but this is not just “that’s my girl, let me talk about her course”. I’m talking about life-changing here, and one of the biggest things that happened for me is when I heard about entrepreneurship, it was all around like, you’re doing this, you’re doing that, it’s like, you’re on an island by yourself doing everything. And so for so long, I never took the leap because I’m like, I can’t do all those things. And so one of the things that Side Hustle Intensive revealed to me is, no, you don’t have to do all the things by yourself. There is support out there. There are people who are doing things that you’re not good at and you can collaborate or work with them. I mean, it just kind of opened my eyes and I was like, I can do this because I’m not doing it by myself.

Marie: Yeah. Yeah. I love that. I completely feel you. I think so much as new business owners we’re thinking, oh my goodness, like to your point, there’s so many things I have to do, so many things I have to figure out, until you really get to realize, oh, this entrepreneurship thing, this is a team sport. And you get to choose your teammates. So it’s kind of this beautiful situation. Once you realize the opportunity that’s there and thinking about what it could look like to play team in your business, even if you are in business for yourself, right. You don’t have to be by yourself. I love it. So talk to me, Kerry, for folks who are just starting out and are like waking up, ‘cause I think this past year has been a big wake up call for a lot of folks. I know, especially on the corporate side, people are like, oh, did you hear? 2021 is going to be the year of the great resignation? People are really taking a pause to evaluate what they want in their life, what they want to create in their life. And for a lot of folks, that means not going back to the way it was, whether that’s how they were working, how they were living, all of those things. So for folks who are in that space of like, I think I need to do something different, what would be your piece of advice or the thing that you would tell them to start them on their journey to living more purposefully?

Kerry: I mean, so outside of taking Side Hustle Intensive, which you know, that’s a given! I would say really taking that moment to pause and reflect and realize that you do have what it takes. You know, I think there’s always that self doubt, like what am I going to do? What do I have to offer? You have a lot to offer, right? You were working somewhere and you have skills and talents that you were using there that you can use for yourself. And so I think that’s really important and something that goes really hand in hand with that, it’s a buzzword, but it’s the truth, is the self care piece, right? Self-care needs to be a priority because you are the one that’s doing whatever it is that you’re doing. You’re the one that’s collaborating. You’re the one that’s coming up with ideas and being creative and taking care of yourself allows you to have the best ideas. It gives you the energy that you need to think and plan and work with others. So that’s something I’m working into my daily routine and I think it’s important because it goes against the narrative that, I got this, I’ve pulled myself up by my bootstraps, you know? thinking “Man, I’ve been working so hard. I worked 80 hours this week.” You know, that used to be like, “Girl, you worked hard, hi-five! I’m on my grind” but why? Take a pause. Let’s switch that narrative. It’s ok to take care of yourself. It’s not selfish. And you bring the best of yourself to your loved ones when you do that. So those would be the two things I would say.

Marie: Okay, I completely love that. And I love how you profess that it’s a buzz word and it’s still true. And I think oftentimes when people say self care, they’re like, “oh yeah, girl, I’m going to take a nap and I’m gonna have a bubble bath and I’m gonna be good”. But self care is not like an action item on your to-do list, that is a lifestyle change. Taking care of yourself is an everyday, all-the-time thing. So it’s not a “when’s my next hair appointment?”

Kerry: That’s right. Preach, seriously! Seriously! Yes. You know, you need to take that time to think, take a pause, find out the things that you love to do and do those things often. I know I’ve shared this with you, Marie, but I love bubbles. So I have a bubble gun and I blow bubbles and it makes me feel happy and filled with joy – it’s a simple thing, but it helps my mindset. So, you know, you need to take time to reflect and really think about you and it’s okay. It’s not selfish. It’s not vain to figure out why you’re here. What do you love to do? What makes you feel your best and to choose to do those things.

Marie: Yeah. I love that. And something, again, something like bubbles that somebody could be doing all the time, all the time, right here in your home office blowing up your bubbles. Right. I love it. So Kerry, I have one final question for you and then we’re going to do the rapid fire round. ‘Cause you know, I love me some rapid fire, but I do want to know – What’s one tool that you can share with us that really helped you as you were growing our business and really stepping into the fullness of owning and running it?

Kerry: Upwork, straight up. Okay. Because again, this was me coming out of the space where it’s like, I had to do everything on my own. And knowing that there are companies out there that I could spend the time doing the things that I’m really good at and hire out or delegate some other things – that was a game changer. I mean, seriously.

Marie: Yeah. I love it. It’s so funny. I was on Clubhouse yesterday and Deanna, if you are still watching, because Deanna has been getting on me about upping my Clubhouse game. Okay. she’s like, you need to be up in here. I’m trying girl, but you know, I am I’m technology-averse, so I’m working through it. But I was up in there yesterday talking in a room with some women just about the skills you need to go to the next level in your career. And one of the things that came up with someone asking about getting an assistant, like, “oh, I think it’s time for me to get an assistant” and I had to laugh because I’m like, as soon as you realize you need an assistant, you are already 6 months behind.

Kerry: Exactly. Exactly. Oh my goodness. Oh my gosh.

Marie: So true. Because women especially, we have this tendency to power through, I’m going to do it all myself. I can figure it out. It’s going to take too long to explain it to somebody, right down to oftentimes the way that we relate to our friends and family, right? I know I’ve spoken to clients who were like, you know, I told my children how to make the bed, but they don’t do it how I do it. So I’m gonna just do it… Girl, bye. Give people the opportunity to be great. But also the opportunity to be terrible at something. So they can learn to find their greatness in it. But as it relates to business, Upwork is a game changer, that is where I found my assistant, who I’ve had for three years. She’s now my business manager and you can find any and everybody up there, all types of skilled people, from web development to handling your email automation, you name it, all the things, all the things. So if you are even thinking you might need or could use some help do yourself a favor and jump on that like yesterday. Absolutely. And please, if you have questions about that, you can definitely ping Kerry, ping me. We will tell you how to get yourself situated because help is a beautiful gift.

All right, Kerry. It’s time for rapid fire. So Kerry, I know you’re a thinker, part of why I love you – you’re a very thoughtful, mindful person, okay? But don’t overthink. Don’t overthink. Just the first thing that pops in your head. That’s what we go with. Okay? So first, what’s one word that describes you?

Kerry: Bold.

Marie: What’s the best part of having a virtual business?

Kerry: Time.

Marie: What’s your favorite fruit?

Kerry: Mangoes.

Marie: I was thinking mangoes! I was like, Hmm, if you don’t say mangoes…

Kerry: I got some mangoes right here.

Marie: When’s the last time you cried?

Kerry: Oh, it’s been a minute. Maybe a month. A month.

Marie: Okay. Yeah. I feel like that’s a little red flag. Cause you know, crying is healing. You might get it.

Kerry: It is. I would like to, but yeah, it hasn’t happened.

Marie: Okay, Ooh. Here’s a good one. So when people stand up for a standing ovation, are you the first person up the last person or somewhere in the middle?

Kerry: Usually the first. Because I’m like, just go, I get excited. I’m like, you did good, let’s go.

Marie: Okay. I love that. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received from an elder?

Kerry: Oh, from an elder. Give myself some grace.

Marie: I love that. What’s one wellness practice that you can’t live without?

Kerry: Journaling.

Marie: What’s your happy place?

Kerry: Anything that has to do with really good food. Love me some good food. Ooh, seafood.

Marie: Okay. Your happy place is seafood. I love that. Kerry, mountains or beach?

Kerry: Beach.

Marie: Okay. And finish the sentence for me. Generational wealth means…

Kerry: Freedom.

Marie: There you have it. Okay. So that’s the end of our rapid-fire. I’m giving snaps. So Kerry, as we wrap up, where can folks find you, if they want to keep chatting it up with you, learning more about what you do, where are you best found?

Kerry: Best found on Instagram. And it’s https://www.instagram.com/gdsdvn/ (GDSDVN – God is divine). You know, just a reminder of who I’m connected to. So you can definitely find me there.

Marie: Okay. Awesome folks. That’s our time for today. Thank you so much. If you joined us, please feel free. Tag me and Kerry in the comments. We’re happy to keep the dialogue going and we hope to see you next time live at lunch. Bye everybody.


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